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January 11, 2007 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-01-11

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4A - Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com S

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

The year ahead will demand more patience, sacrifice
and resolve. It can be tempting to think that America
can put aside the burdens of freedom. Yet times of test-
ing reveal the character of a nation."
- President George W. Bush after laying out his plan to send more American
troops into Iraq in a nationally-televised address yesterday.





Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views oftheir authors.
The Bi Three reborn?
A glimmer of hope for the American auto industry
A lthough the North American International Auto Show
doesn't officially open to the public until Saturday, Gen-
eral Motors (technically still a Michigan automaker) is
already creating quite a buzz. On Sunday, GM sent a jolt through
the industry by snagging the car and truck of the year awards for
its Saturn Aura and Chevrolet Silverado. Could it be that there's


$~tN PEAKIN6 of 'INsENsiTA'e/

life in the Big Three yet?
While the good press will generate inter-
est, only quality, innovative products will
boost sales and keep American automakers
on the field against Japanese power play-
ers Toyota and Honda - not to mention
the up-and-coming Chinese challenge. It's
refreshing to hear that GM - if not Ford
- retains an occasional grasp on con-
sumer demand and environmental com-
mon sense. This is proven by the Chevy
Volt concept car, an electric car that GM
swears will go into production. Seriously.
The Volt has an all-electric 160 horse-
power motor, powered by lithium-ion bat-
teries similar to the ones in music players,
cell phones and laptops. The batteries can
be charged not only via a wall outlet but also
by the Volt's three-cylinder gasoline engine,
which only burns fuel to recharge the bat-
teries. GM estimates that the car could get
the equivalent of 150 miles per gallon on a
60-mile trip, and it looks snazzy, too.
The Volt demonstrates an electrify-
ing leap for the previously static mind-
set of American car companies that until
recently pushed gargantuan SUVs, even
as market share and Michigan jobs evapo-
rated. What's also pleasantly surprising
is that such a strategy leapfrogs even the
environmental consciousness of reputedly
green Japanese auto companies like Toyo-
ta and Honda.
Before we get too excited about good old
American ingenuity overcoming all, how-
ever, it's important to maintain perspec-
tive. GM's accolades still come in the wake

The war on Hanukkah

of news of an inventory backlog at Chrys-
ler. Ford is borrowing on everything but
the FieldTurf at Ford Field in hopes of pre-
venting - or at least delaying - the crash
of one of America's niost iconic brands.
GM itself, despite another strong perfor-
mance this year from its Chevrolet unit,
will probably have to hand over the title
of "world's largest automaker" to Toyota
sometime around summer. And the Volt?
An electric car can't do much good if it isn't
put into production, and while it's clear that
GM plans to build the car, battery technol-
ogy and other obstacles will keep the Volt
off the roads for at least a few more years.
Alas, the fate of Michigan's economy
remains tied to the fate pf the Big Three.
The hemorrhaging of funds and jobs in
the American automobile industry has
left our once booming state with the high-
est unemployment rate of any state in the
country except Mississippi. While it's com-
mendable that at least one of the Big Three
seems serious about turning its fortunes
around, the state can't afford to depend on
car companies anymore.
We'd love to buy an entirely electric car
when it becomes available - curbing CO2
emissions is cool any day of the week. But
the automotive or manufacturing indus-
tries can no longer be the bread and butter
of our state; we've seen the carnage of that
over the past few years. Attracting innova-
tive jobs to the state and ensuring that it
has the educated workforce to do such jobs
must remain legislators' top priorities.

hile Bill O'Reilly, John
Gibson and everyone else
on the Fox News Channel
may be up in arms over the so-called
"war on Christmas," they convenient-
ly forget about the war on Hanukkah.
The war on Christmas may have been
epitomized with greetings of "Happy*
Holidays" in place of "Merry Christ-
mas," but the war on Hanukkah is
marked with actual violence.
Over the Hanukkah holiday, last
month, menorahs in Sunnyvale and
Mountain View, ---
Calif. were
vandalized. A "
menorah, for
those unaware
of Jewish prac- k
tices, is a can-
delabrum that
serves as the
symbol of theJ
Jewish people.
It usually has GOLDBERG
seven branches,
but a nine-branch version is
used for Hanukkah. The Sunnyvale
menorah, placed in front of a Jewish
center, was bent in half and its can-
dles were stolen. The Mountain View
menorah, an electronic version placed
in front of a civic center, had its lights
removed and wires ripped out.
Two more incidents were recorded
in Texas. Near Houston, a Jewish
resident videotaped a man drive by
his house, exit his vehicle and destroy
a Hanukkah bear on his property. In
Fort Bend County, a menorah was
completely destroyed while a nativ-
ity scene nearby was left completely
The desecrations were reported on
the East Coast as well. Two menorahs
were obliterated in Massachusetts,
along with three in New York and one
in Pennsylvania.

