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November 24, 2008 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-11-24

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4A - Monday, November 24, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

CJbe ffiidiipan 4J)aU~o

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

L, V
I just don't know how you'd expect someone
that smart, with that many thoughts on that
many subjects, to hold his peace."
- Former Democratic National Committee chairman Don Fowler, on Bill Clinton's role if Hillary Clinton
becomes secretary of state, as reported Friday by the Chicago Tribune.
He aling te B IgTree

4
4

ANDREW GROSSMAN
EDITOR IN CHIEF

GARY GRACA
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

GABE NELSON
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.
Changing chairs
Dingell's defeat may be bad for Michigan, good for country
Jn a week that couldn't have gone much worse for Michigan, the
final hit last week came Thursday. That's when Rep. John Din-
gell, long a protector of Michigan's automotive industry, lost
his chairmanship on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Though it's difficult to say this because Dingell has been a great con-
gressman for Michigan and the country, his loss may be a blessing in
disguise. While Dingell's replacement, Rep. Henry Waxman, is not
without his flaws, he could usher in an era of much-needed environ-
mental regulation that Dingell was reluctant to support.

t sure is nice to see Michigan in
the spotlight of national poli-
tics, isn't it? Before the economic
downturn all that
anyone ever noticed
wasDetroit'sannual
battle with St. Louis
to be recognized as
the most danger-
ous city in America.
Now, suddenly, it is
Motor City, U.S.A.
again and the cen-BRYAN
ter of one of the big- KOLK
gest policy debates
this fall.-
Let's start with
the background: We are in a recession.
Every major industry is dealing with
limited availability to credit and a
deep drop in consumer spending.
But Detroit was ailing long before
the recession began. For decades, for-
eign competitors have taken market
share from General Motors, Ford and
Chrysler by building more efficient,
higher quality and more affordable
cars. Detroit turned to very profitable
trucks and SUVs to make money. This
worked relatively well until gas prices
spiked earlier this year and sales of
those gas-guzzlers plummeted. The
fall-off in consumer spending this
fall was just the final push toward a
cliff that the Detroit Three had been
marching toward for a long time.
Now, bankruptcy is a real prospect
for two of the Detroit Three. They
are hemorrhaging cash at incredible
rates - rates that they cannot sus-
tain beyond 2009, maybe earlier. The
consequences of a G.M. or Chrysler
bankruptcy on the rest of the economy
could be drastic, not to mention the
effect that massive layoffs would have
on Michigan.
Back at the beginning of that story
lies the root of this problem: The big-
gest difference between the overhead

costs of foreign and domestic car
manufacturers is health insurance.
Our companies pay a lot; theirs do not
(both Japan and Germany provide
state-sponsored health coverage). As
a result, foreign companies are able
to spend more on research and devel-
opment and offer cars with more fea-
tures for a smaller price.
As solutions float around abouthow
to save the Big Three, this discrepancy
is often ignored. Take, for example,
one solution that has been garnered a
lot of recent attention.
Last week in The New York Times
Mitt Romney, former governor of
Massachusetts and a "son of Detroit"
advocated, of all things, bankruptcy
for Detroit. By his logic, the worst
thing we could do to the auto industry
would be to give it money - that would
only perpetuate the problematic busi-
ness models they have been main-
taining for decades. If we let them
go broke, they would be able to tear
up their labor agreements and begin
focusing on long-term goals instead of
quarterly profits.
The blame, Romney suggests, lies
primarily with the industry's labor
and pension agreements, which are
too generous and keep domestic auto-
makers from competing with their
international counterparts.
And he's somewhat right: When
you factor in benefits and pensions,
we have had some of the best-paid
workers in the world. But that should
be a point of pride. The labor unions
cannot be entirely blamed for what is
a systemic problem.
Universal health care, while surely
raising taxes, would also take a sig-
nificant burden off of our automakers
who, either through a genuine con-
cern for their workers or poor negoti-
ating skills, are currently putting a lot
of money toward pensions and health
insurance costs. Having universal

