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September 05, 2007 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-09-05

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4A - Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

eICdI'*an 4a14hj
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
413 E. Huron St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Book blues
University's textbook reform doesn't go far enough
Students have had plenty of time to contemplate the exorbi-
tant cost of textbooks while waiting in line at local book-
stores this week. Don't worry though, the University has
a task force on it. That doesn't do much to make you feel better
about dropping three figures on a 600-page, hard-bound mon-
strosity that you later find out was only "mildy recommended"
(though the sign in the bookstore said otherwise). But at least
improvements are in the works. The question is, when will we

Thanks for the question, you little jerk."
- Republican presidential candidate John McCain responding at a campaign event at a New Hampshire high school to
a student who questioned whether his age would impair his judgment, as reported yesterday on CNN.com.
IY -
Last lessons


start to see substantial results?
Lester Monts, the University's senior vice
provost for academic affairs, launched the
textbook task force in June 2006. Late last
semester, the task force ranked the Uni-
versity of Michigan 38 out of 39 universi-
ties with regard to their systems of making
book lists available early. Everyone agrees
that a problem exists. The proposed solu-
tion - creating an online database where
students can access book lists before each
semester - is not perfect, but it at least
attempts to alleviate the problem.
The plan would let students know what
books they need early enough to order
them through online retailers, who have
significantly lower prices in general than
the bookstores. That plan would help but it
is only part of the solution - one which still
won't be in place for at least another year.
Professors would be urged but not
required to post book lists online before
the semester. The University continues
to labor under the delusion that requir-
ing professors to do so would overstep
its authority. Certainly some professors
might object, wanting every last minute
to decide which of three expensive books
they want to use. However, because .they,
have to settle on one eventually, asking
them to do so a month or so in advance is

not exactly totalitarian.
Textbook reform must also go beyond
just posting book lists online. Professors
must say on the online list which books are
required and which ones are recommend-
ed, and they should elaborate on what the
purpose of the recommended books is so
students are better informed when decid-
ing whether to buy them.
Another welcome improvement would be
the end of unnecessary book bundles. Too
often, students pay extra for a two- or three-
book bundle when only one of those will be
used, a terrible waste of money and paper.
speaking of a terrible waste of money and
paper, a complete overhaul of coursepacks is
long overdue. A university at the brink of a
completely digitized library should be able
to recognize the wastefulness of forcing stu-
dents buy hard copies of readings that are
very often available for free online through
outlets like ProQuest. Knowing which read-
ings are part of the coursepack will let stu-
dents decide on their own if they want to
print out each one, read it online or ignore it
completely, should it never come up in class.
These changes aren't radical. They've
been discussed for years, and there's no bet-
ter time than now to finally give students a
break on textbooks.

The first time I met Marilynn
Rosenthal, we were in New
York's Metropolitan Museum
of Art. Five weeks
had passed since
her son Josh, and
my father's best
friend had died
in the terror-
ist attacks on the
World Trade Cen-
ter, and we were
gathered to com- EMMARIE
memorate his life.
Unlike most HUETTEMAN
mothers in her-
position, Marilynn was composed. She
smiled warmly when she greeted me,
and as I found myself smiling back, I
naively wondered if it was appropri-
ate for people to smile at memorials. It
was clear that Marilynn understood
the magnitude of the tragedy, but she
wouldn't permit self-pity; that just
wasn'ther. Instead, she celebrated her
son and channeled her energy into her
search for understanding.
Marilynn continued that search
until she died of aggressive cancer last
month. She was 77.
Because most University of Michi-
gan students knew her as Professor
Rosenthal, her desire for knowledge
would seem normal, even unremark-
able. She was a medical sociologist
who wrote eight books, including "The
Incompetent Doctor: Behind Closed
Doors" and "Medical Mishaps: Pieces
of the Puzzle." After all, most profes-
sors engage in research, write books
and have PhDs.
But what professor travels halfway
around the world to meet the mother
of the man who murdered her son?
After Josh's death, Marilynn pur-
sued every available resource to

understand what had happened on
Sept. 11, 200L She went to the govern-
ment, studied the Quran, even visited
the restaurant in Florida where the
hijackers ate lunch after their flying
lessons. She used her share of the Sept.
11 Victims Compensation Fund to start
the Ford School of Public Policy's Josh
Rosenthal Education Fund Lecture,
given each year to help the community
objectively understand the cross-cul-
tural challenges facing our society in
the wake of the terrorist attacks.
In 2006, she testified at the trial
of Zacarias Moussaoui, sometimes
dubbed "the 20th hijacker." In her
testimony, Marilynn contended that
Moussaoui did not deserve the death
penalty, because the case against him
was weak. She told the jury, "We're not
going to get caught up in a whirlpool of
frustration and sadness and anger."
And while the Bush Administra-
tion called the terrorists savages,
Marilynn came to know her son's
murderer as "another mother's son."
She researched the life of Marwan
al-Shehhi, the young man who flew
United Airlines Flight 175 into the
South Tower of the World Trade Cen-
ter and killed Josh. She traveled to the
United Arab Emirates to try to meet
with al-Shehhi's mother, talking to his
relatives and visiting his hometown.
And she learned that the woman was
another son's anguished mother.
For Marilynn, though, her desire
for understanding was hardly an
unhealthy obsession. When we met to
catch up, she would spend most of the
discussion asking about my college
experience before mentioning her own
work. She described with unassum-
ing passion her plans to compile her
research into a book about the lives and
connected fates of Josh and al-Shehhi.

