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October 09, 2008 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-10-09

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4A - Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

l e lic[ igan wily

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

ANDREW GROSSMAN
EDITOR IN CHIEF

GARY GRACA
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

GABE NELSON
MANAGING EDITOR

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position ofthe Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views ofttheir authors.
Rising hopes
Concessions on high-rise empower Ann Arbor residents.
Ann Arbor takes pride in its quaint, small-town ambiance
juxtaposed against its exciting college atmosphere. So it's
understandable that residents have historically fought
development tooth and nail, including the high-rise construc-
tion project known as 601 Forest. With developers now making
concessions with regards to the size of the building, residents
have scored a minor victory for Ann Arbor. Unfortunately, they
picked the wrong battle. While it's heartening to see cooperation
between residents and developers in the creation of a much more
palatable plan, the new'design still disregards the main problem
with student housing: affordability.

The whole point of the armed forces is
to hurt the environment:'
- Justice Stephen Breyer, commenting on the relationship between the military and the environment
during U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments yesterday in Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council.
CHRIS KOSLOWSKI I OUT AT E-MAIL CHRIS AT CSKOSLOW@UMICH.EDU
Um-uih-Big-Oil-uh-uh-Bush Ga
What's wrong with saying Which nation's economy has lied-um-carbon-corporate-
"Thefundarnentals ofours tonefunodamentaisan gredcapitalist-pigs-onkohk
economy are strong why isn't that nation richer
than the United States? On
p C> o
*'5, 0
lie away from thepresidency

6
6

The original proposal for 601 Forest, an
upscale student housing development that
will be located at the corner of South For-
est and South University Avenues, estimat-
ed that it would be about 25 stories tall and
contain 1,200 units. From the plan's incep-
tion, residents have been up in arms, argu-
ing that the high-rise didn't fit the area.
On Monday, developers responded to con-
cerns by bringing a revised building plan
before the Ann Arbor City Council for just
14 stories and between 550 and 650 units,
appeasing many concerned residents.
Granted, that's not to argue that the new
plan for 601 Forest is perfect. It has always
had flaws. But contrary to the beliefs of many
residents, size wasn't one of them. Building
up is always better than building out. Urban
density is more convenient and eco-friend-
ly than urban sprawl, and fighting growth
skyward while ignoring bigger flaws shows
a troubling lack of foresight. Plus, one has to
question if a building only one story taller
than Tower Plaza would have a measurable
impact on the community.
But high-rises cancel out their own use-
fulness if they aren't serving the 'needs
of the majority. What should bother stu-
dents most is the fact that the developers
don't seem to have them in mind - or at
least most of them. 601 Forest, like other
off-campus high-rises of its kind, offers
expensive housing targeted at upper-class
students. But Ann Arbor's problem is not a

lack of housingwith flat-screen televisions.
It's a lack of affordable housing. And while
developers should be catering to this need,
there's no reason for residents to quibble
over a single story instead of calling atten-
tion to an important flaw.
However, this new plan represents more
than an 11-floor concession on a minor
point; it represents the ability of Ann Arbor
residents to make a difference in their
city. While the city government was in a
tough position to fight - let alone win -
this battle, residents led a successful effort
against an undesirable project. Admit-
tedly, the nation's recent economic woes
likely played a role in the decision to scale-
back the upscale 601 Forest, but much of
the change can be attributed to local out-
cry. That should prove quite empowering
for future projects.
Progress can't be stopped. As the Uni-
versity and Ann Arbor grow, more housing
will become a necessity. It is our responsi-
bility, though, to help guide development
- and this concession shows that we have
more influence than we think. While pro-
posals like 601 Forest aren't that common
in Ann Arbor, they are more common than
plans for more affordable housing devel-
opments. Students need more inexpensive
options, but if they don't use platforms like
the Michigan Student Assembly and the
Ann Arbor City Council to voice this need,
developers won't hear them.

know how much you love
your candidate. Maybe you
have chalked John McCain's
name all over cam- _
pus, bought a giant
cardboard cutout of
Barack Obama or
sacrificed a goat for
Ron Paul on yourI
gold altar. That's
part of the beauty E
of American poli-
tics: You have the EILEEN
freedom to support
your candidate with STAHL
whatever craven
level of endorse-
ment you can muster. But no matter
how fiercely you want your man in the
White House, I wish you would stop
lyingto get himthere.
Last week, there was a fiasco on
campus involving an unknown reg-
ister-your-ass-to-vote person, who
screwed up in an epic fashion. Appar-
ently, upon-learning that a student
supported Barack Obama but wasn't
old enough to vote, the clipboard-tot-
ingmastermind advised the student to
put down a fake birthday on the voter
registration form. Great way to sup-
port your man there - except for the
whole breaking a federal law part.
Not surprisingly, the election sea-
son tradition of distorting reality isn't
limited .to our campus. Groups sup-
porting either Obama or McCain are
springing up everywhere, and thanks
to the Internet, they can easily spread
their messages. See, everyone can use
the Internet, from a well-researched
politician to a deranged grandma,
who sends her e-mails entirely in
capital letters about SOMETHING
ADORABLE THE CAT DID. Obvi-
ously the Internet isn't regulated by
journalistic standards - yet people
still listen.
Consider BornAliveTruth.org, a

