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November 30, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-11-30

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4A - Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


U1 1J*Idtigan & ij
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890
413 E. Huron St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104




Unsigned editorials reflectthe official position of the Daily's editorialboard.All othersigned articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Light one up for Michigan
Petition drive could lead to legalization of marijuana
Here in Michigan, marijuana use can bring unique ben-
efits - light up a joint and suddenly Michigan's lousy
economy doesn't seem so bad any more. Maybe legal-
ization could attract those young, highly educated professionals
Gov. Jennifer Granholm's been lusting over. After all, with the
right to buy and grow your own pot, every city's a cool city.

I've been surveilled,
followed, targeted
primarily because I've
been an outspoken
critic of this adminis-
tration ... and mostly
for being a Muslim."
- BRANDON MAYFIELD, following a
formal apology and a $2-million settle-
ment from the U.S. Justice Department
for being wrongly arrested in connection
with the 2004 Madrid bombings, as
reported yesterday on CNN.com.

Th Y
Tu E

TO. George ... From: Dick

edical and Recreational Peace, an
activist group rooted in Eaton Rap-
ids, is fighting for our right to get
high. This week, the organization got its leg-
islative petition approved and is now collect-
ing signatures to get the proposal on the 2008
state ballot. The proposal would make it legal
for adults over 18 to use and grow marijuana
on private property. The use of the drug in
public would incur a $50 fine.
Activists tried to get similar proposals on
the ballot in 2000, 2002 and 2006, but they
fell short of obtaining enough signatures each
time. For this proposal to make it to voters,
the group must obtain 304,000 signatures
in the next six months. Michigan voters may
soon have the chance - and hopefully, the
wisdom - to decriminalize the drug.
It's been clear for some time the war on
weed is failing miserably. More than 750,000
Americans were arrested for marijuana pos-
session last year, double the number arrested
25 years ago - and that's just the number that
got caught. If marijuana were decriminal-
ized, many cases that are currently clogging
up the court system would be eliminated, and
tax money wasted prosecuting marijuana
users could be spent on worthier goals. And if
marijuana were legalized nationally and then
taxed, the revenue could exceed $6 billion per
year according to estimates by Jeffrey Miron,
a professor of economics at Harvard.
Despite massive efforts to intercept sup-
plies and prosecute users, marijuana remains

an easy drug to obtain. Earlier generations
found that the prohibition of alcohol - a sub-
stance whose chronic use often results in
death - was unsuccessful. Likewise, cancer-
causing cigarettes and other tobacco products
are legal. Yet marijuana, which is less harmful
and certainly less addictive, remains banned.
Many have recognized the absurdity of
criminalizing marijuana and have joined a
growing movement to legalize it. Ann Arbor
voters approved an ordinance that allows the
use of marijuana for medicinal purposes by
a three-to-one margin in 2004, and the city
punishes marijuanapossession with a meager
$25 fine. Just last year, Denver voted to allow
adults over 21 to own up to one ounce of mari-
juana. Earlier this month, a similar proposal
reached the ballot in Nevada. The proposal
failed, but still garnered 44 percent support,
demonstrating the drug's growing main-
stream acceptance.
Even if you're not high enough to believe
marijuana is Michigan's ticket to economic
salvation, we can at least agree that using
the drug is a personal choice. Adults exer-
cise the freedom to use tobacco and alcohol.
The same should be true for marijuana. The
first step to restore rights taken away nearly
70 years ago is to get the legalization of mari-
juana on the state ballot. Students on campus
can and should be important allies in helping
their fellow residents-reclaim their right to a
joint - that is, if they're not too high to pass
out petitions.

