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November 16, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-11-16

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4A - Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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Vote for Pedro ... Martinez?


Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890
413 E. Huron St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104




Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views ofttheir authors.
The other election
Past voting scandals tarnished MSA's reputation
t seems like it was only yesterday when Michigan Student
Assembly candidates bombarded students' inboxes with
spam e-mails campaigning for their MSA parties - but that
was last March, and it's election season again. As the student
government fall elections get underway today, it is important for
MSA to continue its efforts to reform its elections and move to
repair the tarnished image it still holds on campus.

Recently on one of the best
shows on television - HBO's
"Real Sports" - anchor Bry-
ant Gumbel devoted his closing
monologue to
questioning why
there are not more
athletes partici-
pating in politics.
Gumbel certainly
has a point. Looks
around the politi-
cal landscape, and
you will notice the
vast majority of JOHN
politically active STIGLICH
celebrities are
movie and televi-
sion stars - not quarterbacks and
pitchers. If the 2006 midterms are
any indication, though, we should see
more athletes dipping their toes into
the political waters in the future.
Last Tuesday night, former NFL
quarterback Heath Schuler won his
bid for a House seat in North Caro-
lina. After his career in football ended,
Schuler became aborn-again Christian,
and the Republican Party tried recruit-
ing him to run for Congress a few years
back. This election cycle, the Demo-
crats succeeded in lobbying Schuler to
become a member of their congressio-
nal huddle - despite strong opposition
from Redskins fans still oozing with
hatred for Schuler because of his failed
run as their quarterback.
In Pennsylvania, retired Pittsburgh
Steelers wide receiver and ABC col-
lege football analyst Lynn Swann got
crushed when he challenged Gov. Ed
Rendell in that state's gubernatorial
race. It was thought that Swann's stat-
ure as a Steelers legend would elevate
him to the governor's mansion, just as
former Oklahoma Sooner standout J.C.
Watts's prominence earned him a seat
in Congress. Unfortunately for Repub-
licans, even Swann could not run away

from the blue curtain that descended
upon America last week.
Of course, politics is not limited
just to athletes retired from the world
of sports. During the World Series
telecast on FOX, St. Louis Cardinals
pitcher Jeff Suppan and former St.
Louis Rams quarterback Kurt War-
ner participated in a commercial that
spoke out against the Missouri stem
cell proposal. Clearly, their intentions
were to use their influence as beloved
athletes to swayvoters toward the pro-
life position on the issue and to coun-
ter the Hollywood influence infused
by my childhood hero Michael J. Fox.
Suppan and Warner may have lost
their battle in the end, but the final
vote tabulations on the ballot proposal
were much closer than the pre-elec-
tion polls indicated.
Here in Michigan, University bas-
ketball coach Tommy Amaker and
Michigan State basketball coach Tom
Izzo unsuccessfully lobbied against
the passage of Proposal 2. I wonder if
the opposition would have been more
successful if it aired commercials with
Detroit icons such as Joe Dumars and
Barry Sanders.
Recruiting athletes to run for polit-
ical office makes sense because their
status overcomes most of the barriers
candidates face as they enter the polit-
ical world. First, name recognition
- a quality lesser known candidates
devote untold resources to developing
- is already established. Second, seed
money should not be an issue given
the enormous incomes of professional
athletes and their access to wealthy
donors. Third, professional athletes
tend to give back to their commu-
nities through charitable causes,
translating into high favorability rat-
ings among constituents. Finally, the
iconic status of professional athletes
makes their forays into the political
world instantaneously newsworthy

