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October 03, 2006 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-10-03

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 3, 2006
itor in Chief Editorial Page Editors Managing Editor
413 E. HURON ST.


Today's debates
are far more about
profile than cour-
age; the real issue is
who can put across
the better image,
especially on
-Jack Lessenberry, writing in anticipation
of the first debate between Gov. Jennifer
Granhom and DickDeVos, which
occurred last night, as poated yes-
terday on jackshowblogs.com. E5



Recycling to the rescue
City must intervene on recycling to help students

_ a ''
s : c..

ts a shame that in a city otherwise
at the forefront of the recycling
movement, the city leaders them-
selves are undermining environmental
policy. While Ann Arbor's recycling
program is well established, the process
is often far too cumbersome due to the
city government's reluctance to ensure
landlords provide students with ways
to recycle. In its failure to enforce this
policy, the city risks aggravating rela-
tions with University students, many
of whom live in off-campus housing
and want to recycle. Furthermore, the
effectiveness of city ordinances in gen-
eral largely relies on the city actually
following through with its own policy.
In an effort to show that it respects stu-
dent concerns and the democratic pro-
cess, the city government must make
enforcement of the recycling ordinance
a higher priority.
A city ordinance requires owners of
rental units to supply renters with out-
door recycling containers. Those oper-
ating larger housing complexes must
also provide a plan explaining how
they will meet these requirements.
According to the city's systems
analyst, however, this ordinance is
generally not enforced. Residents at
University Towers, for example, must
choose to either not recycle or haul their
recyclables somewhere else because
management has failed to provide
recycling options. The city's neglect
on this issue has caught the attention
of many environmentally conscious
students, who have taken recycling
efforts into their own hands.
While the student response to the
city government's inaction should be
applauded, the city is ultimately at

fault for failing to enforce the recy-
cling ordinance. In complexes such
as University Towers, where manage-
ment claims it was unaware of the
ordinance, the city has an obligation
to intervene on behalf of students. In
failing to do so, the city is essentially
creating a double standard. Indeed,
when the tables are reversed and stu-
dents fail to follow a city ordinance,
punitive actions are more likely to be
Though it is the city's responsibil-
ity to be an active force in the recy-
cling process, it is also in the city's
best interest to do so because it
would demonstrate an interest in stu-
dents' concerns. Given that roughly
70 percent of the student body lives
off-campus, enforcement of the ordi-
nance could improve the often conten-
tious relations between students and
city government. Conversely, a pas-
sive role may ultimately weaken the
city government's authority; though
a recycling ordinance may be consid-
ered petty, this example of negligence'
may lead students to doubt that more
serious measures, such as the new
lease-date ordinance, will actually be
With the establishment last year of a
joint Michigan Student Assembly-City
Council committee, relations between
students and their city have improved
since the infamous attempt to ban
porch couches three summers ago. By
enforcing its recycling ordinances, the
city could build more goodwill. In the
meantime, however, it is up to cam-
pus groups and off-campus students to
put the mantra of "Reduce, Reuse and
Recycle" into action themselves.

The case for apathy


don't care
to think
eral issues
up in doing
what they
have to do ... and because getting
involved inpolitical issues isn't going
to boost anyone's MCATscore,polit-
ical apathy is the unfortunate result
for many University students."
- Theresa Kennelly (The mind-
less student, 09/29/2006)
As the editor in chief of the
conservative bi-weekly
The Michigan Review last
year, I had a little slogan: Anyone
who refused to pick up the Review
without having read it - whether
because they were too conserva-
tive, too libertarian or too contrar-
ian - probably shouldn't. Anyone
who'd prejudge the paper without
giving it a chance would likely
waste the hard work of our writ-
ers if they actually did grab a copy
- and those "readers" we could do
A read-through of the Daily's
columns over the last year would
lead you to believe the sky is fall-
ing, that we occupy a bizarro cam-
pus: University students, known at
one point in history for their sup-
posed activism, have grown apa-
thetic - and during a time of war,
no less. How sad.
Precious little analysis has been
attempted regarding this trend, and
what little has been done barely
cracks the surface. More energy is
spent bemoaning our supposed apa-
thy than is spent understanding it,
and even less is spent on solutions.