pro-life organization that's putting
out anti-Obama ads on the Internet.
In one, a woman speaks who some-
how survived her mother's attempt-
ed abortion. She tells us that Obama
opposed a bill in the Illinois state leg-
islature that would have recognized
the children of failed abortions as
"human (people)." Stone-faced, she
concludes, "If Obama had had his
way, I wouldn't be here."
Obama's not only pro-choice, but
pro-baby murder. Except the video
leaves out an important detail (sur-
prise!): At the time the bill was pro-
posed, doctors were already legally
required to care for all children from
failed abortions. I'm pretty sure that
the woman in the ad hasn't been
treated like a space alien her whole
life either. Obama opposed the bill
because he believed it was the first in
a series that sought to overturn Roe v.
Wade, not because he wanted to drop-
kick newborns into biohazard bins.
I know what you're thinking,
"Those Republicans sure are terrible."
Democrats would never use the Inter-
net to spread deceit like that. Oh wait,
my bad; they did. By now, we all know
that Bristol Palin - Gov. Sarah Palin's
17-year-old daughter - is pregnant.
But several weeks ago there was an
online movement started by the Daily
Kos to expose that Sarah's infant son,
Trig, was in fact Bristol's, and that
Sarah was trying to cover it up by pos-
ing as his mother.
At first, there was some compelling
evidence for the rumor. However, as
it became increasingly apparent that
it was all baloney, many of the Demo-
crats in an online forum I frequent
continued to pursue it fervently, intent
on spreading shaky evidence to give
Obama a boost. "I don't even care if it's
true or not," wrote' one commenter,
"As long as it ruins (Sarah Palin)."
Whyare people doingthis?Itreflects

poorly on your candidates when you
do. Political discourse has never been
a game played over tea and crumpets,
but latelyit's been gettingridiculous.
Then again, we don't exactly have
great role models, especially with
both candidates telling straight-up
lies about each other. There's the
infamous McCain ad claiming that
Obama wanted to provide sexual
education to kindergarteners, which
he did, if you consider "what to do if
someone touches you inappropriate-
ly" to be sex education. Then there's
the Obama ad that accuses McCain of
wanting the war in Iraq to go on for
100 years. McCain did say he wouldn't
be opposed to a century-long presence
Why stretching the 0
truth isn't going to
Win this swing vote.
in Iraq, but only a nonviolent one, like
the one we have in Japan today.
OK, so the candidates themselves
are jerks, too. But why does it have
to be that way? Instead of meeting
their opponents on dirty ground, why
can't they make more ads exposing

the other guy's tricks, thereby giving
themselves some moral superiority?
All of this is hurting people who want
to make informed decisions.
I can't do much about what Obama
and McCain are up to, but I can yell
at young campaigners in a newspaper
column. So Iwill: Knock it off. I mean
it. Seriously, if you guys keep this up,
my swing vote is going to Ross Perot.
Eileen Stahl can be reached
at efstahl@umich.edu.

S

SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU
Depression doesn't have to happy, healthy life.
control students' daily lives Melissa Nestor
LSA sophomore

" TO THE DAILY:
In response to the Statement article Wednes-
day about living with depression (The double
life of depression, 10/08/2008), I was some-
what disturbed by the message the writer, Jane
Coaston, sent.
Coaston made it sound like all people suffer-
ing from depression struggle on a daily basis to
make it through without suicidal thoughts. Our
society has the perception that those afflicted
with depression are "sick" and can't think
clearly. However, there are so many students
at the University who suffer from depression,
receive treatment and do well. I know sev-
eral people with depression who say they feel
healthy and happy and that they have not had
depressive episodes in quite awhile.
I think it is important to point out that not
everyone who has depression is crying and sui-
cidal all the time. Many appreciate the joys of
life much more after a depressive episode. Liv-
ing with depression takes personal strength to
confront the problem and get treatment, and
suffering people should take care of them-
selves to get the help they need. Sometimes,
it takes work to find the right therapist or the
right medication, but no one should have to feel
alone.
There are solutions out there, and there are
people who survive with depression and lead a
BELLA SHAH

