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December 04, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-12-04

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4A - Monday, December 4, 2006

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

C IC 74c M4t
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 oftthe Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views ofttheir authors.
The moral high ground
State should allow medicinal marijuana use
The fight to reverse Michigan's ban on medicinal mari-
juana is understandable given that the drug has been
used as such for thousands of years. Eleven states have
already legalized its use for the treatment of serious medical con-
ditions - and with good reason.

The myth of liberalism

It is widely accepted that marijuana may pre-
vent blindness in glaucoma patients and can
ease appetite loss among patients suffering from
AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy. It is also a
cheap, safe and risk-free painkiller. The state
and federal governments need to recognize
what many already do - medicinal marijuana
can be a legitimate alternative to more addictive
and risky drugs.
It is disappointingthat a recent bill proposing
to legalize the use of marijuana in Michigan by
those with debilitating medical conditions failed
in a state House committee. Despite its lack of
mainstream acceptance, there is no reason to
criminalize marijuana use for chronically ill
patients seeking pain. How can the state govern-
ment callously deny it to elderly cancer patients?
How can the state deny patients a drug that can
lessen the effects of chemotherapy and diminish
the violent nausea that some pills can induce?
Marijuana is hardly different from the vast
number of legally prescribed drugs, like mor-
phine and Vicodin, that are routinely abused. It
is time for our state government to look past the
stigma surrounding marijuana and recognize its
The Food and Drug Administration argues
that there is no sound evidence to support the
safety and effectiveness of medicinal marijua-
na. But the lack of scientific studies is the fault
of strict federal guidelines that force research-
ers to jump through years of hurdles to obtain

,a small amount of marijuana from the one legal
marijuana farm in the country for research.
And it's not even good marijuana - a 2005 New
York Times guest editorial piece described it as
"notoriously weak and poorly manicured."
It is no surprise that conducting research is so
hard. A victory for medicinal marijuana would
look like a loss for the federal government's mis-
guided war on drugs. And more important, it
would deal a blow to the pharmaceutical com-
panies that are no doubt pressuring the federal
and state governments against legalization. But
don't be misled. These drug companies aren't
taking the moral high ground; they're respond-
ing to a real fear that if medicinal marijuana
is legalized, their profit margins could fall as
patiens and doctors flock to the cheaper and
safer alternative.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that
Congress can supersede state governments to
enforce the federal ban on marijuana. However,
legalizing medicinal marijuana on the state level
will undoubtedly lower the priority placed on
medicinal marijuana by local law enforcement
and legitimize its use as a medical treatment
for the sick. In addition, as more states legalize
the medicinal use of marijuana, the federal gov-
ernment would be forced to review its position
- and maybe even more generally its costly and
counterproductive war on drugs. Come Janu-
ary, the state Legislature should re-examine this
issue and lift the ban.

f you believe even half of the
shrieks coming from right-wing
media outlets, American college
campuses are dangerous places to be.
Apparently, the moment you set foot on
your average state university campus,
you'llbe brain- _
washed by the
crazy liberal
that rules all r
colleges, every-
where. You'll
start hating
white people,
you'll join a
group to brain- IMRAN
storm ways to
overthrow the SYED
government -
and - as if that weren't enough - you'll
give up meat for nonsense like arti-
chokes, soy milk and some substance
they call "tofurky."
Sure, all of that is crazy talk, but
it's crazy in more ways than you'd
think. Not only does the average col-
lege student not hate white people or
American capitalism, but the aver-
age student isn't really liberal either.
As hard as this idea may be to accept,
true ideological liberalism is rare in
our society and at the University.
A statement like that requires
an explanation, so here it goes: I do
believe that most University students
support certain progressive causes,
like gay rights and universal health
care. But I think they do so out of cir-
cumstance as opposed to ideology,
and that is a very important distinc-
tion. Liberalism isn't characterized
by stances on issues, because issues
change. Rather, liberalism is a way of
Basic political science character-
izes conservatives as those who favor
the status quo and liberals as those
who seek progress that they believe
will make the world a better place.
Thanks to their support for certain
political causes, average college stu-
dents empirically would appear to fall

into the latter category, but that isn't
so. Most college students and people
in our nation at large, whether call-
ing themselves liberals or conserva-
tives, believe they know what is right.
College students support a higher
minimum wage and a flagrantly pro-
gressive income tax system because
they know that there can be no other
correct way. No ifs, ands or buts about
it; there is only a wrong way and a
right way. Leftist or rightist, we think
we know the right way.
But such rigidity in judgment
undermines ideological liberalism.
The (progressive) policy stances we
take are ingrained into us rather being
a product of our own struggle over
the best course. Sure, we're often on
the right side of the issue and end up
supporting progressive sociopolitical
causes, but that isn't enough to make
us progressive or liberal. We may vote
to support gay marriage pr amnesty
for immigrants, but our liberalism is
limited to the issue and doesn't extend
into ideology.
So what would a truly liberal person
look like? To be honest, he would be a
troubled person, constantly question-
ing and struggling with his stances on
the issues. He'd feel uncomfortable
among both Republicans and Demo-
crats; their carved-in-stone party
platforms would result in restlessness
and an unquenchable desire to poke
holes into both sides of the argument.
A liberal would, by definition, have
to be open-minded and willing to
change his position should a convinc-
ing enough argument come along.
So the ideological liberal is basi-
cally a flip-flopper? Not exactly. Con-
stantly debating and questioning the
merits of one's policy positions doesn't
necessarily mean changing stances
every time. In fact, the effort that has
gone into formulating the position of
a true liberal would generally make
that position tough to defeat. But an
ideological liberal will never be 100-
percent convinced he is right, and in
every debate he will listen to chal-