health care would greatly change
the dynamic of labor-talks and would
most likely end up saving the company
money, allowing them to produce bet-
ter quality vehicles at lower prices.
Romney's suggestion that we let
Detroit go bankrupt is not completely
illogical - the Big Three has needed
repair for some time and instead of
trying to patch it up with cash infu-
sions it may be best to let it go down
and see what is rebuilt in its place. But
this strategy is far too risky and would
inevitably result in huge job losses.
Shiftingthe burden of health care costs
tothe government would also force the
industry to re-organize itself without
resortingto massive job losses.
How universal
health care could
save G.M.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is
working hard to ensure that no bailout
money is sent to the auto industry until
a comprehensive plan is presented to
show just how they intend to revise
their business models.Withstrict over-
sight of government money lending, the
Big Three will receive just the boost
they need to make it through these
beginning stages of our recession.
But what the Big Three really need
is a level playing field with foreign
competitors, and they won't have that
until we have universal health care.
Recession or not, our automakers are
failing and they need more than a few
billion dollars to change direction.
Bryan Kolk can be reached
at beakerk@umich.edu.

4

Energy and Commerce Committee last
week wasn't easy for House Democrats.
Dingell, who is soon to become the longest-
serving House member in history, has long
been a fixture on the key committee. He has
been its chairman whenever the Democrats
have controlled the House in the last 28
years. During that time, he has lead some of
the House's most important environmen-
tal initiatives, including the Clean Air Act
revisions.
But Dingell has also had a soft spot for
the auto industry, a point that Waxman has
rightly zeroed in on. Though he has led many
important changes, like last summer's revi-
sions to national fuel economy standards,
Dingell has been particularly lax when it
comes to putting the Big Three's feet to the
fire on the environment. There is an obvious
reason for that: much of Dingell's constitu-
ency is comprised of people connected to
the auto industry. Because of that, Dingell
has had to balance his constituent concerns
with the environmental policy the country
as a whole needs. A majority of House Dem-
ocrats think Dingell has failed at that job.
Waxman, on the other hand, is supposed
to right the imbalance. On matters of energy,
health care and climate change, Waxman
has shown unwavering support for the Dem-

ocratic platform. He has also been dedicated
to environmental causes, particularly giving
the Environmental Protection Agency the
power it needs to do its job. He has further
promised that, unlike Dingell, he won't let
the judgment of the Energy and Commerce
Committee chairman be clouded by indus-
try connections - a claim he can back up
from his time as chair on the Committee on
Oversight and Government Reform.
Overall, Waxman is a decent replacement.
While losing Dingell's powerful support on
the committee may be a hard pill for Michi-
gan to swallow, it is better for the country.
That's not to say that Waxman should run
roughshod on the automakers, regulating
them into nonexistence. Like Dingell, Wax-
man needs to understand that many lives
and families depend on this industry. As
Waxman considers important environmen-
tal issues like fuel efficient standards, he
must find the balance between protecting
these people and pushing the Big Three to
protect the environment we all live in. Ding-
ell wasn't quite able to do this, but hopefully
Waxman can.
It is tough to see Dingell go. But, in doing
so, the state (and the country as well) will
see necessary change on matters of alterna-
tive energy and the environment.

I
I

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. Letters are edited for style, length, clarity and accu-
racy. All submissions become property of the Daily. We do not print anonymous letters.
Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.
The Daily is looking for a diversity group of strong, informed writers to be columnists
next semester. Columnists write 750 words on a topic of their choice every other week.
E-MAIL ROBERT SOAVE AT RSOAVE@UMICH.EDU FOR MORE INFORMATION

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, Imran Syed, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Margaret Young

