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January 29, 2008 - Image 4

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4 - Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Whatever it costs to defend our country
we will pay."
- President Bush, responding to the one of the largest budget increases in decades for
defense spending in the State of the Union on Monday.
When letter editing oes awry



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 ofthe paper. Readers are encouraged to contact the public editor
with questions andcomments. He can be reached at publiceditor@umich.edu.
The state ofthe damage
Bush's State of the Union leaves agenda of problems to fix
Look out everyone, President Bush is trying to "liberate"
things again. As one of the many oddly offensive, barely
coherent and blatantly instigative components of his trite,
largely rehashed State of the Union address last night, Bush stated
that his plan to create the equivalent of Pell Grants for public school
students would "help liberate poor children trapped in failingpublic
schools." While semantic suicide is nothing new to Bush, many ofus
hoped that in this speech - his eighth and final State of the Union
address - Bush would rise above partisanship and propose more
challenging, daring initiatives free of the arrogance that plagued his
presidency. As usual, the president failed us.

Teston Bruner wanted to
have his say. He wanted to
explain that even though
he believed that the
LSA Honor Coun-
cil should not be
a part of student
government, he
found as president
of the LSA Honor
Council he believed
that student politi-
cians had in fact PAUL H.
treated him fairly.
This dispelled his JOHNSON
belief that student
government is full
of careerists with no concern about
ethics. So he carefully wrote a letter
to the editor hoping to get his point of
view heard on the editorial page.
"They have 80 percent of that page
to say what they want to say, I get 300
words, I want to be able to say what I
want to say," Bruner explained.
But the letter that ran, "Stu-
dent government still serves cam-
pus faithfully" (Letters to the Editor,
01/23/2008), was riddled with mis-
takes. The letter said he was an LSA
sophomore instead of an LSA junior.
The letter said the honor council had
recently become a part of LSA Student
Government, when in fact the honor
council had always been part of the
LSA-SG, prompting the Daily to issue
a correction. The correction, Bruner
felt, didn't make clear that the mistake
was an editing error and not a mistake
he made. And to top it all off, when
the correction ran, his name was mis-
spelled in the correction. He was so

upset with the experience he didn't
feel it was worth it to tell the Daily to
correct the correction.
Incoming Editorial Page Editor
Gary Graca said the errors were just
that, unfortunate mistakes. The let-
ter had been edited for clarity but the
editing resulted in a mistake. He said
the Daily does not have a policy of
sending back each letter to its writer
before it runs.
But Graca said that he does not call
letter writers unless there are major
changes. Time and staff constraints
prevent the Daily from talking to
each letter writer, Graca explained.
But each letter is fact-checked and if
errors appear, the authors are contact-
ed, Graca said. What happened with
Bruner's letter showed the diawbacks
of this system.
Brunerrealizes that the Daily has
the right to edit letters before they
run, he just wishes the Daily would
send him the letter before it ran so he
could make sure everything that is in
the letter is something he would say. It
matters, he says, because his name is
at the end of the letter.
"If I known they could make
changes and run it without telling me,
I probably wouldn't have sent.the let-
ter," Bruner said.
And he's right. The Daily should
contact letter writers when changes
are made to the letter. First, unlike a
news story, a letter to the editor is the
actual words of a speaker. The writer
deserves the right to approve of any-
thing that runs in the paper that he or
she authors.
Letter writers are not writing for

fame and fortune but consumers and
customers of the Daily. They deserve
to be treated with the utmost respect
or they'll become angry consumers
and spread the word about their bad
experience with the Daily. No news-
paper wants this to happen and the
Daily should take steps to ensure that
such errors never happen.
Incoming Editor in Chief Andrew
Grossman did respond to Bruner's
concerns after Bruner e-mailed him.
That was a positive step,Editors and
writers should always try to be respon-
sive to the concerns of readers.
Daily should
revisit letters
Students do work a busy schedule
balancing schoolwork and running a
daily newspaper, but they should 'not
lose sight of the fact that they need to
be sensitive to the concerns of readers.
Readers are the ones who make the
Daily aware of many of the mistakes
that have been made and if they don't
feel comfortable talking to the staff,
they won't tell us about mistakes. This
will only result in the decline of the
Daily's quality and reputation, this
newspaper's main selling points.
Paul H. Johnson is the Daily's
public editor. He can be reached
at publiceditor@umich.edu.


