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January 30, 2009 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-01-30

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4 - Friday, January 30, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com *

74( e loan '3aily

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 of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solelythe views of their authors.

Great Lakes, great benefits
Federal bill would help economy and ecology of the region
A fter years of neglect by the federal government, the Great
Lakes may finally get some of the attention they deserve.
That's because Capitol Hill is now considering legislation
that would invest federal dollars in projects designed to protect
the lakes. The bill in question promises to preserve key compo-
nents of the region's environment and has the added potential to
stimulate economic activity in Michigan. And because the Great
Lakes are sucha valuable resource for this state and the nation,
Congress has a responsibility to the environment, Michigan and
surrounding states to protect them.

The U.S. House of Representatives is cur-
rently considering the Great Lakes Water
Protection Act, which would commit more
than $20 billion over the next five years to
contribute to the long-term sustainability
of the Great Lakes. A related bill has also
been introduced in the Senate, backed by
Michigan's Carl Levin. Although similar
legislation has been voted down in previ-
ous years, the new plan is more likely to
succeed now that Democrats control both
Congress and the presidency - particu-
larly in light of President Barack Obama's
campaign promise to create a federal trust
fund to preserve the lakes.
If passed, this plan would take steps to
address some of the problems troubling the
Great Lakes in recent years. One of the larg-
est parts of the bill would revamp waste and
storm water management systems, replac-
ing antiquated infrastructure that allows
contaminants to leak into natural water sys-
tems. The bill would also set a deadline for
restricting sewage dumping into the lakes.
Other components being considered would
clean up pollutants in rivers that feed into
the lakes and combat invasive species that
threaten freshwater environments.
The problems facing the lakes are simply
too big for states to tackle on their own.
That means the federal government needs
to honor its long-neglected responsibility
to protect the region's environment. The
Great Lakes are more than just a part of

Michigan's mitten-shaped identity; as the
world's largest freshwater reserve, they
also stand as one of the nation's most pre-
cious resources. Preserving them needs
to be a priority, because cleaner, healthier
lakes stand to enhance the health and well-
being of people and ecosystems throughout
the entire region.
This legislation would also provide
much-needed help to Michigan's ailing
economy. The plan is projected to create
40,000 jobs in Michigan alone. And tour-
ism, one of the state's largest industries,
stands to benefit as well. Cleaner water and
healthier ecosystems are likely to attract
greater numbers of sportsmen, fishers and
family beach-goers to the state. Increased
tourism would infuse the state economy
with much-needed cash and support busi-
nesses facing tough economic times. As
an added bonus, tourism generates tax
revenues for the state that can be used for
things like increasing funding to higher
Protecting the future of the Great Lakes
shouldn't be delayed. Their impact on the
environment and economy - in Michigan
and the entire region - is far too important
to ignore. Obama needs to honor his com-
mitment to make the lakes an environmen-
tal priority. For its part, Congress needs to
get its act together and pass a comprehen-
sive plan to preserve these national trea-
sures for current and future generations.

