4 -Friday, February 9, 2007
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com .
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The problem is that at first he was not eating
food, but now he is eating food and that
has helped him significantly."
- ALl RODRIGUEZ, Venezuelan ambassador to Cuba, on the alleged resurgence of Cuban President Fidel
Castro's health following his gastric surgery in July, as reported yesterday by CNN.com.
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KARL A. STAMPFL
EDITOR IN CHIEF
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position oftthe Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views ofntheir authors.
It's over your head
Green roofs a logical step in improving energy efficiency
W ith global warming hurdling down upon us, even as
government officials remain aggressively oblivious,
the latest in environmentally friendly architectural
technology might be coming to the University. If the student
group Environmental Enthusiasts manages to beat teams from
other campuses in a contest sponsored by MTV and General
Electric, the landscape of our campus - or its roofs anyway -
may soon change. Isn't it just a little troubling that it would take
MTV to bring about environmental innovation to our supposedly
scientifically and politically involved campus?
c - ,
The you' you deserve
Before jumping into a debate over the
merits of green roofing, we would first like
to congratulate the Environmental Enthu-
siasts - the ones responsible and conscien-
tious enough to design a project to replace
the tile roof on the Elbel building with a
green roof that grows, breathes and lasts.
That's not a bad deal for $23,000, especial-
ly for a campus that should have taken the
initiative on such projects long ago.
A green roof consists of plants, has a
natural drainage system and can last up to
60 years without maintenance. Consider-
ing average shingling only lasts about 20
years and has none of the insulation and
conservation benefits of a green roof, this
one should be a no-brainer for the Univer-
sity and a forward-thinking city like Ann
Arbor - both known for their greenery
and environmental activism.
We wish the Environmental Enthusiasts
the best of luck this March, but whether
the student team wins or loses, it's time
for the University to set the example in an
age when the perils of carbon emissions
are more imminent than ever. Green roofs
are already being planned for the Ross
School of Business and Mott Women's and
Children's Hospital. These buildings are
already undergoing major renovations.
Building green roofs on them now, rather
than after renovations are complete, would
be a smart and cost-effective move.
But that's not enough: As many campus
buildings as possible should install green
roofs. The University is a massive consum-
er of energy, and even minor improvements
in the energy efficiency of its buildings
will add up. Green roofs cool buildings
in the summer and keep them warmer in
the winter. That's a vital duality, given
not only the record-breaking summers of
recent years, but also this recent spell of
unbearably frigid temperatures.
The University should not have to rely
on MTV contests to spur environmental
activism. Indeed, it's a shame that an insti-
tution globally revered for its intellectual
prowess hasn't been properly endowed
with the financial means to remain at the
front lines of environmental activism - let
alone lead the pack. That's thanks to short-
falls in state funding, something Gov. Jen-
nifer Granholm and the state legislature
Green roofs are one way the University
can live what it advocates. Consuming
more green energy and fewer fuels derived
from non-renewable resources is another.
The University certainly has the know-
how to curb its considerable greenhouse
emissions - it's time to do it.
Bill Cosby once said that he
doesn't know the key to success
but that the key to failure is try-
ing to please everybody. There are 6 bil-
lion people walking the planet - and at
least that many personalities. Chances
are many of the personalities that you
share the world with may find you or
your lifestyle dis-
agreeable in some
way or would if
they knew you
may hate you for
your religion, w
ity or even for the
shirt you hap-
pen to be wear- JAMES
ing - not all of
which are in your DICKSON
control. Even if
you tried to please everyone, someone's
pleasure would come at the expense of
another's - or your own - and you'd
have accomplished nothing in the end.
That's why you can only value other
peoples' opinions so much.
Perhaps it came after that first
sandlot heartbreak, when little
Susie chased little Joey instead of
you around the playground dur-
ing recess. Maybe it was after the
first day of high school, when all
the popular girls made fun of you
because you hadn't grown into your
body quite yet. What to do about sit-
uations like these? We've all heard
it: "just be yourself."
It's a telling irony that we're often
told to be ourselves just after the
cruel world has told us we should
be anything but. Society's counsel
is useful: We should be ourselves
- To a certain degree. But to sim-
ply be yourself leaves an important
element of human development out
of the picture. It operates on the
assumption that the current self is
the best permutation of factors pos-
sible when there's probably a ton of
room for improvement. If "yourself"
is someone who would just eat pota-
to chips and watch DVDs all day,
he's not the person you should be.
