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January 08, 2007 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-01-08

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4A - Monday, January 8, 2007

The 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 reflectthe official position ofthe Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views oftheir authors.
Clinton a fitting choice
'U' must continue to court high-profile speakers
L ast month, the University announced that former Presi-
dent Bill Clinton will be the keynote speaker at spring
commencement. This is a dramatic improvement over
the accomplished - but low-profile orators - who have recently
addressed the University's graduating seniors. It's about time.
The University has had less than glam- or simply being lucky enough to snag its first
orous speakers over the past five years, choice, Clinton's selection is excellent and a
the most notable of whom was CNN chief model to follow in coming years.
international correspondent Christiane Although the choice of speaker is stel-
Ananpour, who spoke last year. Other lar, early reports suggest that only about
recent keynote speakers include a chief 40,000 people will be attending the cer-
scientist from Xerox and the founder of emony at Michigan Stadium, which has
Automobile Magazine. These choices pale a capacity of more than 100,000. With
in comparison to the laundry list of world a speaker who has the universal appeal
leaders, influential thinkers and artists of Clinton, it is especially important this
other universities routinely attract, like year that the University allow as many
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, politi- people to attend the ceremony as possible.
cal rock star Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) The choice of Clinton has already excited
and filmmaker Spike Lee. There is no rea- graduating seniors and their families,
son that a university with a name like this which will inspire more of them to attend
one - not to mention the largest living than usual. Also, many non-graduating
alumni base in the world - should have members of the University community
anything but a top-notch commencement will want to hear Clinton speak, and the
speaker. University should accommodate them-
In the past, the University's system for As fantastic as this selection is, now that
selecting a speaker has left something to be the University has proven itself capable of
desired. Every year, the University presents attracting first-class speakers, there can't
people that exhibit its values with honor- be a drop-off in subsequent years: Not only
ary degrees, and a commencement speaker would that be unfair to current underclass-
is one of those honorary degree recipients. men, but it would also be unbecoming to a
Unfortunately, by the time the slate of recip- university of this caliber.
ients is selected it may often be too late to The reputation of this University war-
secure a big-name speaker because other rants nothingless than the best. Who knows
top universities are further along in the pro- what's in store for spring 2008 commence-
cess. This year, the University made a small ment. If being more timely was the most
but drastic change in announcing a speaker important change the University made to
earlier. Whether this was a result of the Uni- secure Clinton, let's hope the search for next
versity starting the selection process earlier year has already begun.
Brutality demands action

Even those people, unlike me, who are in favor of
capital punishment found (the execution)
completely unacceptable."
- Gordon Brown, Britain's Minister of Finance, speaking in anticipation of Prime Minister Tony Blair's forth-
coming condemnation of the execution of Saddam Hussein, as reported yesterday by CNN.com.
Obma rsdnyiluet


At the 2004 Democratic Nation-
al Convention, a lanky state
senator from Illinois took the
stage to deliver the keynote address.
Many watching that night wondered
why a mere state legislator, unknown
to the rest of the country, was given
such a prominent place in the nation-
al spotlight, but the answer soon
became self-evident. He oozed cha-
risma, capability and - in a time
of political division - he preached
unity. He electrified the audience
with eloquent
prose and fed
long savored
in politics -- -i
integrity. With
a clap of thun-
der we were
introduced to
Barack Obama, -
and it was love SAM
at first sight. BUTLER
Never before
has a single
speech done so much for someone's
career: Since that night, Democrats
aching for leadership have called for
Obama's presidential candidacy. At
first the calls were made jokingly, but
now, as the primary race approaches,
a rapturous mixture of hope and des-
peration follows Obama, pressuring
him to make a serious run.
Time magazine columnist Joe
Klein called Obama "a sudden pre-
ternatural event inspiring awe and
ecstasy." Ecstasy is probably a good
word for Barack Obama. He rep-
resents something otherworldly, a
bewildering delight that excites us in
a way that defies full comprehension,
However, imnplicit in ecstasy is always
an element of fantasy; any moment of
ecstasy is accompanied by the mental
projection of something else.
That is what our high presidential

