4A - Thursday, February 1, 2007
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
ie 1*idigan &atI
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
413 E. Huron St.
Ann Arbor, MI48104
DONN M. FRESARD
EDITOR IN CHIEF
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS
I don't think John Edwards knows what the
heck he is talking about."
- Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. JOSEPH BIDEN (Del.), speaking bluntly about the qualifications of his Demo-
cratic opponent, as reported yesterday by The New Yorker Observer.
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Not quite greenlit
More debate on Greenbelt as funding falls short
In the continuation of a debate you probably thought ended
long ago, the Ann Arbor Greenbelt Advisory Commission is
once again throwing around new ideas for its long-awaited
project. By stiff-arming development that contributes to urban
sprawl, the Greenbelt is designed to protect nature while giving
those who live or work in Ann Arbor beautiful space for leisure.
A break from the pollution and traffic congestion that has come
to characterize even our own quasi-urban town is an initiative
worth supporting. The Greenbelt must finally move off the draw-
ing board more than three years after its approval by voters.
N14 &A* or
Funding for the Greenbelt program has
staggered for two main reasons. Federal
funds dedicated to the project have dropped
from $3.2 million in 2005 to $1.8 million in
2006, and there have been too few contri-
butions of land and funding from landown-
ers. Pre-election calculations predicted that
landowner contributions would account for
25 percent of the land value, but recent stud-
ies have shown that contributions have only
accounted for 6.4 percent.
To combat the funding problems, the com-
mission plans to stir more interest among
farmers inside and outside of the current
boundaries with the latest expansion pro-
posal. One commission member believes
that with more farmers within the boundar-
ies, there would be heightened competition
among the farmers to apply for the program.
With funding lagging, this is certainly an
option to consider.
Another member of the commission
expressed his concern that the expansion is
not what the Ann Arbor residents voted for.
When they overwhelmingly approved the
2003 Greenbelt millage, voters expressed
clear interest in a patch of protected land
to fight urban sprawl. By extending the
boundaries in crucial areas, the public's
wish will still be met. It's unimportant
- and at this point counterproductive - to
stall over trivialities of the plan because
unless the Greenbelt becomes a reality the
entire mandate of the voters will be left
Alternative ideas suggested include
expanding westward into Dexter and
northward into Whitmore Lake or search-
ing for other land around the current
boundaries. We urge the advisory commis-
sion to carefully study this issue as well as
broaden the debate to the public. voters
who approved of the program should not
reject the idea of an expansion because
its aim is to facilitate what they voted for.
With landowners not contributing land
and federal funds stagnant, it makes sense
to try and extend the boundaries in order
to find more properties. Logistics must
be worked out, of course, but the project
must move into actuality sooner rather
remember my high school sex-ed nal weight given to oral sex. If Wilson
class like it was yesterday. Packed had chosen to go all the way with this
into a smelly classroom adjacent to 15-year-old girl, the charge would
the gym, we all squirmed in our chairs have remained a misdemeanor. But
and averted eye contact as our P.E.- the act of oral sex trumped up the
teacher-turned- charge to a felony, and Wilson was
sex-expert began subsequently convicted of aggravated
detailing the child molestation and shipped off to
horrors of being jail in February of 2005. He will also
sexually active: have to register as a sex offender for
oozing STDs, the rest of his life. If gonorrhea and
teen pregnancy 4; herpes are not enough to scare teens
and of course a away from sex, this archaic Georgia
tarnished repu- sex law will probably do the trick.
tation. "Who will When I heard about this case two
want your flower years ago, I remember thinking there
if you've already WHITNEY has to be some way out for this kid.
given away all DIBO There is no way a teen with no pre-
the petals?" vious police record could spend 10
my high school years in jail for consensual oral sex
health teacher asked. Petrified, some with a girl just two years his junior.
of us took aloth-grade vow of chastity, Turns out, I'm no legal expert. Wil-
while others rolled the dice and hoped son's appeal was flat-out denied last
for the best. month.
