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April 03, 2007 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-04-03

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4 - Tuesday, April 3, 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
rothedaily@umich.edu
KARL STAMPFL IMRAN SYED JEFFREY BLOOMER
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position oftthe Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views ofntheir authors.
Al ways in the limelight
Student athletes are obligated to represent 'U'
S tudent athletes travel thousands of miles every season to
represent the University in athletic contests. Whether it
be in the stadium, on the sports page or on television, peo-
ple inside and outside the University community are watching.
Because they are constantly in the public eye, student-athletes are
viewed as role models and should be mindful of their conduct and
represent the University and the student body in a positive light at
all times, whether they like it or not.

4

Like the sinking of the Titanic, catastrophes are not
democratic. A much higher fraction of passengers
from the cheaper decks were lost:'
- Henry Miller, a fellow at the Hoover Institution on the potential impact of global warming,
as reported Sunday in The New York Times.
ERIN RUSSELL
Welcome to With wigs Inspired by American our wigs are so amazing they
Sanlava Wigs.coml Idol's boy wonder, have caught the Interest of
Tired of being called a Saniaya Malakar, youcan make Britney Spears and President
failure or a tone deaf loserP your biggest flopsfabulousl Bush. Get yours todayi (Crying
Gt:Cfan girl notincludedJ
Establishment clause, enforced,

I
I

All students have an obligation to rep-
resent themselves and their university
positively, but for athletes that obligation is
inherently stronger. While everyone should
strive to be upstanding members of the
community, the truth is that if the average
student were to get caught with marijuana,
few would notice. For better or worse, the
impact of a student athlete's actions is larger
than that of other students, as shown by the
ceaseless negative publicity the University
has received in wake of the arrests of three
football players last week.
Student athletes represent the block M
not just on the football field or the hard-
wood. Their famous faces automatically
carry that association into classrooms,
dorms and bars. Student athletes attract
attention of onlookers and fans wherever
they go, so when they act up, people will
know and associate their actions with the
school they represent.
Athletes should be cognizant of their off-
the-field conduct and should always strive
to demonstrate good character. Increased
public exposure and scrutiny comes with
being an athlete at a Division I school. It is
not an additional burden that athletes sud-
denly face when they arrive on campus or
should be surprised about; it's something

they should expect when they agree to par-
ticipate in athletics at the university level.
Any increased pressure of being role models
is unavoidable and must be embraced.
That is not to say that athletes should be
held to an overly rigorous standard of con-
duct. For example, athletes should not be
prohibited from participating in the colle-
giate social scene or have mandated commu-
nity service activities solely to increase the
reputation of University athletics. Athletes,
and everyone else, should try to go above and
beyond their obligations, but they should not
be required to.
Coaches have a crucial role to play in
encouraging good conduct from their play-
ers on and off the field. Coaches and the ath-
letic department need to constantly remind
athletes of their unique role representing the
University and inform them of what types
of conduct are unacceptable. Furthermore,
they must communicate with their players
to help them deal with the stresses of colle-
giate athletics and should themselves be role
models to their players.
Student-athletes have a distinct role,
opportunity and obligation to represent the
University in a positive light. Coaches bear
the burden of making sure their players fol-
low through with that responsibility.

