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November 07, 2007 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-11-07

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4A - Wednesday, November7, 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
tothedaily@umich.edu
KARL STAMPFL IMRAN SYED JEFFREY BLOOMER
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR
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.
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 oftthe paper. Readers are encouraged to contact the public editor
with questions and comments. He canbe reached at publiceditor@umich.edu.
Crmealr
Blatant discrimination at 'U' must not continue
f the pending lawsuit filed by the Michigan Paralyzed Veter-
ans of America left any doubt about how accommodating the
University has been to its disabled fans at Michigan Stadium,
the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights cleared it up
last week. Chronicling more than a decade of disregarding the dis-
abled, ignoring the law and circumventing an investigation, a let-
ter from the OCR to the University made it clear that the lack of
action has been blatantly discriminatory.

Richard B. Cheney ... warrants impeachment
and trial and removal from office."
- Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), introducing legislation to impeach Vice President Dick
Cheney on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday. Kucinich's fellow Democrats
tried to defeat the resolution, but it passed, thanks to Republican support. The Republicans
hope to embarrass the Democrats by forcing them to discuss the resolution on the floor.

I

The liberal revenge

Concluding an investigation that began
in March 2005 and evaluated construction
projects dating back to 1991, the 42-page
letter was in some respects an extension of
the grievances cited in the MPVA's pend-
ing lawsuit. Echoing the claim made in the
lawsuit, the OCR found the stadium's lack
ofwheelchair-accessible seating dispersed
throughout the stadium to be deplorable
and discriminatory. However, unlike the
lawsuit, the OCR found more broad acces-
sibility problems with the routes into the
stadium, the bathrooms, the concession
stands, the routes into the seating area
and the M-Dens. It also came with a threat
to cut federal funding if the University
doesn't make changes.
The OCR put ahuman face to the problem,
recounting the anecdotes of several fans
who suffered from the Big House's unwel-
coming conditions. One wheelchair-bound
fan described getting friction burns on his
hands when he tried to slow his wheelchair
on a steep slope exiting the stadium. Anoth-
er man complained that when he took his
disabled father to a game, he couldn't find an
accessible bathroom before his father soiled
himself, and even then none of the bath-
rooms had resources to properly deal with
the situation. Lastly, a fan described having
to empty his catheter bag outside because
the passageway into the bathroom stall was
too narrow for his wheelchair.
In its response Monday to this investiga-
tion, the University did what has become
all too common in the way it has handled
this problem: It wrote off these serious
concerns as anomalies that don't require
any more than a minimal, behind-the-
scenes response. '
Again, the University used its counterpro-
ductive argument about the technical, legal
question of whether its projects are reno-
vations, which would require ADA compli-
ance; or repairs, which would not. It added
that it doesn't have to follow the law anyway
because disabled people won't fill the seats
even if it did provide them. For good mea-
sure, it took a few pot shots at the OCR too,
claiming that the OCR's judgment was "fun-
damentally unfair and wrong."
These arguments are both disingenuous
and distracting. As the OCR noted, the lack
of demand for wheelchair accessible seats is

an illustration of the problem rather than a
reason not to act, because fans don't want
tickets if the stadium is inaccessible and
unwelcoming. While it's true that the ADA
was not intended to force old stadiums to
retrofit the entire structure forsmall repairs,
its intent certainly wasn't to allow stadiums
to indefinitely make small repairs that add
up to big changes while skirting the law. Its
intent probably wasn't to force disabled peo-
ple to soil themselves because of the lack of
accessible bathrooms, either.
At a meeting of the Senate Advisory
Committee on University Affairs - the
executive branch of the Faculty Senate
- University President Mary Sue Coleman
called the skybox plan "the most openly
transparent project" she has ever worked
on at the University. However, she failed to
mention the OCR letter, which she received
earlier that day. How ironic. While making'
that statement, Coleman must also have
forgotten about the stacking of the speak-
ers' list with skybox supporters at the June
meeting of the University Board of Regents
and the faculty petition stating that itsvoice
wasn't heard in this process.
The OCR letter describes numerous other
University attempts to thwart the investiga-
tion. Although the OCR requested informa-
tion about the multiple "Concrete Repair
Projects" made during the 1990s,, it didn't
receive this information until July 2007.
Instead, many of the details in its letter had
to be gathered from other sources, including
pictures from Sports Illustrated, the Univer-
sity's website and minutes of Regents meet-
logs. On at least seven occasions between
2004 and 2007, the OCR also notified the
University that the changes it was making
to the stadium were significant enough to be
renovations - a detail Coleman convenient-
ly ignored in her fervor over skyboxes.
The University's complete lack of trans-
parency and the fact that it has to be coerced
into accommodating people in wheelchairs
are a complete disgrace to its institutional
reputation. With so many complaints at
the Big House being ignored, it's easy to
wonder how many other university facili-
ties are unaccommodating to students in
wheelchairs. Such discrimination should be
unthinkable at the University of Michigan.
Sadly, it's now a fair possibility.