- so gathering the media's attention
is not an issue.
In the past, some retired professional
athletes have had very successful politi-
cal careers. Former Buffalo Bills quar-
terback and American Football League
Association President Jack Kemp was
the Republican vice-presidential nomi-
nee in 1996. Kemp also played a key role
- while a member of Congress from
New York - in drafting and passing the
Reagan tax reforms in the 1980s.
Professional athletes are not loyally
entrenched in one political party or
one political philosophy, and I think
Americans find athletes more credible
as a result. When Suppan and War-
ner spoke out against the stem-cell
research proposal in Missouri, it was
the result of their deeply held personal
beliefs on the issue - not peer pres-
sure in the athletic community. Con-
versely, when Hollywood stars take up
their pet causes, the public views it as
an exercise in image-boosting or one-
upmanship - not heartfelt loyalty to
the cause.
Hollywood celebrities, by and large,
have the same aforementioned advan-
tages, but there is a salient difference
between them and professional ath-
letes - Hollywood is liberal. I cannot
recall an "A-list" actor in my lifetime
- other than Mel Gibson - who cham-
pioned a conservative cause. George
Clooney, Barbara Streisand, Julia Rob-
erts and Jon Stewart are all Hollywood
icons who give large sums of money to
liberal causes but have little influence
outside the coasts.
It remains to be seen if the athletic
community overtakes the Hollywood
community in political activity, but
I can see an interesting future presi-
dential race - George Clooneyvs. Tom
Brady, anybody?
John Stiglich I can be reached
at jcsgolf@umich.edu. 4

Student government parties have a
tendency to disband - or, in many
cases, simply change names - every
couple of years in an attempt to distinguish
themselves from the image their predeces-
sors had acquired. While in theory the par-
ties that emerge year after year are "new"
and original, the leaders of the parties are
invariably formers members of the defunct
parties. The dominant party three years
ago was the Students First party, which
became Students 4 Michigan. The alleg-
edly new Michigan Action Party contains a
suspicious number of S4M veterans.
A shameful denial of service attack on
an opposing party's website by students
with S4M ties is probably a major reason
why s4M members wanted to create a new
party. That scandal wasn't the only one
last March: Tim Hull, then running with
the Student Conservative Party, sent tens
of thousands of spam e-mails to professors
and alumni. Although the contentious elec-
tion had one of the highest voter turnouts
in recent history, the scandals surrounding
the election hurt MSA's credibility.

In order for MSA to move past its dubi-
ous history - which has included irre-
sponsible fiscal decisions and assembly
members with surprisingly low atten-
dance records, in addition to the problems
with its elections - the new parties that
have emerged this election season must
at least try to work at accomplishing what
they have proposed to do. While many stu-
dents may not know it, MSA handles hun-
dreds of thousands of dollars in student
fee money. But only when its power trans-
lates to visibility and influence on campus
will it be able to work toward progress at
the University and gain respect from the
student body.
Today and tomorrow, students can go to
vote.www.umich.edu to vote for MSA rep-
resentatives. While the fall elections, lack-
ing a glamorous presidential race, may not
seem important, the representatives that
are elected this weekend could have a real
influence on the student government. We
encourage you to get to the online polls and
elect whichever representatives you believe
will bring about the changes MSA needs.

Undo Proposal2

Blocking the polls
ID requirement would needlessly disenfranchise voters
nce again, Michigan finds itself deliberating over a divi-
sive issue that has been popping up across the country.
No, it's not a certain ballot proposal in question this
time, but a challenge over the constitutionality of a 1996 state law
requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.

On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Proposal 2 - Ward Connerly's bal-
lot initiative to ban the use of affirmative action in college
admissions, hiring and contracting throughout the state of
Michigan - passed by a vote of 58 percent to 42 percent.
There must be no drop in underrepresented minority stu-
dent enrollment at Michigan universities! The impact of Pro-
posal 2 on minority student admission to our universities is a
question of social power, not legal interpretation abstracted
from the social struggle. A drop in minority student enroll-
ment in higher education in Michigan is not inevitable. We
must stand on the principle that we will not accept a drop in
minority enrollment at any Michigan universities.
In California, the failure of the chancellors of the Uni-
versity of California to utilize every legal means available to
themtomaintainunderrepresented minorityenrollmenthas
led to a huge drop in the numbers and proportion of black,
Hispanic and other underrepresented minority students in
the UC system. We cannot allow this to occur in Michigan.
A whole range of university admissions policy changes -
from discounting standardized test scores to defending the
use of race in admissions to combat the discrimination and
bias inherent in Michigan's highly segregated, separate and
unequal K-12 education system - can provide the basis for
maintaining and even increasing underrepresented minor-
ity enrollment at our universities. The passage of Proposal 2
does not have to lead to a drop in black, Hispanic and Native
American student enrollment in Michigan universities. What
we do will be decisive.
Proposal 2 should never have been placed on the ballot in
the first place. The signatures needed to get Proposal 2 on
the ballot were obtained through the use of massive, system-
atic, racially targeted voter fraud. By Any Means Necessary's
two-year campaign to expose the voter fraud and to keep
Proposal 2 off the ballot because of the voter fraud was the
only sure way to defeat Proposal 2.
BAMN's conclusion that Proposal 2 was tainted by racial-
ly-targeted fraud was supportedby both a federal court deci-
sion and the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. The refusal,
however, of any other political force in our state to keep
Proposal 2 from going forward made its passage extremely
For months, the mainstream media recognized that Pro-
posal 2's placement on the Michigan ballot was based on
racially-targeted voter fraud. Nonetheless, virtually every

