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February 08, 2007 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-02-08

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4A -Thursday, February 8, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michiganclaily.com

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Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
413 E. Huron St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
tothedaily@umich.edu

KARL STAMPFL
EDITOR IN CHIEF

IMRAN SYED
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

JEFFREY BLOOMER
MANAGING EDITOR

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views ofttheirauthors.
Fate of the state
Granholm's proposals face roadblocks in legislature
Michigan's state government is in about as much trouble
as its auto manufacturers, and if the rhetoric in Tues-
day's State of the State address is any guide, Gov. Jen-
nifer Granholm knows that all too well. "The world around us has
changed," Granholm told us, "and it is not changing back."

I wish I had known, but I didn't."
- TIM RUSSERT, anchor of NBC's "Meet the Press," responding in federal court to accusations alleging that he knew
and leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Wilson, as reported yesterday by The New York Times.
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The economy is the most obvious con-
cern facing those in state government, but
it's not the only problem. State politicos
are currently grappling with a larger-than-
expected budget deficit in addition to the
$2-billion hole left behind by the irresponsi-
ble elimination of the state's Single Business
Tax. The state will also need to increase its
investment in education and retraining the
workforce if it is to emerge from the cur-
rent economic storm in recognizable form.
Granholm laid out a plan that might keep
the state from going bankrupt, but to pull it
off, she will need far greater political finesse
than she displayed in her first term.
Granholm saved this point for the end of
her speech, but we might as well address it
upfront: The state will need to raise taxes.
The simple fact is that former Gov. John
Engler's feel-good tax rates aren't bringing
in enough revenue for these harsh times.
Granholm delayed providing much informa-
tion about her tax plan until the release of
her budget today. Although that was prob-
ably necessary, given the common miscon-
ception that taxes can be cut indefinitely
without any consequences, it still leaves few
specifics to comment on at this time.
It should be clear that cuts alone will
be unable to solve the problem. The state
has for years had a structural budget defi-
-cit, which the"government avoided with
one-time fixes - an approach that cannot
be maintained indefinitely. The current
shortfall in the School Aid Fund alone, for
instance, would translate to a mid-year cut
of $224 per pupil.
Granholm pledged not to cut public school
funding in her budget. That's the right tac-
tic if Michigan is to develop the educated
workforce it will need to be economically
viable in this century. But it'll prove a dif-

ficult pledge to keep if she can't get her tax
plan past Republican state senators who
remain convinced that just one more busi-
ness tax cut will make Michigan thrive.
In exchange for not cutting their funding
even further, Granholm told the state's uni-
versities she'll expect them to keep tuition
affordable. That might sound reasonable
- but it also sounds suspiciously like a deal
the governor pitched a couple years back
to increase funding if universities limited
their tuition increases to the rate of infla-
tion. The University kept its end of the bar-
gain. The state reneged.
Ultimately, of course, the state will need
to move beyond its reliance on manufac-
turing to attract the knowledge-based jobs
that will be the backbone of tomorrow's
economy. Granholm acknowledged this in
lauding the work of the 21st Century Jobs
Fund (while thankfully sparing us a repeat
of the episode where she waved a fuel cell
around during last year's address).
Yet the difficult time Granholm had set-
ting up the 21st Century Jobs Fund last
year hints at what may be to come. Despite
the governor's frequent appeals to bipar-
tisanship and a "common commitment to
Michigan" on both sides of the aisle, the fact
remains that the Republicans who control
the state Senate will be hostile to many of
Granholm's initiatives.
However, while obstinate Republicans
determined to deny Granholm any political
successes share some of the blame, they can't
accountfor it all. Partisanship is expected in
our time - it is the governor's job to cooper-
ate, cajole and convince. Granholm is correct
in her assessment that we are at "a decisive
moment in Michigan's journey." Her ability
to fight for her proposals may well deter-
mine how the state fares.

Hot and bothered

uring my time at the Daily, I've
attributed the causes of our
problems to all sorts of people.
Conservatives, anti-Semites, chicken
hawks, racists, imperialists, capitalists
and religious fanatics - these people
are easily blamed on a world of issues.
But there's one issue for which the cul-
prit can be found
by simply looking
in your own bath-
room mirror.
Last weekend,
I saw Al Gore's
Oscar-nominated
documentary
"An Inconvenient
Truth." What I
saw scared me. JARED
Picturesofreced- '
ing glaciers cou- GOLDBERG
pled with models
projecting the loss of places like New
York City, the Netherlands, Shanghai
and Calcutta to floods, made me feel
like I was watching another Hollywood
disaster flick. But it's all alot more dis-
turbing when you realize that you're
actually watching the painful degrada-
tion of our planet.
There are some, even at this uni-
versity, who continue to assert that
global warming is nothing but a hoax.
Last summer, if anyone happened to
wander onto the Daily Opinion blog,
The Podium, sentiments reflecting
this trend would overwhelm that poor
surfer. Echoing Rep. Jim Inhofe's
(R-.Okla.) sentiment, which labeled
global warming"the greatest hoax ever
perpetrated on the American people,"
those commenting on the blog reflected
a dangeroustrend in American political
discourse.
I amnotgoingto rehashthe scientific
evidence presented in Gore's movie and
several other places since. It is one of
the closest things in the scientific com-
munity to cold hard fact. My dilemma

