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September 04, 2008 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-09-04

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4A - Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

I
I

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

Heck, I was in college before I found out it
wasn't supposed to hurt to take a shower:'
-Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, explaining in his speech at the Republican National Convention
yesterday the pains he experienced growing up in a working-class family where he had to use Lava soap.
Killer cattle

ANDREW GROSSMAN
EDITOR IN CHIEF

GARY GRACA
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

GABE NELSON
MANAGING EDITOR

Unsigned editorials reflect theiofficial position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views ofttheir authors.
Learning from history
What Obama should have said, but didn't, while in A2
The Democratic presidential candidate sneaks into Ann
Arbor late at night for what is supposed to be a quick night
in a local hotel between campaign events. Adoring fans -
eager to get some of the presidential attention and hear the man of
the hour speak - salivate at the news he even set foot in town. The
candidate didn't intend to give a speech, but faced with the out-
pouring of support, he makes the most of the opportunity, seizing
the moment to challenge his listeners in an impromptu speech to
change the world with one big idea.

Sometimes when my mind wan-
ders, I make top-10 lists. Or
more accurately, I start top-SO
lists that I partially
finish.
In high school, I
started simple: top
10 musicians, top 10
novelstop 1O super-
heroes. Just your
average Billboard;
magazine stuff.
Now that I'm sup-
posedly a smarter, GARY
more sophisticated GRACA
college student, my
lists have gotten
more obscure and much more nerdy:
top 10 U.S. Supreme Court justices,
top 10 dictators, top 10 most famous
U.S. prisons.
There's something introspective
about the habit. It lets me know what
interests me and what I care about.
It makes me think about how I value
those things. And, frankly, the desire
to rank who or what is the best at even
the most trivial things is written into
my all-American DNA.
That brings me to my latest list:
The top 10 most environmentally
destructive man-made things on the
planet - those companies, products
or habits that lay so much waste to
Mother Earth that you would'like to
incinerate them on the surface of the
Sun.
No. 1 was a no-brainer for me: The
Dow Chemical Company. Google this
Michigan-based company sometime,
it has it all: haphazard respect for
people's health and the environment,
a greed-driven callous disregard for
cleaning up its mistakes and some
questionable dealings in between.
You'll be embarrassed that it's a big-
money donor to the University and
that Herbert Dow, the company's

founder, has a building on campus
named after him.
But No. 2 on the list was where I
got stuck. My first inclination was to
go with cars. Now in vogue to hate,
the car is an easy target as the carbon
dioxide-spewing cause of global cli-
mate change. And rightfully so.
Then I got to thinking about
another beast behind global warm-
ing: the cow.
Cows aren't among your garden-
variety environmentalist's usual
targets. They're kind of cute in the
barnyard-animal sort of way. Unlike
cars, most people aren't keeping
cows out in front of their houses so
we don't get reminded everyday of
their impact. And there's little main-
stream awareness about the problem
they are causing.
But here's the thing: Livestock is
a bigger greenhouse gas contributor
than cars. While livestock only emits
9 percent of our human-related global
carbon dioxide emissions, it emits 37
percent of our human-related meth-
ane and 65 percent of the human-
related nitrous oxide, according to
the U.N. Food and Agriculture Orga-
nization. Both of those gases have
much higher global warming poten-
tial than carbon dioxide.
The impact goes beyond hazard-
ous farts, too. Livestock needs land
for feeding. It takes trucks to trans-
port to stores once it's butchered. It
takes refrigerators to keep it cool.
All that stuff leaves a pretty big car-
bon footprint. More than 33 percent
of the arable land on Earth is used.
for livestock. Roughly 70 percent of
the deforested Amazon rainforest is
grazing land now.
Driving the destructiveness is the
fact that people love meat products
- myself included. With more people
in the world able to afford what was

once a luxury and simply more peo-
ple in the world, meat production has
skyrocketed. In 1950, only 44 mil-
lion tons of meat was produced each
year. Today, roughly 253 million tons
are produced. By 2050, the United
Nations expects we will produce 465
million tons of meat.
But don't fear - like few problems
nowadays - there is a simple, obvious
solution: Eat less meat.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying
this as a snob-nosed veganwhowants
to guilt you into keeping animals off
the chopping block. I respect people
who are able to cut animal products
Destroying the
world one burger
at a time.
out of their diets. I'm not one of those
people. I like bacon cheeseburgers,
and I'm pretty fond of milk, eggs and
cheese.
I. could do without a hamburger or
two, though, if it keeps Florida from
being covered in ocean and protects
some ice for the polar bears. If other
people knew it would be helpful to
make that simple sacrifice, I'm sure
most of them wouldn't find it that dif-
ficult either. Besides, it's healthier to
cut down on your red meat anyway.
It's a win-win.
So ditch that steak for a salad. Or,
if you don't like salad, brainstorm'the
top-SO replacement foods for steak.
Gary Graca is the Daily's
editorial page editor. He can be
reached at gmgraca@umich.edu