But at least we naive idealists aren't alone
in feeling the sting of vapid disappoint-
ment: Bush proposed almost nothing new,
choosing instead to gloat of "victories" past
and awkwardly threaten Congress so it
carries on his malignant tax cuts, wiretap-
ping and other indiscretions. Regardless of
who will give this address next year - be it
that stalwart champion of the-long ignored
bipartisan majority, Barack Obama or one
of the several raving lunatics looking to
triple the size of the prison at Guantanamo
Bay - we can at least rest assured that no
speech could be as offensive to the Ameri-
can constitutional conscience as this 2008
Bush's first tactic was to treat the Ameri-
can electorate as toddlers with a 10-second
attention span and no long-term mem-
ory. Does he really think he can slip the
Iran must "suspend nuclear enrichment"
line by us without us noticing something
awry? This is awfully similar to what Bush
said about Iraq in past State of the Union
addresses. Who can forget the 16 infamous
words he uttered five years ago, the lie upon
which the invasion of Iraq was justified?
Did Bush really think we wouldn't notice
the same doublespeak packaged with the
same aggressive intention as five years ago?
Is another unconstitutional, undeclared
war in order?
Bush mostly presented more of the same
nefarious nonsense on other issues. He
talked up his No Child Left Behind Act
with the air of a proud father showing off
his son's perfect spelling test at the office
the next day - never mind that the kid is
a high schooler spelling three-letter words.

Actually, that's more than a parallel; it's
exactly what Bush was doing. He may have
boasted that more schools are meeting the
marks set by NCLB and more black and
Hispanic students are meeting those marks
than ever before, What he didn't say is that
those increases can largely be attributed to
falling standards and artificially inflated
scores, not actual progress.
When he wasn't insulting our intelli-
gence, the president was busy engaging in
constitutional fudging that even he didn't
bother to actually justify. We can all agree
that riders tacked on to bills at the last
moment before they pass into law are bad
for democracy. However, Bush's solution to
this small house fire is to flood the entire
city: He promised to sign an Executive
Order directing federal agencies to ignore
such riders on legislation that has passed
into law. What right does a president have
to tell federal agencies to ignore the law?
Working to change bad laws is our duty as
citizens, but encouraging federal agencies
to ignore any laws would normally amount
to a constitutional offense.
Bush kindly recounted for us the many
failures of his disastrous presidency last
night, refreshing in our minds the hor-
rendous effects of tax cuts for the wealthy,
warrantless wiretaps, counterproductive
education reform and unjust wars. As our
attention moves from this last declaration
of the hapless Bush Manifesto back to the
campaign trail, we must remember with
renewed passion what is at stake in this
election. Anyone who heard last night's
speech knows that there is a whole lot of
damage to be undone.


Brave New World.? Not really.

loning. Are you afraid yet?
America sure is.
While this two-syllable word
immediately instills
imagery of mad sci-
entists cackling as
they create armies
of Hitler replicas
who will revive the
Third Reich, it is f
also a word used to -
describe a scientific lit, -
process, that isn't ARIKIA
nearly as exciting:
the transferring of MILLIKAN
genes from one cell-
to another.Yet when
a private research company, Stemagen,
announced that it successfully made
cellular clones of two human men
earlier this month, politicians, media
fear-mongers and the Vatican took it
upon themselves to blend dystopian
sci-fi fantasies with what was actually
a pretty boring accomplishment that
happened years ago.
, From all of the hysteria, one might
think that the products of the proce-
dure were two walking, talking adults
who could have passed for the guys
who donated their DNA if you saw
them on the street. But what actually
resulted were a few unfertilized egg
cells whose own genetic material had
been emptied out and replaced with
that from skin cells of the men, making
a kind of patchwork embryo. The cells
were allowed to divide for a few days,
and then their growth was halted.
Researchers want to be able to grow
the cells - which are referred to in the
scientific community as nuclear trans-
fer products (not clones) - into some-
thing they can collect stem cells from.
But this lab didn't accomplish that yet
and neither has any other, although it
is theoretically possible.
What is not possible anywhere on
the planet we live on, however, is to
produce an army of adult replicas
from this procedure. The point of