rests in understanding the motivations
behind the so-called "controversy." If
overwhelming evidence suggests that
human activity is causing an unnatural
warming of the planet, why would any-
one dispute it?
The fabricatedcontroversyhas arisen
for several reasons. The most prevalent
reason is economic. Because fixing the
problems humans have created would
require governmental regulation of
pollution, many free-market advocates
have decided that they would rather
bury their heads in the sand than face
reality. One unfortunate case in point is
the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Founded in 1984 by Fred Smith, the
CEI became famous last summer for
producing advertisements in response
to Gore's movie. When I first saw the
ads, I thought they were a joke. Their
tagline, "They call it pollution, we call
it life," had me quite literally laughing
out loud. In reference to carbon diox-
ide, the CEI believes that as long as we
breathe out the gas and plants use-it
during photosynthesis, there is no such
thing as too much. In one of the ads, the
CEI refers to a paper written by a scien-
tist who later spoke out against the ads
once he discovered they misinterpreted
his findings.
Are the CEI's efforts brave words
from concerned realists? Hardly. The
list of donors and supporters of CEI's
war on the environment includes sta-
ples of Big Oil (Amoco and Texaco),
Big Auto (Ford Motor Company), Ann
Arbor's recent deserters at Pfizer and
the always smoking hot folks at tobac-
co-giantPhillip Morris. Although ithas
the appearance of a legitimate organi-
zation, the CEI is nothing more than a
shill for the very corporations whose
profits would be most in danger if our
government took action to curb global
warming.
But what is perhaps most startling
is the allying of groups like the CEI

with Christian fundamentalists. On an
episode of CNN's "Crossfire" from the
early '90s, CEI founder Fred Smith,
after describing how global warming
helps life on this planet, said "we're
basically to a world now that's a lot
closer to heaven than hell."
What has today become a major
theological position among the far-
right Christian fundamentalists is that
global warming is a hoax and that we
needn't worry about destroying the
planet. Apparently, the lord gave man
the power to do as he wishes, and there
will always be enough resources for
everyone. Anyone who has seen the
movie "Jesus Camp" (which, inciden-
tally, is one of An Inconvenient Truth's
We can't blame,
the terrorists for
this one.
challengers for the best documentary
Academy Award), will recognize this
ideology in action.
There is no uncertainty about global
warming: It's real, it's now and it's our
fault. As much as the CEI and its co-
conspirators have done to deserve the
villain role in this story, the truth is we
are all villains. We pollute the Earth
with our gigantic SUVs, deforestation
and chemicals. We allow corporations
to put economic growth and profit
over our own lives. When I look into
that mirror, I see the culprit behind
global warming, and you should all see
it in there, too. If we can't individually
change our habits, how can we expect
the government to care and work to
bring change?
Jared Goldberg can be reached
atjaredgo@umich.edu.

LETr TSEND L ETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU

Dailyfails to recognize
existing campus activism
TO THE DAILY:
In response to Mara Gay's column (Our
flawed activism, 02/06/07), it is not campus
activism that is flawed, but the closed-mind-
ed views of some at The Michigan Daily. For
months now, the Daily has written regularly
about the lack of student activism on such a
historically active university. But when the
protest is in conflict with it's world-view, they
label it as "weak," "disaffected" and "devoid of
critical thought and compassion."
There is no lack of compassion on the part
of the protesters, it is simply that the protests
are directed toward a group the Daily favors.
Thereisno lackof"criticalthought," ratherthe
views of the protestors are misunderstood and
misrepresented by those who refuse to even sit
through a lecture that contains opposing ideas
and hear what the other side has to say.
It wasn't the Young Americans for Free-
dom who hindered the open exchange of
ideas at last week's lecture, it was their oppo-
nents who, like children pluggingtheir ears in
defiance, refused to open themselves up and
participate in the exchange.
It seems that the Daily's columnists are
engaging in exactly what they accuse YAF
of doing. They have chosen a side without
hearing all of the arguments. They throw out
blanket accusations and participate in petty
name-calling . They can throw fiery darts
from behind the curtain of free-speech pro-
tections while they simultaneously encour-
age others to suppress that same right.
Daily columnists speak with authority as if
the only way to solve the world's problems is
they way they learned in Political Science 140.
Perhaps it is time to reconsider what you've
been taught. Perhaps it is time to experiment
with other ideologies and problem-solving
strategies. Perhaps it is time to rebel against
the campus status quo. Or did that only apply
to conservative ideas in the '60s?
Nathan Zenero
LSA junior

