4A - Monday, October 27, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com 0
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EDITOR IN CHIEF
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Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
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Re-elect Rebekah Warren
Incumbent state rep.still deserves students' support
She is a diva.
She takes no advice from anyone"
- An aide to John McCain commenting anonymously on Sarah Palin, as reported yesterday by CNN.
JASON MAHAKIAN E-MAIL JASON AT MAHAKIAJ@UMICH.EDU
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Getting creative with education
The 53rd district of Michigan's House
of Representatives is particularly
the 53rd district includes most of Ann Arbor
and the bulk of campus. This year, Demo-
cratic incumbent Rebekah Warren seeks
to hold on to her seat against Republican
Christina Brewton and Green Party candi-
date Matt Erard. In heavily Democratic Ann
Arbor, Warren is a deserving shoo-in. Her
experience, coupled with her energy, makes
this outcome the most favorable one.
First elected to a two-year term in 2006,
Warren still touts the experience and enthu-
siasm that earned her an endorsement from
this page the last time around. In just two
short years, Warren has made a big impact.
She sponsored and shepherded the much-
needed Great Lakes Compact through the
House - a bill that required the kind of
bipartisanship we rarely see in Lansing.
Because of her committee appointments,
she has also worked on civil rights, energy
and corrections issues - three of the most
important issues in Michigan right now.
Above all, Warren has also been a note-
worthy advocate for student concerns. She
has been one of the House's mostvocal oppo-
nents of Rogers's Law, the Michigan law that
makes voting more difficult for students by
requiring that the address on your driver's
license match the one on your voter registra-
tion card. She has rightfully acknowledged
how embarrassing it is that Michigan is one
of only four states that spends more money
on prisons than higher education.
Warren's Republican opponent is Chris-
tina Brewton. But her opposition is in print
only. To everyone's detriment, Brewton
has been conspicuously absent through the
Warren's most visible challenger is Green
Party (but actual socialist) candidate and
University graduate school student Matt
Erard, who also ran against Warren in
2006. An idealist of outrageous proportions,
Erard's main goal is to use the seat as a pulpit
to introduce a "systemic challenge of capital-
ism." But while idealism is great, it must be
tempered with practicality. With his focus
on sweeping revolution, Erard offers his
constituents rhetoric when they need real
Unlike the campaign of his Republican
counterpart, Erard's campaign has been
valuable. He has pointed out that Warren's
acceptance of campaign contributions from
major corporations' political action commit-
tees raises questions regarding conflicts of
interest. While there is no indication that
Warren has allowed these contributions to
affect her judgment, it is important that she
be held accountable for her actions should
any conflicts arise.
Warren has performed impressively in
the last two years and shown the ability to
pass necessary progressive legislation. For
these reasons, the Daily enthusiastically
endorses REBEKAH WARREN for state
representative from the 53rd district.
Proposal 1 makes sense
Legalizing medical marijuana is a logical choice
he less controversial of this year's
two ballot initiatives, Proposal 1
is about something many college
students may know intimately well: pot.
Though opponents have painted the initia-
tive as a gateway to decriminalization for
all marijuana, it does nothing of the sort. By
legalizing medical marijuana, the initiative
will only make pot accessible to those who
are suffering and need it. That's something
most people should agree is worth support-
ing by voting in favor of Proposal 1.
The proposal will legalize the use of
medical marijuana for people in extreme
pain, whether from chronic illness or seri-
ous injury. The law also lets primary care-
givers purchase, carry or grow marijuana
for their patients' use if their conditions
are too debilitating for them to obtain the
drug. Patients and their caregivers must
register with the state to receive a grow-
er's and buyer's license.
The proposal is crucial because it eases
the pain of the terminally ill, making liv-
ing with these conditions a little easier.
Different types of painkillers work more
effectively on some individuals than on
others. And while THC, the pain-killing
chemical in marijuana, can be taken in pill
form, many people respond better when
the drug is inhaled.
While it does have its benefits, the pro-
posal is far from perfect. Though it permits
a caregiver to legally possess marijuana on
your behalf, it does not provide an available
meansto procure the drug inthe first place. A
doctor's recommendationis needed to obtain
the state-distributed license, and marijuana
will not be stocked at pharmacies.
But these functional problems are mini-
mized when you consider that, unlike most
Michigan ballot initiatives, which seek to
amend the constitution, Proposal 1 would
just enact a law. This means that, if passed,
the proposal can be amended more easily
to correct its weaknesses..
The more prominent criticism of Pro-
posal 1 comes from people who argue that
the initiative is a thinly veiled attempt to
slowly decriminalize marijuana and set the
stage for future legalization of the drug. So
what? Marijuana should be decriminalized.
