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March 13, 2009 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-03-13

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4 - Friday, March 13, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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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 solely theviews ofttheir authors.
Spending for the future
The federal stimulus must invest in long-term solutions
L ately, public attentionhasbeen focused on PresidentBarack
Obama's budget, fresh out of a much-debated stay in Con-
gress. As the Congressional drama unfolded, the debate
over the $787 billion economic stimulus package that Congress
passed last month seemed to be fading from the national con-
sciousness. According to The New York Times, the stimulus will
be the single biggest expenditure of the U.S. government since
World War II. Government intervention is appropriate to help
heal the limping economy. Rather than indiscriminately throw-
ing money everywhere, the government is right to concentrate
on several key areas. The stimulus package must be used where

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Detroit, go diesel

it's needed most - the future.
It's no secret that the U.S. economy is in
trouble. The failure of the housing market
has left Americans with less money to spend
and businesses with less people to serve. As
a result, the economy has struggled to stay
afloat in recent months. While there is no
overnight solution, a responsible increase
in government spending could contribute to
economic recovery. That means the funds
need to go to opportunities that will give
the country future returns.
Obama has designated health care,
sustainable energy and education as the
major recipients of the stimulus. But in
the tradition of President Franklin D.
Roosevelt, who negotiated the country
through the Great Depression by making
difficult spending decisions, Obama could
also direct some of the stimulus money to
infrastructure improvements. The "2009
Infrastructure Report Card," published by
the American Society of Civil Engineers,
gave the United States a D. On Feb.14, CNN
reported that $48 billion of the stimulus is
already dedicated to infrastructure, but
that's far from the $2.2 trillion in repairs
the ASCE claimed is needed to reach "ade-
quate conditions." Funding these upgrades
would create jobs and improve the quality
of our transportation systems, communi-
ties and environmental structures.
To find other long-term solutions to
invest in, the federal government should
look to Michigan. In our state, Gov. Jenni-
fer Granholm is working to revitalize the
failing economy by advocating the expan-
sion of alternative energy, which could be
a vital new industry. She has been cam-
paigning for an implementation of green

energy options, most notably wind energy.
Nationally, a "green economy" will create
jobs and more environmentally friendly
energy options for consumers, ushering
in a new generation of energy technology.
Investments in green energy may seem
expensive in the short term, but they end
up saving money in the long run.
But to realize the goals of more economi-
cally and environmentally sound energy
practices, a college-educated workforce is
essential. To make that happen, every stu-
dent who is interested in going to college
should have the opportunity. While the
recent increase in federal funding for Pell
Grants is helpful, universities are desperate-
ly in need of funds to keep tuition affordable
for their students. And while the federal gov-
ernment needs to place an emphasis on mak-
ing college a cost-effective opportunity for
students, primary education can't be left out
of this plan. Public schools across the nation
must be adequately funded to ensure that
students have a solid foundation for college.
Of all institutions that need health care,
Obama has declared the health care system
to be the most deserving. He couldn't be
more right - we need a health care system
that guarantees every person the right to
proper medical treatment. But in addition to
saving the nation's ailing health care system,
infrastructure, alternative energy and edu-
cation are absolutely vital.
At the same time, it would be naive to
assume that the stimulus could fix all of our
problems in one fell swoop. But regardless of
its limitations, the stimulus can have a posi-
tive effect if the federal government invests
it with the future in mind.

With the recession only get-
ting worse, politicians are
starting to consider the
unthinkable: let-
ting the auto indus-
try go bankrupt.
Economists and
politicians are con-1
sidering the future ;
of the car in the
United States and
who needs to shoul-
der its burdens. BEN
The short-term
answer may not lie CALECA
with hybrid cars,- - __
as many Americans
might expect, but with smarter, more
economical designs that use readily
available engine technologies.
If you're looking for a car that would
make even a Prius blush with envy in
terms of fuel efficiency, the best place to
start is Europe. Cars overseas are gen-
erally much smaller and are designed
to be just enough for a person to get
around. The lineup of Opel cars, a Ger-
man manufacturer owned by General
Motors, has a significantly better aver-
age gas mileage across the board than
GM's domestic lineup. Much of the
savings in gas mileage simply because
companies manufacture lighter cars
abroad than in the U.S.
Another difference in Europe is the
prominence of diesel-powered cars.
Diesel engines, once hated for being
excessively dirty and loud, are now
commonplace in Europe. They excel-
lently power small cars and even take
into account the high cost of diesel
fuel in comparison to gasoline. Mile-
age for small hatchbacks easily tops
that of any hybrid. A diesel-powered
BMW S Series, a fairly sizeable luxury
car, boasts a competitive fuel economy

in comparison to existing hybrids due
to good aerodynamics and an efficient
diesel engine. These engines are also
more sustainable through the use of
biodiesel, which is far less energy-
intensive to produce than bio-fuels for
gasoline cars.
The reason we don't see many of
these cars in the U.S. is because the
U.S. has different regulations. Euro-
pean countries ease nitrogen oxide
emissions regulations for these small
diesels because overall, they are more
efficient. These nitrogen compounds
ute to global warming. Furthermore,
safety test standards for European
cars are run on an almost incompat-
ible rubric to U.S. safety standards,
making many European models illegal
due to safety technicalities.
The good news is that there are
solutions to these problems. The
appearance of a few diesels like
those on the market in the U.S. - the
Mercedes-Benz E320 Bluetec sedan,
for example - shows that there are
ways to reduce the emissions of diesel
vehicles to levels about the same as a
gasoline car - or better. One of the
more novel approaches is a urea tank
that nearly eliminates nitrogen oxide
emissions. Better catalytic converters,
part of the exhaust system to remove
emissions, are another option. With
increased focus on developing these
technologies, diesels could become
a viable engine in this country, even
under strict emissions controls.
On the matter of safety standards,
there are a number of fundamental
differences in the automobile culture
of the U.S. that need to be considered.
First aid, car maintenance and even
economical driving instruction are
often required to obtain a license in