The start of the holiday shop-
ping season last week made
me wonder what present Vice
PresidentCheney could give President
Bush for Christmas. Maybe Cheney
could take Bush to Texas for a hunting
trip. I could just visualize the present
- airplane tickets and buckshot neat-
ly wrapped inside the pocket of a new
hunting vest.
Then I -
realized that
even the
president is
smart enough ,
to know the
most likely
result of such
a trip would
be a wound
on his face JOHN
worse than STIGLICH
the one he
received in
the legendary pretzel-choking inci-
Alternatively, I thought Cheney
could buy Bush an Xbox 360 with a
subscription for the Xbox Live Gold
membership. That way, Bush could do
something he has not done in a long
time: talk to the American people
without filters. He could even invite
Cheney and President Clinton over
for a Call of Duty marathon - bring-
ing all three men the closest to com-
bat they have ever been.
Then again, given his hunting abil-
ities, Cheney would have a hard time
finding a side in a team battle.
In all seriousness, though, the best
present Cheney could give Bush this
Christmas is his letter of resignation.
With Donald Rumsfeld resigning as
secretary of defense and Paul Wol-
fowitz firmly ensconced as president
of the World Bank, Cheney is all that
remains of the neo-con brain trust
from the original administration.
With Bush signaling in no uncertain
terms that he is willing to change
his Iraq policy, now is the opportune
time for Cheney to exit.

From the summer of 2000, when
Bush chose him as his running mate,
Cheney understood that his role was
to serve as a trusted adviser to a man
who did not understand Washington.
Following Sept. 11, Bush relied heav-
ily on Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wol-
fowitz to craft America's response
to global terrorism. That strategy,
so widely accepted at first, is now
threatening to ruin Bush's legacy.
If Bush has any chance of earning a
favorable place in history, he must
remove all those responsible for the
mistakes made in planning and exe-
cuting the war on terror.
Cheney's resignation would also
have the added bonus of neutralizing
some of the upcoming congressio-
nal investigations into Halliburton's
alleged war profiteering. Democrats
have been crying foul about the no-
bid contracts handed out to Hallibur-
ton - Cheney's old company - since
the United States invaded Iraq, but
they never had the investigative
power to prove it. That all changes
this January. Rep. Henry Waxman
(D-Calif.) will chair the House Gov-
ernment Reform Committee next
term, and you can be certain he will
expose any ties between the admin-
istration and Halliburton. If Cheney
is relieved of his duties before the
investigations come to a head, he can
take full responsibility for the cor-
ruption and, ideally, save Bush from
further investigations.
With Cheney safely out of pub-
lic life, Bush can appoint Sen. John
McCain to succeed him. Six years
ago, McCain ruled out becoming
Bush's running mate after losing
to him in the primaries. In 2004,
McCain rejected Sen. John Kerry's
recruitment effort for a joint ticket.
Now a two-year stint as Bush's vice
president has to look appealing to
both the maverick senator and the
stubborn cowboy.
Accepting the VP job gets McCain
out of a Democrat-controlled Senate,
protecting him from having to vote

on wedge issues in an election year.
McCain would also enjoy the institu-
tional perks that come with being the
sitting vice president in a replacement
election year: traveling the country
on the taxpayers' dime, garnering
limitless press exposure and becom-
ing the undisputed front-runner.
However, if McCain is to earn the
2008 nomination, he will have to kiss
major evangelical ass, and I am not
sure his mouth is big enough. Bush,
on the other hand, is tremendously
popular with evangelical Christians,
and his endorsement could go a long
Cheney's departure
would be Bush's
best Christmas gift.
way to easing the concerns evangeli-
cals have with McCain while deliver-
ing a war chest of money from donors
that McCain covets.
In exchange for the endorsement
and political cover, Bush could return
to his original campaign promise of
being a "uniter and not a divider" by
using McCain to foster bipartisan
cooperation on immigration reform.
Besides Bush, McCain is the most
ardent Republican supporter of a
guest-worker program and a sen-
sible assimilation policy for the ille-
gal immigrants already in the United
States. Neither man wants to see the
Republican Party lose the Hispanic
vote the way it did the black vote,
and therefore both are committedto
facing the political ramifications of
ignoring objections on their law-and-
order right flank.
Then again, Cheney could just give
Bush what they both deserve - a
lump of coal.
John Stiglich is a an LSA senior and a
member of the Daily's editorial board. He
can be reached at jcsgolf@umich.edu.