Hillel offers support for
all students
TO THE DAILY:
I would like to thank the Daily for its cover-
age Tuesday of the "Go Blue Think Pink" fund-
raising campaign (Greeks team up to fight cancer,
10/07/2008). It is fantastic to know that Univer-
sity students are amongsome of the most philan-
thropic and support so many worthwhile causes.
As the assistant director of Hillel, I wanted to
add that we are proud to have our name associ-
ated with events like Go Blue Think Pink,;Dance
Marathon, Pike Comedy Night, Relay for Life,
AEPi Splash Bash and many more. Hillel will
always be a resource for both Jewish and non-
Jewish students and will continue to meet the
needs of all students on campus.
We at Hillel would like to offer assistance to
any student group, large or small, that is look-
ing for guidance and help in planning events.
Feel free to contact me directly at jjmarco@
umich.edu.
Thanks again, and Hillel wishes everyone a
Happy New Year.
Joel Marcovitch
The letter writer is the assistant director of Hillel.
E-MAIL BELLA AT BELLZ@UMICH.EDU

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.
JENNIFER SUSSEX|IEP T -
Rage against the voting Machine

After the calamity known as the 2000 presidential elec-
tion, public outcry forced the U.S. Congress to pass the
Help America Vote Act of 2002. HAVA solved the problem
of those pesky "hanging chads," giving states about $3.9
billion to switch from the punch-card voting system to
touch-screen machines, among other changes. But due to
the way these machines are monitored (or rather, not mon-
itored), this election is precariously close to mirroring the
contentious election of eight years ago.
With HAVA's help, the high-tech, computerized touch
screens that have replaced paper ballots appear to have
resolved the issue of determining voter intent in the event
of a recount. Few besides residents of Sarasota, Fla. realize
that some models of the new machines actually eliminate
the possibility of an accurate recall entirely.
In the 2006 race in Sarasota, tallies revealed that Demo-
cratic candidate Christine Jennings lost to Republican Vern
Buchanan by about 368 votes. The results wouldn't have
been an issue, but it turned out 18,000-members of the com-
munity "undervoted." In other words,18,000 voters bizarre-
ly cast an invalid vote for neither Buchanan nor Jennings.
Sarasota polling places used Electronic Systems & Soft-
ware, Inc.'s iVotronic touch screens, which record votes
on a digital memory card similar to a flash drive. However,
the iVotronic only stores a copy of the voter's selections
on its digital memory card. No paper copy is ever created.
This means that if the 18,000 undervotes were caused by a
problem with the computers themselves, a digital recount
would produce similar figures, confirming some doubts
already surrounding the new technology.
With the exception of a few more votes in favor of Jen-
nings, the results of the digital recount were the same as
the previous tally, leavingthe rest of the 18,000 undervotes
unexplained. Some have argued that voters deliberately
abstained from voting in the mudslinging Buchanan-
Jennings campaign. But even after the 2000 election, it is
unlikely that the acidic aftertaste would be enough to dis-
courage 18,000 from participating. Rather, it is more likely
that the software was responsible for the undervotes.
An internal memo from high-ranking ES&S employees

dated August 2006 confirmed that the iVotronic machines
had flawed software. The executives discussed a bug that
created a delay in displaying the voter's choice. If voters
became perplexed and clicked their choice again, it would
deselect the original vote. Could that have happened
18,000 times?
Robert Frost, an associate professor in the University's
School of Information, postulates that our culture revels in
its love for the quick "technical fix," likening technology
to a magic wand that is presented as a solution to all of our
problems. As a result, the touch-screen machines entered
the market for voting machines without adequate testing
or litigation to enforce quality standards.
Under federal laws created in 2002, the testing of the
machines is still not technically required - and if it does
take place, the vendors of the voting machines fund it. And
because the companies fund it, the testing is considered
private. After all, the results of a private study do not have
to be disclosed to the public, rendering the average citizen
incapable of holdingthese companies accountable.
HAVA should now recognize that the companies that
create these products can't be trusted to conduct inde-
pendent testing, if for no other reason than because fix-
ing problems with their machines costs them money. The
computer's source code - the programming in the com-
puter itself - should be opened up. An open-source code
would allow the functionality of the machines to be tested
at academic institutions, where the findings could then be
made accessible to the public. The computer scientists who
would test and improve these products could also then
eliminate the use of the problematic, paperless machines
like the iVotronic.
Without a paper trail and properly tested machines, the
2008 election could become another fiasco. At a time when
the country is more active - and more polarized - than
ever in recent history, we must be able to take amore active
role in developing the technology with which we cast our
votes. Right now, the only ones voting are the corporations.
Jennifer Sussex is an LSA senior.

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EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Elise Baun, Harun Buljina, Ben Caleca, Satyajeet Deshmukh,
Brian Flaherty, Matthew Green, Emmarie Huetteman, Emma Jeszke, Shannon Kellman, Edward McPhee,
Emily Michels, Kate Peabody, Matthew Shutler, Robert Soave, Eileen Stahl, Jennifer Sussex,
Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Margaret Young

I C

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