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September 04, 2008 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-09-04

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, September 4, 2008 - 3A

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com Thursday, September 4, 2008 - 3A

Obama: GOP avoids
economic talk at its
Democratic presidential nomi-
nee Barack Obama, pouncing on
a top Republican aide's claim that
the campaign is not about issues,
said Wednesday that John McCain
is trying to run away from his par-
ty's bad economic record.
Campaigning in eastern Ohio,
Obama noted that McCain cam-
paign manager Rick Davis said the
election would be decided largely
on voters' perceptions of the candi-
dates' personalities.
"This election is not about
issues," Davis told The Washing-
ton Post this week. "This election
is about a composite view of what
people take away from these candi-
Obama mentioned Davis' com-
ment three times during a one-hour
appearance at an outdoor forum on
economic issues facing women. He
used it to accuse speakers at the
Republican convention in St. Paul,
Minn., of avoiding talk about job
losseshome foreclosures and other
After storm, residents
return home, but are
left without electricity
Thousands of people who fled
Hurricane Gustav forced the city to
reluctantly open its doors Wednes-
day, but nearly 1.2 million homes
and businesses across Louisiana
were still without electricity, and
officials said it could take as long as
a month to fully restore power.
As residents came home to New
Orleans, President Bush returned
to the site of one of the biggest fail-
ures of his presidency to show that
the government had turned a cor-
ner since its bungled response to
Faced with traffic backups on
paths into the city, Mayor Ray
Nagin gave up checking ID badges
and automobile placards designed
to keep residents out until early
Thursday. Those who returned
said if the city was safe enough for
'epair crews and health care work-
ers, it was safe enough for them,
U.S. to send $lbillion
inaidto Georgia
Pushing back against an increas-
ingly aggressive Moscow, President
Bush said Wednesday the U.S. will
send an extra $1 billion to Georgia
to help the pro-Western former So-
viet republic in the wake of Russia's
"Georgia has a strong economic
foundation and leaders with an im-
pressive record of reform," Bush
said in a statement. "Our additional
economic assistance will help the
people of Georgia recover from the
assault on their country, and con-
tinuetobuildaprosperous andcom-

petitive economy."
Vice President Dick Cheney,
due in Georgia today, planned to
make the massive aid package a
major highlight of his discussions
with Georgian President Mikhail
ice shelf breaks
loose in Canada
A chunk of ice shelf nearly the
size of Manhattan has broken away
from Ellesmere Island in Canada's
northern Arctic, another dramatic
indication of how warmer tempera-
tures are changing the polar fron-
tier, scientists said yesterday.
Derek Mueller, an Arctic ice shelf
specialist at Trent University in
Ontario, told The Associated Press
that the 4,500-year-old Markham
Ice Shelf separated in early August
and the 19-square-mile shelf is now
adrift in the Arctic Ocean.
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports
Number of American service mem-
bers who have died in the war in
Iraq, according to The Associated
Press. There were no deaths were
identified yesterday.

After 28 years, Michigan town helps
Cambodian man get American citizenship

Prosecutors: We're preparing
for Kilpatrick to plead guilty

Sok had community
residents quiz him
to prepare for test
UNION CITY, Mich. - When
Keo Sok, a custodian at Union City
Middle School, traveled to Detroit
to take his U.S. citizenship exam in
July, it wasn't just the 100 history
and governmentquestions running
through his head.
He had hopes of this small town
riding on him.
"Keo mentioned how much pres-
sure he felt because the community
was behind it," eighth-grade social
studies teacher Larry Bruce said,
"and how if he would have went
there and things wouldn't have
gone right...."
'Sok finished the sentence: "Then
I fail the whole town."
Sok, now a resident alien, was
born in Cambodia and has been
living in Union City for almost 28
When teachers and adminis-
trators at this roughly 1,100-stu-
dent district decided to help the
48-year-old become a U.S. citizen
last winter, Sok, having failed once
about 20 years ago, accepted the
challenge with a bit of apprehen-
Bruce and Klaudia Fisher, a
fifth-grade teacher, led the charge
- getting students to take the
daunting citizenship exam them-
selves and posting new sample'
questions on a cafeteria bulletin
board every day.
"Sometimes at lunchtime,, I sit
down to eat, and (the students) ask
and I have to answer it," Sok said.
"That's the only way I learn. When
you get old, you hardly remember
things, and if you have a kid asking
over and over and over, you will be
The learning process went
both ways. Students also learned
about Cambodia's people and

past. Sok was on hand to provide
a harrowing history lesson him-
In 1975, Sok's parents and sib-
lings were executed by the Khmer
Rouge, the radical Marxist group
that controlled Cambodia from
1975 to 1979. The Khmer Rouge
is blamed for the deaths of an
estimated 1.7 million people from
starvation, murder and overwork.
"They lined them up. Kill them,"
Sok said. "It took me twenty-some
years to get over it."
Sok's father was a high-ranking
Cambodian military official with
the previous regime. As Sok put
it, his family "they said was a root
that they pull out so it don't grow
Sok, who was living with his
aunt at the time, changed his last
name to hide his identity and
escape what would have been his
own execution. He worked, as did
almost all Cambodians under Pol
Pot, in labor camps from dawn
to dusk on a handful of rice each
The work ethic co-workers rave
about was forged in the fields,
where those who lagged behind
were called into a "meeting" and
In 1979, at the age of 18, Sok and
three others realized that with the
Vietnamese army invading Cam-
bodia, there would be little chance
to survive if they stayed put. They
escaped and started the 150-mile
trek from Phnom Penh to the Thai
Caught in the crossfire of Viet-
namese and Cambodian soldiers,
Sok didn't "walk straight on the
road; I walk around all the boul-
ders and mountains and stuff."
After two months and four gunshot
wounds, Sok and the others made it
safely to Thailand.
From a Thailand Red Cross sta-
tion, Sok and his new wife, whom
he married after he arrived in
Thailand, went to the Philippines

