4 - Tuesday, March 3, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
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the University of Michigan since 1890.
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Ann Arbor, MI 48109
GARY GRACA ROBERT SOAVE COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR 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.
Ann Arbor must receive its share of stimulus money
hile many students are wishing for warmer weather
on campus, the city has come up with a wish list of its
own. Last week, the Ann Arbor City Council released
a prioritized list of programs it hopes Michigan's share of the
recently passed federal stimulus bill will fund. Though the list of
projects ranges greatly, they tend to have one thing in common
- they ought to be funded by the bill. Funding these projects
will accomplish precisely what the stimulus bill aims to do: cre-
ate jobs, stimulate the economy and improve the local communi-
ty. State and local government should coordinate their efforts to
provide stimulus funding for the projectsthat Ann.Arbor's city
council has outlined.
First on the wish list are repairs for Sta-
dium Boulevard, which is worse for the
wear after years of federal neglect. The
southern lanes on the road's bridge have
been entirely closed, because the beam that
supports that part of the bridge, according
to Ann Arbor City Councilmember Leigh
Greden, is deteriorating. It's unacceptable
for bridges in Michigan - or anywhere, for
the matter - to be allowed to reach such
a state of near-collapse. Luckily, the city
expects to receive money for this project,
and it should. Communities deserve the
money they need to make roads like this
one safe for residents.
The city is also requesting funding so
that it can provide better insulation in low-
income homes. Insulating these homes
would help reduce utility bills and put
money in the pockets of people who really
need it, year after year. Not only would this
save energy, this program would also allow
these individuals to spend more money in
the local community. It's disappointing
that the city may not receive funding for
this program. While it's true that other
communities may need the money more,
the federal and state governments ought
to provide enough money to ensure that
affordable, properly equipped housing is
readily available to low-income individu-
als in every community.
Other priorities for the city include
installing new traffic lights and creating
bicycle lanes along Fifth and Division Street.
Adding bicycle lanes is likely to create jobs
during construction, improve traffic con-
ditions and make it safer for bike-riders to
get around in the city. Not to mention that
it would encourage the use of bikes, helping.
to make the city greener and less congested.
Similarly, the city's plan to install LED traf-
fic lights would make the city more sustain-
able. officials hope they can use stimulus
funding to replace all of the city's traffic
lights with energy-efficient LED lights. This
project would save the city thousands of
dollars on its energy bills, freeing up money
for other activities. It would also reduce
energy consumption, placing less stress on
the environment, making this a wise invest-
ment for stimulus funding.
It's clear that the city can't afford to
postpone these programs. Creating a sus-
tainable city with well-kept infrastructure
and properly insulated housing is a wor-
thy cause for stimulus money. Like many
other cities in Michigan, this city deserves
to have its most important financial needs
met with federal dollars.
Nothing kills my libido quite like
- Meghan McCain, daughter of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), explaining how her father's
presidential campaign has affected her personal life, as reported yesterday by CNN.
ELAINE MORTON ! iT E CE-MAIL ELAINE AT EMORT@UMICH.EDU
- --r ie s fili t 4 c .st
rbnof sriglo At-ow hw tcrVs
Allied for tolerance
L ast month, University LGBT who believes that gay people should people of other religions or people of
students - with the help of have the same rights as anyone else, another gender. But just because we
the Spectrum Center - won I watched with dismay as the country have the right to withhold our "accep-
the" right to host rejected the idea of equal rights in the tance" doesn't mean we should. And
the 2011 Midwest - 2008 presidential election. Califor- in all those examples, society has by
Bisexual Lesbian nia, Florida and Arizona passed bal- and large moved toward accepting
Gay Transgender lot proposals to abolish gay marriage. these different groups of people. To
Ally Conference. d M It's easy to think that these anti-gay think that the LGBT community is
According to the k sentiments are held by people in dis- any different - or any less deserving
Daily story (Uni- tant parts of the country, or at least of our acceptance - is absurd.
versity to host people who aren't high-minded,
LGBT conference, - I worldly and tolerant college students.
02/19/2009), But I have reason to believe that our Showing the
Spectrum Assis- ROBERT campus isn't necessarily the bastion
tant Director SOAVE of tolerance we might think it is.
