4A - Monday, September 22, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.cam I
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ANDREW GROSSMAN GARY GRACA GABE NELSON
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.
Asking for an extension
'U' should extend drop/add deadline until after fall break
Hesitant about whether you've found the right classes this
semester? Concerned that you still haven't had an assign-
ment in that 400-level class you decided to try? Well, you
had better decide quickly if your schedule is right because today is
the drop/add deadline. Scheduled three weeks into the semester,
this deadline is far too early. The University has a responsibility to
help its students succeed in their classes, and in this case, it needs
to help them by pushing this deadline back until fall break to give
students more time to make a choice about their course load.
Angry Al complaining about someone else's
campaign ads is about as funny as 'Saturday
Night Live' will get this year."
- Luke Friedrich, spokesman for Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), complaining about his Democratic
challenger Al Franken's role in writing a skit about John McCain, as reported yesterday by Politico.com
Going geen against the family
W hat brought down the Cor- just what Bob Lutz, GM's vice chair- In a way, Lutz is everything that's
leone family? Drugs, of man of global product development, wrong with the American auto indus-
course: It was a new, dan- has been doing in recent days. Mak- try. He's a smart guy, I'm sure, but
gerous game, and ing a stop on "The Colbert Report" last those smarts were honed in an entire-
the Godfather never week, Lutz yucked it up with Stephen ly different world and are no good
could wrap his head Colbert, taking advantage of the host's today. For example, he said that he
around it. deadpan invitation to say some dumb actually does "accept that the planet
What brought things. (Among them, Lutz said that is heated" but that, like "many noted
down the Detroit he Volt is a hot car that will get you scientists," he does not believe the
auto industry? Well, women, butthey'll bethe "no make-up, carbon dioxide "theory." For a man of
a lot of things, but environmental" type.) All the while, his stature to sit there and say some-
chief among them Lutz was apparently oblivious to the thing that absurd is about as painful
was another new, IMRAN fact that the joke was on him. He prob- as watching a grandparent struggling
dangerous game ably knewthatColbert's bombastically to figure out how to send an e-mail.
these companies SYED conservative swagger is an act, but And it certainly isn't winning him
just couldn't wrap then again, you shouldn't expect too any points in the demographic GM
their heads around: much from the guy that infamously hoped to reach.
fuel efficiency. once called global warming "a total
The Corleones were forced to crock of shit."
accept that drug trafficking was the Lutz later wrote on his blog that
hot new thing, and they would have to the Colbert interview was unlike any Does GM really
cut peripheral deals at the very leastto other experience he has ever had in his
survive. Similarly, it seems the Detroit career. He sounded downright giddy have 'the strength
Three have finally come to under- about the results he expects to come
stand that fuel efficiency and green from that interview: "Those facts are to cha "ge'
technology, as much as those evils nowknowntothehuge ColbertNation,
sicken them, are things in which they, which consists primarily of millions
too, will have to dabble. But the green of educated, successful young people,
game isn't for everyone, and even including many who are not generally What does GM hope to accom-
today, Detroit auto executives keep predisposed to consider GM cars." plish with people like Lutz denigrat-
making it all too obvious that they're Yes Bob,butwhattheysawfromyou ing environmentalists and snickering
in way over their heads. is not likely to please them. about mawkish tree-huggers? Aren't
Somehow mastering the urge to these the people most eager to buy an
tout a new 19-mpg Suburban "hybrid" electric car? Or is Lutz really laboring
as America's ticket to energy indepen- ' ~ , under the delusion that the Volt will
dence, General Motors turned some , /J sell just because it's a cool car your
heads last week by unveiling the pro- ti average gear head might buy and sub-
duction Chevy Volt. While talk of the ' tsequently "pimp"?
Volt has been swirling for nearly two GM's effort to make the Volt as
years (GM first unveiled the Volt as a t imainstream a car as possible is com-
concept at the North American Inter- mendable, and the heat the company
national Auto Show in January of last -'has taken for ditching the EV1 is
year), last week's event got the whole largely unfair. However, it's clear that
country's attention. People are sud- the automaker still isn't comfortable
denly excited to find GM leading the with this game it's suddenly forced
way to a real-life plug-in electric car. to play. The Corleones, too, thought
I should note that the Volt is not they could survive by staying on the
really an electric car; it can go 40 UTZ periphery, by feigning to play while
miles on a charge, but then uses a ! "-> staying away. But that just doesn't
combustionengine to recharge the work.
battery, which technically makes GM has to make up its mind: Is
it ahybrid. Nevertheless, GMdoes it ready to go green or not? You
say that it is further along on the can't have it both ways. Remem-
electric car track than any other ber how poor Fredo found that
company, and while the Volt won't , , r out the hard way?
be released until late 2010, it will
likely be the first mass-market Imran Syed was the Daily's editorial
plug-in electric on the road. page editor in 2007. He can be
That'scausetocelebrate, andthat's ' Illustration by HarunBuljina reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For everyone but first-semester fresh-
men, the drop/add deadline will cause an
ominous "W" to appear on students' tran-
scripts if they drop classes after today.