lenges to his position and change his
stance if necessary.
How many of the supposed liber-
als on campus are willing to do that?
Very few, and that's not unusual. His-
torically speaking, ideological liberals
are rare. They're the leaders of pro-
gressive movements, and those who
follow them do so only for the issues.
That should explain why older gener-
ations have always tended to be more
conservative than younger ones: They
were issue-liberals in their youth, but
Issues change, but
the approach of a
true liberal doesn't.
their liberalism faded as the issues
changed. That happens to every gen-
eration as new issues come along.
We gave blacks the right to vote
in the 1860s, but that generation of
issue-liberals wasn't ready to do so
for women. Subsequent generations
granted women the vote and defend-
ed the civil rights of blacks, but not
until our generation were they ready
to defend the constitutional rights
of gays. Our generation will accom-
plish that feat, but as we age, the
liberal agenda will pass most of us
by. Accounting for the differences in
issues and times, in old age we'll be
as conservative as our parents and
The progressive causes of tomor-
row will always seem insane today.
The stances that are liberal today will
be conservative tomorrow, and most
of us won't evolve with the issues.
Ideological liberalism never domi-
nates, and that's why the struggle for
progress can never end.
Imran Syed is a Daily associate
editorial page editor. He can be
reached at galad@umich.edu.


Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.
understanding of country music. Willie, the father of
And on the eighth day, God sa d, the Texas-based Outlaw country genre, is anything but
.. , a straight-edged mass-produced Nashville star. Willie
Let there be legalized mariJuana. in Nashville is like Snoop in Brooklyn.
TO THE DAILY: Michael Eber
As a Christian from Colorado, I voted to allow citi- LSA junior
zens to use the God-given plant cannabis (Light one
upfor Michigan, 11/30/2006). I am confident it was the g
right thing to do. Columnist grossly underestimates
One reason to stop imprisoning citizens for using
cannabis that isn't often mentioned is the Bible's Iran's threat to U.S.,free world
approval of the drug. Christ God Our Father indicates
He created all the seed-bearing plants, saying they are TO THE DAILY:
all good, on literally the first page of the Bible (Genesis I nearly ate my hat after reading Jared Goldberg's col-
1:11-12 and 29-30). The only Biblical restriction placed umn (What we can learnfrom the Iraq War, 12/01/2006).
on cannabis is that it is to be accepted with thankful- Goldberg grossly misunderstands the war on terrorism,
ness (1 Timothy 4:1-5). especially when discussing Iran policy. He claims remov-
It is time to re-legalize what God says is good. ing the war option from the table is smart. Although war
should always be the last option, the idea should not be
Stan White thrown out completely. Iran is a terrorist state. It has been
Dillon, Colorado financing and providing logistical support to Islamic ter-
rorist organizations for years. It is led by a lunatic Holo-
caust denier, who, according to The Jerusalem Post, has
A deadly connection: more money said: "Anyone who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire
of the Islamic nation's fury."
should be spent on HIV and TB For its own survival and for that of the free world, the

HunSry for justice

On Nov. 16, Purdue University students
marched into their administration's office
and refused to leave until the administration
adopted the Designated Suppliers Program.
They chained themselves together at the neck
with bicycle U-locks to prevent the police from
moving them. Later that afternoon, the admin-
istration threatened to suspend all the students
involved for the remainder of this semester
and the next. The students left the president's
office and began a peaceful protest their admin-
istration could not punish them for: a hunger
strike. That was 17 days ago. What could be so
important for these students to refuse food for
17 days?
The Designated Suppliers Program is an ini-
tiative to end the use of sweatshop labor in the
manufacturing of university apparel. Universi-
ties like Purdue and the University of Michigan
require the companies that produce their cloth-
ingto uphold basic standards for workingcondi-
tions. The problem, as universities well know, is
that these codes of conduct are not enforced.
University President Mary Sue Coleman
herself has acknowledged the ineffectiveness
of the University's codes. Companies are free
to "cut and run" from compliant factories in a
race to find the cheapest possible production.
The DSP goes to the root of the problem by
requiring companies to pay their factories the
actual cost of operation in compliance with
labor standards. It lists many factories already
in compliance - ones that pay decent wages
and allow the formation of unions. Instead of
signing a code of conduct, clothing companies
are required to use designated factories.
Thirty schools across the country have
adopted the DSP. Schools like the University
of Wisconsin at Madison, Georgetown, Duke,
Cornell and Columbia (whose president is for-
mer University of Michigan President Lee Bol-
linger) - not to mention the entire University