political commentator argued that it should still be placed on
the ballot.
Any outcry by civil rights leaders, Democratic politi-
cians or the media over the voter fraud would have stopped
Proposal 2 dead in its tracks. When BAMN said loudly that
if Proposal 2 went forward on the basis of the voter fraud,
defeat was very likely, we were right. Giving a white major-
ity the right to determine black and other minority people's
rights in the privacy and secrecy of a voting booth is a recipe
for advancing white privilege. Allowing such a vote to take
place on the basis of a well-publicized racist scam guaran-
tees a blow against minorities. We cannot allow this to occur
Building a new leadership that will fight for and speak out
for black and Hispanic communities and all the oppressed
is essential right now. We need leaders who understand that
the only way to advance the fight for civil rights is to build
the new movement on an independent basis. We need leaders
who don't just role over and play dead.
Far from settling the question of race relations in Michi-
gan, the passage of Proposal 2 will open up a new phase of
the struggle for affirmative action integration and equality
throughout Michigan and throughout this nation. Women
and black, Hispanic and other minority communities will
not acceptbeing relegated to second-class treatment.
Put simply, the response of the newcivil rights movement
to the passage of Proposal 2 must be that the end of affirma-
tive action in Michigan cannot stand. We will not accept
second-class rights and citizenship for black, Hispanic and
other minority people and women within our state.
The struggle to defend affirmative action and civil rights
doesn't begin or end at the ballot box. We do not accept the
idea that white people are entitled to determine, through a
vote or by any other means, whether minorities should have
equality and civil rights. Had the electorate of the southern
states been allowed to vote on whether or not to implement
Brown v. Board of Education, Jim Crow would still exist. It
took a mass movement to win affirmative action, and it will
take a mass movement to defend it.
Maricruz Lopez is an LSA sophomore and a co-
chair of the Univeresity chapter of By Any Means
Necessary. Liana Mulholland is an Art and Design
sophomore and a member of the group.

The state Supreme Court heard this
issue on Monday. Hopefully, the
verdict will recognize the burden a
photo ID requirement places on parts of the
electorate, putting their access to the ballot
box in jeopardy.
Former state Attorney General Frank
Kelley wisely kept this law from taking
effect nine years ago, ruling that it violated
the 14th Amendment. In Michigan, about
350,000 registered voters do not have driv-
ers' licenses or state ID cards. If the law
is upheld, roughly 5 percent of voters face
possible disenfranchisement. The elderly,
poor, disabled and members of minority
groups are those least likely to have photo
identification, and putting this law into
effect would most affect their turnout at
the polls.
Statistics in Detroit point to a particular
inequality brought about by requiring photo
IDs. Roughly one-third of Detroit residents
don't own cars, suggesting that a good share
don't hold drivers' licenses either. Having
to show photo ID might have little effect on
residents of neighboring suburbs, but a good
number of Detroit voters would be disen-
franchised. Although the potential voters
can still obtain state-issued photo IDs, the
process of heading to the Secretary of State
office to get one makes it harder than neces-
sary for them to vote.
While the state House has already passed
a bill enabling those who can't afford the