Don't bring back JRV

While I agree with a recent Daily editorial
(Bring back IRV, 11/27/2006) that said Ann Arbor
residents can take action to fix their voting sys-
tem, and I believe it is important to purge our vot-
ing system of the "wasted vote syndrome" and the
"spoiler role" to open up our political processes
to third parties, I do not agree that bringing back
instant runoff voting is a desirable means.
There are a number of attributes that a good
voting system should have - although there is no
such thing as a perfect one, as the economist Ken-
neth Arrow showed in his seminal work that led
to a Nobel prize. I would include the following
characteristics: The system should allow voters to
express their preferences in the election outcome,
provide transparency to voters in terms of under-
standing the results and be easy to administer.
On none of these criteria, as the technical litera-
ture clearly shows, is IRV superior to approval vot-
ing, a system in which voters in multi-candidate
elections can give one vote each to the candidate
or candidates they approve of, with the candidate
receiving the most votes winning.
IRV can eliminate a consensus candidate early
on and thereby elect one less acceptable to the
majority. Even worse, as the technical literature
has well established, under IRV a candidate who

would otherwise win can actually wind up losing
an election if he garners more first-place votes in
the course of a campaign, surely a perverse result
that does not infest AV.
Given the additional complexities of IRV as
opposed to AV and the difficulties of explaining the
former to voters, surely no one can seriously argue
that IRV is a more transparent voting system than
AV. In addition, as the recent experience in Fern-
dale shows, it is not as easy to introduce IRV into
our existing voting infrastructure as AV would be,
because the latter merely involves more counting.
The Daily editorial argued that IRV "can pro-
vide residents with the chance to vote for third
party candidates without fear of throwing away
theirvote,makinglocalelections more competitive
and the outcome more democratic." AV can do that
without incurring the problems encountered with
IRV. It is unfortunate that Green Party members,
those supporting the Ann Arbor Fair Vote Coali-
tion and the county clerk do not understand this.
Given the advantages of AV, they could do both the
city and the county a great service by pushing for
its introduction in city elections.
John Howard Wilhelm is a University alum
who received a doctorate in economics in 1974.
Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu-
alle~ ed emonization of Israel without a care-


Impeach the president

Campus dialogue requires ful reappraisal
their letter - l
responsible word choice tions of Hamasb
of the state of Is:
TO THE DAILY: its Jewish popul
The abrasiveness of Nate Fink and David Fink and Ku
Kurzmann's letter to the editor in Tuesday's campus organiz
Daily (Hamas isvan obstacle to peace in the Mid- sibility to upho
die East, 11/28/2006) deeply saddened me as an moderation. MyI
Arab. But on a more profound level, it upset me is that they take
as a student. As open-minded scholars at a great
institution, we should respond to views that Alyssa Fetini
differ from ours in ways that are conducive to LSA senior
Because active debate is essential to trueC t i
democracy, Fink and Kurzmann have every Catholc r
right to challenge Monday's viewpoint investi-
gating divestment from Israel (A flawed democ- apologyft
racy, 11/27/2006). But the language they used
represents exactly the kind of attitude respon- TO THE DAILY:
sible for much of the hatred and polarization I would like
that this conflict has caused. cartoon in yeste
Rather than challenge the opinions that their 11/29/2006) inst
letter presented as facts or provide a laundry bly the most dis
list of Israeli atrocities to counter the one Fink Daily since thec
and Kurzmann presented, I ask instead that showed a pictur
they consider rethinking and rewording their the words "Suic
criticism of the divestment viewpoint. An educated:
I ask that they refrain from using the term would be anoth
"terrorist" in reference to Hamas and Hezbol- line into being
lah. This is a word that has been manipulated Perhaps the wo
and distorted so often that it has almost com- cartoons of the
pletely lost its meaning. Perhaps the authors teach the Daily
believe that fighting a half-century war and dangers of insu
defending oneself from an enemy is an act of This cartoon wa
terror, but this logic equally incriminates the Catholic readers
Israeli army as well as any army that has ever
participated in a war. Patrick Doyle
I also ask these students to not condemn the LSA sophomore

of the language they used in
anguage that includes accusa-
being "sworn to the destruction
rael and the ethnic cleansing of
rzmann are active leaders in
ation and should feel a respon-
ld standards of tolerance and
last and most important request
this responsibility to heart.
eaders deserve
orpope cartoon
to comment on John Oquist's
erday's Daily (Live on your feet,
ulting the pope. It is quite possi-
tasteful thing I have seen in the
cartoon a couple years ago that
re of an American soldier with
ide Machine" on his chest.
article of constructive criticism
er matter, but this crosses the
inappropriate and distasteful.
rldwide outrage caused by the
Prophet Muhammad did not
anything about the potential
lting religious figures in print.
rrants an apology to the Daily's

