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December 06, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-12-06

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4A - Wednesday, December 6, 2006

OPINIWNdDThe Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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. Allother signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views oftheir authors.
Renaming a partnership
Together, research universities can aid stalling economy
T he University of Michigan, Michigan State University
and Wayne State University announced last week the
creation of the University Research Corridor, a collabo-
ration that they hope will help transform Michigan's economy
and solve the state's economic woes. The corridor's website even
says the partnership will "lead us all to a better future."

Tomorrow's only
Wednesday. It
feels like it should
be Friday."
- A PEDESTRIAN, overheard at Huron
and Fifth last night around 8 p.m.


The tragedy ofJosePadilla

That certainly sounds promising
- everyone wants a better future.
But what is the University Research
Corridor? As it turns out, not much. The
name refers to the partnership between
these universities, but that relationship is
nothing new. There is a longstanding tra-
dition of cooperation between the three
schools, and it is unclear what, if anything,
will change under the new name. The Uni-
versity, for instance, is not dedicating any
new staff or funding to the initiative. This
union of the state's research universities
signals a change in rhetoric, not a change
in policy.
Despite its superficial nature, the cor-
ridor already has done something by
attracting public attention. Getting more
Michigan residents and legislators to
recognize the role the state's research
universities can play in turning around
Michigan's economy is a worthy end in
itself. The formalization of this partner-

ship also could translate to increased
cooperation between the schools, helping
them earn grants and form partnerships
with the private sector.
Research and development at the state's
research universities can create jobs and
contribute to the growth of high-tech
industries like alternative energy, nano-
technology and life sciences. Although the
partnership may appear to be little more
than a PR strategy, it can help the pub-
lic and the state Legislature understand
the unique role the state's research uni-
versities play. In an era of declining state
support for higher education, any effort
that can increase public awareness of the
importance of Michigan's research uni-
versities is welcome. Still, simply giving a
name to the existing relationship between
these universities can't produce the much-
needed change Michigan's economy needs
to diversify beyond its decaying manufac-
turing base.

At the naval brig in Charles-
ton, S.C., he was referred to as
"our enemy combatant." But
to American activists enraged over
President Bush's blatant disregard for
due process, Jose Padilla became an
icon for the deterioration of constitu-
tional rights in the post-Sept. 11 era.
The argument over whether suspected
"enemy com-
batants" are
entitled to
al protections
is a debate
the incoming
should have.
In the mean- WHITNEY
time, Padilla's
trial is sched- DIBO
uled for Jan.-
22 - but his lawyers are saying he isn't
mentally stable enough to go through
with it.
Arrested at O'Hare International
Airport in May 2002, Padilla was held
in a military prison without charges
for 21 months. Deprived of his Sixth
Amendment right to a speedy and pub-
lic trial and his Fifth Amendment right
to due process of law, Padilla was kept
in solitary confinement, sleeping on a
steel platform and eating food passed
to him through a metal slot. Although
Padilla begged for legal help, his
request was repeatedly denied.
Activists were placated last Novem-
ber when Padilla was finally indicted
on charges of "providing material sup-
port to terrorists" and "conspiring to
murder, kidnap and maim" individuals
overseas. Curiously, the original rea-
son given for Padilla's arrest - that he
planned to detonate radioactive "dirty
bombs" in American apartment build-
ings - appeared nowhere in last fall's
indictment. In fact, the charge doesn't
include anything about a planned ter-
rorist attack on American soil. Appar-
ently that accusation, which the U.S.
government had a lengthy 21 months
to substantiate, didn't pan out.
In a recently released video, Padilla

is shown preparing for a rare trip to a
prison dentist. He is wearing sound-
proof headphones and blackout gog-
gles. His feet and hands are shackled
and chained to a metal belt. The video
is a startling glimpse into Padilla's
extreme isolation.
Padilla has also told his lawyers
that his prison interrogations included
depravation, stress positions, hooding,
harsh lights and threats of execution.
He was also allegedly forced to swal-
low a drug, possibly LSD, as a "truth
A forensic psychiatrist has con-
firmed after examining Padilla that
due to the severity of his confinement,
he now "lacks the capacity to assist in
his own defense." Padilla is so para-
noid that he suspects his own lawyers
are part of a government interrogation
scheme and desperately begs them not
to speak about his incarceration.
Let's be clear about one thing. Padil-
la's case was not that of an innocent
traveler randomly seized at the airport
en route to his grandmother's funer-
al. Upon arrest, Padilla was actually
deplaning from a tour around Egypt,
Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan
and Iraq carrying $10,526 and the e-
mail addresses of al-Qaida operatives.
But despite Padilla's less-than-stel-
lar track record, his defense's insanity
plea is no ploy to dodge trial.
Padilla's lawyers have relentlessly
fought for a fair and public trial for
their client since they first met with
Padilla in March of 2004. They clear-
ly aren't afraid to bring their case to
court, considering it has already been
heard multiple times. The Second Cir-
cuit Court took it up first and ruled
Padilla must be charged immediately
or released from military custody. But
that decision was suspended after the
Bush Administration appealed to the
U.S. Supreme Court - which prompt-
ly punted the case back to the circuit
courts, saying the case was "misfiled."
After the Fourth Circuit Court found
that the Bush Administration did in
fact have the power to hold Padilla
indefinitely without charges, his

