4A - Friday, October 10, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
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Candidates, not celebrities
By ignoring Ann Arbor, politicians miss an opportunity
A nn Arbor is a lonely place to be right now. Though Ann
Arbor is usually full of the big names and faces in politics
around election time, it has been ignored this year. Sure,
we've managed a few visits from celebrities like Kal Penn and
Adam Brody - but unfortunately Kumar and an "O.C." has-been
aren't what this campus needs or wants. For a politically active
student body, the cold shoulder from politicians is discouraging. It
is fast becoming a missed opportunity, too.
There are certainly periods of time where
rationality is thrown out the window,
and this is one of them:'
- Trevor Callan, a financial planner in California, commenting on yesterday's 679-point plunge
in the Dow Jones industrial average, as reported yesterday by The New York Times.
MAX FABICK f I,SUITS E-MAIL MAX AT MFABICK@UMICH.EDU
MaintainminJ the momentum
In past elections, politicians have courted
Ann Arbor like the politically important city
it is. Al Gore came here in 2000. As John
Kerry's running mate, John Edwards was
here in 2004. But this election has yielded
only a few major insults. Starting with the
primaries, no major candidate visited Ann
Arbor - no Hillary Clinton, no Barack
Obama, no John McCain. Instead, we got a
lackluster speech from rewind-the-clock-
back-to-1880 candidate Ron Paul on the
Diag, an ignored visit from Ohio's Dennis
Kucinich and a bar crawl from Mitt Rom-
ney's son. Meanwhile, Obama secretly over-
nighted in the city and got a quick morning
workout in at Bally Total Fitness, but was in
and out without aword.
To add insult to injury, candidates are
cozying up to other campuses. Last week,
Obama held a rally at Michigan State of all
places, as if Ann Arbor's ego wasn't already
wounded enough. The Boss, Bruce Spring-
steen, skipped Ann Arbor, too, to hold a
pro-Obama concert next door at Eastern
Michigan University. And now that he has
abandoned the whole state, there isn't even
hope left for Republican candidate John
McCain to pop in for a visit.
Perhaps the candidates in this year's elec-
tion think a visit to Ann Arbor is a lost cause.
Ann Arbor's reputation for being a politi-
cally active "liberal bubble" makes this city
seemingly one-sided and makes a visit here
pointless. Maybe Obama thinks he has this
city's vote in the bag, and perhaps McCain
doesn't want stones thrown at him while he
walks around campus. And in all honesty
both of these perceptions probably reflect
the reality here.
In any case, the politicians need to under-
stand that ignoring this active crowd could
come with a consequence. There is a benefit
to increasing enthusiasm on an already lively
campus. A quick visit from any of the candi-
dates could add the small push students need
to take their voices elsewhere. Plenty of stu-
dents on campus seem willing to take a bul-
let for their cult leader Barack Obama, and
would probably be willing to take a road trip
or donate a few extra dollars for him, too.
Michigan is close to places like Ohio and
Indiana, .two major swing states this year.
Recent polls show Obama leading in Michi-
gan by 13 points but only leading by 3 points
in Ohio and trailing by 5 points in Indiana.
There's no harm in taking some of the enthu-
siasm here and bringing in to other states.
Maybe somewhere down the line Obama
will stop in for more than just a quick jog.
Or Joe Biden. Or Sarah Palin even (we're
that desperate). Until then, Kumar will
have to suffice.
W ith all this talk about
mavericks and bailouts, my
brain has gone into
As selfish as it may
be, I'm elated that
the voter registra- .
tion deadline has
passedbecause I can
finally walk across
being stalked by a SHAKIRA
wild pack of hungry
voter registration SMILER
over, Ill be even
happier on Nov. 5 because, like the rest
of the seasonal political activists in our
country, I can go back to watching my
regularly scheduled programming.
But one thing bothers me: That we
go into political overdrive'in Septem-
ber and revert right back to ignoring
the concerns facing our nation come
December. That's hypocritical and
phony. In my meager 21 years, I've
never seen an election receive this
much attention and participation.
