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October 06, 2008 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-10-06

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4A - Monday, October 6, 2008
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom


When you've got eight polls that show
you're down, I agree you're down,
- Chuck Yob, co-chair of John McCain's Michigan campaign, commenting on McCain's recent decision to pull
out of Michigan and divert resources elsewhere, as reported yesterday by The Grand Rapids Press.




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.
Registering improvement
Changes to voter registration policy in dorms long overdue
U ness you haven't left your dorm room during the past
month, you've probably been stopped and asked to register
to vote. But if you were stuck in your dorm room, you might
very well have missed out. That's because until yesterday, only one
student group has been allowed in the dorms: Voice Your Vote. And
even though this group has done its job, it has encountered setbacks
- including being kicked out of the dorms last Monday, though the
ban was revoked the very next day. All of this speaks to the need for
University Housing to allow partisan groups to canvass in residence
halls, too. Unfortunately, this is a change that should have come
much earlier - since today is the deadline to register.



;ON T FNN r } Y
000114o go
An education in government

voice Your vote - a non-partisan com-
mission sponsored by the Michigan Student
Assembly - has constituted the University's
main effort to encourage students to vote. A
1998 Amendment to the Higher Education
Act requires universities that receive feder-
al funding to make a "good-faith" effort to
provide students with access to voter regis-
tration. The University fulfills this require-
ment in part by encouraging students to
register with voice Your Vote and by per-
mitting volunteers from this organization
- and only this organization - to register
students inside residence halls. To partici-
pate, volunteers must be trained in election
law and promise to work in a non-partisan
and legal way.
And keeping the registration effort in
the residence halls non-partisan and highly
trained has its benefits. For one, allowing
only well-trained volunteers to register stu-
dents preventsthe spread of misinformation
- a too-common problem because of our
state's convoluted and sometimes confusing
registration process. In the same vein, keep-
ing the effort non-partisan brings a sense of
trustworthiness to the effort, since there
isn't supposed to be a political motivation
underlying the effort.
But as students found outlast week, there's,
a big pitfall, too: It's tough to control these
efforts. After allegations that Voice Your
Vote volunteers violated the non-partisan
agreement and lied to students, Univetsity
Housing reacted brashly, kicking them out
of residence halls. Then, realizing the stu-
pidity of what it did, it let them back in the

next day. More changes may be in order, too
- namely, allowing partisan groups to can-
vass in dorms. (The College Democrats say
the University recently agreed to let them
register voters in residence halls. The Daily
wasn't able to get confirmation from the
University before press time. Either way,
the move comes a bit late. The registration
deadline is today.)
Giving partisanship a place in the process
is warranted. The FirstAmendment protects
students' right to free speech and assembly.
Students should not receive a tempered ver-
sion of that because they live in residence
halls. More importantly, partisan groups
play an important role. They can answer
important questions about candidates and
help students to be more knowledgeable and
more engaged in the political process.
Unfortunately, all the shake-ups in the
registration process at residence halls are
too little too late: The deadline to register
to vote is today. If Housing was uncomfort-
able letting student groups knock on dorm
doors, it could have taken-ether actions, like
providing groups tables in dorm lobbies. But
this should have come as a result of Univer-
sity Housing's willingness to increase stu-
dent voter participation, not because it was
put on the spot.
With the registration deadline already
here, it's a little late to give both partisan
and non-partisan groups greater access
to the dorms. But in the future, University
Housing needs to ensure that the political
process is just as welcome in the dorms as it
is on the Diag.

hile suffering through
Sarah Palin's fake peppi-
ness and babying expres-
sions during the
vice presidential
debate Thursday, I
briefly found myself
longing for the y
screeching mono-
tones of Hillary
Clinton - those I
once thought might
qualify as part of
the new "enhanced IMRAN
interrogation tech- SYED
niques." But as that
moment of weak-
ness passed, Palin's insolent idiocy
brought some familiar questions to
. Why do we Americans expect so
little of our political candidates? Why
is itthat we fear candidates who bring
something more than folksiness to
the table? Why is anything that hints
at an education suddenly regarded as
The two elected branches of our
government are extremely powerful,
especially the legislature. For all the
talk of checks and balances, Congress
has almost unlimited power to make
laws (presidential vetoes can be over-
ridden) and is hardly checked by any-
thing outside itself.
The immense power of the presi-
dency, too, hardlyneeds to be recount-
ed, especially with the emergence of
"the imperial presidency" perfected
by George Bush and Dick Cheney. As
Bush has shown us, the president can
fight wars without congressional dec-
laration, undermine new laws with
signing statements and pArdon crimi-
nals at will.
Yet what do we require of the peo-
ple who seek to win the presidency or
a seat in Congress? We want charm
and likeability. And we despise any-
one who dares suggest education is
also a qualification. We recognize the

