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October 24, 2007 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-10-24

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4A - Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor. MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position oftthe Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
The Daily's public editor, Paul H. Johnson, acts as the readers' representative and takes a critical look at
coverage and content in every section of the paper. Readers are encouraged to contact the public editor
with questions and comments. He canbe reached at publiceditor@umich.edu.
:T S
The perils of plastic
'U' needs to educate students about dangers of credit cards
For the average college student, the offer of a free pizza or a
free sandwich is pretty tempting, and credit card companies
know it. With a few quick signatures and a lot of personal
information on some seemingly trivial documents, many students
unwittingly sign their way to free meals - and a lot of debt. Most
students have no idea what they are getting into until that first state-
ment arrives in the mail outlining a cripplingly high interest rate.
Although the University has taken modest steps to prevent credit
card companies from scamming students on campus, the best rem-
edy is better educating entering freshmen about credit cards so stu-
dents don't have monumental credit cards debts to go along with
their skyrocketing education debts.

We cannot wait forever."
- Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, warning that Turkey may take military action if Kurdish rebels
from northern Iraq continue attacking his country, as reported yesterday by The New York Times.
The green-collar solution


We know that global warm-
ing is real, and there is no
reasonable scientific per-
spective to the _
contrary. Scientists
have amassed vast E
aggregates of data
into a wide vari-
ety of charts and
graphs, and they
all demonstrate
a characteristic
exponential curve BRYAN
upward starting KOLK
at the Industrial
Revolution. Only
a few old dinosaurs still disavow this
evidence and voice a fervent disbelief
in global warming. The debate is really
over whether worrying about the envi-
ronment is worth the cost, and most
of us are still willing to gamble the
various conveniences of dirty energy
against the continued existence of ice
shelves and coastal cities.
All of the dirty, industrialized ele-
ments of our society - most promi-
nently energy, transportation and food
- have definitely made many aspects
of life much cheaper. While all of these
things tend to be unhealthy for both us
and the environment, the alternatives
cost more. As a result, environmental-
ism currently casts a dark shadow of'
elitism. Or more correctly, the white
shadow of elitism.
The most ardent proponents of
non-sustainable energy and industri-
alized food point out that the alter-
natives simply aren't feasible for the
economically disadvantaged. As they
would argue, who cares if cheap, syn-
thetic foods cause cancer - starving
would kill people much faster. And do
they really need to worry about the
increased speed of convection in the
planet's weather system?

Well, yes. That horribly, politi-
cally incorrect logic now has to argue
against Hurricane Katrina and all of
the new and confusing health prob-
lems faced by the first generations to
have lived and grown old on Twinkies.
These tremendous problems have had
an unsurprisingly disproportionate
effect on the economically disadvan-'
taged, especially non-whites, which
suggests that perhaps environmental
awareness is not only for the philan-
thropic rich. It seems all of the current
hot-button issues - race, environ-
ment, health and classism - are deep-
ly interrelated.
It is logical then that the solutions
for these social crises will also be
intertwined. So suggests Van Jones,
social activist and founder of Green
for All. Thomas Friedman of The New
York Times recently wrote an excellent
column on the work of this man, who
points out that people worried about
drive-by shootings are unlikely to get
too excited about saving polar bears.
But to Jones, environmentalism does
not have to be so removed from the
lives of mid- to low-income Americans.
Being green is not one size fits all.
And he has solutions to prove his
point: For example, if the government
was to enforce tougher energy effi-
ciency standards, there would be a
tremendous need for retrofitting build-
ings across America, creating manual
labor jobs that couldn't be outsourced.
As Jones's campaign's website states,
"a national effort to curb global warm-
ing and oil dependence can simultane-
ouslycreategood jobs, safer streets and
healthier communities."
Jones is based in Oakland, Calif.,
but his ideas seem custom made for
a certain Motor City. Where else are
such economic disparities so present,
so clearly outlined by race and so tenu-

ously dependent upon a failing dirty-
energy business? Detroit provides an
oddly fertile soil for a green revolution.
The answers lie in a redefinition
of "green." For starters, green is not
white. It is not elite, and these precon-
ceptions need to be done away with.
Instead, Jones suggests, green needs
to be the new blue collar. The crux of
his plan to change the world rests on
the concept of "green-collar jobs" and
education taking the place of the blue-
collar economy that is gradually being
driven into exile. His plan is about
opportunities - the kind that pay off in
the present and the future.
Going green could
be a cure-all for
many social issues.
This is brilliant. You can criticize
the idealism, but there is nothing
not to like about this concept. I see a
brand new Detroit in it, a revitalized
Michigan. More important, I 'see a
new conceptual framework for our
generation, a framework that real-
izes and engages with the deep con-
nections that exist between all of the
social issues that we are still trying to
tackle one at a time.
There is no place for short-sighted
economic and social solutions any-
more: Eventually even the short-sight-
ed amongst us will be able to see the
oncoming train wreck. The new solu-
tions need to be alot broader and more
colorful than anything we have seen.
Bryan Kolk can be reached
at beakerk@umich.edu.