lawyers appealed once again to the
Supreme Court - which refused to
hear the case. Talk about a holdup.
It's hard to believe that now, after
literally years of delay, Padilla's law-
yers would voluntarily throw away
their long-awaited opportunity to
defend their client in court.
Padilla's defense lawyers aren't
avoiding trial; they are making sure
their now mentally disturbed client,
who is now suffering from post-trau-
matic stress after four years of solitary
confinement and abuse, is finally given
his due process.
It remains to be seen whether
Padilla has the capacity to stand trial
next month. But whatever the courts
Tampering with
rights is never OK.
decide, it's a lose-lose situation for the
American justice system.
If Padilla is found mentally unfit
to stand trial, the U.S. government
will have lost the chance to convict
its enemy combatant. Nor will Padilla
get the opportunity to detail the abuse
he suffered at the hands of the U.S.
government. And if Padilla does go to
court in January, that too will be a sad.
day for the U.S. court system - when a
man who has been declared mentally
unstable and incapable of assisting
in his own defense is forced to stand
The bottom line is that there are no
shortcuts in the justice system. When
the U.S. government tampers with the
Constitution and revokes our most
basic rights, something is bound to
go awry. Unfortunately, in this case,
it was Jos6 Padilla's personhood and

Time to plug tax holes
Prompt action would give businesses time to adjust
Politicians don't like voting for new taxes, but with Mich-
igan's Single Business Tax scheduled to sunset at the end
of 2007, the state Legislature has little time to waste in
replacing the $1.9-billion hole the SBT's elimination will leave in
the budget. Granholm released a plan for a new business tax last
week, and it is up to this Legislature to make it law.

oing without the SBT's revenue is
simply not an option, unless the
state wants to eliminate its public
universities or get rid of its prison system.
And even restoring just part of the rev-
enue is unwise - inflation-adjusted gen-
eral fund revenues have already fallen 28
percent in the past seven years, and fur-
ther reductions would only deepen state's
structural budget deficit.
The plan has substantial support from
both sides of the aisle, and with good
reason: The tax restructuring avoids a
number of the SBT's problems while fully
replacing its revenue. The next step is for
the state Legislature to consider the plan
thoroughly and adjust it as needed before
the end of the year. Instituting a new tax
plan now, however, is a must to give the
state and businesses adequate time to
implement the new rules.
'U'must be responsible to
the state before the world
Ryan Fantuzzi was unfairly portrayed in
Alese Bagdol's article, Activists revisit war on
Coke (12/05/2006). Fantuzzi's concerns lay
with the local union workers whose jobs and
livelihoods were put into jeopardy as a result
of the campaign to rid campus of Coca-Cola
Today, Michigan faces grave economic dif-
ficulties. It is becoming increasingly difficult
for Michigan's families to find work and to
survive on full-time wages. The loss of more

Those seeking a net tax cut argue that
restructuring Michigan's business tax now
is irresponsible. This claim is misguided:
Legislators have had months to consider
how to fix Michigan's business tax, and
there is no reason why they can't reach
a decision now. What is irresponsible is
eliminating a tax that provides one-quar-
ter of the general fund and heading into
the new year without a plan to replace it
- the result of Oakland County Executive
Brooks Patterson's hasty petition drive,
conveniently timed a few months before
November's elections.
After Democrats take control of the
House in January, it maybe easier to reach
a consensus on Granholm's plan. But the
plan on the table is reasonable and a sig-
nificant improvement over the SBT. The
current set of legislators broke the tax
code, and they should fix it.
good union jobs is the last thing Michigan
families need.
In the future, studentgroups must take the
interests of Michigan's working families into
accountwhenundertakingsocial justice proj-
ects. It is important that students don't for-
get the needs and wellbeing of our neighbors
and fellow residents. Gripes with the human
rights practices of the Coca-Cola Corporation
in Colombia and India are wholly legitimate
and cannot be ignored. However, calling for
change without taking into consideration the
effects on Michigan's working families is elit-
ist, irresponsible and short-sighted.
Nick Israel
LSA senior

Whitney Dibo is a Daily associate
editorial page editor. She can be
reached at wdibo@umich.edu.