presidency as the most powerful office
in the world and still have the impu-
dence to insist that the person who
fills that office should be an everyday
Joe Sixpack/hockey mom..
In a way, this attitude is uniquely
American;we're proud thatour system
gives regular people, not just familial
elites, the chance to be leaders. Yet, in
another way, this attitude is uniquely
ludicrous: It ignores the fact that our
leaders have to be the best among us.
Everyday people have the opportunity
in our country to better themselves,
but that doesn't mean that there aren't
qualifications for elected office.
Compare that situation to the judi-
ciary. You won't find anyone arguing
that we need real people, outsiders
or mavericks in our state or federal
courts. When it comes to major court
appointments we're almost always
talking about a person who went to
Harvard or Yale Law School. Isn't that
disgustingly elitist?
Of course not. Judges, as members
of the all-important third branch of
the government, have a very serious
job to do, and we want to make sure
we only get the best people. Going to
a top law school and graduating near
the top of a your class are unstated
requirements - and they should be.
The law is complex, and we need peo-
ple who have been formally trained in
it to serve on the judiciary.
But is the judiciary really so dif-
ferent from the legislature? Is the job
of Congress any less complex than
that of courts? Crafting legislation to
reflect new and changing realities is a
huge challenge. We would never let an
average Joe near the Supreme Court,
so why do we continue to trust the leg-
islature, the primary phase of law in
our country, to guys we'd like to have
a beer with?
NowIknow that saying these things
makes me a rabid elitist to about 55
percent of this country, but why is
that? All I've said is that the people

who do some of the most important
jobs in the United States should be spe-
cifically qualified for them. We would
never tolerate a judge who didn't go to
law school, so why take pride in con-
gressmen or presidents who have no
grounding in government and whose
one virtue is affability?
Despite the high standard to which
the judiciary is held, any decision a
courtmakes canbe overturned by Con-
gress with a statute, and all courts in
the country (except the U.S. Supreme
Court) can be shut down or altered
radically by Congress. And yet there is
no such thing as legislative school to
ensure competent legislators.
Paln's ignorance
part of a
disturbing trend.
Barack Obama must avoid like the
plague any mention of having gone
to Harvard Law School, lest he be
called an out-of-touch elite. And a
marvelously intelligent and educated
woman like Gov. Jennifer Granholm
must dumb herself down, acting like
a petty saleswoman to win our votes.
Why are we making candidates run
away from all the things that give
them relevant knowledge and experi-
ence for governing?
This all brings us back to a key
practical question: How can anyone
possibly believe that Sarah Palin
- whose sheer ignorance might
actually make Bush look good in
comparison - belongs anywhere
near the presidency?
Imran Syed was the Daily's
editorial page editor in 2007. He can
be reached at galad@umich.edu.

Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Harun Buljina, Ben Caleca, Satyajeet Deshmukh, Brian Flaherty,
Matthew Green, Emmarie Huetteman, Emma Jeszke, Shannon Kellman, Edward McPhee,
Emily Michels, Kate Peabody, Robert Soave, Eileen Stahl, Jennifer Sussex, Radhika Upadhyaya,
Rachel Van Gilder, Margaret Young
The Daily is looking for smart people with an interest in campus issues
and excellent writing skills to be members of its editorial board.


Stem cell debate should
start with sympathy
With all the controversy surrounding
embryonic stem cell research, a lot of dis-
cussion has come up recently regarding the
ballot initiative this November. The initia-
tive would remove many restrictions on
embryonic stem cell research in Michigan.
Above all, stem cell research is not about
economics, religion or the advancement of
science.Itis aboutourmothers, fathers, rel-
atives and friends suffering from diabetes,
Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease,
multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries,
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, heart disease
and other diseases. These people are the
focus of this letter, and they ought to be the
focus of our thoughts.
Before even thinking about embry-
onic stem cell research, think about these
people. If these people are your family or
friends, you understand. If not, go out and
spend time with them. You don't have to
be preparing for medical school or build-
ing your resume to volunteer at a hospital,
elderly care center or .any disease-related
volunteer service.
Then, once we interact and under-
stand the people who live with these dis-
eases every second of every day, we can
start talking about embryonic stem cell
research. We can only then ask ourselves
if the potential to treat and cure these mil-
lions of people is worth sacrificing a 5-day
old, microscopic embryo left over from an
in vitro fertilization clinic that is going
to be thrown away anyway? Personally, I
think it's a noble sacrifice.
A friend of mine, Kathleen Russell, who
suffers from Parkinson's disease, told me
recently, "The science isn't enough. People
need to get to know the people with the