To her, it was a story that needed to be
told - a story that she needed to tell.
And while Marilynn's search had
nothing to do with bitterness, it had
perhaps even less to do with the pub-
licity she attracted. When she intro-
duced Lt. General Brent Scowcroft
as the speaker at Josh's first memo-
rial lecture in 2002, the media largely
bypassed the former national security
advisor and focused instead on Mari-
lynn. After the speech, my dad men-
tioned complimented Marilynn for
telling us, "Don't you know? None of
that matters."
The consummate
mentor, in life
and death:


Obama stands for hope

It really didn't matter. No matter
how many times I saw her on CNN,
to me, Marilynn was the advisor who
once ticked off my parents by sug-
gesting that I bartend to supplement
my 16-year-old dreams of musical
theatre stardom. She was the teacher
who asked me challenging questions
about my first freshman courses
when everyone else just wanted to
know if I liked my professors. She
was the friend who gave me a hug at
last fall's memorial lecture, despite
the line of important people jockey-
ing for her attention. And she was the
mentor who taught me that good can
come of evil.
She was the good.
Emmarie Huetteman is an associate
editorial page editor. She can be
reached at huetteme@umich.edu.

Forty-six million Americans do not have the
health insurance necessary to access Amer-
ica's health care system. More than 3,600
Americans have now died in a war that should
never have been waged and has provided Al
Qaeda with a ripe recruiting ground for ter-
rorists. Twelve million children in America
are living in poverty. And as multinational
corporations receive tax breaks while report-
ing windfall profits, middle-class Americans
are losing jobs because these same corpora-
tions are outsourcing to India and China.
Politicians in Washington, pressured
by powerful special-interest and lobbying
groups to help a small number of corpora-
tions rather than the majority of Ameri-
cans, drafted the policies that created such
dire conditions. It is time for a fundamental
change in the way Washington does politics.
As Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) demon-
strated in the CNN/YouTube presidential
debate on July 23rd, he is the most qualified
candidate to convert that need for change
into sound and sincere policies.
Whatever the issue, from healthcare to
education, Obama was the only candidate in
the debate to repeatedly point out the role of
special interest groups and lobbyists in craft-
ing the destructive policies that are leading
America down a disastrous path. He empha-
sized the fact that when special interest
groups buy every seat at the negotiating table
there is no room left for the voices and con-
cerns of ordinary Americans.
Obama made it clear during the debate that,
when confronted with a choice between sid-
ing with special interests and powerful cor-
porations or hardworking Americans, he will
always choose the latter. For this very reason
he has refused to take any money from lob-
byists and has relied instead on a grassroots
movement composed of Americans from all

walks of life to run the kind of campaign capa-
ble of changing politics in this country.
On foreign policy, Obama has demon-
strated his ability to make sound decisions.
He is the only major presidential candidate
who opposed the war in Iraq from the start
because he foresaw the difficulties that have
since claimed so many lives. He realized that
getting out of such a volatile region would
not be nearly as easy as going in. Obama has
introduced legislation in Congress that would
pull U.S. troops out of Iraq by March 2008.
Additionally, he wants to once again engage
in constructive dialogue with the rest of the
world to regain America's moral author-
ity after eight years of senseless policies that
have marginalized even our oldest allies.
In his decade-long political career, Obama
has already demonstrated his ability to unite
people through hope instead of dividing them
through fear. As a community organizer in
the southside of Chicago, he united a neigh-
borhood to confront the devastation brought
on by the closing of steel mills. As an Illinois
state senator, he helped pass tough ethics leg-
islation to make sure special interests could
not buy the votes of elected officials. He is now
leading the fight to do the same in Congress.
On every occasion and at every opportu-
nity Obama has shown his capacity to change
politics and unite people through hope. He
has shown his capacity to battle the special
interests and create policies that help ordi-
nary Americans, not powerful corporations,
and to be an American leader, not just a Dem-
ocratic one. That is why, as leader of the free
world, Obama will bring the nation and the
world together after eight years of division.
Fahad Faruqi is an LSA junior and the
comwunications coordinator for Students for
Barack Obara in the state of Michigan.