I
I

SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU

D gMany of us were willing to give him a
D . gchance, but were also skeptical that his
offense would produce in the beefy Big Ten.
WgeWe skeptics were right.
Rodriguez has given us a team that took
TO THE DAILY: the field utterly unprepared in every phase
During my four years at Michigan, I saw of the game. From special teams to defense,
my fair share of the Daily. I saw stories the Wolverines couldn't execute. The play
about sports teams, the Greek community, was sloppy, weak and predictable. Perhaps
religious communities and the University it would help if our playbook weren't largely
administration. Even as an alum, I try to limited to three running plays and three
browse the electronic version a few times a passing plays. It would also help if we had a
week. power running game to throw into the mix
Friday morning, I was appalled to not see on more than third-down-and-one situa-
a story on anything related to Transgender tions. It would further help if Mike Barwis's
Remembrance Day or find anything about so-called strength and conditioning pro-
Transgender Awareness Week anywhere in gram actually produced strong and condi-
last week's Daily. tioned players.
I remember that at this time a year ago I wish Rodriguez well, because if he can't
Cayden Mak wrote aletter to the editor voic- produce at least eightwins next year, we are
ing his concern that the transgender com- in deep trouble. The Big Ten has been weak
munity at the University was simply looked in recent years, so Michigan should be able
over and seemingly unimportant (Dailyfails to capitalize and grow in the conference.
to do its part for awareness, 11/26/2007). At Three wins is a disgrace. My heart goes out
the time, I was willing to admit that per- to the players, who fought as hard as they
haps the Daily staff had no knowledge of could in a systemthat prevents success.Good
the events. I found it to be a bit absurd, as luck, Rich. you're going to need it or you're
I worked for weeks on stencils for the Diag goingto be canned - and with good reason.
and fliers for Transgender Awareness Week
and Remembrance Day, but I was willingto Paul Wright
concede that at the time. Alum
However, a year later, I am unwilling to
believe that after the Daily printed at least Blind sp t T i
two replies to Mak's original letter and a support for ISraec
viewpoint written by Brett Beckerson on distances usfrom solution
the topic (Transgender issues unfairly down-
played, 12/10/2007), that the Daily staff is
still ignorant of the event and the impor- TO THE DAILY:
tance to many members of the campus com- The argument presented in Ari Parritz's
munity. column Friday was woefully one-sided
I hope you are ashamed of yourselves for (One Qassam too many, 11/20/2008). In Par-
not understanding the importance of trans- ritz's introductory statements, he discussed
gender issues in our society. Social issues military euphemisms: "firebombing indus-
like hate crimes against transgendered trial and refugee cities was 'strategic;' and
persons, transgender suicides and social destruction of worker villages was appro-
inequality for the transgender community priately 'de-housing' (yes, really)." He then
are important and should be recognized. framed this in the contextof Hamas's disin-
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, genuous ceasefire. What he didn't realize is
"Nothing in the world is more dangerous Israel itself employs these veryctactics.
than sincere ignorance and conscientious The main argument, that Qassam rock-
stupidity." So, please, stop playing ignorant. ets launched at the town of Sderot "should

What I found most disagreeable in Par- Michigan Daily
ritz's column, however, were the little year, but that mal
things. The "de-housing" he finds so unbe- has lost touch wit
lievable was employed in 2005 to bulldoze community. Tran
90 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, brance is clearly s(
and it continues as a bizarre tactic aimed sity and its comm
at the families of those Israel deems terror- Daily should care,
ists. He also wrote that "Gaza is one of the
most media-covered regions in the world," Meghan Rotary
but failed to note that foreign journalists RC senior
are not, in fact, allowed into Gaza. Why is
that? Because of "Israel's naval blockade Quote b-
and other painful but unfortunately neces-
sary means of defense," which the United o
Nations "dwells on." Those painful but nec-
essary means of defense Parritz mentions
offhand include a fuel and food blockade TO THE DAILY:
on all of Gaza. Is starving the children of Josh Weingast
Gaza a "necessary means of defense?" If mark in his recen
Palestinians were doing this to Israelis, who coach Rich Rodr
wouldn't be reminded of the Holocaust? week's press confe
This is collective punishment at its worst. Rod, 11/18/2008).
I am not trying to continue the kind of to read the fullq
scorekeeping that has plagued the debate found that Rodri
of this conflict on campus. Hamas is com- of Michigan fand.
mitting crimes against Israelis, and in this I actually referring;
agree with Parritz. But to ignore the atroci- make personal at
ties Israel is perpetrating just isn't fair. and staff on Inter:
Painting Israel as a defenseless nation that I won't attack
always does the right thing is, for lack of a is simply the vict
better term, propaganda. Looking at this misinform and m
conflict in a clear and unbiased way is the Rodriguez is ani
only way it can ever be resolved. Picking a and of sorts. I fin
side and blindly supporting whatever it does Daily perpetuate:
will only fuel it. publishing Weini
checking the facts
George Nakhleh to profit from ge
LSA junior the rest of the me
greater service to
For second year Daily
misses ransgender Day JASON MAHI
TO THE DAILY:
Without even trying to seek out news
on the Transgender Day of Remembrance,
it came to me in at least five different ways
on Thursday. I got e-mails from friends
and student groups about it, received noti-
fications and messages through MySpace
and Facebook, saw some stickers around
my house and heard coverage of it on Free ---
Speech Radio News. /
I often forget to check my e-mail, when
I have to work or even what day it is, but
Thursday my community would not let
me forget that it was Transgender Day of
Remembrance. It wouldn't let me forget all
of the things that people, bloggers, news-
casts, demonstrators and publications were
doing around the world to raise awareness
about anti-transgender violence and dis-
crimination.
There is a possibility that the staff at The