MICHAEL EBER
Privatization gone wild

Privatization - it's a mouthful to say. The
five-syllable word is also the federal govern-
ment's solution to bureaucratic inefficiencies.
After all, the theory assumes that the private
sector is inherently more specialized and gen-
erally more accountable because it answers to
the bottom line. I can think of a more efficient
term for this so-called solution: pork.
We already know what happened to Walter
Reed Medical Center when it subcontracted its
maintenance services, but do we know what
happens when the duties of Army Rangers are
outsourced as well? The answer is dark, wet
and eerily patriotic - Blackwater USA. This
company doesn't just provide logistical sup-
port, its also provides soldiers for securing key
U.S. interests. Other companies like Hallibur-
ton provide private services like catering and
construction. But Blackwater is different in a
way that fundamentally inverts the current
standard for waging war.
According to Blackwater, its mission is "to
support national and international security
policies that protect those who are defense-
less and provide a free voice for all with a
.dedication to providing ethical, efficient and
effective turnkey solutions that positively
impact the lives of those still caught in desper-
ate times." That seems like a company run by
freedom-loving responsible Americans, and
it is. Founder Erik Prince is a former Navy
SEAL and brother-in-law of Michigan's recent
Republican gubernatorial candidate Dick
DeVos. Prince's father even founded the Fam-
ily Research Council, a lobbying group famous
for outing Spongebob Squarepants as a devi-
ously gay cartoon sponge.
Sarcasm ceases to be funny when you real-
ize that Blackwater makes Walter Reed look
like the model for private sector account-
ability. The families of Blackwater employees
killed in action in Fallujah are in the process
of suing the firm on the basis that it failed to
prepare the mercenaries for combat. Suppos-
edly, the men were to receive necessities like
armor, maps and the assurance of a minimum
of three combatants per vehicle. Because it's
a private company and not the U.S. military, .
there is no precedent to determine if firms like
Blackwater should even be subject to federal
or military court martial.
Moreover, according to accounts from

senior military officials, Blackwater does not
follow the same rules of engagement and pre-
emptively shoots at vehicles, and it does not
assume liability for actions in Iraq.
Whether or not Blackwater fulfilled its con-
tracts, it asserts immunity under the same laws
that protect the U.S. Military from wrongful
death suits. It even went far enough to employ
Kenneth Starr as counsel for defense (only
after its previous lead attorney, Fred Fielding,
took the job as White House Counsel). Black-
water reeks of neoconservative influence.
With at least $750 million in contracts, Black-
water tells Congress that documents detailing
its work are conveniently classified. How can
America trust a military force with no political
accountability?
Journalist Jeremy Scahill refers to this
shadow army as the "Praetorian Guard," the
Roman private army accountable only to politi-
cal elite. While associating private contractors
in this way is powerful, it is just as alarming to
realize that unaccountable soldiers serve side-
by-side with the U.S. military: They all look
the same to the enemy. If mercenaries are to
be part of the "coalition of willing," they need
to hold to the same standards of transparency
and morality.
We cannot allow a private corporation to
supersede the political accountability that the
U.S. military is obligated to honor. This is a case
in which the gold standard theory of privatiza-
tion falls morally unequal to the services pro-
vided by the government. It seems like a cruel
nightmare that an unaccountable executive
hires unaccountable mercenaries to wage a war
based on equally unaccountable intelligence
sources. Instances like these prove commonly
held notions that corporations are indeed more
powerful than the governments they serve.
I cannot stomach the reality that the gov-
ernment even feels the need to hire mercenar-
ies to carry out its foreign policy. If you feel
equally responsible in supporting Blackwa-
ter's agents, please support your mercenaries
by patronizing their store. Forget war bonds,
Blackwater Gift Bears start at $9.95 at proshop.
blackwaterusa.com.
Let the free market decide, right?
Michael Eber is an LSA junior and a
member of the Daily's editorial board.