Even some of the biggest celebri-
ties have jumped on the bandwagon,
spreading the word to get out and
vote. Of course, there has never been
an election year that has had a black
man as the presidential nominee .of a
major party either.
But maybe if we had placed as much
emphasis on voting and holding can-
didates accountable in the electoral
offseason, we would've seen more
diverse and socially conscious politi-
cal agendas sooner.
There seems to be a common "if
it ain't broke, don't fix it" mental-
ity among middle- and upper-class
Americans. The problem is that it is
broke - and has been for a very long
time. We just haven't been paying
attention. Families have been suffer-
ing from poverty and unemployment
for years. Children have been starv-
ing. Civil rights have been violated.
Homes have been foreclosed on, and
justice has not been served. Maybe I
should call it the "if it ain't broke don't
fix it, and if it is, just keep using it and
pretend you don't notice" mentality.
The stability of our nation and the
effectiveness of our leadership have
been scrutinized by the masses both
locally and internationally. But it took
eight years for average Americans
to realize that the weapons of mass
destruction for which we've been
searching have been at 1600 Pennsyl-
vaniaAve. the whole time.
Registering people to vote and
encouraging citizens to speak up
about the fate or our nation are two
things that should have been empha-
sized long before Barack Obama or
Sarah Palin made it on the ballot.
Moreover, the same emphasis that is
being placed on this election should
be placed on every election from
this point on, including elections at
the state and local levels. While the
presidential election is important,
each election and each decision made
impacts our lives.
We should be making sure that we
not only elect a president who will
have the best interest of the everyday
citizen in mind, but also governors,
mayors, city councils, county prosecu-
tors and judges who will fight for the
issues important to those who can't
advocate for themselves. The same
effort that went into making sure
people were registered to vote should
go into making sure people are actu-
ally getting out and voting in each and
The people paid to hunt unregis-
tered voters down in the middle of
their classes should get paid to encour-
age people to attend city council meet-
ings and school board meetings. They
should be asking people if'they are
the registered to vote and if they are
informed about the other candidates
and issues on the ballot. It's not OK
to "Barack the Vote" and leave every
other bubble blank. Many voters are
misled and uninformed about what
certain ballot proposals mean and
what the impact of ,those initiatives
Students must be
just as active in
SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU
There are no quick fixes
when it comes to economy
more in the long run.
Everyone needs to recreate a scene from the
1976 movie "Network." Open up your window
and scream, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not
going to take this anymore!" Look it up on You-
After Hurricane Katrina, it was evi-
dent that the Bush administration was
oblivious to the issues and concerns
affecting our impoverished com-
munities. So it's not enough to vote
once a year. We must make sure that
everyday we are holding our leaders
accountable for addressing the needs
of our country'across all racial, social
and class barriers.
While Iwill be proudly wearing my
American flag lapel pin as I lick the
seal of my absentee ballot, I can only
hope thatthe people who are so active
for this election will continue their
efforts after the polls close.
Shakira Smiler can be reached
TO THE DAILY: Tube if you neec
I'm voting for Ron Paul. No, not really. But
he seems less crazy by the day. During Tues- Peter Saul
day's night presidential debate both candidates LSA sophomore
were asked "Will the economy get worse before
it gets better?" Of course, both Barack Obama h
and John McCain spouted out some jingoistic When de
stump speech about the strength of the United
States and then underlined a policy of theirs remember
that they said would help the economy but real-
ly wouldn't. I'm sick of Obama, McCain and the TO THE DAILY
media pandering to aesthetics rather than real In Wednesday
solutions. ent pie charts or
I have news for you: the Dow is going to fall two different sto
during the next few-weeks. No bailout, interest ballot, 'U' toes t
rate cut or speech about the American worker proposal, 10/08/
is going to prevent that. Blaming the fat cats on able to read then
Wall Street won't either. We're facing a global of the male pop
financialmeltdown, and apparently both Obama the colors in the
and McCain think that kicking lobbyists out of to differentiate b
Washington D.C. and changing how health care I'm asking th
is taxed will change that. Give me a break. better colors ini
Let's getnsome brainpower together and come that black andN
up with a real solution that will be best for the appealing, but e
United States in five, 10 or 30 years down the
road. We can't fix this gigantic problem tomor- Michael Locher
row, and anything we do try will just hurt us Engineeringsopl
r the colorblind
y's paper, there were two differ-
m the front page accompanying
ories (With stem cell proposal on
he line and officials debate pot
2008). Unfortunately, I was not
m. I am in the roughly 7 percent
pulation that is colorblind, and
chart looked too similar for me
he Daily to consider choosing
its color-coded figures. I know
white charts aren't as visually
veryone can read them.