The lack of analysis begins with the
questionable (yet largely unchal-
lenged) assumption that people our
age should, for whatever reason, be
interested in politics.
But student apathy is under-
standable and even logical given
the current state of affairs. At a
time where the voices of politi-
cal dissenters often go unheard
and almost always go unheed-
ed - especially with the Bush
Administration - it's easy for a
political outsider to wonder what
his involvement in the political
process would accomplish, if any-
And it's tough to come up with
suitable answers - especially for
college-age youth, who occupy the
bottom rung of the political ladder.
In many ways, campus is the
perfect storm for an apathetic
student body. Mix together equal
parts overtly political teaching;
the Daily's editorial page, which
tilts decidedly and overbearingly
liberal; and Diag activists, rang-
ing from misguided "preachers"
to anti-MCRI advocates to right-
wingers hoping to "catch an ille-
gal immigrant," and you have an
environment where it's easier, less
time-consuming and less frustrat-
ing to avoid politics altogether.
Why sit around "debating" with
holier-than-thou members of Stu-
dents Organizing for Labor and
Economic Equality or always-
angry Young Americans for Free-
dom when you can simply go
home and drink a beer with your
roommates without drama? Call it
cynical, call it "mindless," call it
whatever you need to make your
own political activity seem more
principled, but it makes sense.
None of this is to disdain the
efforts of politicos on campus. In
fact, it's just the opposite. Part of

my attraction to the University
when I was applying was the idea
that the student body was smart
enough to provide the intellectual
challenge I needed, the challenge
my high school couldn't. In some
ways it has, and although 3 a.m.
debates have long ago lost their
novelty, I can't help but respect the
efforts of people who wake up at 6
a.m. to hand out campaign stickers
on the Diag or who spend entire
weekends knocking on doors and
making phone calls in the hopes of
changing one person's mind on the
Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.
Those people are great, and their
work is important. I just wonder
whether glorifying their efforts as
somehow embodying what our gen-
eration "should be" actually works
to encourage further apathy.
This is why I advise extreme
caution in making the politically
active among us the gold standard
to which all should aspire. Let us
not pretend that political activity is
some higher formof existence, pref-
erable to volunteering, internships,
athletics or any of the other activi-
ties University students do to keep
themselves busy; to do so would
only encourage the apathy we decry
by alienating the apolitical. Politics
isn't for everyone, and given the
overstated conviction with which
many express their beliefs, and the
sheer intolerance many express for
anyone who dare disagree, politics,
at least on this campus, isn't for
most people.
Why is this a problem? Any-
one who isn't political probably
shouldn't be. They'd probably just
ruin it for the truly committed.
That type of "involvement" we can
do without.
Dickson can be reached
at davidjam@umich.edu.


How low should gas go?

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez prob-
ably expected an outcry after calling Presi-
dent Bush the devil at the United Nations a
few weeks ago - but did he expect 7-Eleven
to cut off a source of his country's income?
Last week, the company announced it would
end its contract with Citgo, the subsidiary
owned by the Venezuelan government's state
oil industry. But 7-Eleven aside, the United
States is heavily dependent on foreign oil. It
imports about 13 percent of its oil supply from
Venezuela, and the U.S. Navy just negotiated
a $60-million fuel contract with Citgo. U.S.
dependency isn't the only factor driving the
energy debate; sliding gas prices and a mix of
industry successes and setbacks have brought
fuel prices back into the public eye.
The national average at the pump is now at
$2.33, down from $2.81 per gallon just one
year ago. This recent drop came on the heels
of Chevron's announcement of an oil discov-
ery in the Gulf of Mexico that could increase
the U.S. strategic reserves by as much as 50
percent. The low price caused a stir in the
OPEC nations and worries two of its poster
boys - Hugo Chavez and Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Americans should
not take these low pump prices at face value;
gas prices won't stay this low for long because
OPEC won't allow Chavez and Ahmadinejad
to lose out on profits.
New York Times columnist Thomas Fried-
man argues that Chavez and Ahmadinejad,
the "oil dictators," depend so heavily on
our dollars for their oil that gas prices will
surely go back up in time for winter heating
season. Under pressure from Venezuela and
Iran, OPEC will simply bump the price of oil
back up to pay for subsidies in those countries
- subsidies that allow Iran to use its $44.6
billion in oil profits, according to Bloomberg.
com, to continue enriching uranium and that
allow Venezuela to keep Chavez in power and
use his influence to incite anti-American sen-
timent in Latin America.