Gabe Javier feels Where's my evidence, you ask? LGBT com mu mty
that the Univer- Well, I run into negative attitudes B
sity of Michigan toward the LGBT community all the true acceptance.
is a great place for the conference to time. I've engaged in discussions
be held in part because the Spectrum with students in classes, at social
Center has "a-great set of allies all gatherings, in dorm cafeterias and
across the University that can really other places on campus. When a This distinction between active
make the conference feel so much group of college students are having discrimination and passive discrimi-
more different". a discussion, it's not uncommon for nation (in the form of denying accep-
For those wondering what an "ally" these talks to turn into policy debates tance to LGBT people) shouldn't
is, it's a term used to refer to people - and when those debates focus on exist. Discrimination is discrimina-
who are not part of the LGBT com- the issue of gay marriage, I've often tion, and while statements such as "I
munity themselves but support LGBT found myself running into some ver- just don't approve of a gay lifestyle"
individuals and their movement for sion of the following statement: "I seem to consistently pass the societal
equal rights and acceptance. The don't have to support that lifestyle." "tolerance test", would someone who
Spectrum Center actually has an Ally Sentiments like this may not seem said "I just don't approve of a Chris-
Training program on campus that outwardly offensive - they don't say tian lifestyle," or "I just don't approve
aims to educate allies and create dia- that gay people should be kicked off of a Jewish lifestyle," be met with
logue between them and people in the campus or should stop living in sin such regard?
LGBTmovement. Based upon this and - but they hint at a subtler and yet The good news about the LGBT
the general perception of the Univer- equally powerful form of bigotry that struggle is that it seems fairly inevi-
sity as promoting a liberal, tolerant I increasingly find myself running table that such bigotrywill one daybe
environment, it would seem that this into on campus. placed in the same category as most
campus is as good a place as any. The tendency seems to be for indi- other forms of discrimination. But
But despite the degrees of toler- viduals who oppose the LGBT move- with the Midwest LGBT Conference
ance afforded members of the LGBT ment to express opposition to the idea on our campus still two years away,
community on campus, I can't quite? that we need to "accept" LGBT indi- the best thing you can do is chal-
shake the feeling that we aren't as viduals. They seem to think that as lenge notions of passive intolerance
tolerant here as we think we are. And long as they aren't openly and actively toward gay people so that when the
while our campus certainly does have hostile to homosexuals, they're fully conference does arrive, maybe we
a large number of allies who support entitled to "disagree" with LGBT can demonstrate that the University
the LGBT movement, it appears to individual's lifestyle choices. In the of Michigan is indeed an ally of the
me that a strong current of non-ac- strictest sense, they're right - no one LGBT community.
ceptance runs through not just the is, or should be, forcibly required to
country, but the University popula- hold certain opinions. We are allowed - Robert Soave is the Daily's
tion as well. to disapprove of interracial marriage editorial page editor. He can be
As an ally of the LGBT community or people of other races entirely, reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The perils of environmentalism
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Emily Barton, Elise Baun, Harun Buljina, Ben Caleca,
Satyajeet Deshmukh, Brian Flaherty, Emmarie Huetteman, Emma Jeszke,
Sutha K Kanagasingam, Shannon Kellman, Edward McPhee, Matthew Shutler,
Neil Tambe, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder
La SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU
Daily failed to recognize In recession, jobs more
key points of Iraq lecture important than charity
TO THE DAILY:
Professor Juan Cole delivered a lecture in
February entitled "Collective Action in Ameri-
can Iraq: Can the People Thwart Empire?"
Attempting to cover the event, the Daily article
(Cole discusses role of militants inIraq, 02/19/09)
failed to address some of Cole's more pertinent
For those that missed out and want to know,
here they are:
First, Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition
Provisional Authority of the U.S. Secretary
of Defense, issued his 100 Orders, or "Bremer
Plan," in 2003. It mandated the privatization
of Iraq's 200 state-owned oil reserves and pro-
tection for foreign investors and contractors.
It also called for the "de-Baathification" of
the Iraqi government in favor of a secular one.
Unfortunately for the Bush administration,
these orders did not go according to plan.
Second, part of U.S. strategy in the Middle
East, Cole argued, was a continuation of Cold
War policies - namely, the conversion of some
of the world's last socialist strongholds into
U.S. friendly markets. With the Soviet Union
out of play, the Bush administrations figured
they would give global domination another go.
Third, only 14 percent of Iraqis actively sup-
ported resistance against American troops in
2003; by 2006, 75 percent wanted to kill U.S.
Fourth, while Obama's "instincts are good"
when it comes to Iraq and imperialism in
general, he is "tone-deaf" when it comes to
Cole's closing point presented a nice summa-
ry of his argument: There is generally a battle
between social and diplomatic history. In Iraq,
social history won.
TO THE DAILY:
I was visitingmy soninAnnArborwhenIread
Matthew Green's column (A greed-fueled culture,
02/16/2009). Ironically, like Mr. Green, I also
passed a homeless man on my way to the Union
on State St. Instead ofwantingto give him money,
however, I wished I could give him a job. In fact,
many of the "greedy" business people that Mr.
Green cites in his article have provided jobs for
hundreds of people.
A recent article in the Detroit News talks about
the new leader of the Michigan Republican Party,
Ron Weiser (Ann Arbor mogul takes reins of GOP,
02/21/2009). He graduated in 1966 from the Uni-
versity of Michigan with a business degree. But,
unlike many of our "leaders" in Congress, he does
not have a graduate degree. His Ann Arbor-based
real estate firm currently manages more than
$2.2 billion in assets across the country. Some
people may call that "greedy". However, who
knows how many people Weiser prevented from
being homeless because he provided them with a
job? He did not do this out of sympathy. Weiser
needed construction workers to build his offices,
secretaries to run them and real estate agents to
sell real estate.