It isn't addictive and, according to some of
the world's most-respected medical journals
in the world, less damaging to your health
than alcohol. But because pot is illegal, we
continue to lock up harmless pot smokers at
a huge cost to taxpayers.
While recreational use of marijuana
should be decriminalized in the future, for
now, it's more important to get it into the
hands of those who desperately need relief
from pain. The Daily endorses a YES vote
on Proposal 1.
ur broken education system
directly mirrors the values
that we expect from it. For the
last century or so
the prevailing phi-
losophy has viewed _
education as a utili-
tarian path towardj
vocational ends. In
other words, the
goal of schooling
is to make people
good at working - BRYAN
and working in bet-
ter jobs - thereby KOLK
supporting the --
economy and mak-
ing them happy.
But this is a conservative and mis-
guided view. It is based on the false
principle that school subjects will
apply directly to later jobs, which
ignores the political implications
inherent in the government's involve-
ment in regulating education. This
misguided philosophy has fueled leg-
islation like the No Child Left Behind
Act that assumes education can be
measured by multiple-choice tests. It
represents the deeply held belief that
all you need to really succeed in the
world is more facts in your brain.
Even Barack Obama subscribes to
this aging rationale. His position on
education is if we increase our support
and build a better economy. Politically
speaking, that is actually a little right
of center (making the Republicans'
attempts to paint him -as a socialist
nothing short of incredible). But that's
where Obama stands, describing edu-
cational assessment as an opportunity
for economic expansion.
It is an exciting possibility, believ-
ing that education could single-hand-
edly save our nation from economic
collapse (or worse, a loss of influence
in world affairs). But if education
is key, it is not through utilitarian-
ism. Business and technology aren't
advanced through assembly line edu-
cation - they demand creativity and
The platforms of both parties advo-
cate increased focus on math and sci-
ence, and it is true that we are falling
behind most of the developed world in
standardized tests in these areas. But
an increased focus on math and sci-
ence will do nothing if we don't also
develop the disciplined imagination
necessary to advance in these areas.
The development of imagination and
personality happens to be the primary
goal of that largely ignored runt of
the curriculum: the humanities. It is
unfortunate that neither of our candi-
dates appear to be aware of this.
Michigan's State Board of Education.
All four of the major party candidates
support the increased cookie-cutter
assessment required by NCLB.
The only Board of Education can-
didate not playing back this mantra is
Dwain Reynolds III, a 22 year old from
the Socialist/Green party, who also
advocates the abolition of all charter
programs and tuition for higher edu-
cation. Good luck, buddy.
But given that we must play with
the cards we are dealt, the four major
party candidates present tolerable
resumes. Both incumbent Democrats
John Austin and Kathleen Straus have
been leaders during their terms on the
board. Several newspapers have even
favored Republican Scott Jenkins to
Straus, indicating a desire for new
blood. Still, I personally am opposed
to the excitement with which Jenkins
supports NCLB legislation. While new
blood would be nice, that new blood
isn't running this year.
Despite the disheartening lineup
of current candidates, though, there
is still room for hope. However bro-
ken and riddled with inequalities
our system may be, we, as students at
the University, survived it and have
been blessed as to be able to educate
ourselves. Whatever the individual
hardships we experienced over the
course of our schooling, we managed
to overcome them and now have the
opportunity to continue expanding
our education. Even in a dysfunctional
system, genuine learning still hap-
The goal for the future is to con-
tinue fixing the system, to ensure that
more and more people have the oppor-
tunities that we have. We need a sys-
tem thatencouragesthe exploration of
creativity in combination with intense
Why better math
and science scores
won't save us.
What we view today as important
may not turn out to be so valuable
tomorrow, and a philosophy that views
education as valuable only for the
workplace ignores the value of creativ-
ity and the potential futures of ideas.
These are the skills that distinguish
Americans in the knowledge-based
economy - not just the memorization
of facts, but also the ability to put them
together in new and creative ways. It
will take longer than this election
cycle, but I have hope that someday
soon we will begin to value this in our
educational policies. Otherwise, we
will be left behind.
Bryan Kolk can be reached
SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU
Vote yes on Proposal 2
Embryonic stem cell research needed to save lives
Carrying on Michigan's newfound tra-
dition of controversial Proposal 2s,
this year's lucky No. 2 would legalize
the use by researchers of embryonic stem
cells that would have otherwise been dis-
carded. Read that carefully because oppo-
nents of the ballot initiative have implied
that it would do everything from waste your
tax money to revive racist and unregulated
science. When this initiative is debated on its
merits, though, it's obvious that voters must
say yes to Proposal 2, for the future of medi-
cal research, our economy and our state.
Michigan is currently one of the most
restrictive states for stem cell research.