Largely ignored by the national
media and only covered by local press,
these attacks demonstrate the unde-
niable: anti-Semitism is alive and
well. There are two opposing popular
myths regarding anti-Semitism. One
is that it's dead, while the other sug-
gests there is a "new" version rampant
among the extremist critics of Israel.
It should be obvious, however, that
the old anti-Semitism, exemplified by
cultural stereotypes, has not disap-
peared at all. While it may be taboo
to call Jewish people cheap, evil and
money-grubbing in public, negative
stereotypes persist in private. Who
on this campus hasn't referred to or
at least heard of the reference of the
Jewish American Princess? Whit-
ney Dibo explored the topic (That
girl is such a JAP, 10/28/2005) when
she noticed that in private lives, this
ethnic and sexist slur against Jewish
people continues. "The term is used
so liberally it has lost the harshness
of an ethnic slur," she opined. As time
has gone on, instead of disappearing,
anti-Semitismhas become more com-
monplace and accepted.
Anti-Semitism has simply gone
below the surface. All it takes for it
to bubble up again is a little agitation.
While evangelicals like Pat Robert-
son and Billy Graham may be "great"
friends of Israel, their true attitudes
toward Jews are revealing. In the
early 1970s, Graham was recorded in
conversations with President Nixon
at the White House saying that he
believed Nixon needed to break the
Jewish "stranglehold" on the media.
Let's not forget Mel Gibson's anti-
semitic tirade when, after being
arrested for drunk driving in July of
last year, he proclaimed, "Jews are
responsible for all the wars in the
world." We cannot make judgments
on a new anti-Semitism if the old anti-

Semitism is alive and well, as shown
by recent vandalism of Jewish sym-
bols and decorations.
While the neoconservatives love
to use the term "Judeo-Christian"
when they want to find someone to
share blame for their disastrous poli-
cies, the truth is that there is nothing
"Judeo" about the culture they claim
to respect. Some of the neocons in the
Bush Administration may be Jew-
ish, but we shouldn't kid ourselves
- it's the Christian Right that calls
the shots. They may believe support-
ing the policies of Israel will expedite
the second coming of Jesus, but when
it comes to the Jews as a people, they
either need to convert to Christian-
ity or submit to the Christian Right's
Jews are still the victims of an over-
whelming number of hate crimes in
Like the war on
Christmas, except
more violent.
this country. According to 2005 FBI
hate crime statistics, of the 1,405 vic-
tims of a religion-based hate crime,
69.5 percent were Jews. Although
they're not in the same danger as in
1938, the simple fact remains that Jews
are still seen as outsiders, criminals,
usurpers and people to laugh at.
The "war on Christmas" may be
nothing more than the demented fic-
tion of Fox News pundits, but the war
on Hanukkah - the result of a deeply
ingrained anti-Semitism - is as real as
the ruined menorahs left in its wake.
Jared Goldberg can be reached
at jaredgo@umich.edu



America's porous ports

The latest U.S. security scare came just last
Sunday, when a package heading for a cruise
ship at the Port of Miami tested positive for C4
explosives. There was just one problem: The
imminent security threat, once disposed of
by the bomb squad, turned out to be sprinkler
parts. While port officials took the necessary
precautions, the mishap raises some important
questions of just how safe our ports truly are.
Fighting terrorism at home and abroad surely
includes authorities being able to distinguish
between plastic explosives and landscaping
It's a fact that false positives occur in explo-
sivestesting,butthemachines inMiamireturned
false readings half a dozen times - truly appall-
ing numbers for any security device. Considering
the money and effort put into improving border
security, these inaccuracies are no less than an
insult to the taxpaying public.
Here's a scary thought: If these machines
give false positives, they're likely to give false
negatives too, letting hazardous material pass
through undetected. At the very least, manu-
facturers of these devices should be held
accountable for their product's reliability, or
lack thereof.
However, inaccuracy in detection is only
one of the many problems facing port security
today. Most ports only have the resources to
manually inspect 5 percent of shipping con-
tainers, leaving roughly 95 percent of the 6 mil-
lion containers unchecked per year.
The most feasible solution is the installation
of additional drive-through X-ray scanning
equipment, which can inspect entire contain-
ers within minutes without the use of a time-
consuming manual ground inspection. So far,
however, only busy ports like New York and
Los Angeles are given this special treatment.
While port officials have begged for more of
these efficient machines, legislators have natu-