doing nuclear transfer is so doctors
can someday treat patients who have
crippling diseases by transplanting
genetically identical tissue to them
that their bodies won't reject. This
process is called therapeutic cloning,
and it doesn't involve aborted fetuses
- contrary to what some politicians
might think. Yet, many Americans
have heard this buzzword and made
the illogical leap that researchers are
attempting to conduct reproductive
cloning, which is the sci-fi nightmare
that's so fun tofantasize about.
Ann Curry, a news anchor on NBC's
"Today" show, frantically grilled the
show's medical expert the day after
Stemagen's announcement. "It sounds
as though (reproductive cloning) could
have happened had these embryos
been implanted in a woman's womb,"
she ranted. Credible newspapers like
The Washington Post jumped on the
bandwagon as well, claiming that this
new discovery (which was also discov-
ered four years ago), "offered sober-
ing evidence that few, if any, technical
barriers may remain to the creation of
But there are several barriers that
continue to prevent science fiction
from becoming science reality. Sean
Morrison, the director of the Univer-
sity's Center for Stem Cell Biology said
the slope isn't quite as slippery as peo-
ple think. He pointed out that the eggs
the adultDNA is beingtransferred into
in this procedure are not fertilized.
While the transferred genetic materi-
al does have two sets of chromosomes
because its adult donor did, the result-
ing cell is not going through any kind
of normal development. When the
most famous product of reproductive
cloning was born, Dolly the sheep had
all sorts of genetic problems and even-
tually died a tragic death at the age
of six. But the problems began long
before her birth. When researchers
tried to clone Dolly's mother, it took
almost 300 attempts with 300 differ-

ent eggs before a viable embryo was
ever produced.
"If somebody actually tried to do
this in humans, you wouldn't wake
up and have a dozen clones on CNN,
you would have this abnormally high
rate of miscarriages among scores of
women who would have to agree to
participate in these experiments," Dr.
Morrison told me.
But for the skeptics who remain,
there is one more point to be made: If it
were possible to make the kind of clones
you see on the "TheX-Files," somebody
would have to make them. But who
wants to do such a thing?Accordingto
Dr. Morrison, no one does.
"Virtually all scientists and scien-
tific societies have gone on record as
opposingreproductive cloning and say-
If you are still
worried about
cloning - don't be


The road to the promised land

In the aftermath of the 2004 presidential
election, political pundits attributed the
success of the Republican campaign to the
genius of Karl Rove, President Bush's seem-
ingly all-knowing media and culture guru
who convinced 11 states to include a mas-
sive on the general election ballot banning
same-sex marriage. This move proved to be
a specific attempt to pander to evangelical
Christians, a group that encompassed about
26 percent of Americans in 2004. Not only
did the legislation pass in all 11 states, but it
also passed with a convincing 71-percent of
the vote on average, displaying the impres-
sive power of evangelical mobilization,
especially in crucial swing states like Ohio.
By igniting the "morality" debate, the
Republicans successfully and continuously
defined what is and what should be moral
in America. Journalist Thomas Frank wrote
that the Republicans depicted their "age-old
folkways" as "under siege from a cabal of
know-it-all elites."
Official exit polls from the 2004 election
showed "that the most important consid-
eration for those who voted for Bush was
"moral values." The Democratic approach
of using elitist language to mobilize voters
around reforming a dismal economy effec-
tively distanced them from those who might
have benefited from their policies. New York
Times columnist David Brooks noted, "In the
information age, social values and cultural
capital shape a person's economic destiny
more than the other way around." The Dem-
ocrats missed that boat entirely in 2004.
After Bush's victory, constitutional
amendment to ban gay marriage failed in
Congress, and Republicans pursued a tax
policy that proved harmful to the many reli-
gious voters who had tipped the scales for
them in 2004. The Republican leadership
essentially exploited religious and values
Democrats should bring these inconsis-
tencies to the voters' attention in the upcom-
ing presidential election. Yet the Democrats,
as the GOP demonstrated in 2004, must
successfully discuss moral values with the
American people in order to be successful,
changing their campaign philosophy by