ith the strike of the Writ-
ers Guild of America domi-
nating the discussion, The
New York Times
reported yesterday
some excitingnews
in television that
may be easily over- ;
looked: The dark-
ness has passed.
But for how long?
Just as the Bush
presidency nears IMRAN
its long-awaited SYED
end, it seems the
mind-poisoning
dominance of the Fox News prime-
time juggernaut is at an end too. Keith
Olbermann, the popular sportscaster-
turned-newsman who hosts "Count-
down" on MSNBC, has for months
openly challenged the prince of dark-
ness himself, Bill O'Reilly, in both
ratings and relevance. By competing
directly with "The O'Reilly Factor,"
once the unquestioned king of cable
news, Olbermann has won over a sig-
nificantnumber ofviewers, even occa-
sionally surpassing O'Reilly's ratings
among the all-important 25-54 age
demographic, accordingto the Times.
Righteously overzealous as he is,
Olbermann has proven quite a point
with his successful insurrection.
Contrary to what we felt inclined to
accept for the past several years, the
majority of Americans have not trans-
formed suddenly into foot soldiers for
the neo-con cause: They simply want a
news show that does something more
than tell them what happened. They
want analysis. They want spin. But it
has tobe edgy and unique.
Just as Jon Stewart won over so
many viewers with his well-aimed
irreverence, Olbermann has reached
out to viewers in ways other news-
casters have been reluctant to do. It
involves more than just being openly
liberal or opinionated; Olbermann is
biased. and not afraid to say exactly
Rep. Dingell answers
misleading criticism

what he means to imply. Whereas
people like Chris Matthews feel the
need to maintain some semblance of
neutrality, Olbermann makes no such
pretense. His fiery "Special Com-
ment" segments, which nearly always
evolve into a first-person tongue-lash-
ing of Bush, leave little doubt to where
his politics are.
Olbermann was a sorely needed
opposing force to counter the gains
made by the lunacy coming from the
Fox News Channel. Perhaps we could
even use a couple more like him to
really even the conversation. The
trend that has now started, however,
promises to go just beyond that and
maybe devolve into a bjtterly divisive
movement that closely emulates the
many faults of O'Reilly and Fox News.
The Times reported that MSNBC
has plans to give Rosie O'Donnell a
primetime news show. That's good so
far: O'Donnell's special brand of liberal
rabblerousingmay have been too much
for "The View," but it will fit in perfect-
ly alongside Olbermann. It also report-
ed that Matthews has taken his show,
"Hardball," decidedly left in recent
months, hoping to ride Olbermann's
coattails back to the forefront of cable
news. That's fine too, because no one
ever really mistook Matthews for a
neutral messenger in the first place.
But the trouble begins with the
report that MSNBC's lone remain-
ing conservative voice in primetime,
Tucker Carlson, may be on his way
out. I have no sympathy for Carlson,
but the apparentcpushtoward bringing
in all liberals and eliminating conser-
vatives is a dishearteningindicator.
My problem with Fox News was
never that it was too conservative: It
was always that the network was too
one-sided. In becoming the liberal
equivalent of Fox News, MSNBC's
distortion of the conversation will
become just as destructive. Sure, it's a
slight improvement that viewers will
atleasthave the optionofliberalvoices

to go with Fox News's warmongering,
but why must differing viewpoints be
partitioned off onto an entirely differ-
ent network? Far from having a lively
debate of opposing viewpoints on one
show, it seems we aren't even willing
to stand for diversity of thought on
one network.
With political divisiveness ram-
pant on the campaign trail and here
on campus, exactly what this means
for the prevailing notion of American
democracy is a troubling thought. I
love Olbermann for what he does, but
for him to advocate that all shows on
a cable news network must be a varia-
tion on the same ideologies (as he did
A liberal Fox
News is the last
thing we need.
in the Times story) is unjustifiable.
Such a thought is born from either
an inability or refusal to understand
that political disagreements are rarely
about right or wrong. They're simply
about a different viewpoint that, at its
core, almost always has some merit.
Fox News accepted long ago that
liberals are God-hating, flag-burning
terrorist sympathizers. The damage
that type of stereotyping has done to
national political discourse is alarm-
ing - almost as alarming as what will
happen if liberals take their turn to be
equally as polarizing and prejudiced.
Why is it that we cannot have a net-
work with differing viewpoints and
true disagreement? Isn't that the most
logical extension of American democ-
racy to the airwaves?
Imran Syed is the Daily's
editorial page editor. He can be
reached at galad@umich.edu.