The legislators on Capital Hill do not have
any money to create jobs. They use our taxpay-
ers' money and decide how and where to spend
that money, based on public policies. I do not
think Thomas Jefferson would fund a School of
Public Policy. His own policy was one of "laissez
faire" - letting the people be. When people are
allowed to make their own decisions, some may
succeed and some fail. But everyone in America
has the opportunity to learn from their mistakes
and try again. When Americans do succeed, they
provide jobs and ample opportunities for other
The Obama administration promises to change Ameri-
ca's impact on the environment - but the environmentalist
movement is a serious danger to mankind Unfortunately,
whenever I voice this concern, people act as if I'm com-
mitting a mortal sin. Their initial shock is quickly fol-
lowed by an angry barrage of arguments: "Don't you care
about the earth?" "We need to leave an untouched planet
for future generations - think about the children!"
Make no mistake, I value the environment. I value it as a
tool to be used by man to enhance his existence. But frank-
ly, I care more about people than I care about nature.
It seems to me that environmentalism's ultimate aim
is nothing more than the destruction of civilization and
the reduction of mankind to a primitive, animal-like
state. The majority of activities that the environmental-
ists oppose are life-enhancing for humans. For example,
environmentalists have fought against logging in New
Hampshire, which allows for job creation and provides
raw materials for housing. They have opposed drilling for
oil in Alaska and the mining of tar sands in Canada, both
of which reduce energy prices and lower our dependence
on oil from the Middle East. They also object to the use
of sand on winter roads in Seattle, which helps to prevent
traffic accidents and save lives.
The environmental movement's contempt for man
can be traced back to its philosophical underpinnings.
Environmentalists subscribe to the idea that the envi-
ronment has intrinsic value. In other words, they believe
that nature is automatically valued, with or without the
existence of man. This is precisely why environmental-
ists oppose mankind's destruction of wetlands but not the
natural destruction of wetlands. It's also why they oppose
the building of a manmade dam but not a dam built by a
beaver. Mankind's disturbance of the inherent "goodness"
of nature is seen as wrong and, ultimately, as immoral.
I'm sure you've heard that it's good to reduce your
"environmental footprint." Since man can only survive
by changing nature to fit his needs, he must intrude on
its inherent "goodness" in order to survive. This is pre-
cisely why man must have a "footprint" in order to live as
a man. We must alter the environment in order to grow
food, build a house, produce clothing and fulfill even the
most basic of human needs. Given the requirement that
man must alter nature to survive, the environmental
movement's demand that we keep nature pristine is anti-
Still in denial? You wouldn't be the only one. Earth
First! Journal editor John Davis says, "Human beings,
as a species, have no more value than slugs." Former Vice
President and environmental movement leader Al Gore
explains an ethical dilemma in his book Earth in the Bal-
ance: "The Pacific Yew can be cut down and processed
to produce a potent chemical, taxol, which offers some
promise of curing certain forms of lung, breast and ovar-
ian cancer in patients who would otherwise quickly die.
It seems an easy choice - sacrifice the tree for a human
life until one learns that three trees must be destroyed
for each patient treated." Only the twisted philosophy of
environmentalism could make Mr. Gore think thatkilling
three trees to save a human life is a difficult choice.
So what does President Obama think of such an evil
philosophy? Unfortunately, he fully embraces it. Obama
wants to force a cap-and-trade plan on Americans that
will limit their energy usage at the expense of their stan-
dard of living. His plan will extort over $150 billion from
energy companies over the next ten years. Once in pos-
session of this money, he claims he will invest it into new
"green energy" - something that has proved so unprofit-
able thus far that private investors won't touch it without
substantial government incentives. In fact, most "green
energy" companies can't survive without the taxpayer-
funded subsidies required to keep them afloat. Obama has
promised to double automotive fuel economy standards
within 18 years, which will undoubtedly make cars more
expensive to produce and thus more expensive to buy. It
will also force manufacturers to make lighter, less crash-
worthy vehicles, which have been shown to increase acci-
dental deaths. How many more people will die in traffic
accidents so that we can decrease our carbon footprint?
It's time for students at the University of Michigan
(and across the country) to realize the depravity of the
environmentalist philosophy and its manifestation in
American politics under the Obama administration. The
philosophythat underlies environmentalism is inherently
evil because it regards mankind as a problem and nature
as good, apart from its value to man. So, when you think
about attending "Earth Hour" on Mar. 28, make sure you
understand that turningoffyourlights issymbolic of what
environmentalists and apparently the Obama administra-
tion want: a return to the Stone Age.
Adam Gaglio is a member of Students of Objectivism.
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