honestly engaging in this conversation.
A two-fold plan for success first requires
that Democrats no longer fear the Chris-
tian Bible. They must relay the message that
the Bible encompasses many liberal beliefs
- Jesus himself was a reformer. Further,
the progressive civil rights movement that
many Americans now accept and revere
was grounded in religious beliefs and led by
ministers like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Second, in order to resonate with values
voters, Democrats must encourage voters to
view the platform through a moral lens. If
the candidates hope to make the lackluster
economy a major issue in 2008, they need to
emphasize the moral questions surrounding
massive the outsourcing by General Motors,
Ford Motor Company and other manufac-
turing companies whose policies tend to
further.exacerbate the gap between the rich
and the poor.
In the fall 2005, John Edwards took a
national tour, which included a stop here at
the University, speaking to college students
about poverty, "the moral issue of our time."
Edwards used simple rhetoric to describe
the 37 million Americans living in poverty
everyday. He referred to the fact that not
only is charity a central theme for religious
people, but it would also benefit the many
religious voters who are poor.
This model can also apply to the war in
Iraq. Because Pentagon data suggests that
almost two-thirds of U.S. Army recruits in
2004 came from poorer areas of the coun-
try, Democrats could take a moral stance on
the massive cost of the war by reminding
voters that the government can ameliorate
hunger and lack of health care by spending
the same amount of money here at home. If
Democrats can then present this not as an
elitist issue but a moral one, the chance of
victory in 2008 becomes much greater.
The Democrats must swallow their pride
and discuss issues in a manner that makes
sense to Americans. The moral road is the
one to travel; the Democrats must merely
pave it in order for values voters to follow.
Andrew Kurland is an LSA and
School of Music senior.

ing that it should be banned," he said.
"In states like Michigan, it's against
the law, and nobody has suggested
that it should be otherwise. So people
shouldn't have this impression that
there's a subset of crazy scientists out
there who just can't wait to try this."
While it is fun to fantasize about
where science might lead the human
race, uninformed sources have been
periodically distorting the facts and
leading the public down a line of hys-
terical thinking. It's crucially impor-
tant to ethical medical progress to
remember that some aspects of science
fiction are still just that - fiction.
Arikia Millikan is a former
Daily news reporter. She can be
reached at arikia@umich.edu.



Coverage of Gaza
vigil shows Daily bias
The outstanding bias present
in The Michigan Daily when it
comes to covering events concern-
ing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
is reflective of the bias present in
the mainstream American media
on when it comes to coverage of the
same issue.
Since last week, Gaza has faced
a growing humanitarian crisis,
because Israel cut off all exports
to Gaza, one of the most densely
populated places on earth. Gaza
is under siege by Israel. The Gaza
population of 1.5 million people is
enduring collective punishment at

the hands of Israel, with dwindling
electricity, fuel or food supplies.
The occasional incident when the
Israeli government decides that
Gazans deserve a little humanitar-
ian aid is not enough to sustain the
entire population for more than a
couple of days at a time. Gazans are
living in darkness and utter pover-
ty, with their few hospitals practi-
cally running on empty.
Yet, where is the reporting of
this large-scale humanitarian cri-
sis in the mainstream news? Why
aren't the stories of people suffer-
ing in Gaza heard? By the tens of
thousands, Gazans flooded into
Egypt last week in order to buy sup-
plies, because they were essentially
starved. The breakdown of the bor-
der wall between Egypt and Gaza
shows the kind of pressure cooker

the Gazans were forced to live in,
with the top finally coming off.
A vigil was held Thursdaynight on
the Diag in which organizers count-
ed up to 180 people attending., Stu-
dents, communitymembers,families
and many more people attended the
vigil that was held in solidarity with
the people of Gaza. Yet the front-
page story that covered the event
reported only 20 people showing up
to the vigil - a gross mistake. Like
the national media, it seems appar-
ent that the Daily also shows bias
when it comes to issues and events
that concern the Palestinians.
Hena Ashraf
LSA senior
The letter writer is the co-chair of
Students Allied forFreedom and



Emad Ansari, Anindya Bhadra, Kevin Bunkley, Ben Caleca, Satyajeet Deshmukh,
Milly Dick, Mike Eber, Gary Graca, Emmarie Huetteman, Theresa Kennelly, Emily Michels, Arikia Millikan,
Kate Peabody, Robert Soave, Neil Tambe, Matt Trecha, Kate Truesdell, Radhika Upadhyaya,
Rachel Van Gilder, Rachel Wagner, Patrick Zabawa.

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