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January 29, 2007 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-01-29

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6

4A -Monday, January 29, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

L74be Iidii~an &ikj~l
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
413 E. Huron St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
tothedaily@umich.edu

There's nothing I can really say to take away
your pain.
- Former Seton Hall University student JOSEPH LEPORE, one of two students who started a dorm fire
that killed three students in 2000, to the victims' relatives at his sentencing, as reported Friday by CNN.com.
ALEXANDER HONKALA

DONN M. FRESARD
EDITOR IN CHIEF

EMILY BEAM
CHRISTOPHER ZBROZEK
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS

6
6

JEFFREY BLOOMER
MANAGING EDITOR

Unsigned editorials reflect the official positionof the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of theirauthors.
The secret society that lived
New name alone can't cover blemishes of a shady past
J seems the most infamous student organization on campus
will soon have a name you can freely use, instead of the awk-
ward acronym TOFKAM - the organization formerly known
as Michigamua. Although it isn't a certainty, the elite senior society
will likely soon change its name to Order of Angell. While the name is
a tribute to former University President James Angell, who founded
the secret society in 1902, the story of how Michigamua came to be
TOFKAM and finally Order of Angell is one worth retelling. Featur-
ing secret rituals, untold doings and members whose identities were
long kept secret, it is a fantastic tale worthy of Harry Potter. In fact,
it's best told that way. Let's start at the beginning:

Moderatism for Michigan

There are many magical student organi-
zations at the University, but one remains
unmatched by all. Founded by Headmaster
Angell more than a century ago, this is the
infamous group formerly known as Mich-
igamua. Angell's intentions were pure, but
over the century this group-that-must-not-
be-named flirted with the dark arts, arro-
gantly employing Native American imagery
and excludingwomen until recently. Claim-
ing to serve the beloved University by the
efforts of its distinguished membership, the
group always acted under a cloak of invis-
ibility, drawing ire from those who prefer
their senior societies to maintain the open
spirit of our public institution.
Events came to pass in recent years that
appeared to undo the shroud of secrecy. In
2000, the Students of Color Coalition broke
into Michigamua's hideout in the. Union
tower and found evidence of arts the group
claimed to have given up. The order was
expelled from University grounds but the
secrecy surrounding the identity of its mem-
bers and that disrespectful, pseudo-Native
American name remained.
Just last year, under mounting pressure
from the University community, the group
decided to release the names of its mem-
bers, and what a list it was: leaders of vari-
ous campus groups who apparently shared
nothing but a love for the University (and
perhaps just a dash of reductive vanity). It
seemed that the group - now that we knew
who was in it - might be ready to make a
perceptible difference.

But there was still the pesky business of
that notorious name, the last remnant of a
dark past. Over a year after promising to find
a new name, the group, in its typical patri-
archal style, contacted the great-grandson
of President Angell last week, seeking his
blessing for using the hallowed name. And
so, now we have it - the appropriately pomp-
ous, expectedly folkloric Order of Angell.
If that is the name, we must say we're dis-
appointed. if the Angell name is vital, why
not present it with authority with Angell's
Army or Angell's Aurors? Other possible
names that were leaked, like Ring of Fire
and the Blue Flame, have a nice ring to them,
too - though we can't say the recurring fire
theme isn't just a little worrying.
Meanwhile, the group, which has always
scorned transparency, is also annoyed by
campus quills. Member Matt McLaughlin
recently expressed his chagrin at the Daily's
decision to cover the society "every step of
the way." The group has never been a fan
of having to tell people about what it does
- selfless humility, we're sure. Of course, it
does leave the door open for us muggles to
question whether it does anything at all.
We're thrilled that the society plans to
announce its "vision" of "campus involve-
ment" but perhaps it could also release the
names of all of members, including honorary
members. Failure to do all of that would just
further the belief that the group will never
allow sunshine in to disinfect its darkest
corners, and there's just no place on campus
for an organization like that.

hat happens when you put
one of Michigan Public
Radio'smostacclaimedjour-
nalists, former University professors
and regents, past and present Michigan
congressmen and some hot-shot CEOs
tcgether in a room? According to news
reports last week, the blend of knowl-
edge and political ideologies resulted in
a practical plan
to pull Michigan
out of the finan-
cial grave it has
been digging
itself into since
2000. Thanks to
the impressive
mix of men and
womenwhocom-
prise the Center
for Michigan and THERESA
the politically-
feasible ideas the KENNELLY
group has gener-
ated since its cre-
ation last year, there is renewed hope
for the future of Michigan.
The Center for Michigan - based in
Ann Arbor, but with priorities reach-
ing far beyond the city - calls itself asa
"thinkanddotank."Thenewsthatbroke
last week about its plans for balancing
the budget by raisingthe beer tax across
the state emphasizes the center's dual-
ity. By generating a plan that can become
effective almostimmediately if accepted
by the legislature, rather thanjust a theo-
retical strategy for improving the state's
budget, the Center is advocating tangible
solutions. The idea of raisingthe beertax
is fundamentally practical - it's both an
easy wayto add wellover $200 millionto
the state's income and update Michigan's
1966 beer tax while only raising the price
of a can by a dime.
The problem is that Michigan's econ-
omy is going to take more than just a
beer tax and one centrist group's stimu-
lation to be revived. In the meantime,
the ideas of multi-partisan groups that