and made it to the U.S. through the
sponsorship of three Union City
area churches in 1980.
Sok found work at Union City
Industries Inc. doing maintenance
and started working part-time at
Union City Community Schools in
1989. He accepted a full-time cus-
todian position in 1996.
All four of his children have
graduated from or are attending
Union City schools. His 28-year-
old son, David, has served two
tours of duty as a U.S. Marine in
And while he has since separated
from his wife, he has had the steady
support of Union City, a small, rural
town of about 1,800 people.
"When Keo came in, and the
kids had been told ahead of time
for the first time what was going
on, they just cheered," Fisher said.
"It was so cool because they just
have such a great relationship
with him. They really wanted him
to succeed."
"It was one of those things
where (you say), 'Hey, you know,
one of our janitors - a guy you've
been seeing every day - let me
tell you a little bit about his story
and what he went through," Bruce
On July 21, Sok went to
Detroit and took the test, a 100-
question oral exam given by an
Immigration official. His $675
application fee was covered by
donations from Union City resi-
"I missed one question," Sok
said. "I got mixed up with the
one that was when the (Declara-
tion) of Independence was writ-
ten. I missed on that one, but
that's it."
Sok was quick to point out
that he is not an official U.S. cit-
izen yet. He still must take his
oath of allegiance, which might
take up to two or three months.
But, he said, "I got the hard part

Mayor's legal team
potential plea deal
is in the works
DETROIT (AP) - Prosecutors
accusing Detroit Mayor Kwame
Kilpatrick of lying on the witness
stand to cover up an extramarital
affair with a top aide said Wednes-
day that a plea deal is expected"
soon in the case, though the may-
or's attorneys insisted one had not
been struck yet.
The surprise development
came as Gov. Jennifer Granholm
heard evidence in an extraordi-
nary hearing that could result
in the married mayor's removal
from office. The outcome of the
criminal case does not necessar-
ily bear on the governor's hear-
The City Council is trying to
have Kilpatrick removed, saying
it was misled when it approved an
$8.4 million settlement last year
with fired police officers.
Council members say they
didn'tknow the deal carried secret
provisions to keep a lid on steamy
text messages between Kilpatrick
and Christine Beatty, who was his
chief of staff, on city-issued pag-
The office of Wayne County
prosecutor Kym Worthy said
Wednesday that an agreement
was expected soon, first saying
it would come that afternoon
and then later saying it would
be at 9 a.m. Thursday at a previ-
ously scheduled docket confer-
Kilpatrick attorney James
Thomas, who was at the gover-
nor's hearing Wednesday, agreed
it was "apparent that they are
close" to a plea deal but said it was
not a sure thing.
"That plea deal has not been
consummated," Thomas said after
the hearing, which Kilpatrick was
not required to attend. A spokes-
woman said he was working on
city business.
Kilpatrick spokesman Chris
Garrett told The Associated Press
that a statement from the mayor's
office was not expected Wednes-
day night, but added that negotia-

tions with the prosecutor's office
"are continuing."
The mayor would automati-
cally be expelled from office if he
is convicted of a felony. But even
if he avoids a felony conviction in
the perjury case and persuades
the governor not to remove him,
he still faces assault charges stem-
ming from a confrontation in July.
Doug Baker, a special pros-
ecutor with the attorney general's
office handling the assault case,
said Tuesday that his office wasn't
part of any negotiations with
the Wayne County prosecutor's
Granholm spokeswoman Liz
Boyd said the governor's lawyers
were informed about the possible
guilty pleafrom the mayor.
the office is vacated," Boyd said.
She said it was expected to resume
Thursday one hour after the con-
ference in the perjury case.
The settlement between the
city and the mayor in the case of
the fired police officers was the
product of an "incredible pattern
of deception and nondisclosure,"
council lawyer William Goodman
said at Wednesday's removal hear-
"It was settled to cover up
the truth. It was fast and it was
rushed," he said.
"These are not minor trans-
gressions, Gov. Granholm. They
have brought this city to a grind-
ing halt," Goodman said.
"The mayorhas often expressed
his love for the city of Detroit....
But to paraphrase Oscar Wilde,
men often kill the thingthey love,"
he said. "Be assured this city has
not been killed yet, but it is gravely
wounded, and the mayor must be
In her opening statement, the
mayor's attorney, Sharon McPhail,
covered much ground, some of it
unrelated to the case at hand.
She predicted unnamed coun-
cil members who want Kilpatrick
on "far worse charges." McPhail
urged the governor to resist calls
to fire the mayor.
"It's too stupid to be plausible"
that Kilpatrick came up with a
secret pact to cover up embar-
rassing text messages, McPhail

Obama.campaign: Kilpatrick should quit

DETROIT (AP) _ A spokes-
man for Barack Obama says the
Democratic presidential candidate
thinks embattled Detroit Mayor
Kwame Kilpatrick should quit for
his city's good.
Brent Colburn said in an e-mail
Wednesday night "Senator Obama
believes that Mayor Kilpatrick's
ongoing troubles and the serious
charges against him have been a

distraction that the city cannot
Democratic Governor Jen-
nifer Granholm opened a hear-
ing Wednesday on whether
to remove Kilpatrick, and the
Democratic mayor also faces
two separate criminal prosecu-
Colburn says Obama "believes it
is time for the mayor to step aside

so that the city can move forward
and get back to business."
John McCain's campaign-
declined immediate comment.

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