Many college students, like most people,
have to rely on credit cards for most their
purchases, A study by major student loan
pFrovider Nellie Mae found that three-
fourths of all college students have credit
cards, and 40 percent of them that have at
least four. The reason is obvious: Credit
cards are simply a more convenient way to
pay for college's daily expenses.
But this convenience comes with a hid-
den danger. Buried in the microscopic lines
of legal text that most people don't read are
introductory interest rates that skyrocket
after the first few months. These hidden
technicalities can doom unaware students
to interest rates that are often more than 20
percent. A few late payments later, financial
woes can easily compound into impossible
debts. According to the Center for American
Progress, between 1995 and 2004, the aver-
age debt of young adults rose 33 percent to
more than $21,000.
This problem begs for a response, and
thankfully at least one group is answering
the call. The U.S. Public Interest Research
Group announced last week plans to visit
40 college campuses across the country to
educate students about the risks of signing
up for new credit cards. The goal of U.S.

PIRG is to provide students with the infor-
mation they need to keep themselves safe
from credit scams. Because many students
are away from home and dealing with
their own expenses for the first time, such
advice is vital.
Although the University will not beone of
U.S. PIRG's stops, it can still find other ways
to prevent students from plunging into debt.
One method that the University has tradi-
tionally used to stop these companies from
swindling students is a ban on sales promo-
tion in certain places on campus, like the
Diag. Even so, companies often just move
across the street or into the Michigan Union,
where they are allowed.
Banning these companies may be laud-
able, but it is hardly practical. Like the
approach taken U.S. PIRG, the only practi-
cal response is an emphasis on education.
The most vulnerable students are those who
have never been given any advice on the sub-
ject. At freshman orientation, the University
can hammer the point home and continue to
offer education sessions for all students so
that the perils associated with credit card
scams are well known. If students opt for
the free pizza anyway, they will only have
themselves to blame,

Undermining the academic debate

Edwards is right for Michigan
John Edwards understands the challeng- tion to the conflict in Iraq and America's
es that are facing the state of Michigan. He presence will not help end the civil war that
knows that our economy is being ravaged by has erupted.
unfair trade practices, As president, Edwards will immediately
and he understands -Fwithdraw 40,000 to 50,000 troops from
that we are suffering Iraq and will force Iraqis to take responsi-
from the decline of the bility for their future. He also believes that
auto industry and high the greatest way to support the troops is to
unemployment rates. make sure they are prepared and equipped
He has focused his for battle before they are sent into harm's
campaignon issues that way. Edwards will never send America's
are important to us. o brave soldiers into battle when they are not
However, Edwards properly trained and do not have the armor
also knows that when _ and weapons to complete their mission and
people break the rules, EDWARDS make it home safely.
they must face the con- Edwards believes that with American
sequences. The Michigan Democratic Party ingenuity and resolve we can turn the global
violated the rules of the Democratic National warming crisis into an opportunity to end
Committee by moving it's primary ahead of our depen-
Iowa, New Hampshire; South Carolina and dence on This viewpoint is the
Nevada. Edwards and several other Demo- foreign oils
cratic candidates withdrew from the Michi- and create second in a series by
gan primary, because they understand that a new econ- leaders of campus
a frontloaded primary system places more omy that groups supporting
importance on money than on issues. The embraces
Edwards campaign did not make its decision innovation. various presidential
to withdraw from the Michigan primary He will candidates.
easily because it is dedicated to finding solu- lead the
tions to the problems that Michigan resi- world to a new climate treaty that com-
dents face every day. mits other countries, including developing
Students for Edwards believes that it is nations, to reducing their pollution output.
important that students are able to choose He will require oil companies to install bio-
between all of the candidates when vot- fuel pumps at 25 percent of their gas stations
ing for president. We believe that Michigan and require all cars sold after 2010 to be flex-
should work with the DNC to find a more fuel cars. He would like to invest $1 billion
permanent solution to the primary system in for U.S. automakers to advance hybrid and
the future, rather than disrupting the cur- electric cars, hydrogen fuel cells and biofu-
rent primary cycle. els. Edwards believes all vehicles should be
Whether or not Edwards is in Michigan, fuel-efficient and will raise fuel standards to
he is still talking about the issues that are 40 miles per gallon by 2016.
important to our state. Edwards has the most Edwards believes that higher education
comprehensive and realistic plan for health should be accessible and affordable to all stu-
care of any candidate. Unlike Barack Obama's dents. His plan, "College for Everyone," was
plan, it covers every single American. Unlike put into action in North Carolina and has
Hillary Clinton, Edwards will not negotiate become a huge success. Any student willing to
with drug companies, insurance companies work part time during the first year of college
and their lobbyists. He will not compromise will have the cost of tuition and books com-
on health care coverage, quality or cost. The pletely reimbursed. He believes it is up to the'
Edwards plan will be paid for by rolling back Democratic party to restore hope in the Amer-
the Bush tax cuts for people making more ican education system. After eight years of
than $200,000 per year. Edwards believes the Bush administration, America deserves a
that health care should be a basic right of all president that values education and will invest
Americans, and he will not back down until in teachers and provide the funding to actually
every American is covered. enforce standards.
Edwards also believes that his biggest mis- John Edwards is the best candidate to bring
take was voting to give President Bush the real change to Washington. Please join him on
authority to go to war in Iraq. He has public- his journey to transform America.
ly apologized for that vote and believes it is
his responsibility to make up for it. Edwards Travis Radina isan LSA senior and chair of
understands that there is no military solu- the University chapter of Student for Edwards.