think and develop functional plans for
the (inefficient) legislature should not be
overlooked. In a news article about the
center last summer, the Daily wrote, "In
an increasingly partisan election year,
it is unclear just how great an impact a
group of self-described centrists will
have" (New center aims to improve state
economy, 06/05/2006). But since the
election has passed just the opposite has
become clear: Moderate compromises
are what Michigan needs and demands.
Events in Washington have shown
that moderatism can take many forms
- and won't always work. In recent
elections, it's undeniable that both
Democrats and Republicans adopted
moderate stances to capture swing vot-
ers' interests. But in the process, many
of these politicians have focused on
political compromise at the expense of
their parties' agendas.
But appeasement and purely cen-
trist thinking is not the type of mod-
eratism Michigan's problems call
for. Rather, given the state's finan-
cial crisis, moderate ideological
approaches that combine Democratic
fiscal responsibility with Republican
big business ideals - those that will
rebuild the state's commercial sector
- will be key to putting the state's
economy back together.
Fortunately for Michigan, Gov. Jen-
nifer Granholm has embraced this polit-
ically moderate philosophy and jumped
on to the thinktank bandwagon by cre-
ating an advisory panel. Admitting her
inability to handle the budget crisis by
herself, she created a 12-person "Emer-
gency Financial Advisory Panel" that
is headed by two of her predecessors.
The panel, which is essentially an emu-
lation of the Center for Michigan, has
the job of inspecting the budget crisis
and developing plans for the next fiscal
year. It will present its findings to Gra-
nholm in the next couple of days so as
to direct next week's State of the State
address and looming budget proposal.

But the bad press Granholm has
received for forming the group might
make her reluctant to accept its find-
ings and proposals. The Detroit News
said that most panel members "are too
familiar with the wrong way to solve
Michigan's problems": It appears sus-
picious of the impact centrist policies
may have on the state. But the deci-
sion to hand over the crisis to a diverse
group of Michigan experts show that
Granhoim is trying new, reasonable
approaches to solving the state's money
problem. Drawing advice from former
governors, such as panel co-chair Wil-
liam Milliken - Michigan's longest
Moderate thik
tanks: the future
of Michigan.
serving governor, well remembered for
his pro-tax agenda - should encourage
Granholm to adopt moderate policies
and wiser fiscal cutbacks.
Both the governor's advisory panel
and the Center for Michigan are draw-
ing on years of experience and mod-
erate mindsets to attack the stat's
biggest problems - yet both face doubt
in their potential and influence. Look-
ing at the reasonable fiscal suggestion
the Center for Michigan has already
formulated and the enormous capabil-
ity of the governor's panel with Mil-
liken in charge, these think tanks are in
sync with state's needs. Instead of con-
tinuing to play party politics with the
state's deficient budget, the legislature
must incorporate the plans from these
groupsto create a better, more thought-
out future for our state.
Theresa Kennelly is an associate
editorial page editor. She can be
reached at thenelly@urich.edu.

0 *

Editorial Board Members: Kevin Bunkley, Amanda Burns, Sam Butler,
Ben Caleca, Brian Flaherty, Gary Graca, Jared Goldberg, Jessi Holler,
Emmarie Huetteman, Toby Mitchell, Rajiv Prabhakar, David Russell,
John Stiglich, Neil Tambe, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Wagner.
WYMAN KH UU
Did you watch
the State of the
Union Address
the other night?
Nope, But I did
watch 3 reruns of'I
aye t'Y'nn VHl.
Letters Policy
All readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor. Please include the writer's
name, college and class standing or other University affiliation.
Letters should be no longer than 300 words. The Michigan Daily reserves the right to
edit for length, clarity and accuracy, and all submissions become property of the Daily.
Letters will be printed according to timeliness, order received and the amount of
space available. Send letters to tothedoily@umich.edu. Editors can be reached
at editpage.editors@umich.edu.
JOHN OQUIST ILIVE - Y F ET
UGHJS sTILL iAVE SOMUCH c T KNOW, STARTING TOMORROW (Y MINUTE Nso 0 scv
GET DONE BEFORE I GET TO BED, I'M GOING TO STUDY QUANTUM FTR-E
I HAVE TO BE UP AND AT WORK hN MECHANICS FOR YEARS UNTIL - I
,d--
L Esooo THA 05V .000, A scit Aw Tow ACiNE Ais K.~
THiiKie (MTTINs SCK. 00 coot iAce TO ilL 505EL 0110
so as vsI Tv rEE To-sE er TeisXCT 000EN ..
K, A u E5 it .,- -
n 1