We have this thing called impeachment and it's
bleeping golden and we've used it the right way."
- Illinois state senator James Meeks, mocking Blagojevich's expletive-laden words that
were captured by the FBI on a wiretap, as reported yesterday by the Chicago Tribune.
a one crx~ . gr2 2ss~n 4\n,... so -
to te
A badprescr >tion forA2
fizer, the top company in phar- sever its primary research and devel- ence-based jobs in this state. Instead,
maceutical sales worldwide, opment site. they let their money and our talent
recently submitted a bid to it takes tens of millions of dollars walk away.
purchase its com- and about a decade to stumble upon We may not recognize it here on
petitor Wyeth for and test a useful drug. Even then, the campus, but the University was the
$68 billion. company only has exclusive rights buyer of last resort for the Pfizer
That should to the formula for about ten years, property (all 174 acres of it). Although
surprise you, which drives the prices through the the city breathed a collective sigh of
considering that roof until the patent is opened up for relief when the University stepped up
Pfizer pulled out generic brands to copy. Even with the to claim the empty space, our local
of Michigan for patents, internet and foreign sales hero can't give the city what we really
good in 2008, cit- pose a serious challenge to American need. The University doesn't pay the
ing the need to pharmaceutical sales. city taxes, nor can it pay the kind of
save money. The MEG To save time, large corporations salaries the drug company was able
company's Ann YOUNG like Pfizer are able to buy promising to support.
Arbor campus . drugsby acquiringcompanies that are
alone - a two too small to do major safety and clini-
million-square- cal testing themselves. It's a business How Pfizer's exit
foot space - employed 3,600 people, model that Pfizer has used before:
mostly for research and development. originally, the Ann Arbor location was has hurt th state
The site was the worldwide capital of opened by drug company Parke Davis, he
the company's research and develop- who stumbled on the wildly-popular, and
ment. Now, a third of its employees cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor local economy.
have been relocated, another third before Pfizer gobbled it up.
found pharmaceutical jobs outside One of the major challenges that
of Michigan and the rest were left to Pfizer experienced in 2006 was the It is difficult to say right now what
fend for themselves. unexpected failure of the drugs kind of impact the University's pur-
In vacating our city, Pfizer left acquired in its buyout of competitor chase of the site will have on the
behind an economic crater. The ripple Pharmacia, which put the company school itself. But Ann Arbor residents
not only affects the businesses on the in a difficult position. But pulling out and students should both be con-
north side but has shaken the rest of of Michigan was an executive deci- cerned about the loss of Pfizer and the
the city as well. Pfizer brought enor- sion, not asteam play. Whatever finan- unrealized opportunity for another
mous tax revenue to Ann Arbor that cial woes that worried the heads of hearty company to diversify the city's
the city has been hard-pressed to Pfizer were forgotten as soon as they economy and widen its tax base.
make up for elsewhere. In 2008, the skipped town. In fact, Pfizer's future In this difficult economy, you can
total taxable value of Pfizer's Ann must look pretty good to the credi- be sure that other important indus-
Arbor properties alone was just under tors who'are financing its $68 billion tries will have trouble. And although
$150 million. Ann Arbor's Pfizer site dollar bid to Wyeth, especially when we have so few titans left to fall, we
gave away millions to philanthropic credit is apparently this tight. need to be wary and protective of
organizations every year - money So why did Pfizer leave? The idea all of our businesses. For students to
that the nonprofits are struggling that Michigan's legislators created stay in Michigan after they gradu-
without. The United Way, a dedicated an inhospitable climate for the drug ate, they need to have access to jobs
community service partner, will espe- company has been rumored, but of their caliber. For that reason and
cially feel the loss; Pfizer gave about a Pfizer claims that politics weren't the so many more, I hope Michigan will
million dollars per year to the United cause of its departure. Only one thing think twice before it lets the next
Way's Washtenaw County branch. is certain: Michigan's leaders didn't Pfizer waltz its billions of dollars out
Pfizer's pullout came as a surprise, throw their arms across the door the door.
even considering the limping econo- when Pfizer asked to leave. Our lead-
my. It was difficult for people here to ers should have done everything they Meg Young can be reached
imagine why a global company would could to keep such highly-skilled, sci- at megyoung@umich.edu.


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 accuracy. All submissions become property of the Daily.
We do not print anonymous letters. Send letters to tothedoily@umich.edu.
Daily acted irresponsibly bybelieve this was the intention of Elaine Morton,
te' its potential effect on public perception should
running stem cell cartoon have been considered.
Alexander Vilagosh


Misguided traditions

TO THE DAILY: LSA junior v
In responseto Elaine Morton's recentcartoon
(Nature Calls, 01/27/2009), it was irresponsible University
and dangerous for the Daily to publish a car-
toon that anthropomorphized embryonic stem Ayersplat
cells. This gives a false impression of the issues
behind embryonic stem cell research.
The stem cells currently allowed for use in TO THE DAILY:
laboratory research are created in the labs from In regards to1
a sperm and an egg. The embryos are not con- versity by Bill Ay
ceived naturally, and thus had no potential of renewed activisim
ever being "human" - no more so than an egg should be asham(
in any month that is not used in procreation. where on campus.
By anthropomorphizing the cells, the cartoon the mere thought
implied that they have the feelings and emo- cable human beir
tions of a human. At less than five days afterthe through which to
fertilization (the point at which the stem cells Ayers is a deplo
are extracted from the embryo, destroying the tant terrorist, yet
embryo itself), this is simply not the case. speak out on any
While many would try and draw links grace. Whateverg
between this debate and the abortion debate, education or polit
they are two completely separate issues. It is radical, anti-Ame
unknown when a fetus develops the emotions belief system. He
to a level where it can be considered human ed notoriety from
and have a right to life, but that point is cer- alleged affiliation
tainly not within five days of fertilization. Of It is embarrass
course, there is also the fact that a single cell dare let this mar
would not "be a human" anyway, though I do wife speak here.'
not believe the cartoonist was going for scien- campus is rampa
tific accuracy. levels. Ayers is jus
Stem cells have the potential to do so much, versity administn
but the research requires the support of the if Ayers had bomb
general population so that appropriate funding instead of the Pet
can be allocated to these scientific programs. Headquarters and
The good that can come of this research far out- Shame on youI
weighs the bad. Making embryonic stem cells and whoever at thi
have human characteristics - even through
a cartoon - could influence understanding of Andrew Lorelli
the issue with no factual basis. While I do not LSA senior

wrong to give
form to speak
the recent visit to the Uni-
yers (At event, Ayers pushes
n, 01/27/2009), the University
ed to have Ayers speak any-
. I, for one, am discouraged by
of having that kind of despi-
ng given any sort of medium
rable person and an unrepen-
t people continue to let him
number of topics. It is a dis-
good he claims he is doing for
ical activism is negated by his
rican and hateful history and
is capitalizing on his reignit-
the campaign season and his
with Barack Obama.
sing that this school would
n and his equally repugnant
The leftist fanaticism on this
nt and disturbing on many
st one example. I believe Uni-
ators would feel differently
bed Angell Hall or the Union
ntagon, New York City Police
I the US Capitol Building.
Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn
s school gave them a platform.

