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September 17, 2008 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-09-17

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4A - Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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




Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views oftheir authors.
The moral imperative
New center brings ethics back into the conversation
T aken from the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, the inscription
above Angell Hall reads: "Religion, morality and knowl-
edge being necessary to good government and the happi-
ness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever
be encouraged." Though this message is written on one of the Uni-
versity's most prominent buildings, students might not realize the
importance of an education in ethics. The recently opened Center
for Ethics in Public Life offers a variety of courses and programs to
bring moral questions to the forefront of students' minds. The center
is initiating a much-needed dialogue on campus that students should
realize is an opportunity to create a better campus and world.

The Center for Ethics in Public Life
has its origins in a task force convened
by President Mary Sue Coleman in 2004.
Seeing an increasingly bleak state of ethi-
cal behavior in our country - from jour-
nalists' shameful reporting leading up to
the war in Iraq to sexual abuse by Catholic
priests to increased plagiarism by students
and professors - Coleman created a task
force charged with finding ways for ethi-
cal issues to get more attention on campus.
When the task force came back with its
recommendations in June 2005, one of its
key suggestions was to launch the Ethics
in Public Life Initiative. And so the pre-
cursor to the Center for Ethics in Public
Life was born.
The center, a more permanent outgrowth
of the initiative, opened this summer. It
hopes to add ethical considerations to
more of our conversations, both inside and
outside the classroom, and make sure the
University is setting an example for moral
behavior. The idea is that students will take
these considerations out into the world,.
instead of becoming the next Judith Miller,
Kwame Kilpatrick or Ted Steven. What the
center explicitly doesn't want to do is indoc-
trinate students with the "right" answer.
Campus needs the center. While the Uni-
versity does a great job preparing students
to succeed in their careers, it does less to
provide them with a moral compass. Many
students either think ethics is something for

high-minded philosophers to worry about
or it is just common sense. And that's not
surprising - because it's taught that way.
Meanwhile, the underlying moral decline
that led Coleman to convene a task force in
2004 has probably only gotten worse since.
Look no further than the presidential
election. While exaggeration and a little
stretching of the truth used to be the norm
in campaigns, this year, flat-out lies have
been the standard. You know how Alaska
Gov. Sarah Palin supposedly said "thanks,
but no thanks" to the infamous Bridge to
Nowhere? That's not true. And that time
Barack Obama supposedly voted in favor
of comprehensive sexual education for kin-
dergarteners? Not true either.
Closer to home, there are ethical ques-
tions that come up in our everyday lives.
Is it moral to download a song, instead of
buying the album? What constitutes cheat-
ing as opposed to "helping" your friend? Or
in the College of Engineering, for example,
is it OK not to proctor exams and trust stu-
dents not to cheat?
Making good decisions on complicated
moral issues is difficult, and too ften it
is deemed "somebody else's problem" in
political, professional and even personal
arenas. Students should take advantage of
the lectures, programs and classes the cen-
ter will be offering. More importantly, they
should take from them the complex think-
ing they'll need later in life.