I
I

No, that's not the story of Barack Obama's
top-secret stay in Ann Arbor Sunday night
at the Courtyard by Marriott and his early
morning workout Monday at Bally Total
Fitness. It's the story of John F. Kennedy's
2 a.m. speech on the steps of the Michigan
Union in 1960. Kennedy went on to win
that election, but more importantly, that
night he challenged the roughly 5,000 stu-
dents who turned out to join what would
later become the Peace Corps.
That night, he said, "I come here tonight
to go to bed, but I also come here tonight to
ask you tojoin in the effort." It's no wonder
that, almost five decades later, the Univer-
sity still ranks among the top five schools
with students serving in the Peace Corps
after graduation.
Obama should have made the same plea.
He missed an opportunity. But with plenty
of time left before Nov. 4, he should return
to campus. And, like Kennedy, he should
bring with him a challenging, seemingly
unrealistic big idea - something that will
put his legions of young supporters to work
changing this country if he wins. We're
the Teach for America generation - give
us the framework and put us to work.
So here are a few suggestions to kick-
start the thinking.
For starters, Obama should back up his
plan to completely wean the United States
offforeign oilinthe nextl10years with more
than just money. An adaption of Al Gore's
challenge to replace all of our electricity
generated by fossil fuels with electricity
generated by wind, solar and geothermal
'power in the next 10 years, Obama prom-
ised at the Democratic National Conven-

tion to put $150 billion behind the effort.
He'll need people to invent new technol-
ogy, build it and make it work in people's
lifestyles. Effort will be more important
than anything else. Students and young
people would be perfect for that, and
involving them would shape their atti-
tudes' for the rest of their lives. That's a
sea change money can't buy.
But money can provide young people
with an incentive to get involved. It can
help get them an education, too. .Obama,
who of all candidates should know the high
cost of college and the incentive it creates
to skip the public sector for the money of
the private sector, could create the Ameri-
Corps on steroids. He could steal another
policy idea from his former Democratic
rival John Edwards, too: Pay for the first
year of public college - tuition, books and
fees - for more than 2 million students
who work part-time in a service job and
meet several other minimum require-
ments.
The same models could apply to other big
ideas: eliminating urban poverty, creating
broadband wireless Internet for everyone
in this country, fixing all of our dilapidated
bridges and roads, building a nation-wide
mass transit system and replacing student
loans with grants and scholarships.
Obama has widespread support among
young people in this country, but he's said
little to translate his support into action.
He needs to do that, and what better place
to start than here. As Kennedy said in
1960: "Americans are willing to contrib-
ute. But the effort must be far greater than
we have ever made in the past."

I
I

EMILY MICHELS

The opposite of sex

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Harun Buljina, Emmarie Huetteman, Emily Michels, Kate Peabody, Robert Soave, Imran Syed
The Daily is looking for smart people with an interest in campus issues
and excellent writing skills to be members of its editorial board.
E-MAIL GARY GRACA AT GRACA@MICHIGANDAILY.COM
FOR MORE INFORMATION