CHRISTOPHER ZBROZEK AiT
Happy Milton Friedman Day!

in case you haven't heard, today is Milton Friedman
Day, an opportunity to celebrate the life of the greatest
popularizer of free-market economics since the invisible
hand of death claimed Adam Smith in 1790. Friedman
himself passed away lastyear - the free market has yetto
offer us immortality at any price - and today, individuals
throughout the realm will remember Friedman's defense
of all that is good and capitalistic. 1.
PBS will even air a special, "The Power of Choice: The
Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman." Apparently it's pretty
powerful stuff: According to an e-mail the University's
economics department sent to its students announcing
Milton Friedman Day, the PBS special "really makes your
eyes well up with tears."
That's a lot of emotion to show over a dead economist.
But Friedman was, after all, one of the 20th century's more
intriguing intellectual figures. More libertarian than con-
servative, Friedman followed his ideas all the way to their
logical conclusions. He wanted more liberal capital mar-
kets - and less restrictions on drugs and prostitution. He
argued that deregulation benefits consumers by increasing
competition, and thus he suggested lowering medical costs
by eliminating the Food and Drug Administration and get-
ting rid of licensing requirements for doctors.
I have a difficult time thinking dispassionately about
Friedman and his ideas: I don't like policies that make life
harder for poor people, and having read "The Jungle," I
like having the FDA around to protect me.
It's entirely possible, however, to acknowledge Fried-
man's triumphs while criticizing his flimsier ideas. Writing
in this month's issue of The New York Review ofBooks, Paul
Krugman calls Friedman "a great man and a great econo-
mist." Krugman nonetheless points out the shortcomings
of Friedman's views on monetary policy and the "intellec-
tual dishonesty" - that's intelligentsia-speak for plain old
lies - found in some of his statements to the general public.
Differentiating between Friedman's various roles, Krug-
man writes that "Milton Friedman the great economist
could and did acknowledge ambiguity. But Milton Fried-
man the great champion of free markets was expected to
preach the true faith, not give voice to doubts."
With Milton Friedman Day, Friedman's free-mar-
ket proselytizing continues beyond his mere demise.
Yes, assorted governmental and academic bodies have
declared today to be Milton Friedman Day. But the entity
actually pushing the idea - the organization that really

declared today to be Milton Friedman Day --is some-
thing called Free to Choose Media.
This nonprofit group describes itself as "A Media Com-
pany for the 21st Century ... exploring the concepts of
freedom and wealth creation through expert storytelling
and high quality presentation." In other words, this is a
propaganda outfit for the 21st century.
FreetoChooseMediaisheadedbyBobChitester,whopro-
duced documentaries with and about Friedman during liis
lifetime. Chitesteris also behind tonight's PBS special, which
apparently is about as fairand balanced as you might expect.
A review in the Providence Journal notes the documentary's
omissions and distortions, stating that the PBS program '"s
more a sales job for a conservative, anti-governmentideology
than an honest look at the Nobel economist"Chitesterwrote
on one of his websites thathe promised PBS an "intellectul
biography,"but the Englishlanguage contains amore precise
word to categorize such projects - hagiography.
Ofcourse,noconservative TV producer is anisland,sowe
mightheed the advice Deep Throatgave to BobWoodward:
Follow the money. It turns out that Free to Choose Mediaas
a project of the Palmer R. Chitester Fund, which Bob Chit-
ester named after his father. That fund, in turn, gets mugh
of its moneyin the form of grants from assorted right-wig
"philanthropic" organizations, including prominentnames
like the Olin Foundation and the Bradley Foundation. (Both
of those foundations, incidentally, have given to the Coll.-
giate Network - which funds dozens of right-wing studest
publications, including The Michigan Review).
There are reasons why conservative organizations add
the wealthy individuals who fund them are so eager t
canonize Friedman, and I can't imagine all of them ate
as noble as a sincere and disinterested belief in the mor'l
superiority of limited government. Stripped to th*ir
most simplified form - market always good, government
always bad - Friedman's anti-government views coh-
veniently serve the interests of those who benefited tle
most from the Bush administration's tax cuts. i
The Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise
Institute, the Hoover Institution, even Michigan's own
Mackinac Center for Public Policy - there's alot of con-
servative money hard at work behind these groups trying
to move this country even further to the right. Add Frje
to Choose Media, and Milton Friedman Day, to the list.i
Christopher Zbrozek is a Daily editorial page edit~r.

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