That's why the old counsel doesn't
help people who've decided that
they want more from tomorrow
than they got out of life yesterday.
The better advice is to be your
best self. Be the version of yourself
that doesn't simply consume but
rather someone who produces work
of value. If you're a writer, write. If
you're a painter, paint. Do what you.
dobest and find creative applications
for your gift.
Say you enjoy Michigan football.
Rather than just cheering from the
bleachers like everyone else, per-
haps you should take the bus down to
Schembechler Hall and find out how
to get involved with the team. Coach
Carr probably won't let you call plays
right away, but you should be doing
something you love and something
that gives you validation. If you like
with graphics and building websites.
There are a number of other ways to
do this, but find one that applies to
you and run with it.
This will take work, and it almost
assuredly won't go perfectly. Every-
thing didn'tgo smoothly when I first
attempted to establish myself as a
writer, and it doesn't today. Every-
thing I write doesn't get published.
Sometimes the timing will be off by
a few days and I'll have missed the
perfect moment, sometimes it's a
philosophical disagreement with an
editor and other times editors may
think my writing flat-out stinks.
But because I believe in what
I write, my setbacks only put me
more in tune with my life: the ups,
the downs, the feedback and the
occasionally rejected article are all
proof of how far I've come and how
much further I have to go.
Today, I reframe letdowns as
mere tests of my commitment, tests
that I can't possibly fail because I've
come too far to turn back now. After
you've had some success living as
Don't just be
yourself, be your
your best self and have challenged
yourself to find opportunities in the
seemingly mundane, you'll begin to
see failure as part of the process, as
a reminder'to respect and celebrate
individual successes as they come,
because nothing is guaranteed.
The further you go out on life's
limb, the greater your chance of
suffering the occasional fall from
grace. Sometimes the branch
breaks. Whether you climb the tree
again is the test of whether you're
living as your best self.
James Dickson can be reached
SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU
Kucinich already offered
'third option'for Iraq
TO THE DAILY:
I take exception to Chad Rochkind's
assertion that Barack Obama has the only
plan that "allows America to leave Iraq both
responsibly and with dignity" (Obama's
strategy offers third option, 02/07/2007).
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), the only
current presidential candidate who both
voted against the war and continues to vote
against its funding maintains a comprehen-
sive 12-point exit plan to bring our troops
home and stabilize Iraq. While Obama was
not in Congress when it voted to authorize
the war, he has voted for subsequent funding
for the war. Kucinich had the good judgment
in 2003 to know that the war was wrong. He
has the good judgment today to vote against
its further funding. Kucinich offers a real
alternative to those who would like us to dig
ourselves out of this hole.
Statement article gives
B-School short shrift
TO THE DAILY:
I am writing with concerns addressing
Wednesday's Statement cover story (Why
the B-School is overrated, 02/07/2007). As a
senior in the Ross School of Business, I agree
that the B-school certainly has its flaws, but
the complaints from James Somers are most-
ly inaccurate gripes from a bitter student.
If Somers dropped out of the program
after only one semester, as he laments, he
would have taken a grand total of two B-
School classes, hardly enough to get a good
idea of what the B-School has to offer. He
complains that students would never pos-
sibly learn about things like "what drove
Facebook's growth," but he never took the
required strategy course that deals exclu-
sively with business growth and develop-
ment and demands a lot more than simply
following formulas. Maybe if he had stayed
in the program for more than two classes, he
would have found that out.
I'll be sure to call the whaambulance
because Somers lost points for not correctly
formatting his answer for graders. Maybe
next time he can listen to directions in class,
which is something required in any program,
not just the B-School.
Finally, the criticism of B-School faculty
is completely unfounded. The majority of the
professors I've had are leaders in cutting-
edge research in their fields, and almost all
have come from well-respected careers. One
need only to look at the faculty profiles avail-
able on the B-School website to find exam-
ples of their published studies and research.
The insight they have to offer is invaluable
and comes from more than "reading The
Wall Street Journal."
Perhaps we can all learn a lesson from
Somers's unfounded grievances - namely
that students should do some research before
applying to a program like the B-School.
Talk to current students, find out what they
do and don't like about the program, make
an informed decision about what you're get-
ting yourself into. However, if you're going
to whine and write an inflammatory article
about your experience, make sure you actu-
ally have some factual criticism, rather than
lobbing exaggerated and false claims.