With our own elections approaching, Amer-
icans should be skeptical of the timeliness of
these recent drops at the pump. Recent Gallup
polls indicate 42 percent of Americans think
the price is being manipulated by Republicans
or that the price will go back up before elec-
tions. It is important to remember that histori-
cally, prices dip due to a decrease in demand
after summer driving season, according to The
New York Times. If prices are low, Americans
forget about cutting off dependence on foreign
oil, and the automakers forget about working
to solve it.
One solution to eliminating dependence is
through developing ethanol, paid for by prof-
its from higher gas prices. Brazil has already
succeeded in using ethanol to make up 40 per-
cent of its automotive fuel consumption. In the
United States, oil companies and automakers
were beginning to make significant gains in
developing ethanol when prices were above $3
a gallon. Come November, Americans need to
vote for officials who can improve the United
States' pathetic infrastructure of just 700 etha-
nol fuel stations (compared to 34,000 Brazil-
ian stations, according to Friedman) and that
can put pressure on the Big Three auto compa-
nies to up the percentage of ethanol-ready cars
that come off the production lines. Lower gas
prices leave automakers with little incentive to
pursue ethanol or cars that can run on it.
U.S. gasoline consumption is now at 9,287
barrels a week according to the Energy Infor-
mation Administration, and if Americans wish
to finally break what even President Bush's.
calls an "addiction to oil," they can't get too
comfortable with low gas prices and must
pressure lawmakers to buck up the courage
of 7-Eleven and the resolve of Brazil. Hugo
Chavez and Co. will still laugh their way to
the bank as long as we think low gas prices are
a permanent thing.
Bunkley is an LSA junior and a member
of the Daily's editorial board. He can
be reached at kevrbunk@umich.edu

Send all letters to the editor to tothedaily@michigandaily.com.


Three Ann Arbor spectacles give
insight into Republican Party
I would like to extenda large thank you to Morgan
Wilkins, Justin Zatkoff - the college Republican
who cried political hate crime - and the anti-gay
preacher for providing the University community
with a fine glimpse of the dysfunction associated
with your hate-fueled, terrorist-fearing, intoler-
ant ideologies. Your true colors have shown the
logical extension of your philosophies - hate and
aggression toward people with differing opinions
and lifestyles, coupled with a shoot-first-and-ask-
questions-later approach. Zatkoff's superiors' and
affiliates' attempt to make him into a martyr before
the facts were known shows how the right does not
need evidence to claim victimization - or to start
a war, for that matter - even while they marginal-
ize and victimize others. You all owe the University
and BAMN an apology. Kudos to the three of you
for giving us a lucid insight into the party that has
ruled America for the past five years.
Aaron Gonick
Program in the Environment senior
News article misrepresents
Solidarity Day's purpose
As a primary organizer of last week's Solidar-
ity Day on the Diag, I was extremely disappointed
that the article about the event was misleading,
poorly reported and trivializing of the unity of the
participants' varying causes. The headline Groups
vie for attention on Diag crowded with protest
(09/28/2006) is frankly false. The organizations
on the Diag were unified in their messages and
their causes - acknowledging the humanity of
all people, a central theme that was deliberately
decided on. Only the ignorance of a nonobjective
reporter would portray these groups as differ-
ent and separate. The reporter's failure to make
a factual analysis of events clearly demonstrates
the Daily's continually poor reporting, especially
on issues that affect students of color and almost
always on issues concerning Palestine.
Furthermore, the continuous need to have the
pro-Israeli view represented in every single arti-
cle where any mention is made of Palestinians is
a reflection of the biased nature of this newspa-
per, which needs to end as itsis discrediting the
legitimacy of this newspaper's journalistic cred-

ibility. Not once, as president of the Palestinian
Students Association, have I been approached to
present my response to an event planned by any
of the pro-Israeli groups on campus. In response
to the comments made by Joshua Berman, chair
of the American Movement for Israel, in which he
stated "Israel has a phenomenal record in terms of
immigration ... to link the two is completely inac-
curate": It is not the record of Israel's immigration
of illegal transplanting and settler colonialism of
an occupied land that was being linked to this
event, but Israel's disregard for human rights and
the humanity and existence of the Palestinian and
Lebanese people. The disregard of humanity seen
in the immigration issue is equally visible in Isra-
el's continual disregard for the humanity of the
Palestinian and Lebanese people.
Cherine Foty
LSA senior
Girls wearing big sunglasses
aren't hot and show weakness
Unlike the mini skirt or push-up bra, oversized
sunglasses are part of a trend in women's fash-
ion not specifically designed for men's enjoyment
- and that's why reasonable people strongly dis-
like them. Most girls who do wear the big tinted
eye-boxes are totally unaware of the supposedly
avant-garde statement the specs were designed
to make ("I'm wearing these ridiculous things
because I'm cool enough to not care about how
cool I look.") Instead, they're loudly broadcasting
a desperate cry for help exacerbated by the rest of
their knock-off designer wardrobe that suggests
they've barely caught the tail end of a whole line
of "retro looks" made exclusively for carelessly
indulgent wannabes. The rest are probably so
caught up in the fact that they were clever enough
to wear something "ironic" that they've forgotten
the real reason they bought the things - namely
to distract their frat-boy crushes from an uneven
skin tone and jagged protruding nose. Hopefully,
girls as a group will stop using eyewear to hint
at their quest for strength and independence and
will revert to the triumvirate of liner, mascara
and shadow that's actually been useful to society
for hundreds of years.
James Somers
Business sophomore 111111.1111111 , - - - 4, 1 - - I - I - . . .... .... . ......
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