4
I

4
I

SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU

Coach Lloyd Carr
kick him in the butt
tion if he was laughi
Mike, don't you
win with class?T

MOHAMMAD DAR EE
The cause lives oil

I think it's fair to say that the University of
Michigan has some of the most compassionate
students out there. Outside oftheir class obliga-
tions, our students tackle so many issues with
incredible vision and passion. That productiv-
ity has been something that has continuously
humbled me in my
time here. This viewpoint
During my first
Festifall, I was is the third in a
stunned by how series about the
much is always r
going on. I asked present state of
myselfaboutwhere student activism.
I would fit into all
of this. I decided that if I could do anything
to improve all of the efforts of other students,
it would be worthwhile. That was what first
drove me to the Michigan Student Assembly.
Over the past few months, I have thought
a lot about what we as students are able to
do thanks to our unique position. I have also
thought about how lucky I have been just to
be here over the last three years.
As students, we're not weighed down by
burdens that come later in life. We're attempt-
ing many things for the first tirpe, so we bring
an enthusiasm to our work that cannot be
matched. We are the hope for the passing gen-
eration and the inspiration for the next gener-
ation, but that next generation is what I worry
about. While we do a lot to make the world a
better place, we often don't realize how lucky
we are to be in this position as students.
Getting to college is a great achievement for
anyone, but it is a combination of our luck and
effort. I would never say that anyone arrived
here based solely on luck; we have all worked
hard, but sometimes luck is simply a product
of our circumstances. In the end, there is no
difference between me and someone who
doesn't know where his next meal is coming
from, other than the fact that I was lucky to

be the one born in the house able to provide
three square meals a day.
We're lucky because the providence of our
lives is that we had the access to get here.
This place was within our reach. However, it
would be a lie to say it is within everyone else's
reach too. That issue of access to education is
what made me organize the student rally for
affordable highe'r education at the statehouse
in Lansing earlier this semester. I am grateful
to all of the students who came out and stood
with us, but I think more students need to be
concerned about the issue.
Every time costs rise, we cut out people
who could have made great contributions to
the University and to student causes. I know
I would not be here if tuition rates had been
at their current level for my first year. I can
think of many great and compassionate peo-
ple from high school who grew up knowing
that they were priced out of a place like this
university, despite their best efforts.
Our world today is a place of great oppor-
tunity but still not of great access. It is an act
of great privilege that we are able to be stu-
dents of the University of Michigan. As stu-
dents, we work to right many wrongs in our
world - issues of equality, bias, world hunger
and disease. However, I hope that we will
still remember to work on righting one more
wrong - that of restricted access to educa-
tion. We must make that a high priority.
If we keep losingpeople alongthe way, we'll
keep losing potential members of our student
groups and of the University community, and
we'll suffer for it. If we lose sight of how lucky
we are, we'll lose sight of making the world
better for others. What good is it, after all, to
champion a cause in this world if you have no
one to keep it up after you're gone?
Mohammad Dar is an LSA senior and vice
president of the Michigan Student Assembly.

