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December 02, 2008 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-12-02

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4 - Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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




Unsigned editorials reflect the official position oftthe Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views ofttheir authors.
A second chance
As Big Three retur'n to D.C., focus should be on workers
F or the Detroit Three, Round 2 begins today. After execu-
tives from General Motors Corp., Chrysler LLC and Ford
Motor Co. paraded onto Capitol Hill off of their private
jets last month, whined about their misfortune and looked thor-
oughly unprepared to explain what they would do with the bil-
lions of dollars in federal money they were requesting, Congress
sent them a stern rebuff and a demand for a plan. Those plans
are due today. In the debate that will inevitably follow, Congress
needs to keep in mind one important reason to bail out the Detroit
Three that got buried in last month's spectacle: This is about more
than three car companies.

Mr. President-elect, I am proud to join
you on what will be a difficult and
exciting adventure in this new century."
-Hillary Clinton, speaking about her nomination by President-elect Barack Obama
to the position of secretary of state, during a press conference yesterday in Chicago.

As critics - including Michigan Gov. Jen-
nifer Granholm - have almost universally
agreed, GM's Rick Wagoner, Ford's Alan
Mulally and Chrysler's Robert Nardelli
inspired no sympathy last month. Seemingly
expecting assistance, they didn't pay much
attention to the image they conveyed or the
embarrassing lack of thought they had put
into where the $25 billion they were request-
ing would go. It was a typical display of how
these companies - especially Chrysler and
GM - have ignored the rest of the world for
Today promises to be different - if only
because so many people have demanded it be
that way. There will be plans, real answers
and no private jets. But what also needs to
change is Congress's focus and the conclu-
sion it reaches. This time, Congress needs
to approve a bailout for these companies to
protect the millions of workers, the state and
the many institutions that depend on these
Take, for starters, the sheer number of
jobs that would be lost if the Detroit Three
severely contracted. According to the Cen-
ter for Automotive Research, if the Detroit
Three reduced operations by 50 percent,
almost 2.5 million jobs would be lost next
year across all sectors of the economy. The
government would lose more than $20 bil-
lion in tax revenue, owe almost $12 billion in

social welfare payments and lose more than
$17.5 billion in Social Security receipts in
2009 alone - figures that add up to alot more
$25 billion these companies are requesting.
Michigan would be devastated by these
losses. For a state that has teetered on the
edge of complete economic ruin for years,
this would tip it over the edge. Already, a
study by researchers here at the Univer-
sity of Michigan is predicting Michigan's
unemployment rate to jump to double digits
in upcoming years from its current 16-year
high at 9.3 percent. Couple that with the
fact that Michigan's unemployment fund is
not just empty but owes the federal govern-
ment $472.8 million, and it's easy to see how
a death knell for the Detroit Three might as
well apply to the state of Michigan, too.
There are still more victims of a Detroit
Three collapse - the University of Michigan
being one of them. These companies have
typically contributed millions of dollars to
the University, are responsible for numerous
programs and scholarships here and have
created thousands of jobs for graduates. If
any one of these companies goes belly up, a
ripple effect will certainly be felt here.
When Congress debates a bailout for the
Detroit Three again this week, it needs
to remember these consequences. This is
what the debate should be focused on, not
private jets.

T he Detroit Lions are bad.
Everybody knows that. Right
now, the Lions are in pursuit
of what could be a
"perfect" season, as
in perfectly awful.
They are 0-12,
three-quarters of
the way to the first
winless season in
the history of the
National Football
League. And as the ALEX
franchise, whichP
hasn't won anything
since the 1950s,-
twists in the wind,
having finally fired General Manager
Matt Millen, it's not a great time to be
a Lions fan.
The beginning of the 2007 season
had some promise as the Lions got
off to a 6-2 start. But all of us lifelong
Lions fans were simply waiting for the
other shoe to drop. And did it ever -
the Lions are1-19 in the 20 games since
that start. The Ford family already has
its hands full with a sickly automotive
franchise, and has presided over one of
the worst professional sports franchis-
es since it bought the team in 1964. In
43 years of Ford ownership, the team
has won one playoff game. One.
How did the team get here? The
story is surprisingly similar to that of
the auto industry in the state: a little
incompetence and a penchant to "let
the good times roll." The solution for
both is the same, too: bold changes.
For starters, take the Lions' low
expectations. The Lions' dirty little
secret is that because NFL television
contractsare such a cash cow, the Fords
make money on the Lions every year,
win or lose, due to revenue sharing.
Moving the team from the cavernous