Big business can be
TO THE DAILY:
While I support any and all efforts to
raise public awareness about global warm-
ing, Jared Goldberg needs to get his facts
straight (Hot and bothered, 02/08/07). The
growing chorus calling for action to miti-
gate climate change includes voices from big
business and prominent religious leaders as
well as traditional environmentalists like Al
Gore. For example, Wal-Mart has launched
an impressive array of environmental ini-
tiatives, including a commitment to curb
greenhouse gas emissions from its stores
and improve the fuel economy of its truck
fleet. Many Evangelical Christians have
positioned themselves at the forefront of
this issue, arguing for a doctrine of so-called
"creation care" that necessitates action to
preserve the God-given earth.
Rather than beating up on the usual sus-
pects, I wish that Goldberg had elaborated
on his last point: the role that each and every
one of us must play in lessening the human
impact on global climate. Get out of your car,
buy locally grown produce, plant a tree and
support those businesses and people who are
similarly committed - whether you usually
agree with them or not.
A step toward a solution in Iraq
One thing that strikes me about the current situation
in Iraq is the helplessness of our politicians and leaders.
Everybody agrees that things are going horribly wrong,
but nobody seems to have even a tentative strategy to
make the situation better. So here is an idea that I think
will make things better, if not stop the civil war entirely.
It's shockingly simple: Take the weapons away.
The plan will go as follows: America imposes a new
law on the Iraqi government stating that from now on it
will be illegal for anyone in Iraq to own, carry, sell or buy
any kind of firearm or explosive. Anyone violating this
law will serve a mandatory prison term of one week and
pay a $300 fine. The only people in Iraq allowed to carry
weapons will be the U.S. army, the Iraqi army and other
ID-carrying government officials.
The new law will be announced across Iraq and the
government will announce a one-month deadline for
civilians to turn in all weapons. Officials will buy backthe
weapons and if they're in working condition use them to
equip the Iraqi army. Once the deadline has passed, the
borders will be sealed and U.S. checkpoints all over the
country will continuously be searching for weapons.
The buyback program should continue indefinitely, and
people bringing in weapons should not be fined. I believe
that the sheer abundance of weapons in Iraq is a major
part of the problem. The absence of easily available fire-
arms will improve the security situation immensely.
Now let's discuss some arguments against this plan.
The first one is that it may seem impossible to enforce. I
don't think so. The joint forces of the American and Iraqi
armies will have the power to control the country enough
to make it difficult to trade or own weapons. Of course, it
will never be possible to completely abolish all arms, but
the increased security might have a snowball effect and
fewer people will have a reason to own weapons at all.
The second argument against the plan might be that
regular people who give uptheir weapons willbe defense-
less against radicals who keep theirs. This argument
doesn't hold for two reasons. First, many of the casualties
of bombings are shootings are unarmed, and they would
not have had a chance to defend themselves anyway.
Additionally, the authorities - not insurgents and militia
men - need to provide security for the people ifa civil
war is going to be prevented.
One might still argue that the Iraqi government would
not comply with this request. This concern is easily
resolved by committing American troops to remain in
Iraq and guarantee security for the Iraqi people.
It seems that Democrats are desperately seeking ways
to position themselves in a favorable light for the next
presidential election. Making a new strategy for Iraq a
huge priority in their program would be a wonderful
opportunity for the party to stand out and do some good.
I don't suppose that strategy would be the entire
solution to the problem in Iraq. But I do think this could
be the first step to turn around a seemingly hopeless
situation. After all, if there are no weapons, there can
be no war.
Niels Liebisch is a University alum with a degree in engineering.
WYMAN KHUU |
I'm going to do a
marathon this year.
Wow! That's amazing
you can run 26 miles?
Ugh... I meant watching
*24 in 24 hours.
Y r. yS gh.,
Editorial Board Members: Emily Beam, Kevin Bunkley, Amanda Burns,
Sam Butler, Ben Caleca, Brian Flaherty, Jared Goldberg, Emmarie
Huettenan, Toby Mitchell, Rajiv Prabhakar, David Russell, Gavin Stern,
John Stiglich, Jennifer Sussex, Neil Tambe, Radhika Upadhyaya,
Rachel Wagner, Christopher Zbrozek