The mayor, as is his right, asserted his
Fifth Amendment right to approximately
80 questions:'
- James Stewart, attorney for The Detroit News, commenting on former Detroit Mayor
Kwame Kilpatrick's deposition, as reported yesterday by The Detroit News.
jC l CN ,EDE Ot-. . M s lt-Os , "YouA 41111
P7O&L -E lt v PIA TIl 0 T CL, <cl.Y-ti ,C
a4 ieMm
orecl osn t evoe
ichigan has the seventh- Republicans. In 1999, then-state Sen. necessitate a change of address, as
highest foreclosure rate and Mike Rogers disenfranchised college well as a state law allowing people to
the highest unemployment students across the state by pushing vote in their old precinct if they lose
rate in the nation. through a law that basically requires their home less than 60 days before an
This November, thatthe address onyour driver'slicense election, it seems the Democrats may
state Republicans match the address on your voter regis- have a valid case.
want to use that to t tration card. Why? According to Rog- But potential illegalities aside, it's
their advantage. ers, to cut down on the supposedly sickening that anyone would want to
But they're not talk- rampant problem of voter fraud. kick these people when they're down,
ing about revisiting In reality, Rogers was vying for the simply for political gain. On top of the
their social welfare U.S. House of Representatives in the financial, emotional and psychologi-
platform.According same district as Michigan State Uni- cal trauma of foreclosure, preventing
to Michigan Mes- versity. But when you're a Republican these victims from voting in an elec-
senger, they want EMMARIE like Rogers, it's hard to win in a dis- tion that, in many ways, matters to
to keep victims of HUETTEMAN trict full of liberal college students. So them most right now is "adding insult
the state's economic the law turned out to be pretty con- to injury," as Mark Brewer, the chair
crisis from voting. venient, actually - not only did it put of the Michigan Democratic Party, put
Early last week, the Republican to rest fears of voter fraud, but it also
Party in Macomb County may have disenfranchised the constituency that
let that tactic slip. Because parties could have effectively quelled Rogers's The
are allowed under state law to post congressional dreams. He won by just The bank takes
"election challengers".at polling sites, 115 votes, and Rogers's Law is still on
reports from Michigan Messenger, an the books. your home, the GOP
extension of the Center for Indepen- There's no question that a plan to
dent Media, say that the party intends disenfranchise foreclosure victims takes your vote.
to prevent victims of foreclosure would be motivated by politics, not
from voting by arguing that they are voter fraud. The Michigan Depart-
not "true residents." Party chairman ment of Labor and Economic Growth
James Carabelli allegedly told the reported last year that blacks make up it. Meanwhile, candidates shamelessly
online publication, "We will have a more than 60 percent of people with pander to the blue-collar autoworkers
list of foreclosed homes and will make sub-prime loans, which are especially who hold the key to putting them in
sure people aren't voting from those susceptible to foreclosure. Macomb office. Obviously they're not quite the
addresses," citing his party's concern Republicans know that, and they defenders of democracy they want us
that election laws be observed. know that blackvoters are more likely to think they are.
But even Carabelli and the rest of to support Democrats than Repub- The fact that the leaders of the
the Macomb Republicans don't really licans. It must be a coincidence that Michigan Republican Party care more
buy that crap. Perhaps realizing the their "concerns" just happen to deal about the vote than the voters should
political repercussions of his state- with the votes of their poor, largely be telling. It's a tired argument at this
ment, Carabelli claimed in a subse- black constituents. And it's not sur- point, but still a valid one: We need
quent interview that the party has no prising thattheyhave no proof ofvoter to look past what politicians say and
such plans. The GOP asked Michigan fraudbeing a problem in Michigan, let look at what they do. It's past time to
Messenger to issue a retraction and, alone among foreclosure victims, to put the voter fraud ghost to rest, and
when it refused, released a statement substantiate their claims - as was the as the past (and present) victims of a
yesterday saying Carabelli will take case with Rogers nine years ago. Republicanusingvoter fraud for polit-
legal action today against the publica- Yesterday, Barack Obama's cam- ical gain, we should be on the front
tion for libel. paign and the Democratic National line of the fight.

Noneofthisis surprisingreally. Pol- Committee filed a lawsuit against
iticians love to cry "voter fraud" when the Michigan GOP. over this slowly Emmarie Huetteman is an associate
they want to regulate voting laws to erupting scandal. Citing the fact that editorial page editor. She can be
their advantage, especially Michigan a foreclosure notice does not always reached at huetteme@umich.edu.


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.
Turning a new page

"Don't be evil" - that's the unofficial
Google motto. It's a simple, almost laughably
obvious goal. I find myself wishing more
companies picked up the model, though.
I wish a few politicians would repeat this
mantra in the mirror each morning when
they wake up, too.
And when all of that comes to mind, I
think, "Who better to enter politics than
Larry Page, the co-founder of Google?" That
opportunity may be just around the corner
for Page.
In his proposed technology policies, Barack
Obama has suggested adding a new type of
advisor to his inner circle. If elected, Obama
wants to appointa "chief technology officer,"
who would oversee the one policy area that
has come to dominate our everyday lives.
In recent years, the amount of legislation
being proposed on technology issues has
skyrocketed. Just this week, for example, a
bill aimed at fighting identity theft passed
the U.S. House of Representatives and Rep.
Pete Stark (D-Calif.) introduced a bill to cre-
ate a nationwide system of electronic health
But when these bills come across the presi-
dent's desk, does he really have awell-round-
ed view on the underlying issues? Regardless '
of whether Obama or John McCain is elect-
ed, the next president will need someone to
sort through these tech issues. Page would be
a shoo-in for the job.
So why Larry Page? For starters, Page
doesn't want to be evil - but I'm sure Mark
Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, tells him-
self the same thing. What then makes Page
any more qualified than any other Silicon
Valley techie? Well, Page has already started
crossing over into the delicate world of Wash-
ington politics.