Now as college students, we have The good news is that Georgia law-
a more realistic understanding of the makers are in the process of solidify-
risks associated with sex. Or at least ing legislation that would classify oral
we think we do. But what about a 10- sex with a minor as a misdemeanor,
year prison sentence? Bet your high punishable by no more than 90 days
school health teacher left that one out. in jail. Unfortunately for Wilson,
That is exactly what happened though, it will not apply retroac-
to 17-year old Genarlow Wilson of tively to his case. It seems that he is
Georgia. After a wild New Year's Eve screwed.
party back in 2005, a fellow classmate The real question here is what
accused Wilson and his friends of is the purpose of Georgia's sex law
rape. Unfortunately for Wilson, the - or any sex law for that matter? To
entire evening had been caught on my understanding, statutory rape
videotape. and other underage sex restrictions
The rape charges were eventu- are made to protect kids from sinis-
ally dropped after jurors determined ter adults and predators who cross
the sex had been consensual. Wilson, the line and endanger the mental or
however, was far from off the hook. In physical health of their significantly
reviewing the tape, jurors witnessed younger partners. Underage sex laws
yet another sexual offense, this one are not in place to punish two promis-
even more damning than the alleged cuous teens who consider themselves
rape: oral sex with a minor. That same peers engaging in consensual oral sex
night, Wilson had received oral sex at a party. Even Rep. Tyrone Brooks,
from a 15-year-old classmate. Ironical- the author of Georgia's oral sex law,
ly it would be that tripto third base, not admits his legislation was intended
Wilson's contentious home run, that to protect underage kids from luring
would send him to jail for 10 years. adults, not "to police teen sex."
The most paradoxical aspect of Ironically, in the very same week
Georgia's state law is the extra crimi- the Wilson case was tried, a 27-year-
old Georgia teacher was sentenced to
90 days in jail and three years proba-
tion for having sex with a 17-year-old
student. Why the light slap on the
wrists? Because the girl was over 16
and the couple did not engage in oral
sex. This is the sound logic our judi-
cial system is supposedly founded on?
And Georgia isn't the only state
missing the point of protective sex
laws. Oral sex is illegal under any cir-
cumstance in 17 states. In North Caro-
lina, an unmarried couple occupying
the same bed in a hotel room is guilty
of a misdemeanor. In Oklahoma, a
man who promises to marry a virgin,
has sex with her and then changes his
mind is a felon. And in Michigan, a
cheatingspouse cantechnically getlife
in prison - ironic, considering Attor-
ney General Mike Cox has admitted to
having quite an extramarital affair.
I know we allget agood chuckle out
of these outdated, obviously flawed
laws, but it was this type of inane
legislation that effectively ruined
Genarlow Wilson's young life. It's all
fun and games until someone gets 10
years in prison.
There is not much to be done for
Wilson at this point beyond a website,
www.wilsonappeal.com, where out-
raged citizens can volunteer to help
his case. We can, however, push leg-
islators to review our own state sex
laws, and make sure they are both
logical and effective in sending real
sexual predators to jail. Leave pro-
miscuous teenagers alone, oozing
STDs are scary enough.
Whitney Dibo is an associate
editorial page editor. She can be
reached at email@example.com.
Editorial Board Members: Kevin Bunkley, Amanda Burns, Sam Butler,
Ben Caleca, Jack Doehring, Brian Flaherty, Gary Graca, Jared Goldberg,
Jessi Holler, Emmarie Huetteman, Toby Mitchell, Rajiv Prabhakar,
David Russell, John Stiglich, Neil Tambe, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Wagner.
'M T ErrIFPIO Of AGINB. ...ANO OOCTOS AEE! GECOMIN A SENfOR
YOU HAVE TO WOMY PEpSCmiBINB YOU ONE P1,1 CITIZEN SOUNOS SCAPY/
ABOUT MONITOPINC YOU 1 TO CALM YOU OOWN AANO
SUSAP INTAKE, BT TINB ANOTHE TO HELP HEY, I WAS TALKIN6
ENOUSH EXfC/p$E,. YOU CONCENTRATE. ABOUT GECOMIN6
V A SECONO APAOEP.
SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU
Daily's coverage of
terrorist event shameful
TO THE DAILY:
I was disappointed by The Michigan
Daily's coverage of Tuesday's terror-
ism lecture (A fury over 'ex-terrorists',
01/31/07). I wanted to read what the ex-
terrorists had to say, but the Daily wrote
almost exclusively about the protesters
and hecklers. Surely there was more to
the event than that. The Daily should be
ashamed of its poor coverage.