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EDWARD MCPHEE |117 VEP NT
Out of the driver's seat
KEVIN DEKIMPE i
E-MAIL KEVIN AT DEKEVIN@UMICH.EDU
,=-Tot W- es.
As Tom Cruise exclaimed in "Top Gun," "I feel the
need, the need for speed!"
I, too, feel this need, and when I had a car, I would give
into it regularly. I make no secret of it: I love to drive, and
I love to drive fast. Driving at dangerously fast speeds
creates a rush that I think everyone should experience at
least once in their lives. But then along comes Ford Motor
Co., here to rain on my parade and stop teen drivers from
doing what we do best: drive fast.
Recently, Ford announced a feature known as "MyKey"
that will limit the driver to a speed of 80 miles per hour
by installing a computer chip in the car key. Ford settled
on the speed because it figured it needed to allow a little
wiggle room, in case an "unusual situation arises." The
bption will be available when the 2010 line of Ford cars
debuts next summer. Ford also has an option for parents
to enable six-second chime that triggers every time a car
exceeds 45, 55 or 65 mph.
This new invention is a crime against all humanity, or
at very least, the teenage parts of it. Ford is essentially
enabling parents to limit the free will of their children,
and I won't stand for it. Driving at ridiculously fastspeeds
is part of the teenage experience. There's nothing wrong
with cruising at 90 mph on an empty highway. That's
making time, not endangering anyone's life. Pushing a car
to its limits is a rite of passage, and while it shouldn't be
encouraged, it is to be expected from teenagers.
While the intentions of Ford to cut down on dangerous
driving by teenagers are noble, it's attacking the wrong
issue. The problem isn't how much teenagers are speed-
ing; it's where they are speeding. Going 60 mph down a
town road is far more dangerous than beating 80 mph
down an empty expressway. There's no way "MyKey"
can protect against dangerous driving practices - it can't
stop street racing, doesn't have a breathalyzer in it and
can't prevent drivers from running red lights.
It also doesn't solve the most dangerous partof teenage
driving: distractions. While it does a feature a device that
limits the volume of acar's stereo system, it hardly stops
bigger and more hazardous distractions. It can't stop
teenage passengers from yelling loudly, keep them from
pressuring the driver into performing dangerous maneu-
vers or stop drivers from acting half their age.
By limiting the maximum speed of teen drivers,
"MyKey" attempts to solve one of the numerous prob-
lems with teens driving. While admirable, it fails miser-
ably. Dangerous speeds are all relative, and to put a single
maximum speed on the teenager without factoring in the
situation is like trying to patch a pipe without knowing
how big the leak is. "MyKey" is merely a cheap marketing
ploy to appeal to parents of teenagers without addressing
the real problems of teenage driving. A better investment
would be to give away vouchers for free driver's educa-
tion classes, which actually have a chance of impacting
, Ford is undoubtedly going to market this as a revolu-
tionary measure in increasing safety on the road. And
undoubtedly many parents are going to buy into it with-
out thinking whether it will really protect their own
teenagers or those who are driving on the same roads as
them. Ford is right to look for ways to protect teen driv-
ers from themselves, but it should go back to the drawing
board to try and find a system that actually works. When
it does develop a technology that can truly help prevent
teenage recklessness behind the wheel, I'll fully support
But until then, I'm going to enjoy driving as fast as I can
within reasonable limits. Don't try to stop me.
Edward McPhee is an LSA freshman.
jk You ~.L.~
.. \ nhlf
VV' ~ %5L
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