Our state prohibits researchers from doing
anything that would damage or destroy a
human embryo, even if that embryo was
going to be thrown away. That ban has
effectively outlawed embryonic stem cell
research. Proposal 2 would bring Michi-
gan up to speed with the rest of the coun-
try, allowing the use of embryos that are
donated from fertility clinics and would
otherwise be discarded.
That's a necessary change. The current
laws make Michigan an inhospitable place
for scientific research. Though we have one
of the best stem cell research facilities in the
country right here at the University of Mich-
igan, the brightest minds in this field are
relocating to states where they can do their
work more freely. The result is that Michi-
gan is missing out on the economic benefits
of increased support for research.
And this is research for a good cause.
Embryonic stem cell research has enormous
potential to cure diseases like Alzheimer's
and Parkinson's and save lives. Though
opponents of embryonic stem cell research
are quick to count-off the cures found from
less controversial adult stem cells, the poten-
tial of these cells is comparatively limited.
This is because stem cells become partially
differentiated after 14 days, meaning that
they no longer have the potential to become
any type of cell in the body.
Both sides of the stem cell debate claim
that saving lives is their principle goal.While
curing diseases is the aim of Proposal 2 pro-
ponents, opponents of the initiative say that
any type of embryo is a life and that using
these embryos for research is effectively
destroying that life. That argument might
carry some water, except for the fact that
these embryos are being discarded already.
At the very least, permitting research on
them will mean that embryonic stem cells
are not beingwasted.
The most despicable part of Proposal 2 is
how opponents of ithave turned it into some-
thing it isn't. The proposal does not call for
taxpayer's money and does not need public
funding. It doesn't open the door for human
cloning - that is still illegal under Michigan
law. And lastly, it doesn't allow unrestricted
genetic research. Comparing Proposal 2 to
the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study, as a
recent television ad does, is a dishonest ploy
meant to scare voters.
Proposal 2 will finally put Michigan on
a level playing field with other states in the
battle for research. Embryonic stem cell
research presents twogreat possibilities: the
possibility to brighten Michigan's economic
future and save human lives from terrible
diseases. The Daily emphatically endorses a
necessary YES vote on Proposal 2.
Choosing the more ethical proven, ramps
option: hunting orfactory farms lseKearne
TO THE DAILY:
I took offense to Radhika Upadhyaya's viewpoint Friday Don't hL
lambasting hunting as an unethical practice (Outlawing a
primitive practice, 10/24/2008). Though I am a vegetarian, TO THE DAI
from Northern Michigan and think killing animals for any I found Rad
reason is apoor ethical choice, I take issue with people who to be profound
try to distance themselves from the murder of animals. practice, 10/24
Hunting forces people to recognize the taking of the never hunted,
life that is necessary for the consumption of meat. In sport of hunti
contrast, people in cities who look down on the practice Hunting isi
make the same choice every time they order hamburgers overpopulated
or chicken. Saying it is no longer "imperative to surviv- nated the nats
al" is an endorsement of the factory farming system that at manageable
puts animals through a great deal more torture than the the MichiganI
quick, free and random death given to only some animals is meant to pr
by hunting. large quantity
Also, Upadhyaya's claim that hunting is not "impera- result. Also, it
tive to survival" ignores how important and useful these Michigan h
animals are to hunters. ThoughI know dozens of hunters lisions, and ac
from my hometown, I have never known one to discard over the cour
of a carcass. Impoverished families can acquire meat at a course" would
very low cost by hunting (roughly $12 for SO lbs). And for of disease wii
those who hunt but do not need the meat, I have always their habitats.
known hunters to donate the meat to programs that help hundreds of ye
feed the homeless and the undernourished throughout lars into Mich
the winter. The simple
In the end, people who hunt have an acute understand- hunting is the
ingthatthe usualmethods ofobtainingmeatare unnatural necessary pra
and that hunting itself is a more direct and ethical venture.
Every pound of meat acquired through hunting is a pound Tom Duvall
of meat notnbought in a store, which erodes support for the LSA junior
ant animal exploitation in factory farms.
int; but don't bash hunters
hika Upadhyaya's viewpoint against hunting
ly ignorantand wrong (Outlawing a primitive
/2008). Let me start off by saying that I have
nor do Iplan to. However, to decrythe entire
ng based on many false statements is wrong.
necessary and good because deer are wildly
. Because of past practices, we have elimi-
ural predators of deer. Hunting keeps herds
e levels that are scientifically managed by
Department of Environmental Quality. This
otect the environment from an unnaturally
y of deer and the overgrazing that would
as the second largest number of car-deer col-
driver has a 1 in 78 chance of hitting a deer
se of the year. Allowing "nature to run its
result in even more accidents, greater spread
thin deer herds and irreparable damage to
Deer hunting is also a tradition dating back
ears that pumps hundreds of millions of dol-
st solution to the author's problems with
same one I chose: Don't do it, but leave this
ctice open for others.
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