Although the University claims that a
"W" isn't a mark of poor performance,
students know that these are scarlet let-
ters on their transcripts, especially if they
are applying to graduate school. Regard-
less of their reasons for dropping classes,
students know they have to explain these
But it shouldn't be that way. Students
need time to shop around for classes,
determine whether the professors teach-
ing their courses have styles conducive
to their learning and decide how heavy
a course load they can handle. And they
need more than three weeks to make
these decisions, especially when you con-
sider that many classes haven't even had*
graded assignment, let alone an exam for
students to truly grasp whether they can
handle a class's workload. The University
has recognized these concerns. That's why
it changed the deadline for first-semester
Other universities like Yale and Har-
vard, have addressed this concern with a
"shopping period." This is a period at the
beginning of the semester when students
can experiment with many classes and
decide which are right for them. Even this
system, though, doesn't let students gauge
how much work they will be doing.
Fortunately, the University of Michi-
gan has a system getting closer to making
sense. Unfortunately, it's at the Universi-
ty's Flint campus. There, students can add
classes until Sept. 10, but can drop them
without punishment up until Oct. 24. By
this time, students have most likely had
an assignment graded or taken an exam to
measure how well they are doing.
The University is obviously fearful of
a system that allows students to look for
easy classes and easy grades. However,
switching to a system that separates add-
ing classes from dropping them would
keep students from dropping hard cours-
es only to switch into easier ones. Mak-
ing the drop deadline closer to fall study
break would better allow students to judge
the time and effort needed for each class
and whether or not they have the time and
ability to succeed in their classes.
In the meantime, while the University
continues this policy, it is up to the pro-
fessors to give the students a better mea-
sure of how they are doing. Giving clear
and precise expectations is helpful, but
students can't always get a handle on a
subject's intensity simply by reading the
syllabus. Professors should provide stu-
dents with feedback early on to give them
a better benchmark about whether or not
they should continue the course.
The University has an obligation to put
its students in the best position to succeed
in their classes. It's about time the Univer-
sity switch to a system that works for stu-
dents, not against them.
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
KATIE MILERJ ,IE11 INT
A team without its field
As captains of the women's varsity soccer
team, Kristin Thomas and I began this sea-
son with nothing but optimism. We had a new
coaching staff, promises of a brand new facil-
ity and the chance to turn Michigan's women's
soccer program around. We have a young team
- of our 24 players, we have 13 underclassmen.
We have talent, and now have the coaches.
But what we lacked, as a group, was an
understanding of Michigan tradition - what
it means to be a Wolverine. As captains, Kris-
tin and I decided to teach our young players
what Michigan is all about before the season
started. We read the legendary football coach
Bo Schembechler's book, "Bo's Lasting Les-
sons," and picked 13 of his greatest lessons to
share with the team, one for every day of our
grueling preseason. We established team rules
based on representing Michigan and its tradi-
tions. We stressed that playing for Michigan
was the greatest privilege an athlete could
earn. We were playing harder than ever before,
under one of the best coaches in the nation. We
spent two weeks in Georgia before the season,
running twice-a-day practices and yelling the
greatest fight song ever written.
And then we got back to Ann Arbor. We were
slated to play Notre Dame at home, under the
lights, on our new field. This was supposed to
be the beginning of a new chapter for our pro-
gram. Except our field wasn't ready. So, instead
of a home opener against one of the top five
teams in the nation, we went on the road and
played Notre Dame on their field, in their stadi-
um, under their lights. When we got back from
this game and our field still wasn't ready, we
went back on the road. We spent the first 23 of
the 25 days of our preseason on the road.
That was August. It is now September and
our fields are still dirt (literally). The Athletic
Department has a long list of reasons why our
fields aren't finished: permits, frogs, wetlands.
It has apologized. But the bottom line is that we
don't have anywhere to play.
The Athletic Department's solution to this
problem is for us to practice at Mitchell Field
and compete at Eastern Michigan University.
After two days of practicing at Mitchell Field,
we had seven ankle injuries. Mitchell is not fit
for varsity training, and anyone who has com-
peted at a high level would agree. Our "home"
games aren't on our field or under our lights (or
any lights, for that matter). Every "home" game,
we have to look into the stands and see our par-
ents sitting in green bleachers, surrounded by
Eastern Michigan eagles.
We still do not have a field, and in its recent
article about the construction delays, the Daily
essentially said this wasn't a big deal (After
delays, soccer facility nears opening, 09/11/08).
Had the Daily asked a member of the women's
soccer program, it would have had a better
idea of what this means to play Michigan soc-
cer. Maybe the male soccer players find these
delays acceptable, but I refuse to accept what
the Athletic Department has done to my team.
The Athletic Department and the Daily have
portrayed this catastrophe as nothing more
than a slight inconvenience, a slight delay, a
slight miscalculation. But there is nothing
slight .about having to explain to my fresh-
men why they should fight for Michigan when
Michigan has not fought for us. I've stopped
trying to give them an explanation.