Timeless lessons
learned from loss

were countini
onship to mal
ence: Get you
the alumni w
on their alma

TO THE DAILY: Realize what
I would like to thank the Univer- you yourself
sity Athletic Department and the players? It's t
football team for the education they character. TI
gave me as an undergraduate and in ashes. Let's le
the 38 years since then. I had forgot- this loss. Beat
ten an important lesson learned out-
side the classroom. Now I've recalled Jim Powers
it, and I am the better for it. Alum
In my first football season as a
student in 1975, I was stunned when
Michigan tied its first two home Greeks s
games. I had chosen Michigan over
Michigan State because of my vague message
understanding of its better aca-
demic reputation and potential for a TO THE DAI
national championship in football. I have a set
The reality check from those ties way that thet
made me realize that, though spec- dled itself sine
tator sports were fun, education sity. It has isc
was my real goal. Although I wit- from the res
nessed some thrilling games over and a great ex
the following years, the seasons is its annual f
were also peppered with upsets they make it
and, usually, a loss to Ohio State or the annual fo
our bowl opponent. to stand out, b
Gradually, I came to realize that doing is sayi
Michigan football was not just a fun you" and "we
part of the college experience but everyone else
also an essential part of the Univer- At the pat
sity's educational process. Football Saturday, I l
wasn't just for the fundraisers, the to see the w
coaches or even the players. It was T-shirts that
bigger than that. The football pro- see? Huge gl
gram was intended to build char- system shirts
acter within the student body. The ,only were the
idea was to raise their hopes and of maize, but
then dash them. What better way to versity's blue
teach students how life was going to the opportun
be in the outside world? that are badg
The football team's record has ity every fall.
been so consistent over the past "Change You
decades that there's really no other change my lif
explanation than that it must be This mess
intentional. But once in a great ing that my l
while, life surprises you, like it did that my life w
during the undefeated 1997 season. their stupid c
So dry those tears, streaming ternity will b
since Saturday. Those of you who if the Greek;

g on a national champi-
ke your college experi-
r priorities straight. To
whose self-image.rides
mater's performance:
really matters is what
do in life. And to the
ime to show your real
he past is a bucket of
arn the true lessons of
t Oregon.

offering me an eternity of happiness
upon my death. The way this shirt is
designed shows that it is not target-
ed at the freshmen who most com-
monly rush but at upperclassmen.
How can freshmen "change their
life" if they don't know what college
life is like yet? You can expect me,
and I hope many others, booing at
every Greek member who wearsthis
shirt on football Saturdays.
Marshall Sunshine

coudhae seen ths on
Oh ts for the fra I'Of =cou Dn& coft
Daily Opinion is looking for new columnists to fill out Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the
its columnist roster. Columnists are expected to turn editor. Letters should be under 300 words and
in a column of 650-750 words every other week. Inter- must include the writer's full name and University
ested parties should contact the editorial page editor affiliation. All submissions become property of
at syed@michigandaily.com right away. the Daily. Send letters to tothedoily@umich.edu.

end wrong Upsets tea
at game more than
rious problem with the Michigan lost t
Greek system has han- over the weekend
ce I came to the Univer- heard. Unfortunat
Dlated itself repeatedly the loss as an om
t of the student body, Michigan footbal
xample of this isolation loserdom. These J
fall T-shirt. Every year too busy changing
a different color than the epic battle pla;
otball T-shirt in order field. This is spo
but what they are really and you lose son
ng "we're better than last Saturday wa
e don't need to be like lent football gam
." watched or heard
hetic football game last they would rather
ooked back, expecting the massacres hos
onderful sea of maize teams? Leave that
I love, and what did I In 1903, the
obs of bright blue Greek "point-a-minute"
. It infuriated me. Not to a tie by a little
ey wearing blue instead team. The result
it wasn't even the Uni- rivalry in college
. After the game, I got that continues to
ity to read these shirts pose that we invit
es of ego and superior- or whoever is th
. on the back they say, onship Subdivisi
r Life." Like I need to sion I-AA) natio:
fe. every year. If we
age is clearly imply- ing rivalry, it wou
ife is not adequate and that the Big Hous
'ill get better by joining fair-weather fans
lubs. Like joining a fra-
bring me happiness, as Franek Hasiuk
system was my savior, Rackham

o Appalachian State
, in case you haven't
ely, some have taken
en of the decline of
1 into a cesspool of
folks were probably
their diapers to see
yingitself out on the
rts. You win some,
me. What happened
s a seriously excel-
e. Can anyone who
the game really say
have been at one of
ted by other Big Ten
to Ohio State.
storied Michigan
offense was held
-known Minnesota
was the first great
football history, one
this very day. I pro-
e Appalachian State
e Football Champi-
on (formerly Divi-
nal champion back
make this an ongo-
ild show the country
se is for football, not

ch us about


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