CHRIS KOSLOWSKI

E-MAIL CHRIS AT CSKOSLOW@UMICH.EDU

Wea i pe'slanca ca 9 s dah Dhat
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America's youth is either
extremely fertile or extremely
uneducated. Every time I turn on
MSNBC, Alex Witt is reporting on
another teen pregnancy scandal,
from a bizarre pact in Massachu-
setts that drove at least eight high
school-aged girls to get pregnant on
purpose to Nickelodeon star Jamie
Lynn Spears becoming a 16-year-
old mom- and wife-to-be. With the
recent drama and irony surround-
ing Republican vice presidential
nominee Sarah Palin's pregnant 17-
year-old daughter, Bristol, political
pundits and concerned parents are
wondering if the wave of teen par-
ents is an epidemic, a success for
pro-life advocates. or a product of
inadequate sexual education in our
school systems.
Whilethemediahasanunhealthy
fascination with unearthing devas-
tatingly dramatic secrets, coverage
of young, single, pregnant mothers
like Spears, singer Ashlee Simpson
and British celebrity Kerry Kato-
na is an unstoppable media wave.
The constant coverage surround-
ing celebrity moms coincides with
statistics reporting that teen preg-
nancy rates are rising for the first
time in 14 years. Why are so many
young women getting pregnant,
and why are ordinary girls across
the country finding it acceptable
and desirable to be a mother at
such a young age?
Though the media plays an active
role in romanticizing underage
pregnancy, insufficient sex educa-
tion in our public schools is at the
root of teenager's naivety about
pregnancy and sexually transmit-
ted disease prevention.
And who's to blame? Let's start
with the usual culprit: the Bush
administration. The Bush admin-
istration's consistent support for
abstinence-only sexual education
in public schools has ensured that
the next generation of American
teenagers will be less sexually
educated than the last. The pro-
gram supported by the administra-
tion focuses on getting students to
understand the benefits of absti-
nence rather than teaching them
how to prevent unwanted and
unplanned pregnancies, STDs and
HIV/AIDS.
When the U.S. House of Repre-
sentatives Committee on Govern-
ment Reform researched Bush's
proposed "just say no" sexual
education plan, it found that his
administration skewed the scien-
tific facts to favor an abstinence-
only curriculum. The committee
also referenced a 2001 scientific
study that found that, even if stu-
dents learn and understand the
benefits of abstinence, "adoles-
cents' sexual beliefs, attitudes,
and even intentions are ... weak
proxies for actual behaviors." An
abstinence-only program doesn't

prevent teen pregnancy, and by
ignoring pregnancy- and STD-
prevention methods, it puts entire
generations of teens at high-risk
for disease and unwanted preg-
nancies.
But President Bush isn't really
the only problem, and the fact that
his term is nearly over gives us
false hope. Should the Republicans
take the White House, similar sex-
ual education policy is likely. Both
John McCain and Sarah Palin have
an extensive history of support for
these programs.
In November 2007, McCain
voiced his support for President
Bush's abstinence-only programs.
While campaigning, he told South
Carolina voters that he plans to
appoint Supreme Court judges
who would overturn Roe v. Wade.
In 2006, he voted against funding a
scientifically accurate and compre-
hensive sex education program.
McCain's running mate and

soon-to-be 44-year-old grand-
mother is cut from the same cloth
of restrictive and exceedingly con-
servative values. As Alaska gover-
nor, Palin cut more than $1 million
from a state program that provided
housing to teen mothers in need. In
2006 she said she would not sup-
port "explicit" sexual education
programs.
If McCain and Palin become our
leaders, a thorough, extensive and
scientifically accurate sexual edu-
cation program would not be sup-
ported, making teens unprepared
to make educated sexual decisions.
Our government would become an
unrealistic and arguably misogy-
nistic body that preaches unfound-
ed faith in failing abstinence-only
education programs.
I guess we'll all have to learn to
"just say no."
Emily Michels is an LSA sophomore
and a Daily senior editorial page editor.

4

SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU

U'needs Good Samaritan
policy to protect students
TO THE DAILY:
With all of the discussion in the Daily about
lowering the drinking age, it is important that
University students are aware of the current
campaign on campus to implement a Good
Samaritan policy.
Yesterday's editorial (Drunken logic,
09/02/2008) made an important point: The
current drinking age discourages underage
drinkers from seeking medical help during
an alcohol-related overdose due to the threat
of getting themselves and their' friend a
minor-in-possession charge. Thankfully, the
University's chapter of Students for Sensible
Drug Policy has been working to change the
University's policy to ensure that the Depart-
ment of Public Safety does what it should
- keep the public safe.
With a Good Samaritan policy in place,
students will be able to call for help without
hesitation during an alcohol- or drug-related
overdose. This policy is crucial because every
minute spent worrying about judicial con-
sequences is another minute it will take for
help to arrive, and that minute can literally be
the difference between life and death.
In a letter to the editor yesterday (Col-
lege presidents shouldn't encourage lawless-
rf

ness by signing petition, 09/02/2008), Adam
Ajlouni made the claim that policies similar
to this teach kids that it's OK to break the
law. However, saving lives is more important
than giving out MIPs, and if the minimum
drinking age actu.ally reflected reality, then
maybe more people would have respect for
the law.
Students who are interested in getting
involved with the campaign or want to find
out more about SSDP can visit www.umdrug-
policy.org.
Chris Chiles
LSA junior
The letter writer is the executive director of the Univer-
sity's chapter of students for Sensible Drug Policy.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Readers are encouraged to submit letters
to the editor. Letters should be less than
300 words and must include the writer's
full name and University affiliation. All
submissions become property of the Daily.
We do not print anonymous letters.
Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.

ROSE JAFFE E-MAIL ROSE AT ROSEJAFF@UMICH.EDU
' S\
rA

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