rally been slow to act.
The major roadblock to these improvements,
of course, has been funding. While the Dubai
Ports incidentbrought attention to the dire port
security situation, the additional $200 million
allocated to port security last year by Congress
falls embarrassingly short. Without more thor-
ough scanning equipment, American ports will
remain porous, the easiest means of sneaking
in undetected dangerous materials, including
but not limited to explosives and illegal drugs.
The Port of Miami's security scare also
exposed the problem of the miscommunication
at security checkpoints. For example, three
Muslim men detained at the port failed not
only to present proper identification but also
gave misinformation regarding the number
of people traveling in their truck. The district
judge has since dropped the charges against
the three men, who all turned out to be legal
citizens without any ties to terrorism. How-
ever, this "miscommunication" unfortunately
reveals that our security checkpoints are sim-
ply not as foolproof as we'd like to think. The
fact that port officials couldn't properly inter-
pret the situation is alarming, considering how
unprotected our ports remain. This wasn't
miscommunication, it was a mistake - the
sort of mistake that can shut down a port and
undermine normal security measures for hours
at a time.
Port security is one of the'many homeland
security issues left in the shadow of hot button
issues like airline security and domestic espio-
nage programs. However, the threat that inad-
equate port security poses to America is real.
We are far from finished securing our country,
particularly when sprinkler parts are detected
as bombs in a busy, modern port.
Ben Caleca is an engineering freshman and
a member of the Daily's editorial board.

Does dancing style of'today's
kids' signal lack of intimacy?
I first graduated from the University back in 1996 and
just graduated again. In my years of experience here, I
have noticed many changes, but none confuses me more
than the way you kids dance today.
Just as Rick's has gone from live bands to DJs, dancing
has gone from being a primarily face-to-face experience to
one that almost entirely involves backing up of the ass. On
any given night at any dance club in town, you'll rarely see
people facing one another. Now, I enjoy agood dry hump on
the dance floor as much as the next guy, but what's up with
this phenomenon? Is it a fear of intimacy? Is it that no one
knows any other way to dance? Is there some sort of shame
in dry humpingstrangers that makes you not want to look at
them? Please give me some insight. I'm sincerely perplexed.
Brian Stein
Statement story highlights
minority, brings back memories
I was pleasantly surprised to see the Statement arti-
cle A Minority Among Minorities in Wednesday's Daily
(01/10/2006). I grew up in St. Paul, Minn. - one of the areas
where Hmong immigrants have settled in high numbers.
Growing up, Ihad many Hmong friends and heard Hmong
spoken on a daily basis. At my high school, more students
spoke Hmong than English as their first language.
When I came to Michigan, I was completely unaware
that the group that played such a large role in my life in
Minnesota was also present here. I've really missed hear-
ing Hmong and being in contact with my Hmong friends,
so your article brought back many great memories.
Lucie Stein-Cartford
LSA sophomore
Consequences of Prop 2 will
reach further than anticipated
It will indeed be difficult for the University to com-
ply with Proposal 2. The University still has a legal
obligation not to discriminate against minority appli-
cants under federal laws that the voters of Michigan
cannot, and probably would not, repeal.

If the University resegregates, it will probably be
because it is practicing adverse impact discrimination:
That's when you do something technically colorblind
with no discriminatory intent, but it leads to unequal
outcomes. It's illegal unless thatreallyis the onlyoption.
That's why, for example, it's illegal to ask job applicants if
they have ever been arrested, to require college degrees
for a job that doesn't need them or to use tests that white
people tend to do better on. Even if you apply such poli-
cies across the board, you're still excluding more minor-
ities than whites, which is illegal.
We've been using this doctrine in employment law
for decades, but because of affirmative action, we've
never had to apply it to college admissions. Now we
have to. If test scores say that whites have more "merit"
than non-whites, it's the test that has to go - or at least
be discounted.
Of course, maybe the University will resegregate
anyway. Then we'll just proceed against employers
who do their recruiting here because drawing from an
overwhelmingly white pool is adverse impact discrimi-
nation. What will that do to the employment value of a
University degree? This is not over.
Eric Ebel
M -__

EditorialBoard Members: Kevin Bunkley, Amanda Burns, Sam Butler, Ben
Caleca, Devika Daga, Milly Dick, James David Dickson, Jesse Forester, Gary
Graca, Jared Goldberg, Jessi Holler, Rafi Martina, Toby Mitchell,
Rajiv Prabhakar, David Russell, Katherine Seid, Elizabeth Stanley,
Gavin Stern, Jennifer Sussex, John Stiglich, Neil Tambe, Rachel Wagner.
Letters Policy
All readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor.
Letters should include the writer s name, college and class standing or other
University affiliation.
Letters should be no longer than 300 words. The Michigan Daily reserves
the right to edit for length, clarity and accuracy.
Letters will be run according to timeliness, order received and the amount of
space available. Letters should be sent to tothedaily@umich.edu. Editors can be
reached at editpoge.editors@umich.edu.



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