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October 09, 2007 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-10-09

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10 - Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Compromise likely
on wiretap bill

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

BROWSING A ROUTTTOTTE

Bill would extend
NSA powers
By ERIC LICHTBLAU
and CARL HULSE
The New York Times
WASHINGTON - Two months
after vowing to roll back broad
new wiretapping powers won by
the Bush administration, congres-
sional Democrats appear ready to
makeconcessionsthatcould extend
some of the key powers granted to
the National Security Agency.
Bush administration officials
say they are confident they will
win approval of the broadened
wiretapping authority that they
secured temporarily in August as
Congress rushed toward recess,
and some Democratic officials
admit that they may not come
up with the votes to rein in the
administration.
As the debate over the NSA's
wiretapping powers begins anew
this week, the emerging legislation
reflects the political reality con-
fronting the Democrats. While they
are willing to oppose the White
House on therconduct of the war
in Iraq, they remain nervous that
they will be labeled as soft on ter-
rorism if they insist on strict curbs
on intelligence-gathering.
A Democratic bill to be proposed
today in the House would main-
tain for several years the type of
broad, blanket authority for NSA
wiretapping that the administra-
tion secured in August for just six
months. But in an acknowledg-
ment of civil liberties concerns, the
measure would also require a more
active role by the special foreign
intelligence court that oversees the
NSA's interception of foreign-based
communications.
A competing proposal in the Sen-
ate, still being drafted, may be even
closer in line with the administration's
demands,withthepossibilityofinclud-
ing retroactive immunity for telecom-
munications companies that took part
in the NSA's once-secret program to
wiretap without court warrants.
No one is willing to predict with
certainty how the issue will play

out. But some congressional offi-
cials and others monitoring the
debate over the legislation said
that the final result may not be
much different than it was two
months ago, despite Democrats'
insistence that they would not let
stand the August extension of the
NSA's powers.
"Many members continue to fear
that if they don't support whatever
the president asks for, they'll be
perceived assoftonterrorism,"said
William Banks, a professor spe-
cializing in terrorism and national
security law at Syracuse Univer-
sity who has written extensively on
federal wiretapping law.
The August bill, known as the
Protect America Act, was approved
by Congress inthe finalhours before
itssummerrecessafterheatedwarn-
ings from the administration that
legal loopholes in wiretapping cov-
erage had left the country vulner-
able to another terrorist attack. The
legislation significantly reduced the
role of the foreign intelligence court
and broadened the NSA's ability to
listen in on foreign-based commu-
nications without a court warrant.
"We want the statute made per-
manent,"Dean Boyd, a spokes-
man for the Justice Department,
said Monday. "We view this as a
healthy debate. We also view it
as an opportunity to inform Con-
gress and the' public that we can
use these authorities responsibly.
We're goingto go forward and look
at any proposals that come forth,
but we'll look at them very care-
fully to make sure they don't have
any consequences that hamper our
abilities to protect the country."
House Democrats overwhelm-
ingly opposed the interim legisla-
tion in August and believed at the
time they had been forced into a
corner by the administration.
As Congress takes up the new
legislation, a senior Democratic
aide said House leaders are work-
ing hard to make sure the adminis-
tration does not succeed in pushing
through a bill that would make per-
manent all the powers it secured in
August for the NSA. "That's what
we're trying to avoid," the aide said.
"We have that concern too."

Washtenaw Community College student Gretchell Herman looks at her jewelry purchases outside Ana Banana, a small vintage boutique located above Espresso Royale
Cafe on South University yesterday. Ana Banana will be moving toa new location in Nickels Arcade in early November.
College applicants resort to thank-you notes

Prospective freshman look
for an extra edge in the
admissions game
By KAREN W. ARENSON
The New York Times
Call it a testament to how carefully stu-
dents court college admissions offices these
days: Thank-you notes have become the new
frontier.
Take the one that came with M&Ms to match
Lehigh, University's school colors of brown and
white, and with the applicant's name inscribed
on the candy. She thanked officials for her inter-
view, adding, "Keep me on the tip of your tongue
when reviewing applications."
Some students buy college stationery for
their notes as if to signal they already belong on
campus. The flying pigs that adorned a thank-
you to Guilford College in North Carolina were
certainly eye-catching, as was the smiley face
at the end of the note.There are even thank-

you notes that are less than thankful, like the
one from a young man whoannounced he
had visited Lehigh under parental duress and
begged to be rejected. "He said, 'My parents
don't know I'm sending this letter,"' said J.
Leon Washington, the dean of admissions and
financial aid.
Washington said that he was seeing more
thank-you notes than ever, and that Lehigh had
received 50 or 60 in just one day last week. The
notes are directed not just to admissions officers,
but also to college tour guides and alumni who
are often the ones most likely to be conducting
college interviews these days.
Woody O'Cain, the admissions director at
Furman University in South Carolina, said he
received thousands each year.
"I laugh and tell people that's the kind of
stuff that replaces the zeros on my paycheck,"
O'Cain said. "I realize a lot them are strategic.
A guidance counselor says be sute to write
a thank-you note because they want it to be
added to the file. But there are plenty that are
very heartfelt."
Still, Mary Fitzgerald Hull, a college adviser

at a public high school in Maryland, seemed to
strike a nerve amongcollege admissions officers
longing for authenticity when she asked recent-
ly for sample thank-you notes on a Web site for
admissions professionals. Hull said one of her
students disagreed with her mother on what
was appropriate.
"Can you imagine your daughter going to her
counselor and saying, 'My mom and I can't agree
on what should go into a thank-you note?"' Dan
Rosenfield, an admissions official at the Univer-
sity of Louisiana at Lafayette, said in an inter-
view.
"To be concerned about, 'Am I going to say
the wrong thing?"' Rosenfield continued, "Or
'Am I going to write a thank-you note that hurts
me?' It just gets crazy."
Miss Manners, Judith Martin, who writes a
syndicated etiquette column that runs in more
than 200 newspapers, says she, for one, does ndt
think thanks are needed for a campus visit: "I
would never, ever say, 'Don't write a thank-you
note under any circumstances.' I don't want to
discourage them. But it is not really a situation
that is mandatory."

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Funding
hike possible
for schools
Under new budget,
lower-funded
districts could see
1 percent increase
LANSING (AP) - Lower-fund-
ed school districts in Michigan
will get extra state aid to help
bridge the funding gap among K-
12 public schools under the budget
deal reached last week.
House Education Chairman
Tim Melton (0-Pontiac) said yes-
terday that legislative leaders and
Gov. Jennifer Granholm agreed
to designate at least $20 million
in so-called equity payments to
lower-funded districts this school
year.
It remained unclear Monday
howmuch more each districtcould
receive because the funding for-
mula has yet to be determined. But
Melton -said three-fourths of the
state's 774 districts could benefit.
He was enthusiastic about
another part of the deal: writing
into law a provision aimed at nar-
rowing the gap between higher-
and lower-funded districts every
year
Last school year, districts got a
minimum of $7,085 per student or
more than $12,000 a student.
The disparity originates from
an older school finance system -
since changed - in which districts
with higher property values got
more in funding. Those richer dis-
tricts still getmore money, though
maybe not as much as they would
have.
Gradually erasing the funding
gap is "paramount," Melton said.
He cited a street dividing the Pon-
tiac and Bloomfield Hills districts
where students on one side of the
road go to schools with $5,000
more in per-pupil funding than
students across the street.
"It's a grave disparity," Melton
said.
One problem, however, is that
K-12 schools will get 1 percent
more in state funding under the
agreement to raise taxes and cut
spending. Granholm had initially
backed a 2.5 percent inflationary
increase.

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