R eaders of majorenational
papers like The New York
Times or The Washington Post
might have spilled their coffee as they
scanned the paper on the morning of
Jan. 16, 1967. Nestled amongst news of
turmoil in Algeria and China's maneu-
verings on the --
Vietnam War was
a small headline of
three simple words:
Legalizing Mari-
juana Urged.
It referred to the
infamous Michi-
gan Daily editorial
that this page has IMRAN
trumpeted enough SYED
over the years. It -- -
pioneered a position that the Yale
Daily News would take 10 days later,
The Daily Cardinal at the University
of Wisconsin a month later and that
a good part of the Left would one day
advocate: Criminalizing marijuana
makes it easier to manipulate for profit
and therefore more of a threat to soci-
ety than it ever wouldbe if legal.
Maybe that makes sense, or maybe
it doesn't. What's interesting is that
this page and the decided Left don't
advocate such pragmatism on other
issues. The latest in Time magazine's
recent anything-but-war cover stories
reawakened one such issue: teaching
the Bible in public schools.
of course, this debate is invariably
clogged up by demagoguery on either
side, each as disingenuous in its rheto-
ric as the other. The religious Right
will rail all day about how the definite
majority of Americans profess belief
in God, but easily overlooks the fact
that millions of those people are Jews,
Muslims, Hindus and of other religions
who believe the modern Bible to be a
perversion of God's word at best.
No better are those who advo-
cate a completely secular education.
They'll keep a straight face as they
A governmental
waste of time
TO THE DAILY:
On March 6, a major leather man-
ufacturer in New Bedford, Mass.
was raided, and 361 of its employees
were arrested due to their illegal
immigrant status. As a result of these
arrests of employees and owners, the
manufacturer, Michael Bianco Inc.,
is struggling to maintain its con-
tract obligations. The backpacks and
vests that Michael Bianco makes go
almost entirely to our fighting men
and women on the battlefield in Iraq.
While not as essential as body armor
or weapons, backpacks and vests still
serve essential functions in keeping
our soldiers alive.
Although I do not support illegal
immigration, the time of the U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforce-
ment would be better spent guard-
ing the border and not endangering
American soldiers in the midst of a
war. Our government needs to decide
if it is more important to arrest peo-
ple trying to make a living and harm-
ing nobody or properly protecting
our soldiers from very real harm.
Aaron Willis
LSA sophomore
Religion's got nothing
on an open mind
TO THE DAILY:
Toby Mitchell's column on reli-
gion and college life brought up the
large contrasts between university
education and previously held reli-
gious ideals (Sex, God and terrorism,
03/28/2007). It also pointed out the
difficulties in dealing with emo-
tional problems - such as depres-

sion, stress, love, birth and -death
- which many college students have.
These problems are huge and intrac-
table, making it beyond difficult for
most people to convey them. The
dogmatic structure of religion takes
these mental and emotional states

tell you creationism doesn't belong
in the science classroom because it
isn't science, and you'll believe them.
They'll advocate teaching that side of
the story in theology class, and you'll
think that sounds about right. But
consider the fact that only a miniscule
percentage of American schools offer
theology, and you might understand
the real motive at work:
"Congress shall make no laws
respecting an establishment of reli-
gion."
So according to Madison, Con-
gress can't mandate prayer in school
or profess a preference in religion.
For a nation as disparate as ours, that
makes perfect sense. But consider for
a moment the dangers of treating reli-
gion like a controlled substance.
As with marijuana, banning some-
thing doesn't make it go away. Instead,
it creates a proverbial black market of
religion in schools. Laws are made,
challenged, overturned or upheld by
the gross every year. It seems like at
any given time, some .school district
on some edge of our vaunted shores
thinks it has the magic bullet to pacify
the establishment clause.
What it really has is another not-so-
nuanced plan to offend the spiritual
sensibilities of a sizable number of
people - the founding fathers prob-
ably included. The Time article rattles
off several examples: Georgia now
provides state funding for classes that
teach the Bible, several states are con-
sidering following suite and at least a
couple of publishers are busy at work
designing Biblical texts to confound
current case law on the subject.
Ploys, dodging and disagreement
all around. Is this really how we want
to deal with one of the most pervasive
issues in our nation's history?
We can no longer ignore the fact
that there are differing opinions on
this issue. In the American system,
most of them cannot be constitution-

ally suppressed. It's time for atheists to
realize that the majority of this coun-
try believes in God, and has the right
to. Equally, it's time for the majority
of this country to realize that atheist
views are to be equally protected as
their own.
We can no longer ignore the fact
that making religion a controlled
substance is actually what makes it
a threat. Liberals know that enforce-
ment-centered policies make the drug
war a lost cause. Now apply that logic
a little more broadly.
The thriving black
market of religion
in public schools.
The idea of religion is a fact of
life in our society, even for those
who choose not to practice one. It is
important that it be addressed openly
in our schools. Not only would that
minimize conniving attempts to skirt
the law, it would also ensure that all
sides are heard fairly.
A specifically defined curriculum
in the various forms of theology and
atheism is the only way to mollify this
unnecessarily inflamed debate. By
trying to create a vacuum completely
devoid of religion in schools, what we
have created instead is a largely neu-
tral system all-too-prone to decidedly
unconstitutional infiltrations.
Odd though it may sound, the only
way for the government to truly pre-
vent the establishment of any one reli-
gion is not by banning everything but
by ensuring all views on the subject are
openly heard.
lmran Syed is the editorial
page editor. He can be reached
at galad@umich.edu.