Pontiac Silverdome to its beautifulnew
downtown stadium, Ford Field, served
one major purpose: shrinking capac-
ity. If an NFL team does not sell out its
home game, it is blacked out on local
television, meaning less television rev-
enue and a need to actually puta qual-
ity product on the field. Minus Barry
Sanders, the Lions no longer have even
one quality product on display.
This is eerily similar to the situation
of Ford Motor Co. a fewyears ago. Ford
was making most of its money on large
vehicles, like SUVs and trucks, and
continued to make shortsighted invest-
ments in those areas. This, coupled
with poor quality and high labor costs,
created an awful mess, where the com-
panyisviable intimes ofextremelylow
gas prices, but is more than vulnerable
in times of medium to high gas prices.
But the company made a change at the
top when CEO BillFord stepped down,
brought in a new CEO and now it's on
something like a road to recovery (at
least compared to the other Detroit
Assuming the Fords have had a
change of heart regarding winning,
and perhaps they do now that they
fired Matt Millen (31-93 in his tenure,
including this year), there are several
steps the team can take to turn things
around like it has started to at the auto
company. First, it needs to hire a com-
petent generalmanager. Hiring Millen,
right out of the broadcast booth with
no managerial experience, was unin-
telligent to say the least. Millen lacked
in the most essential aspect of building
an NFL team: scouting.
Similarly, leaders of Ford, and the
other domestic automakers, lacked in
the most essential aspect of maintaining
a successful business: foresight. When
times are good, you need to be invest-

ing in cutting edge technology and new
product, not resting on your laurels as
the BigThree did inthe late 1990s.
The Lions, given enough financial
investment, could try to poach Scott
Pioli, the New England Patriots' vice
president of player personnel. He has
been rumored to be less than happy in
New England, and would surely like to
prove it was him and not head coach
Bill Belichick who was most respon-
sible for building the Patriots' power-
houses (the team has been to the Super
Bowl four of the last seven years).
How the Lions and
the Big Three have
a lot in common.
If Pioli were hired and started to
bring in talent, he would surely try to
recreate the stable framework that
Belichick and his coaching staff built
in New England. Such a framework
can bring in such "bad boys" as Randy
Moss and turn them into team players.
It just so happens that such a coach is
currently unemployed. Bill Cowher,
who led the Pittsburgh Steelers to a
Super Bowl championship (ironically
in Detroit), left the Steelers in Janu-
ary 2007 to "spend more time with his
family." With Pioli and Cowher, the
Ford family could start the restructur-
ing of its team, much as it restructured
its car company: with new, bold leaders
with a track record of success.
Alex Prasad can be reached
at atprasad@umichedu.

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

Lloyd Scholars Program is a
welcoming community

for a huge street-theater parade. Our annual arts
and literary journal publishes contributions from
dozens of students.
We "coordinators" of LHSP are well aware of
the stereotypes with which our program must

TO THE DAILY: contend. I only wisht
I was disappointed by the recent article in examine these more:
the Statement about the Lloyd Hall Scholars
Program (About Campus: The secret of Lloyd Carol Tell
island, 1/25/2008). Far from a groundbreaking The letter writer is t
expose, thisarticle rehashed old stereotypes Scholars.Program.
about how the Lloyd Hall Scholats Program is
made up of students from "New York City, Long A hopeful
Island certain affluent suburbs in metro Detroit
and, increasingly in recent years, Los Angeles." j
Though we provided the reporter with statis- wake ofM u
tics that proved the geographical diversity of
our program (including that only 16 percent of TO THE DAILY:
our current first-year students are from New In the wake of In
York), these statistics were not mentioned in the dence, Rabindranat
story. More disturbing, the article insinuated greatest poets, wrote
that this geographical bias is in fact a class bias. for India in his poem'
A thoughtful article might have placed such fear." In the aftermat
claims within a broader context: the nationwide these are bitterswee
struggle among universities to attract and retain words worth remem
disadvantaged students. Tagore's poem is our1
The article ignored the reality of our program, domestic walls" of r
and the changes made in the past five years - fragment us and that'
from new classes to co-curricular programs to guides our reactions.
more expanded recruiting. But most troubling In honor of all tho
was the article's misrepresentation of our stu- a student body, ded
dents. The reporter appears to have spoken only pledge:
to a handful of students, whose claims he never
questioned. He did not speak with our student Where the mind is wit
leaders. He asked for, but did not cite, the num- high
bers of participants in our clubs and events. He Where knowledge isfr
interviewed our instructors but didn't quote Where the world hasn
them. He refused invitations to classes, clubs and fragments
other events. Therefore, I don't know how he can By narrow domestic w
claim that the number of our students actively Where words come ou
involved in the arts "belongs to a small minority." Where tireless strivin
Such a focus on the "opportunistic" LHSP stu- perfection
dent maligns everyone here. Where the clear stream
I am proud of our students' contributions to Into the dreary desert
campus and civic life. The Sweetland Writing Where the mind is led
Center has recently been enlivened by art from Into ever-widening the
our students, and extraordinary LHSP murals Into that heaven off
decorate the Undergraduate Life Sciences build- country awake.
ing and inner city Detroit. Our FestiFools event
(covered extensively by the Daily) brings togeth- Akshaya Varghese
er students, faculty and community volunteers Business senior

the reporter had bothered to
than superficially.
he director of the Lloyd Hall
message in the
mbai attacks
dia's struggle for indepen-
I Tagore, one of India's
about the image he sought
"Where the mind is without
:h of the attacks in Mumbai,
t words for India but still
bering. For so many of us,
plea. We plead that "narrow
eligion and politics do not
"the clear stream of reason"
se who have died, let us, as
icate ourselves to Tagore's
hout fear and the head is held
not been broken up into
tfrom the depth of truth
g stretches its arms towards
of reason has not lost its way
t sand of dead habit
forward by thee
sought and action
freedom, my Father, let my