$10 state ID charge the chance to get one
for free - it had to, or else the ID require-
ment for voting would constitute an illegal
poll tax - many have trouble even getting
to a Secretary of State office. While some
branches have extended their hours beyond
the usual nine-to-five, this still offers a lim-
ited time frame for those who hold two
jobs, work long shifts or don't have time to
wait in painfully long lines. These problems
don't even take into consideration the peo-
ple who lack transportation to the offices in
the first place.
The arguments that photo IDs should
be mandatory for voting are flawed. Some
maintain that IDs would reduce election
fraud, yet there has been no evidence of
significant fraud in Michigan. The 1996
law does state that voters without photo
ID could vote by signing an affidavit tes-
tifying to their identity, an exception that
could still embarrass and discourage poor
or elderly voters.
Prior to a judge striking down its own
voter ID laws, Missouri sent out vans to
issue IDs to the elderly for free. Regardless
of the outcome of the 1996 law, Michigan
would do well to follow Missouri's exam-
ple, as photo IDs are usually necessary for
everything from getting a job to opening a
bank account. But until every voter has an
ID, enforcement of the 1996 law would dis-
enfranchise a small but substantial part of
the electorate.



Another way to beat
The University chapter of Students for
Organ Donation is currently competing
with Ohio State University to see which
school can register the most organ and
tissue donors in the first annual Wolver-
ines-Buckeyes Challenge for Life. Unfor-
tunately, Michigan is losing by quite a
bit, and we need at least 3,500 more reg-
istrants in order to beat OSU's amount.
It takes one minute to register online at
www.giftoflifemichigan.org/goblue, and
all you need to provide is your name and
One organ donor can save eight lives,
while one tissue donor can improve the
quality of life in 50 individuals. Over the
summer, I had a tissue transplant to help
ease the chronic knee pain I've been fac-
ing for the past four years. Since the sur-
gery, my knee has yet to buckle and my
pain has significantly reduced.

There are more than 3,100 people in
the state of Michigan who are waiting for
an organ transplant, and I can't imagine
the physical and emotional pain they are
going through right now as they fight to
live hoping that someone will give the
gift of life. Please register today and help
us beat the Buckeyes!
Christy Hammond
Kinesiology sophomore
Once you go Maize and
Blue, you never go back
I am one of those who calls Columbus
home. However, for myself and many
other students from central Ohio, home
has become our enemy. For students still
trying to find their allegiance, unlike the
traitorous David Samese (... Buckeyes in
Wolverine country, 11/15/2006), may I
remind you that we turned our backs on
the Buckeye State for something far better

than that party school in our backyard.
Being an athlete who represents our
university and wears the Maize and Blue
in competition, my love for Michigan has
become true and my loyalty guaranteed.
Come Saturday, I will be screaming my
lungs out, "risking my life" and pumping
my fist to "The Victors" in Ohio Stadium
to cheer on the Wolverines. To those
other "Buckeyes": Before you choose your
side, remember that you're a Buckeye by
birth, but a Wolverine by choice!
Mark Pokora
will attack fans
In response to the warm welcome
from a Buckeye that appeared in the
Daily ('Hospitality' awaits in Columbus
for our fans, 11/13/2006), I encourage
Michigan fans not to be fooled by these

deceitful primates. Remember that a
trip to Columbus is an expedition into
the least civilized region in the West-
ern hemisphere. Such a journey will
invariably include contentious verbal
exchanges, which are to be expected.
But the Buckeyes won't stop there; a trip
to Columbus will also likely entail being
on the receiving end of airborne beer
bottles as well as swings from bats, clubs
and boards with nails in them. Buckeyes
have also been observed to fling their
feces at unfamiliar individuals, jump-
ing around and howling unintelligible
grunts all the while.
This should not dissuade Wolverines
from representing their team in this
culturally barren wasteland - just be
sure to travel in groups and maintain
vigilance. And be absolutely sure not to
fall for treacherous messages that seem
to imply that OSU has miraculously
emerged from the early Paleolithic this
year. Godspeed and Go Blue!
Andy Petrovich
LSA senior

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