TO THE DAILY: sometime soon yot
I am writing in response to Mary again. I wonder1
Sweeters's viewpoint last week then. Haven't you I
criticizing me fpr not taking appro- _ around, comes aro
priate action on environmental grandiosity getting
concerns (Hold Dingell accountable, your clear thinking
11/02/2007), parts of which were
misleading. Paul Wieckowski
One of these misleading state- Alum
ments was the assertion that I
have "opposed strong increases"
to fuel economy standards.I am a Gravel iS rig
co-sponsor of H.R. 2927, the Hill-
Terry bill, which would increase Legalize ma
current fuel-economy standards by
40 percent while also protecting TO THE DAILY:
American jobs and creating incen- As a retired I
tives for new breakthrough fuel- officer, I heartily;
efficient technology. met Alaska senato
Unlike my critics, I do not see fuel thoughts on ending
economy as the only issue we must of marijuana (Gray
deal with to meet my goal of reducing laws, 10/29/2007).
carbon emissions by 60 to 80 percent years of service, It
by 2050. I support raising Corporate calls caused by ma
Average Fuel Economy standards is the case with an
as part of a multi-pronged approach intoxicating drug, u
that includes my proposal to create a a poor choice. How
fee on carbon to deal with the ques- marijuana is also re
tion of consumption. And I intend to safety by wasting re
finalize work on a comprehensive, We are losing foci
economy-wide cap-and-trade pro- ers and child pres
gram and other measures to control pursue non-violent:
greenhouse gas emissions. For those
of you who would like a closer look Howard J.Wooldr
at this work, please go to my website The letter writer is an
www.house.gov/dingell. at Law EnforcementA
Congress is working to limit the Washington, D.C.
effects of climate change and will
continue to build on the progress
we've already made toward that Non-Smoke
end. This summer we passed a bill
to remove 10.8 billion tons of carbon freedoms aS
dioxide from the atmosphere, an
amount equal to five times the annu- TO THE DAILY:
al emissions of all cars and trucks on I would like to
the road in America today. Touran's recent let
I take seriously my role in fighting smoking bans (Sm
global warming and intend to pro- trample on freedor
duce the climate change legislation When people spea]
our country needs and deserves, but smoking bans, they
I will do it responsibly and not hap- arguments: the lost
hazardly in order to avoid creating loss of business.
unintended consequences. When consideri
impact of a ban,
Rep. John Dingell ing at the results i
The letter writer is Ann Arbor's represen- Washington, stats
tative in the U.S. House of Representatives ness in bars fell ot
and chairman of the House Committee on implementation of
Energy and Commerce. many restaurants'
ally increasing.
On the loss of fre
Hart needs to grow sider some other
, there is the freedo
up andplay nice safe, healthy enviro
the reasoning beh
TO THE DAILY: smoking in office;
As a University alum, Iwas embar- buildings, and it sh
rassed by the egotistical comments workers. Numerou
by Wolverine running back Mike shown substantial I
Hart following the game 'against bartenders in the1
Michigan State on Saturday. Did he since its nationwide
actually laugh when his team was my own experienc
down by 10 points? I doubt it. I think player with asthm

would probably
to get his atten-
ng.
know how to
The problem is,
u will be a loser
how you'll feel
heard what goes
und? Or is your
g in the way of
?
ht:
ryjuana
Michigan police
agree with for-
r Mike Gravel's
g the prohibition
vel: Loosen drug
During my 18
was- sent to zero
arijuana use. As
ny mind-altering,
sing marijuana is
ever, prohibiting
ducing our public
sources.
us on drunk driv-
dators while we
smokers.
idge
education specialist
Against Prohibition,
rs have
well
respond to Nick
ter on proposed
oking ban would
rns, 11/05/2007).
k against indoor
usually have two
s of freedom and
ng the economic
I suggest look-
n California and
es where busi-
nly slightly after
f the ban, with
revenues actu-
edom, let us con-
freedoms. First,
m to work in a
nment. This was
ind the ban of
and government
ould apply to all
us studies have
health benefits to
United Kingdom
smoking ban. In
e as a saxophone
a, Washington's

2005 indoor smoking ban made an
incredible difference in my ability to
perform on the job.
Second, let us consider the rights
of non-smokers. I agree with.Touran
that people have the right to smoke;
however, people also have the right
to not smoke. When someone smokes
indoors, everyone in the vicinity
is forced to smoke too. Many bars
and restaurants are not designed to
adequately partition smoking and
non-smoking sections, and retrofits
to accommodate such segregation
could be prohibitively expensive or
altogether impossible.
Inthe end, this issue is notabout an
"Orwellian law" or protecting smok-
ers from themselves. It is about the
right of those who work and relax in
bars to not have a deadly carcinogen
literally forced down their throats.
Brian Lassiter
Engineeringgraduatestudent
Copyright laws must
protect artists' work
TO THE DAILY:
Robert Soave argued yesterday in
his columnthat file sharing is notille-
gal because music is not something
that can be owned (Ido not own these
words, 11/06/2007). He explained
that "The tangible disc that you buy
from a store can be owned, but the
information on it cannot." To him,
copyrighting thoughts or sounds
leads us down the terrifying path of
copyrighting information.
Central to Soave's argument is
the belief that music itself is simply
information and thus should not be 4
owned. However, he forgets that
when you listen to an album you are
not just listeningto information, you
are listeningto a specific recording.
When I buy a Beatles CD, I am not
paying just to hear music, I'm paying
to hear the Beatles perform it. I am
also paying to hear all of the techni-
cal work that has been done by the
recording engineers. In short, I am
not payingto hear sounds and infor-
mation, I am paying to hear a prod-
uct that the musicians, recording
engineers and songwriters worked
to produce. And they deserve to be
paid for it.
The truly pressing issue that
Soave's article brings up is recog-
nizing the increasingly digitalized
world we live in. Listeners can
download music right onto their
computer without every going to a
record shop. But whether you get
the recording from a vinyl record,
CD or from your computer, it is the
same music. We need copyright
laws to protect art. Copyright laws
insure that artists get paid for their
hard work.
Taylor Stanton
School ofMusic sophomore

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