Women, prison and human rights

Like most University students,
we had no idea what prison was like.
We registered for "Women, Prison &
Human Rights," taught by Carol Jacob-
sen, an Art and Design and Women's
Studies professor. It has been one of
the most eye-opening classes we have
ever taken. As the course immediately
delved into the subjects of murder
related to domestic violence and self-
defense, human rights violations and
other issues relevant to women pris-
oners throughout Michigan's correc-
tional system, it was clear we were in
for an education beyond what we had
Jacobsen is the director of the Mich-
igan Women's Justice and Clemency
Project at the University. The goal of
the project is to convince Gov. Jennifer
Granholm to grant clemency or com-
mutation, and the parole board grant
paroles to women who have been con-
victed of murder for killing their abus-
ers in self-defense. It also addresses
human rights abuses of women in
Michigan prisons. The course draws
attention to this mission, educating
and encouraging University students
to give these women a voice.
The class has discussed at length
the conditions for women in Michigan
prisons, especially the various kinds of
abuse and neglect occurring at Robert
Scott Correctional Facility in Plym-
outh and Huron Valley Women's Pris-
on in Ypsilanti. There are roughly 100
women suing the Michigan Depart-
ment of Corrections for sexual abuse
and rapes committed against them
by guards and other corrections staff.
Because of the lengthy list of victims,
the class action case is being tried with
approximately 10 women at a time by
the Washtenaw County Circuit Court.

To gain a firsthand understanding
of the issue, we had the opportunity to
sit in on the questioning of the former
director of corrections for the state of
Michigan in October. We also partici-
pated in a large rally at the State Capi-
tol in Lansing. Lined up on the steps
of the Capitol building, the women in
the class wore T-shirts with words like
"mother" or "waitress" on the front,
representing the prisoners in the proj-
ect. On the backs of our shirts were
stenciled the unfair prison sentences
the women received. Many times the
sentence for women who kill their
abusers is life. In Michigan this truly
does mean these women are in prison
until they die. Some classmates also
created bold posters and installations
arguing that many of these women
were imprisoned in their own homes
by abusers long before they are impris-
oned by the state.
During the semester, we've worked
on other publicly visible projects
and have had several guest speakers,
including a former prisoner, Clemency
Project founder Susan Fair and Jane
Atwood, who has photographed wom-
en's prisons around the world. Finally,
last week our class was granted access
to the Robert Scott Correctional Facil-
ity. The warden's assistant led us on a
tour around the educationalcenter, caf-
eteria and a low-security housing unit.
Unfortunately, it seemed that much of
what the official told us did not match
up with thousands of abuse testimo-
nies, Amnesty International reports
and other critical accounts. We came
into contact with some of the prisoners
during our visit, many of whom made
sure we heard them say, "NEVER come
to prison, ladies!" One even screamed
this from her cell window as we left.

From all of these experiences, we
both have come to a new understand-
ing of the criminal justice and prison
systems and how unjust they can be.
We were both raised to support the
prison system, always thinking that
people in prison deserved to be there.
It is rare to see anything opposing that
perspective in the media. We have
read about so many women who have
been sexually and physically abused by
their partners or were somehow invol-
untarily involved in a crime that their
partner committed and now serve life
sentences because of it. Some of these
stories are more believable than others,
but the bottom line is that the sentenc-
es are unjustly long and the conditions
of the prisons inhumane.
One of the most disturbing parts
of many of these stories is the neglect
on the part of the police. Many of the
women repeatedly called the police for
protection, only to be ignored. Domes-
tic situations are often brushed aside
because they are "too messy." Now
these abused women sit in prison for
taking justice into their own hands
when the law wasn't there for them.
This article is one of many projects
that our class is working on to raise
awareness on campus and beyond
about women in prison and the unjust
details of their convictions, sentences
and incarceration. A candlelight vigil
for freedom for women wrongly con-
victed and human rights for all women
in Michigan prisons will be held today
at 5 p.m. at the corner of South Univer-
sity and East University. Please visit
http://umich.edu/-clemency/ for more
information and to get involved.
Claire Harold and Kate Muelle
are Art and Design juniors.


The Daily is looking for a diverse group of strong, informed writers
to be columnists next semester. Columnists write 750 words on a topic
of their choice every other week.

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