Daily's MSA criticism is
knee-jerk and uninformed
TO THE DAILY:
While I was not surprised to read the
Daily editorial board's rant against student
government (Competition MIA at MSA,
02/06/2006), as an active member of the
Michigan Student Assembly, it is time to
speak out against this continuous trend of
uninformed criticism.
The editorial board often claims that stu-
dent government does nothing for students
and is simply composed of resume-padding
individuals, but it offers no clear evidence to
back up this allegation. For instance, its only
substantial argument against the current
candidates of the Michigan Action Party is
that these electoral hopefuls have only vague
and "recycled" ideas like lowering textbook
prices. This claim is an obvious demonstra-
tion of the. Daily's poor understanding of
how this University works.
To make improvements like altering the
registration brackets, getting textbook lists
released earlier or pursuing any other proj-
ect on this campus, it takes months and often
years of hard work with the administration.
These candidates care enough about issues
like these to pick up where their predeces-
sors left off, and this is how it works across
all student governments at the University.
The Daily makes little effort to learn about
the projects that student government mem-
bers take on, let alone follow the progress
of the few that they happen to hear about.
Just because many of us on MSA, LSA-SG
and other student governments feel that our
time is better spent working on behalf of our
fellow students rather than trumpeting suc-
cesses full-time to the Daily does not mean
we aren't working hard. It just means that
the Daily isn't working hard enough to learn
about all the good things we are doing for
the students of this University.
Josh Kersey
The letter writer is an LSA senior and treasurer of
the Michigan Student Assembly.

OSCAR MARX IV'P
Wake up and smell the war

I have watched over these last years of the war in Iraq
as my alma mater has remained largely silent inthe debate
over how to oppose and end the war. I have attended pro-
tests that display a vague shadow of what this university
once stood for in terms of free speech and activism on
major national issues, especially war.
We now seem poised at the brink of a war that could
ignite the Middle East in a regional conflict that will
undoubtedly have generational consequences. The signs
indicate that Iran is next on President Bush's hit list and
the powerless commentary from both our representatives
and ourselves may prove in retrospect a great mistake, a
historic missed opportunity.
With so much at stake, why has there been so little
activism at what was once one of the home of the, "Free
Speech Movement," the "Berkeley of the Midwest." The
attendance of about 1,000 students at a recent event
labeled as a talk by former terrorists speaks to the ill-
informed nature of our campus. In contrast, a discussion
led by experts in the history department about the reali-
ties of the war drew only about 70 people. Also, recent
peace marches in Ann Arbor have been pathetic, consid-
ering that the University has 40,000 students.
Where is the intellectual curiosity and thoughtful cri-
tique from the faculty? Why do they not participate in
demonstrations let alone get out in front and lead them?
One of my majors was anthropology, and Ican think of no
department with more at stake. Yet it was only recently
that the history professors managed to issue a declaration
this year opposing the war. How many scholars will not
come here to teach for reasons of conscience dictated by
our new homeland security state? The consequences for
the University and its students are profound. If this is not
of critical significance, then what is?
I did not attend the most recent demonstration in
Washington, which drew about 100,000 protesters,
because after having gone to both D.C. and New York City
twice, I could not bear to watch another futile gesture. If
this is the height of resistance, the peace movement has

failed. Our government will continue to ignore the pub-
lic as it slides toward awar that no one wants. War with
Iran will be catastrophic, and yet there will likely be little 0
opportunity to protest, let alone stop it.
Three million people took to the streets for a baseball
championship - it will take at least that many to stop a
war, and they must act with purpose. On Feb. 15, 2003,
the world spoke to the president in New York City. About
500,000 people took to the streets to show the United
Nations that not all Americans support the war in Iraq.
However, rather than being allowed in sight of the U.N.,
we were chased through the streets and assaulted by
police, while others were illegally penned for hours.
One million protestors sat down in London, mil-
lions more around the world have rallied for peace
and the Bush Administration has ignored all of these
voices. When I returned to New York for the Republi-
can National Convention in 2004, demonstrators were
denied the right to enter Central Park for the sake of
the lawn. We walked about town and then returned
home to neighbors who had no idea that a protest had
even occurred.
Under the Patriot Act, it is a crime to intimidate the
government, which seems to foreshadow future suppres-
sion of demonstrations and civil disobedience. Tempting
fate. I would say it is time to intimidate a government that
acts in the interest of few to the detriment of many. This
administration is one that acts in secrecy and seeks con-
trol through manipulation and deception.
Now we hear the drumbeat to war in Iran - a bombing
campaign that will spare us the casualties of ground war-
fare. Who doubts that a larger war is inevitable? Many
more Americans are yetto be put into Sen. Chuck Hagel's
(R-Neb.) "grinder." Wake up, University students, before
you wake to a nightmare, a horrible dream that will soon
be all too real.

ERIN RUSSELL

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Oscar Marx is a University alum with degrees
in history and cultural anthropology.

0

Editorial Board Members: Emily Beam, Kevin Bunkley, Amanda Burns, Sam Butler, Ben Caleca,
Brian Flaherty, Jared Goldberg, Emmarie Huetteman, Toby Mitchell, Rajiv Prabhakar,
David Russell, Gavin Stern, John Stiglich, Jennifer Sussex, Neil Tambe,
Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Wagner, Christopher Zbrozek

I I ZEM FAWN t I F I c

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