This year, we are fighting for each other,
our coaches, our parents, Bo and Michigan
tradition. I won't make excuses for today's
Katie Miler is an LSA senior and the co-captain
of the women's varsity soccer team.
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 to email@example.com.
Daily wrong to just portray GOP
as running unethical campaign
TO THE DAILY:
In Wednesday's editorial about the Center for Eth-
ics in Public Life, the Daily called out members of the
Republican presidential ticket for their ethical lapses
(The moral imperative, 09/17/2008). Not surprisingly,
the editorial neglected to mention the opposing ticket's
lapses. I can play the same game as the Daily, though.
Remember when Barack Obama said that John
McCain wanted to wage war in Iraq for 100 years? It
turns out that this statement was taken out of context
in order to misrepresent McCain's meaning and scare
voters. That sounds pretty close to a flat-out lie to me,
even if it's a lie that Democratic partisans would like
voters to believe.
This is a contentious election, and the discourse has
been ugly on both sides. Of course, candidates will con-
tinue to call for a focus on the "big issues," but they'll be
producing negative ads while they do so. Political views
are too closely linked to a person's identity for any cam-
paign to remain completely clean. It doesn't take much
to start the process; a Republican claims that someone's
opposition to the war in Iraq is unpatriotic, or a Demo-
crat claims that someone's support of the war in Iraq
makes that person a warmonger. And the sparks fly.
I would encourage the Daily to stop pretending that
this political bile is exclusively the product of one
Republicans, not Granholm, are
to blame for Mich. economy
TO THE DAILY:
Last Monday, the Daily reported that Saul Anuz-
is, the chairman of the Michigan Republican Party,
attacked Gov. Jennifer Granholm's handling of the
Michigan economy (GOP aims to tie Obama to eco-
nomic woes in Mich., 09/15/2008). In reality, the state
of Michigan's economy is a result of failed Republican
policies and a failed economic ideology that has sunk
our financial markets, sent jobs overseas and hurt mid-
Granholm understands our economic problems,
while John McCain believes, "the fundamentals of our
economy are strong." This false belief in the strength
of the economy has been exemplified by the federal
buyout of American International Group and the gen-
eral collapse of America's financial sector.
Granholm has a bright vision for the future, which
embodies the notion of putting people first, as opposed
to padding the pocketbooks of big business and their
corporate lobbyists. Her plan for Michigan's economy
focuses on creating green-collar jobs, where the now-
dormant auto factories used to be.
Granholm realizes that reverting back to the politi-
cal blame game will only delay the movement toward
change and the revitalization of Michigan's economy.
Ashley Harrison, Amy Parlapiano, Brian Hurd and
Nathaniel Eli Coats Styer
The letter writers are members of the University's chapter
of the College Democrats.
SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU
With higher education becoming
unaffordable, Obama has answers
TO THE DAILY:
Matt Aaronson's article Wednesday about the strug-
gling college loan market highlighted a brutal reality
for many college students (As lenders shy away, 'U'
students stillfindingloans, 09/17/08). Over the past five
years, the cost of college has risen more than 35 per-
cent across the country. The recent crises in the private
lending sector have only augmented this problem.
Barack Obama supports policies that will allow
more students to be-able to afford college. Unlike John
McCain, Obama favors increased funding for Pell
Grants and wants to streamline the student loan pro-
cess. In fact, his first act as a U.S. senator was to intro-
duce legislation to increase the maximum Pell Grant
This type of policy is an investment in our future.
Higher education not only benefits the individual
(college graduates earn, on average, 61 percent more
than those with only high school diplomas), but also
strengthens the economy and the community in which
everyone lives. Those of us who attend the University
understand this and are fortunate enough to have this
opportunity. But many Americans can't attend college
without financial help.
Funding our education is funding our future - if
nothing else inspires the student electorate, the high
cost of education should. Take it personally, and take
Democracy may not be the answer,
but violence never will be
TO THE DAILY:
In response to Thursday's column about why democ-
racy is not the form of government Pakistan needs
(Democracy is overrated, 09/18/08), I am sickened at
Ibrahim Kakwan's savage disregard for the sanctity
of human life. According to his column, Kakwan was
"relieved" and "happy" when former Pakistani prime
minister Benazir Bhutto died.
What kind of human being is he?
I don't care what Kakwan's feelings are about the
appropriateness of democracy in Pakistan. And I don't
care that he believes a dictator is a better leader for
Pakistan than a democratically elected president or
that he overstated claims about Bhutto's corruption
charges (fact check: former Pakistani president Pervez
Musharraf withdrew his charges against her in 2007).
What was more upsetting to me (and, I'm certain to
many other students on campus) was how Kakwan
praised the assassination of Bhutto as something that
made him "happy."
Democracy, as a governmental structure and ide-
ology, may not always function effectively in certain
countries. But no matter how much one disagrees with 0
a doctrine or idea, violence is never an appropriate
means of expressing disapproval.
Kakwan should be ashamed of himself.
Public Policy junior