T radition oozes from every
patch of this University,
whether it's on the athletic
field or on the road
between South
and West Quad
on the evening of
the season's first
snow. Tradition
is cherished here
and rightfully so.
But there are
some traditions NEIL
that should notT
be continued or TAMBE
lauded. These are
harmful traditions
that happen in secret, lack purpose
and are only for tradition's sake. Haz-
ing, the coercion of new members of a
group to perform extreme and danger-
ous acts, is one of these useless tradi-
tions and should be prevented on this
campus. And at the start of a semester
when organizations begin thinking
about transitioning leadership teams
and new members, hazing prevention
needs to be a priority.
And it's not just fraternities or bands,
though these types of organizations
have a prevalent association with haz-
ing. Many other types of organizations
have been implicated in hazing, and it's
unfair to attribute the practice to a sin-
gle type of group. No matter who does
it, hazing is hazing and it's wrong.
Hazing existsbecause it is ingrained
in the tradition of organizations and
because those who promote hazing
misguidedly think that it has a positive
effectcon the culture of an organization.
But in truth, all itdoes is indicate a seri-
ous lack of leadership. Hazing creates
negative, aggressive feelings between
members. As time passes, hazing prac-
tices become increasingly severe until a
tragedy occurs. These offensive, harm-
ful practices deter talented new people
from joining an organization because
they are turned off to abuse.
Advocates ofhazingpractices claim

that the activities can have some posi-
tive effects on an organization. Even
if they do, there are many alternatives
to hazing that are just as good - or
better - for accomplishing goals like
bringing people together or encour-
aging hard work. These are the alter-
natives that are not psychologically or
physically harmful. Challenges and
shared experiences are created all the
time without engaging in the harmful
variety of hazing.
These activities are largely irratio-
nal in the first place. If hazing is meant
to initiate or indoctrinate members to
an organization's culture, the activi-
ties should have some relevancy and
connection to life in the organization.
For example, if you are not a member
of a goldfish-swallowing club, there's
no reason to make someone swallow a
goldfish. To do so is simply absurd.
Some hazing activities attempt to
have a purpose - which, I suppose, is
slightly betterthan completely neglect-
ing to have one. But any supposed les-
sons learned through hazing will never
be more than a long stretch of anal-
ogy or better than the lessons learned
by purposeful non-hazing activities.
Learning the value of team unity by
linking arms for an extended period of
time is a shallow lesson. Forcing people
to do lots of push-ups does not obvious-
ly teach persistence. Trying to justify
hazing by saying it has a so-called pur-
pose is not providing a sufficient justi-
fication, but instead just a thinly-veiled
rationalization for wrongdoing.
Make no mistake - hazing is an
abuse of power. But the paradox of
hazing is thatvictims really have more
power than their abusers. If a victim of
hazing chooses to abandon an organi-
zation, it leaves the organization closer
to failure because it consequently has
fewer members and a bad reputation.
The departing member can just join a
new organization. Underclassmen, you
don't have to let an organization haze
you. They need you to survive more

than you need them.
Continuing abusive practices
because hazing is legally difficult to
define isn't okay, either. By legal defi-
nitions, many benign activities might
be judged as hazing in court, so there
may be little incentive to temper any
harmful activities. Even if it is hard to
define, legal ambiguity is not an excuse
to allow hazing to remain.
Hazing prevention
is key for student
groups to flourish.
Instead of tip-toeing around the
legality of hazing, an organization
strivingfor excellence should dothings
that are botheffective and indisputably
moral. A simple rule of thumb should
be that if an activity could be consid-
ered hazing even to a small degree, it's
not worth the waste of time because
there is a better option.
Complicating the matter further,
some people claim to like being hazed
because they feel they earn their orga-
nizational affiliation that way. That's
like saying they enjoy getting punched
in the face. I think what those people
actually like is being part of a group
that pays attention to and challenges
them - neither of which hazing really
Traditions will continue at this Uni-
versity long after we all leave. Many
will have the opportunity to cement a
lasting legacy on an athletic field, the
stage, in a classroom or at a meeting
table. In addition to other successes,
make hazing prevention a part of your
legacy by replacing abusive practices
with better, meaningful alternatives.
Neil Tambe can be reached
at ntambe@umich.edu.


Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Emily Barton, Elise Baun, Harun Buljina, Ben Caleca,
Satyajeet Deshmukh, Brian Flaherty, Emmarie Huetteman, Emma Jeszke,
Sutha Kanagasingam, Shannon Kellman, Edward McPhee, Matthew Shutler,
Neil Tambe, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder

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