No reason for exclusion
from public events
TO THE DAILY:
We were among the undergraduate
and graduate students not allowed into
Rackham Auditorium Tuesday night
for the "ex-terrorist" event. The police
never gave us a clear reason why we
were not allowed into the auditorium.
We asked them point-blank, and they
shut the doors on us. It took a lot of
banging on the doors to get them to even
acknowledge our presence. We under-
stand that they were just doing their
job, but we are entitled to a valid expla-
nation of why a public event was closed
off to the public. We were unaware that
the event was closed, because there was
no previous notification from the Young
Americans for Freedom or the police
who were barricading the doors.
This was a public event. Everyone had
the right to be there regardless of his or
her view on the issue at hand. Why were
we denied the right to enter the audito-
rium? This is not a matter of religion
or supporting/denying the views and
validity of the speakers. This is a ques-
tion of our civil liberties.
We waited outside in the cold until'
the end of the event with supporters
from both sides of the issue. There were
University alumni, Ann Arbor residents
and graduate students (who technically
had every right to be in the building
until 9 p.m. and were blatantly denied
that right, even when they presented
We can't address the topic of the
debate because we'll never know what
went on in Rackham Auditorium. That's
exactly our point - we'll never know.
Pooja Desai and Natasha Smolcic
Desai is an LSA junior and Smolcic is an LSA
Protest of ex-terrorists
only hinders progress
TO THE DAILY:
As I walked into Rackham Audito-
rium to listen to the speakers sponsored
by the Young Americans for Freedom
Tuesday night, I was greeted by a group
of students passingaround flyers to stage
a walkout. The walkout was in protest of
the lecture by three former terrorists. I
did not plan on walking out and was dis-
mayed by the number of students who
left in the middle of the speech.
While I understand that the walkout
was an act of protest, it is our respon-
sibility as students at this university to
engage in debate, not walk out when
somebody states an opinion that we dis-
agree with. There is a lot of talk about
being ready to debate the issues that
seem to be constantly dividing campus:
gay rights, the Arab-Israeli conflict and
affirmative action. But talk is cheap.
The challenge is to support our Forbiddenfruit effect of
beliefs and opinions not by walking
out because our organizations tell us pot increases its use
to but by speaking up and questioning
the opposition. But whenever one side is TO THE DAILY:
ready, the other side is unwilling to stay I would like to commend Jared
around long enough for a productive Goldberg's outstanding column (The
dialogue to begin. By understanding the war on common sense, 01/23/07). I
opposition, we can become stronger in especially noted the quote from for-
our own convictions. mer Commissioner of Narcotics Harry
At the end of the night, only the Anslinger: "There are 100,000 total
supporters were left in the room. The marijuana smokers in the U.S., and
opportunity for debate was lost once most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos
again. and entertainers. Their Satanic music,
women to seek sexual relations with
Negroes, entertainers and any others."
That quote was from 1937.
If anything, marijuana prohibition
has been very successful in promoting
the use of marijuana. The U.S. govern-
ment estimates that at least 95 million
Americans have used marijuana. It also
estimates that nearly half of all high
school students will use marijuana
before they graduate.
The allure of the forbidden fruit is too
powerful, especially for children.
Bush causes cancer
TO THE DAILY:
I wasn't at Sunday's Sept.11truth event.
However, I am both a cancer survivor
and a mature person who has watched
the Bush/Cheney team commit crimes
and blunders that have demonstrably
undermined our national prosperity and
security. I was interested to learn that the
Young Americans for Freedom, who took
the time to lampoon the event, chanted
the phrase "Bush causes cancer," as if to
spell out a silly, illogical equation.
What they hadn't thought through
or wished to ignore is the fact that since
November 2000 the Bush administration
has systematically loosened corporate
pollution restrictions to the point that
certain parts of the nation - Michigan in
particular - are once again dangerously
saturated with toxic waste, and Lake Erie
is partially dead (again). Yes, children, in
an indirect but very real way, Bush does
jazz and swing result from marijua- Kirk Muse
na use. This marijuana causes white Mesa, Ariz.