hopes for Obama amount to right now
- fantasy. We don't yet know what
kind of politician he will make. Frus-
trated with curiosity and anticipation,
the hype surrounding Obama is, at this
point, mere masturbation on our part:
It is us reveling in Obama daydreams
while we impatiently wait for the real
thing. One day he might be that politi-
cian of our dreams, but if we rush him,
we'll only be disappointed.
Democrats are impetuous lovers.
Like a teenager with a crush, we so
often become infatuated with a can-
didate, insisting that it's true love.
Then after months of dotting the i's in
their name with little hearts, we are
left heartbroken after prom.
But we're the ones pushing to take
our relationship with Obama to the
next level, not the other way around.
Many argue that now is the time for
Obama to run for president while he
has the greatest appeal on the market.
Analysts advise he should take advan-
tage of this moment while he is still
the prettiest belle at the ball, before
his political countenance is marred
by a possbily compromising senato-
rial voting record. Yet if four or eight
more years in the Senate do enough to
damage his credibility and integrity,
then he isn't the kind of politician we
thought he was anyway.
But what can be more damaging
to a pristine political persona than a
presidential campaign? At least in the
Senate, there's anonymity in numbers.
In a presidential race, your opponent's
barbs amplify your political weak-
nesses. Without a certain national
political savvy, career-ending mis-
takes can occur. If Obama were to lose
such a race, then we will have spent
what could be a great political force
way too early.
After such failure, his innocence
will be lost, as will his luster of infal-
libility. Obama only gets one chance

to take advantage of the romance sur-
rounding him. After that, he'll be just
another Democrat.
As Obama enters the maturation of
his political career, he should be care-
ful not to rush the decision of a presi-
dential bid. Losing his presidential
virginity too soon will only embitter
and ruin his chances for true politi-
cal greatness later. He needs to prac-
tice and gain some experience before
going all the way.
Obama is the real deal, and our
high hopes for him can be fulfilled.
He takes a role of bold leadership
on the important issue of race when
other politicians hide from it. He
manages to approach the Iraq ques-
tion with both realism and convic-
tion. He even has the gravitas to
admit to using marijuana and cocaine
Is the time right
for Obama to save
the day?
in his book without it becoming a
political liability.
As he goes through his politi-
cal puberty, the last thing Obama
should do is to blend in with the rest
of the Beltway. I hope he contin-
ues to be a beacon for visions of the
future and to craft his natural lead-
ership abilities. But if we force him
into this situation before he is ready,
it'll be over before we really know
what we have. We will only be left
feeling crestfallen and unsatisfied.
Our Prince Charming will evolve
into just another addition to our list
of bad relationships.
Sam Butler can be reached
at butlers@umich.edu.

After being an eyewitness to the events that
took place on campus on Nov. 30 in which three
peaceful protesters were arrested and aggres-
sively restrained by the police (Mideast talk
leads to scuffle, 12/04/2006), I decided to do
some research on the recent string of police
brutality across America. It is very important
for us to understand that this growing problem
must be dealt with in a comprehensive man-
ner. We must make our stance against violence
clear, especially violence that the state com-
mits against citizens.
On Sept. 17 in Portland, Ore., a 42-year-old
schizophrenic man died as a result of police
brutality. The officers chased him after they
noticed that he was acting strangely. Upon
catching him, one of the officers, who weighed
100 pounds more than him, accidentally fell
on top of him, causing massive bodily damage.
After the man was pinned, he was hog-tied and
beaten by police. The man lost consciousness
and was declared dead by at the hospital only
two hours after the incident. Hospital reports
indicated that he was killed by a "blunt force
chest trauma."
On Sept. 17 in Toledo, Ohio a 24-year-
old woman was dragged out of her car by a
police officer after she threw a traffic viola-
tion out of the window. The officer opened
the car, grabbed the woman and began to
beat her. He claimed that she was under the
influence of alcohol, but sobriety tests con-
ducted after the incident found that state-
ment to be false.
On Nov. 14 at the University of California at
Los Angeles, a student was repeatedly shocked
with a Taser by campus police after allegedly
refusing to provide identification at a universi-
ty library. The officers approached the student
just as he was leaving the library. After grab-
bing him, the police refused to free him and, as
the tension mounted, they resorted to the use