4

4

4

SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU
and attempts to condense them to "the modern world is hardly suffer-
Cliff's Notes. What is truly needed in ing from an overabundance of faith,
these instances is a clear and honest hope, love and tolerance." That is
medium through which they can be true, but this statement goes for all of
explored. Only reasonable thought us, religious or not. Calling each other
offers such a medium. Most problems names and bringing to light stinging
today are tough and should be faced stereotypes isn't going to help as we
with rationality and an open mind. all try to make the world a better
place. Columns like this that advance
Ian Robinson Christian stereotypes with scant
LSA sophomore proof just show that maybe the "anti-
gay bigots" aren't the only ones who
d a o rnin huot tho hrnr

Religious people are
not naive or irrational
TO THE DAILY:
Iwas appalled readingToby Mitch-
ell's column Sex, God, and Terrorism
(03/28/2007) that started with the
comment that college students must
make a choice between the irratio-
nal comfort of religion and rational
knowledge. He called rational think-
ers with religious beliefs "naive at
best." I beg to differ. As a devout
Christian and an aspiring intellec-
tual, I don't think that "intellectual
refinement and faith are opposed" at
all. These blanket statements clearly
reveal persistent stereotypes about
those of religious faith.
Mitchell brings up several argu-
ments related to bombings in Rwan-
da and other horrendous disasters
that apply to probably less than 5
percent of the religious population
worldwide. Using extreme examples
to state the irrationality of religion
is not accurate or fair. Simplifying
Christianity to isolated examples
creates a muddled picture of the
essence of the religion. The rest of
the column is rampant with other
generalizations about "anti-gay big-
ots" and a comment equating terror-
ists to a combination of religion and
modernity, when in fact many other
cultural, political, economical and
social factors culminate to make ter-
rorism an issue today.
Religion is different from person
to person, and while it can be used
as a negative force, more often than
not, the examples of religion's nega-
tive side are magnified to an untrue
proportion. Even Mitchell writes that

neea to practice wnat tney preacn.
Charlotte Sandy
LSA freshman
MSA on snow
removal inequity
TO THE DAILY:
Hopefully we've reached the end of
another Michigan winter,butI'dliketo
add something in response to a recent
discussion in the Daily's editorial page
about Ann Arbor's snow removal pol-
icy (The snow doesn't lie, 02/19/07). I
recently had the opportunity to clear
up the details with Mike Bergen and
Kirk Pennington of the city's Field
Operations unit. In response to nor-
mal snowfall, the city first prioritizes
major artery roads (those used for fire,
police and ambulance services) and
then clears all residential areas on the
day before that area's regularly sched-
uled trash pick-up.
In response to major snowfalls (4
inches or more), the city mobilizes all
15 of its salt trucks and tries to plow
all neighborhoods in the city within
a 24-hour timeframe. As far as I have
been able to ascertain, there is no
distinction drawn between student
and non-student neighborhoods in
regards to snow removal. If anyone
has any further questions or con-
cerns regarding student/city rela-
tions, please contact the Michigan
StudentAssembly External Relations
Committee at msaerc@umich.edu.
Matthew Stoker
LSA junior.
The letter writer is a member of the City
Council-MSA committee.

4

4

CHRIS KOSLOWSKI s
Did youcatcht hat full-f ontal hy' We've bee naked:Ince e ll certainly has nothing
nuditymithe Dal brtbBeuy one' to do wt A wskm s lack of
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I did. It was appaling! about it Why do you Aslueynothing
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Editorial Board Members: Emily Beam, Kevin Bunkley, Amanda Burns,
Sam Butler, Ben Caleca, Mike Eber, Brian Flaherty, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg,
Emmarie Huetteman, Toby Mitchell, David Russell, John Stiglich, Jennifer Sussex,
Neil Tambe, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Wagner, Christopher Zbrozek

I

I

Write for Daily Opinion this summer. Columnist spots available.
(You don't even have to be in Ann Arbor.)
Email editpage.editors@umich.edu for more information.

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