of California system - have acknowledged that
their codes of conduct do not do enough to stop
sweatshop labor. As more and more schools
sign on, the power they have to affect condi-
tions in the garment industry rises exponen-
tially. As one of the nation's largest licensers of
university apparel, the University has a crucial
role to play in this movement.
Purdue's hunger-striking students are part of
a national campaign to enact the DSP by United
Students Against Sweatshops. The University's
affiliate, Students Organizing for Labor and
Economic Equality, has been pressuring the
administration to sign on for almost a year and
a half. During this time DSP has been stalled,
ignored and discreditedby the President's Advi-
sory Committee on Labor Standards and Human
Rights. A similar committee was created at Pur-
due, also to stall and divert attention away from
the DSP. Many of the Purdue students' actions,
including the occupation of their president's
office, were a result of the committee's refusal
to seriously consider the DSP.
It is university presidents like Coleman
who have the power to put an end to sweat-
shop labor in the manufacturing of university
apparel and to protect hundreds of thousands
of workers worldwide from exploitation and
abuse. You can support the students who are
putting their lives at risk at Purdue by visiting
www.purduehungerstrike.org. You can also join
SOLE and students at the University of Califor-
nia in fasting all day Tuesday in solidarity with
the students at Purdue. Stop by our table in
Angell Hall to learn more about the DSP here
and around the nation.
Noah Link is an LSA senior. Blase Kearney
is an LSA sophomore. Neal Sardana is a Public
Policy-Public Health graduate student. The
viewpoint authors are members of Students
Organizing for Labor and Economic Equality.

United States can
TO THE DAILY: ons. Unlike the fo
Many University students as well as millions of people They will use ther
around the world spent Friday gathered in remembrance of people" and even,
those who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS. The crowds at The Michigan I
also raised public awareness about the deadly connection So I invite you
between tuberculosis and HIV, as well as the increasing Chamberlain frie.
rates of TB in many parts of the world. TB is still the leading thing they have is
killer among HIV-positive people. About one-third of the Gabriel's speecht
more than 40 million people with HIV/AIDS are co-infect- rium C. You'll get
ed with TB, and up to half of people living with HIV/AIDS
develop TB. However, this year witnessed an escalation Ryan Fantuzzi
in this sinister relationship between the world's two most LSA junior
deadly infectious diseases, especially in Africa, where the
concentration of TB and HIV/AIDS is the highest.
A virtually incurable strain of extremely drug-resistant Cartoon b
TB, known as XDR-TB, recently broke out in KwaZulu-
Natal, South Africa, killing 52 of 53 patients, half within Chefs on C6
25 days. Of those who died and knew their HIV/AIDS sta-
tus, all were in the advanced stages of AIDS and many had TO THE DAILY:
no prior treatment for TB, suggesting that the resistant John Oquist'sc
strain was passed on to them from someone else. Worries featured two stu
abound that this is not an isolated case, but rather a pre- show. I was ext:
view of what is to come. attitude of the co
The good news is that we know what to do, and we know comic strip that
how to do it. The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Oquist's blith
Relief must increase its meager contributions to fighting ment of "Top Ch
TB and TB-HIV across all of its target countries and espe- seen "Top Chef,'
cially in Africa. Congress must deliver our full fair share know that the cb
for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria by professionals.
appropriating $1.2 billion to the fund for 2007. At a bare The second is:
minimum, Congress should approve at least the $700 mil- grouping of stud
lion for 2007 that the Senate is currently planning. to cook. This tyf

never allow Iran to have nuclear weap-
ormer Soviet Union, Iran will use them.
m on the "Saturday people," the "Sunday
the secular knee-jerk liberals who work
, Goldberg, and the rest of your Neville
nds - Toby Mitchell included (The only
fear, 09/11/2006) - to come to Brigitte
tonight at 8p.m. in Angell Hall Audito-
an education.
lithely offends creative
cartoon (Live on yourfeet, 12/01/2006)
dents watching a competitive cooking
remely offended by the utterly blithe
mic. There are so many aspects of this
showcase Oquist's culinary naivete.
e juvenility is first seen in his assess-
ef" and similar shows. Now, I have not
'but it doesn't take a regular viewer to
hefs on those shows are highly trained
sue I wish to discuss is Oquist's blithe
dents, implying that we are all unable
pe of naivete is exactly what is wrong
ay. I am quite the chef, if I do say so
h like the character in Oquist's comic,
rimented with different ingredients.
ne with peanut butter is unbelievable.
h with peanut butter, in fact, that they
e George Washington Carver.
rtoon had discussed the sociological
today's cooking shows, that would be
ver, it seems Oquist is more interested
ding for the sake of offending than pro-
tened discussion.


Emily Craig
LSA junior
Daily music editor is obviously a
country music novice

with society tod
myself. And muc
I too have expe
The work I've do
I've done so muc
call me the whit
If Oquist's ca
ramifications of
one thing. Howe


TO THE DAILY: in blithely offend
In his music review, Lloyd Cargo personified his voking an enligh
point that people identify Willie Nelson for his role as
an icon and not for his musical talent. By classifying Philip Opaleski
Willie as a "Nashville hippie," Cargo shows his lack of Engineeringjunior



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