Just a few years after graduating with Isra
from the University in 2000, I was equal citi
sitting in a sunny cafe typing away only work
madly at what would become my first For pr
publication. The editor of an anthol- principles
ogy about the state of civil rights for peace, the
Arabs and Muslims had invited me to been awfu
contribute a chapter. ic. Oneblo
After rushing to make my first real hate spee
deadline, going through the tedious is a hatef
exchange of drafts with editors and organizat
reviewing the careful dissection of paign agz
my footnotes, I reviewed the final that Kov
proof with relief. In 2004, my first selectivel
published writing came out in a book show "he
titled "Civil Rights in Peril: The Tar- for his ow
geting of Arabs and Muslims." In resp
Over the years, I've heard from sure, the L
professors and students around the board des,
country who say that the book was about the
a valuable and timely resource about its distri
an understudied subject. It was the decided ti
first book to analyze critically the book, affi
post-Sept. 11 climate for Arab Ameri- academic
cans. Graduate students at George- among dif
town University read the book for a Howev
class on Arabs and Muslims in Amer- is re-eval
ica. Hearing from some of them was
very gratifying.
I aot proud that the University of LILA K1
Michigan made this book possible
- in more ways than one. My Uni-
versity education and the late-night
cramming at the UGLi gave me the
ability to research and write long
papers quickly. More important, the
book was published by Pluto Press
and distributed nationally by the
University of Michigan Press,
The reason I write about this is
not just to tell you about one of my
proudest moments. It is to share with
you the importance of Pluto Press
and its current arrangement with the
University of Michigan Press.
For the past four years, the Uni-
versity press has distributed Pluto's
books, which tend to be critical, cur-
rent and thought provoking. Many of
the books argueviewpoints excluded
from the mainstream debate in this
country. As the invasion of Iraq illus-
trates, the result of these lopsided
debates is disastrous policy.
Pluto's publications fit perfectly
with the University Press's mission
to distribute "books that contribute
to public understanding and dia-
logue about contemporary politi-
cal, social, and cultural issues."
The book I wrote a chapter in is a
perfect example.
Pluto, an independent publisher
based in the United Kingdom, is now
under fire for publishing a book sug-
gestingthatlegalized equalitybetween
Palestinians and Israelis is necessary
for peace. The book, "Overcoming
Zionism," by Bard College Profes-
sor Joel Kovel, has caused a backlash
because it questions the moral basis
for Israel's status as a Jewish state,
and because it questions Zionism, the
nationalistic movement that defines it
as a state for one people.
Supporters of Israel are outraged
at Kovel's suggestion that the Jew- Emad P
ish state practices "state-sponsored Flahert
racism," which unjustly prioritizes
Israeli Jews over Palestinians. He Michels
suggests that a one-state solution Tre

aelis and Palestinians, as
zens under the law is the
able one.
roposing an imaginative,
d solution aimed at a lasting
attacks against Kovel have
ully personal and hyperbol-
gger calledthe book "racist
ch," as if equal coexistence
ul concept. The pro-Israel
ion that initiated the cam-
ainst Pluto Press implied
el was a self-hating Jew,
y interpreting his words to
is apologetic to his readers
n Jewishness."
onse to this outside pres-
Utniversity Press's executive
veloped "deep reservations"
ebook and briefly halted
bution. Later, the board
o continue distributing the
rming its commitment "to
freedom and open debate
er,now the Universitypress
.uating its 4-year-old con-

tract with Pluto because of the politi-
cally motivated backlash against
Kovel's book. The press has reached
its decision but has yet to reveal it.
Among the supporters of Kovel
and his book is the noted historian
Howard Zinn. Zinn also supports the
publisher: "Pluto is a valuable and
unique intellectual resource, pub-
lishing progressive books of a consis-
tently high quality." He warned that
ending the agreement with Pluto
"would be a serious blow to the prin-
ciples of pluralism, academic free-
dom and free speech."
These principles are especially
important for those with unpopular
or marginalized views. The Univer-
sity Press should continue to help the
public have access to these views so
they can be considered and debated.
Sound public policy, as the debacle in
Iraq now shows, requires the airing
of a broad range of critical views.
Will Youmans is a doctoral
student in communications.



Ansari, Kevin Bunkley, Ben Caleca, Milly Dick, Mike Eber, Brian
ty, Gary Graca, Emmarie Huetteman, Theresa Kennelly, Emily
,Robert Soave, Gavin Stern, Jennifer Sussex, Neil Tambe, Matt
cha, Radhik4 Upadhyaya, Rachel Wagner, Patrick Zabawa



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