diseases. It is time-consuming, inconve-
nient and often uncomfortable, but very
meaningful and necessary." I couldn't
agree more.
Sure, stem cell research will improve
Michigan's economy.Yes, stemcellresearch
is an important scientific phenomenon.
But, above all, Iwill vote yes on Proposal 2
for the suffering citizens of Michigan and
the United States who deserve the hope-
ful research that is currently outlawed in
Landon Krantz
The letter writer is the president of the
University's chapter of the Student Society
for Stem CellResearch.
On stem cells, we should
'err on side off life'
The recent Daily article about a panel
discussion praising the potential of stem
cell research (With proposal on ballot,praise
for stem cell research, 09/22/2008) made me
wonder if people, scientists and public alike,
truly realize the implications of embryonic
stem cell research. It fazes me that people
at an institution like the University would
be so confused. The basic question in the
stem cell debate is: What is the unborn?
There are intelligent, rational people
who disagree on when life begins. If we're
not sure, shouldn't we give the embryo
the benefit of the doubt that it is alive? If
a construction worker is about to demol-
ish a building but isn't sure whether it's
empty, does he go ahead and do it? No. He
checks to make sure it's safe. At the very
least, we should make absolutely certain
that the embryo is not alive. Until then, we
must err on the side of life and assume that
the embryo is in fact a living thing, human

being and person.
Destroyingalivingthing is the only issue
here. Is it right to intentionally take the life
of an innocent human being? That human
person, given the chance, will develop and
grow and eventually be born. The embryo
looks exactly as it is supposed to at that
stage in development, and that is exactly
how all of our own lives began. Embryonic
stem cell research, while perhaps having
good motives, takes away the right of that
embryo to live.
To date, embryonic stem cell research
has led to zero cures, while adult stem cell
research has led to at least 70. Although
there may be a chance that embryonic stem
cell research will yield cures in the future,
the ends do not justify the means. We
shouldn't experiment on human beings in
the mere hopes that something may come
of it. Adult stem cells can be manipulated
to generalize into different stem cell lines.
There is a lot of potential for adult stem
cell research, and we must concentrate our
efforts on extending that research to con-
tinue to find cures and advance technolo-
Adult stem cell research should be sup-
ported. Embryonic stem cell research must
never be supported. Vote no on Proposal 2.
Lea Wojciechowski
LSA junior
American foreign policy
has destabilized Somalia
Ibrahim Kakwan's column Thursday
(Unnecessary interference, 10/02/1008)
shed light on a topic most students have
never heard before: the war in Somalia.
Though the the United States doesn't have
boots on the ground in Mogadishu, the war

in Somalia has been the United States' third
ongoingwar since late 2005. I expect some
people believe the Union of Islamic Courts
is a "terrorist group" and think Kakwan
is unpatriotic for supporting this group.
However, those people have swallowed the
United States' line on Somalia and are hor-
ribly wrong.
The UIC evolved after 1991 out of the
anarchy in southern Somalia. The "transi-
tional federal government" in power at the
time was a joke, so the country was ruled
by warlords. In this environment, the UIC
began policing efforts and provided basic
government services like education and
health care. It gradually formed itself into
a krytocracy and formed a military to pro-
tect its people from the warlords. With
widespread popular support from the heav-
ily Muslim population in Somalia, the UIC
began reclaiming Somalia from anarchy.
In 2005, the warlords formed the Alli-
ance for the Restoration of Peace and Coun-
ter-Terrorism, an Ethiopian mafia with a
name that guaranteed U.S. support. And
support it we did. The Central Intelligence
Agency pumped the group full of money
like it supported Carlos Castillo Armas in
Guatemala. And the UIC still won.
I shall leave you to notice the obvious.
In November 2006, the people of Somalia
had a government. In December 2006, the
United States had Ethiopia invade Somalia.
Today, Somalia is the Iraq of Africa, breed-
ing the next generation of terrorists.
Evan Macy
Comparison of dining
systems raises questions

how far behind the University's dining sys-
tem was in comparison to others around
the country, as made evident by the recent
Statement article about the new Hill Din-
ing Center (Catch-up cuisiine, 09/17/2008).
The fact that Bowdoin College delivers an
exquisite dining experience wasn't hard
to swallow, nor was the fact that Virginia
Tech students receive a significant dis-
count on purchases at commercial eater-
ies. What was more disappointing was that
not only do students at Virginia Tech and
Georgia receive incredible service; they do
so at nearly half the price, which makes you
wonder, "What's Michigan doing with my
extra $600 to $1000?"
If only the questions stopped there.
Apparently, the University is falling behind
in other areas as well. For the first time
in many years U.S. News & World Report
ranked our school out of the top 25. While
rankings like this don't necessarily mean
much, whatthey show is a change inthe way
recruiters, companies and other important
organizations perceive the University. Not
only does our image suffer, but, increas-
ingly so, our pocketbooks do toot the Uni-
versity of Michigan has been consistently
ranked as one of the most expensive out-of-
state universities and has an in-state tuition
cost that deters students as well.
It's becoming increasingly difficult to
live with these realities, and a need to fin-
ger-point has inevitably grown stronger.
My resentment of University President
Mary Sue Coleman is growing as well. And
while I realize she can't bear all the Univer-
sity's burdens, I ask the Daily is to prove me
wrong - prove to me that reduction instate
funding or some other actor is responsible
for our troubles. There should be no way
that one of the highest-paid public universi-
ty presidents in the country can be at fault.

TO THE DAILY: Charlie Bao
I was greatly disappointed to discover LSA freshman




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