It is beyond debate that the Bush Administration has gressional Democr
committed "high crimes and misdemeanors," which are correcting social is
punishable by impeachment. Any open-minded person Before we can ta
willing to look into recent events would conclude that care, poverty, thee
the widespread use of NSA wiretapping was unconstitu- must address the r
tional; that the administration manipulated intelligence ened. All of themo
reports about WMDs to curry public support for invad- Impeaching Bushi
ing Iraq; and that the Military Commissions Act directly and balances, to re
violates the Third Geneva Convention and therefore the to protect our right
U.S. Constitution. The first priority of American politics It is within Con
is to uphold the Constitution, which enshrines the values branch, something
and beliefs of America. When inaugurated, the president understand that Cc
says he will do his best to "preserve, protect and defend as rare as impeach
the Constitution of the United States." Bush has ignored fighting for them:
these important words. are entitled in th.
The argument often used to defend Bush's decisions upholding the free
is that in times of war, the president needs the power to ica is based.
control the war and ensure the security of the American It seems that fi
people. But given how poorly this administration has run Administration ha
the country in the last six years - the lack of health care, a duced a situation
poorly designed education policy andthe war in Iraq being disrespected andl
a few key examples - any increase in the Bush Adminis- cally unsound. We
tration's power is just a bad idea. In fact, Congress should edy, a way to restor
be trying to decrease the power of an already too-power- system and to eve:
ful executive branch. Democrats and Re
The new debate should be whether impeachment is we will miss out o
what's best for American politics and the American peo- faith in the Americ
ple. Polls have shown the public support for the impeach- The Bush Adm
ment of President Bush is at least equal and in many cases terrorism by emp
greater than that of President Clinton. Various polls show has severely comp
30 to 45 percent of Americans support Bush's impeach- by the Patriot Act
ment. Public support for Clinton's impeachment grew wiretapping. Inste
as the media widened its coverage of the issue, and we doms, the admini
have no doubt that if media coverage considering Bush's to increase its o
impeachment increased, subsequent polls would show would produce an
public support for it increasing even more. Americans to unit
So the question becomes: Why isn't Congress pushing of power and privi
the issue and reflecting the support of the American pub- country stands for
lic? Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.)
stand is that impeachment is "off the table," and she calls D
it a "waste of time." She apparently doesn't want to give Dailye
Republicans an issue to grab on to. Pelosi and other con- Th

ats want to build relations and focus on
ckle national crises like national health
education system and the Iraq War, we
easons why these problems have wors-
riginate in the current administration.
s necessary to heal our system of checks
store the integrity of our politicians and
ts guaranteed in the Constitution.
gress's power to oversee the executive
g that is drastically needed. We can
ongress may fear a fight for something
ment, but its members should not fear
selves and the powers to which they
e Constitution. They should not fear
doms and liberties upon which Amer-
nally we all can agree that the Bush
s run the war in Iraq poorly, has pro-
where America is almost universally
has made the federal government fis-
e should view impeachment as a rem-
re the balance of the American political
ntually foster better relations between
publicans. If we do not impeach Bush,
on an important opportunity to restore
can political system.
inistration runs its campaign against
phasizing liberty and freedom, yet it
promised these values - as evidenced
t and the aforementioned illegal NSA
ad of expanding our liberties and free-
stration has manipulated these ideals
wn power. Impeachment proceedings
opportunity for both parties and all
e against an administration whose use
ilege has consistently flouted what this
oehring is an Art and Design freshman and a
editorial cartoonist, and de Angeli is an alum.
hey are writing on behalf of Anti-War Action.



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