In late May, Page appeared in Washington,
D.C. to talk about why and how white spaces
should be opened up for broadband Internet
access. In layman's terms, this means that
the unused channels that television doesn't
usq for transmissions should be opened for
a super strength, wireless Internet service
that could erase the gap between those who
have Internet access and those who don't.
Improving access to broadband Internet
access, especially in rural areas, is quickly
becoming ahot-button issue, so much so that
Google has put its weight behind the project,
creating the "Free the Airwaves" campaign.
Page is an advocate for this issue, but not just
behind the scenes. He is personally trying
to educate the politicians formulating these
policies about how to further the cause. Page
has becomea lobbyist.
Of course, some people are hesitant about
Page having a spot in the America's politi-
cal epicenter. Big corporations already have
an undue level of influence over our govern-
ment, and politicians know that cozying up
to anyone considered part of big business
is dangerous territory. This fear has been
internalized in many of our minds. We criti-
cize politicians who have a connection to it.
Though Google says it isnt evil, why should
it have a White House connection, especially
now that Google is running into anti-trust
But here's why we would be foolish to dis-
count Page because of our big business fears:
any old technology scholar can't write policy
initiatives. We need someone who knows the
blood and guts of the issue, not just the cos-
metics. Page is that person.
Kate Peabody is an LSA senior and a
Daily associate editorial page editor.

Lack of coverage on Hurricane where Coleman's office is. Perhaps this is a matter of
my own ignorance or simply the product of a large-scale
bureaucratic institution, but one thing is for certain: I
don't know how to contact her. I don't know her e-mail
address, and I don't know if she would receive my e-mail
TO THE DAILY: if I sent one.
I am extremely disappointed in the Daily's lack of Please, someone, I beg you, lift this bureaucratic veil
reporting on Hurricane Ike and the devastation it has and reveal yourself.
caused to Texas and the Gulf Coast. Though Hurricane
Ike resulted in more than 30 deaths, displaced thou- Eitan Ingall
sands of people, caused millions of dollars in damage LSA junior
and left an estimated 2 million people without power,
the Daily felt that this massive, Category 2 hurricane Birth control prices a symptom
only warranted a small news brief in Monday's paper
(Hurricane Ike death toll rises, 09/15/2008).on n health ca e'olem
Houston is the fourth largest city in the country,
and the Gulf region produces 25 percent of America's
domestic oil. Yet the Daily barely recognized this nat- TO THE DAILY:
ural disaster as important news. This university prides I've appreciated the Daily's candid discussion on the
itself on attracting students from around the country, hike in birth control costs, butI would like to make a few
and I wish the Daily would reflect this diversity in its comments about Wednesday's editorial (Unsafe pricing,
reporting. 09/10/2008). Because sex is a right and contraceptives
are a necessary and fundamental part of health care for
Vannessa Rivera more than just birth control, the whole phenomenon of
LSA senior rising prices is not unique to the pill, and it's not target-
ing young people who want to practice safe sex.
An impersonal university and Health care costs are a burden for almost all Ameri-
cans, and with the economy in the toilet, many people
are going without all sorts of vital medications and
treatments. Ideally, our nation would provide basic
health care, including contraception, free of charge
TO THE DAILY: to everyone. And hopefully with a new presidential
While I was writing an essay for my organizational administration, we will.
studies class on bureaucracy, I realized a frustrating But while we're working on that, I think it's impor-
aspect of the student-administration relationship at the tant to remember that higher contraceptive costs is only *
University. one symptom of a massive national health care prob-
Each year, President Mary Sue Coleman so graciously lem. Rather than demanding our ownbenefits, students
opens her home at the beginning of the year and students should have to bear a shared burden and work to solve
excitedly crowd her house for some free food. However, this crisis at its root cause.
if I wanted to talk to her about something serious, would
Iever go to her house? No. Adam Ajlouni
And so it suddenly occurred to me, I have no idea LSA senior

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.



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