forgot about it again this vide clarification o
kes me worry if the Daily to rile us up with 1
th what is important to its you owe itto the ret
nsgender Day of Remem- information on our
omethingthat the Univer-
unity care about, and the Andy Petrovich
as well. School ofPublic Hec
A hopeful n
Rich Rod taken Michiganfi
ext by media TO THE DAILY:
e~ Y da Dear Michigan F
It was a rough
when you start fro
t completely missed the less, we're proudi
t viewpoint about football hearts into somethi
iguez's comments at last football. The slight
erence (A messagefor Rich after that fumble c
If Weingast had bothered will never compar
quotation, he would have when you hold the 1
guez did not instruct all We were at the
om to "get a life." He was a fresh start. We w
specifically to people who sin thought it was
tacks on players, coaches We were there why
net message boards. escaped Minnesot
Weingast, though - he We were at Colum
im of media that seek to and we'll be there
anipulate us into thinking of preseason ranki
immoral, scheming brig- wounds.
d it unfortunate that the At the end of t
d this misinformation by returns home, just
gast's viewpoint without going home to. You
. The Daily does not stand Michigan Wolverin
nerating controversy like
dia, does it? It would be a Mandy Roach
the student body to pro- Engineering senior

n these non-issues than
baseless slander. I think
aders to provide accurate
coach.
lth
7essagefor the
otball team
'ootball Team,
season, but such is life
Dm a new page. Regard-
of you for putting your
ing we all love: Michigan
disappointment we feel
or just-out-of-reach pass
e to the joy that comes
ball in the end zone.
opening game, ready for
ere there when Wiscon-
going to run the Big Ten.
en the Little Brown Jug
a for yet another year.
bus defending our team,
in two years, regardless
ings or postseason sore
he day, when everyone
remember where you're
are, and forever will be,
nes.

4

AKIAN

E-MAIL JASON AT MAHAKIAJ@UMICH.EDU

Whitney Markell
Alum
Rodriguez isnotthe coach
he was made out to be
TO THE DAILY:
It is clear from this year's absolutely hor-
rible performance by Michigan's football
team that football coach Rich Rodriguez is
not as wonderful a coach as many thought.

be viewed as nothing less than an attack
on Tel-Aviv or Jerusalem" is from the same
ideology that bred the disproportionate
retaliation duringthe 2006 war in Lebanon.
That war was waged over two soldiers taken
hostage and left Beirut in ruins and more
than a thousand civilians dead - "collateral
damage," I suppose.
Israel has the right to defend itself, but
it must do so wisely. Capturing or killing
terrorists in Hamas is one thing, but an
over-reaction based on collective punish-
ment will only help the groups who fire
these rockets.

- 1 '- .

4

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