When all eyes are on you

Beware, comrades: We're liv-
ing in a panoptic society. With
cameras and video cameras in
every classroom, any action poten-
tially draws their gaze. Anything
spontaneous, anything out of the
ordinary and click - at least one of
them is going to catch it.
Perhaps the greatest irony in this
panoptic society is the fact that we've
done it to ourselves. While Jeremy
a society in
which gov-
spied on their
in relation
to punitive
the gaze of RAFI
the panopti- MARTINA
con is rather
in our case. Those cameras in our
classrooms? I speak of nothing other
than the digital cameras and camera-
phones nestled in the pockets of near-
ly all of my peers.
By nonchalantly pressing a button,
any of us can discreetly (might I even
say surreptitiously) record our sur-
roundings, even going so far as to pub-
lish - or, in common parlance, "post"
- a record of that surveillance on the
Internet. With both the proliferation
of post-it-yourself video sites and the
low cost of caching information found
on the Web, it hardly needs reminding
that the momentarily hilarious video
of you defecating on someone's porch
becomes an indelible record of your,
shall we say, lapsed judgment. No, Big
Brother isn't watching you, but that
friend of your older brother who you've
always hated might be - and he might
just send your brother (or mother) the
video of, say, you puking after a late
Saturday night. Indeed, many of you
might not know you've been recon-
noitered until you unexpectedly come
upon it on YouTube.com.

Undoubtedly all this talk of a pan-
optic society sounds rather alarm-
ist, perhaps even paranoid. But I ask
you to consider for a moment the
effect such ostensibly benign surveil-
lance has on something as basic as
life itself. Perhaps I romanticize that
concept too much, but when actions
must anticipate the potential of being
captured, the very spontaneity and
impulsiveness that inspire hilarity
or unforgettable moments are lost. It
might not even be overly philosophi-
cal to suppose that the presumption
of being watched (which inevitably
affects one's decision-making and
actions) inhibits our free will. Like an
eight-year old hamming it up for the
family video camera, once-earnest
acts become mere contrivances.
To be sure, much of the entertain-
ment in witnessing unscripted acts
in life comes from their ephemeral
nature: They are unpredictable and
nearly impossible to reenact. And
much of their charm comes in the
sometimes fumbling act of retelling
such memorable events.
Without videography, every wit-
ness to an interesting event becomes
an empowered part of that event,
rather than a casual and ancillary
blur in an image of that event. It is the
power of retelling an interesting event
- without the formalism inherent ina
filmed version - that makes life worth
recounting. But yielding to technol-
ogy to do the work for us, we abdi-
cate our roles as storytellers: Every
one of us is a potential witness to a
great event. So too are we all poten-
tial raconteurs of such events. And
the beauty is in the plurality of per-
spectives that such recounting leaves
us - in contrast to videography that
yields only a singular retelling. When
we can play someone else's video of an
interesting occurrence with greater
ease than giving our own recounting
of that event, we become merely an
audience in our own lives, giving oth-
ers the responsibility (and power) of
crafting our own memories.
Sure, camera phones have served

the purposes of amateur journalism.
The would-be sleuths who captured
the use of a Taser on a harmless stu-
dent at UCLA is a case in point. The
videographer capturing Michael
Richards's racist tirade is another
case in which camera phones proved
effective in giving witness to an egre-
gious act. George Allen's "macaca"
remark serves as another example.
But relative to the enormous cache
of amateur-filmed events - banal vid-
eos of everyday life included - such
instances appear more as the excep-
tion than the rule. Just like the pan
opticon crafted to monitor grievous
acts such as those above, the unin-
Cell phone cameras
are the new Big
tended consequence of viewing every-
thing has a rather pernicious effect on
our lives. While no overly aggressive
UCLA policeman is likely to stun a
hapless student with a Taser again,
while no moronic politician will like-
ly utter an ethnic slur in public, the
prominence of camera phones hasn't
made those policemen docile or cured
Allen of his racism.
No, the panopticon has merely made
fumbling public figures more delibera-
tive in public. Stump speeches won't
deviate from scripts. Policemen will
conduct their business more mechani-
cally. The presence of camera phones
has merely demanded all of us not to
let our guards down. But the novelty
of capturing once-candid happenings
is lost when all public displays become
charades of inauthentic decorum.
If I may be so bold as to offer one
suggestion: Allow life to play out both
unscripted and unfilmed.
Rafi Martina can be reached
at rmartina@umich.edu.

Editorial Board Members: Reggie Brown, Kevin Bunkley, Amanda Burns,
Sam Butler, Ben Caleca, Devika Daga, Milly Dick, James David Dickson, Jesse
Forester, Gary Graca, Jared Goldberg, Jessi Holler, Rafi Martina, Toby Mitch-
ell, Rajiv Prabhakar, David Russell, Katherine Seid,Elizabeth Stanley, Jennifer
Sussex, John Stiglich, Neil Tambe, Rachel Wagner.


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