of a Taser. After the initial shock, the student
was unable to get up. Still, he was continually
shocked for not getting up when the officers
demanded that he do so. A student's camera
phone provided evidence of the officers' use of
excessive force.
On Nov. 30 at the University of Michigan,
three protesters were assaulted by police as
they were dragged out of a speech on Iran
given by Georgetown University Prof. Ray-
mond Tanter. The protesters were apprehend-
ed after disrupting the conference by heckling.
Outside the room, two protesters were shoved
against the wall by three police officers. One
was thrown down onto the floor, which result-
ed in a cut on his forehead, a bloody nose and,
eventually, loss of consciousness. Paramedics
had to use ammonia to revive the unconscious
Another protester who voiced her concerns
about her colleague was shoved by an officer.
After the initial shove, he grabbed her and
slammed her into a wall, making a loud thud.
Photographs and video footage were taken by
the people watching the event.
These events constitute blatant acts of police
brutality. They are evidence of flaws in our law
enforcement system. More and more officers are
resorting to violent methods of harassing citi-
zens. This not only endangers the livelihood of
citizens, but it also violates constitutional protec-
tions against the abuse of power.
Now, more thanever, it's important for Univer-
sity students to advocate for change in America's
law enforcement establishment. States should
consider better training programs in order to
educate officers about their rights - and our
rights. It is an unfortunate set of circumstances
thatrequires us to protectourselves againstthose
who are supposed to protectus.
Taimour Chaudhri is an LSA junior


Other campuses should play a
role in preserving diversity
Firstly, I wouldlike tovoicemy frustrationwithhowoften
we forget our fellow Wolverines to the north and east. As the
daughter of professors at both branch campuses, I first fell in
love with the University of Michigan not in Ann Arbor, but in
the passion for higher education in the students and faculty
of the Flint and Dearborn campuses.
While the prestige of the "other campuses" may not equal
that of Ann Arbor, I believe we need to look to them to solve
our current admissions dilemma. University President
Mary Sue Coleman voiced her desire to preserve diversity
while abiding by the legal restrictions of Proposal 2. Emily
Beam's column(Theother campuses, 12/13/2006) provides an
As is, Ann Arbor is not welcoming to non-traditional
undergraduate students - that is, those who do not enter
college directly after high school. Beam states that more
than three-quarters of the population of our state is not
college-educated. Such people are often of lower socio-
economic backgrounds and race also plays a role. Making
our application process and our campus more welcoming
to those pursuing higher education at any age could create
diversity well beyond what we were capable of before the
passage of Prop 2.
Clare Wrobel
LSA Sophomore
Marching band's
sacrifices an inspiration
Blessings and respect to the University of Michigan band
members and students who departed Rose Bowl activities
in order to perform in Grand Rapids for the funeral cere-
mony of former President Gerald Ford. You are indeed an
Rita Bombassaro
Purdue University staff
Michigan football at a
disadvantage nationally
.Fellow Michigan football fans, as a University grad-
uate and a lifelong student of statistics and econom-
ics, I must point out certain misconceptions regarding
our fine group of football players and maybe our finest
coach ever, Lloyd Carr. All things being equal, Michi-
gan should indeed have a better postseason record
and arguably even a national title. However, as fans of

Michigan football, you must know that all things are
not equal for us and they never have been.
Natural grass: Those teams that play on natural grass
at home have a far higher chance of winning games
than those that play on artificial surfaces (including
the newer FieldTurf). Top programs like Texas, USC,
LSU, Miami, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Ohio State, Ala-
bama, Notre Dame, Penn State and Georgia all play on
natural grass. In fact, with the exception of Nebraska
and Washington, no team that plays on artificial sur-
faces at home has won the Division I-A national cham-
pionship since Pitt in 1976. Only one team that plays on
artificial surfaces at home (St. Louis Rams) has ever
won the Super Bowl.
Away games: The Rose Bowl is located 16 miles
from USC's campus, whereas the Michigan team and
fan base must travel more than 2,200 miles and three
time zones. Even in professional sports, players and
coaches agree that the team playing with a three-hour
time zone difference is at a competitive disadvantage.
We are stuck in a perpetual away game disadvantage in
each and every Pac 10/Big Ten Rose Bowl game.
We are not on equal footing, my fellow Michigan
fans - and we may never be. You want to see Michi-
gan do better? Then how about we bring USC out to the
Big House in late NovembertWould there be any doubt
about who would win that game?
What Carr and this team accomplished this year was
nothing short of spectacular. I support Carr and his
coaching staff 100 percent. The players that lost these
two final heartbreakers represent the finest maize and
blue has to offer.
Mitchell Henderson
Viewpoint Policy
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Viewpoints should be no longer than 750 words. The
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