Europe. Europeans also base their
crash test regulations on the assump-
tion that occupants use their seat belts.
Safety standards in the U.S. consider
both belted and unbelted occupants,
resulting in more emphasis on air bags
and heavier designs thatmay or maynot
be necessarily safer for belted drivers.
The U.S. should
look overseas to
improve its cars.
For car companies to have compati-
ble standards, compromises need to be
made. Focusing more on accident pre-
vention and making motorists more
responsible for theirown safetywould
go a long way toward allowing auto-
makers to introduce street-legal, fuel-
efficient cars in America. And where a
change in driver culture won't make
up for safety differences, automakers
should invest in lighter materials that
don't hinder fuel economy.
Of course, there is no greater moti-
vation for a smarter fleet of cars than
a public that isn't wary of smaller cars.
The days of owning a big SUV are
rightfully over, and Americans need to
take the initiative to warm up to small-
er, lighter cars. As long as the public
is afraid of driving something smaller
than the large plodding symbols of a
languishing auto industry that we cur-
rently drive, there won't be an automo-
tive revolution anytime soon.
- Ben Caleca can be reached
at calecab@umich.edu.


Patriarchal violence in pop culture

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, Jeremy Levy, Edward McPhee,
Matthew Shutler, Neil Tambe, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder
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 tothedaily@umich.edu.

Dirty politics have no place
in MSA presidential race

honor your participation and refuse to engage
in smear tactics and negative campaigning. We
pledge that our dialogue, whether presented
on the pages of the Daily or in the debate that
will occur next week, will be civil, engaged and

hers I first heard that Chris
Brown allegedly abused
Rihanna, my response was
only slightly less judgmental than my
fellow feminists. The incident, if alle-
gations from the Los Angeles police
report are true, included Brown trying
to push Rihanna out
ofthecar.When that
didn't work, accord-
ing to an affidavit by
Los Angeles Police
Detective DeShon
Andrews, he "took
his right hand and
shoved her head
against the passen-
ger window." Then MATTHEW
he started punching HUNTER
her while he drove,
getting blood on
her clothes and the
vehicle. He continued the beating after
she threw hiskeys out of the car.
a tried not to jump to too many
negative conclusions. Even when the
pictures of a terribly bruised Rihanna
were released, it is possible that tmz.
com received digitally altered pho-
tos (Rihanna - The Face of a Battered
Woman, 2/22/2009) that "enhanced"
Rihanna's swelling. Nevertheless,
with the reports and the pictures all
pointing to physical abuse, I couldn't
help but be reminded of the black com-
munity's association with patriarchal
In her book, "Feminism is for Every-
body" feminist and social activist bell
hooks asserts that patriarchal violence
in the home "is based on the belief that
it is acceptable for a more powerful
individual to control others through
various forms of coercive force." She
uses the term patriarchal violence as
opposed to domestic violence because
unlike domestic violence, patriarchal
violence reminds us of its connection
to male domination. Regardless of
Brown's actions, it was acceptance of
this male domination that led some to
defend his actions.
According to msnbc.com (Kanye
West defends Chris .Brown, 3/2/2009),
Kanye West told a VHt "Storytell-
ers" audience, "Can't we give Chris a
break?" He likened Brown's alleged
mistake to O.J. Simpson and Michael
Jackson's infamous alleged mistakes.

Latimes.com quoted one Brown
defender (Readers defend Chris Brown
in the Rihanna incident, 2/13/2009)
saying, "I'm still going to support
Chris Brown until the end... Obviously,
she provoked him and everyone makes
mistakes so I'm not going to down talk
him nor try to bring him down like the
white media." Itseems there are mixed
responses from the black community.
The media has posed some impor-
tant questions. Is Brown's "mistake" a
one-time thing? Is something Rihanna
did to Brown grounds for the alleged
pummeling? Is the "white media" con-
juringnegative images against Brown?
These questions must not be ignored,
but accurate answers can't be found
in the simplistic context of domestic
or patriarchal violence. Only a racial
lens can give clarity to the profound
nature of patriarchal violence within
the black community and how whites
Transforming the conversation
of domestic abuse into one of black
patriarchal violence, as Frank Rob-
erts of thedailyvoice.com claims
(Why We Can't Support Chris Brown,
2/24/2009), immediately roots the
discussion "to a longer history of sex-
ism and misogyny; to a history which
has systematically preconditioned us
to believe that physical violence is a
sane and natural way to put a woman
'in her place'." In other words, when
blacks are a part of patriarchal vio-
lence, they are instantly connected
with certain representations of blacks
that, while representing a minority,
still predominate many impressions
and stereotypes of the "violent nature"
of blacks. The so-called "white media"
did not hesitate to pathologize Brown's
actions as such. Mtv.com published an
article days after the incident claim-
ing that Chris Brown was haunted
by his family's history of domestic
violence. Instead of this analysis, we
could simply condemn patriarchal
violence and those who endorse it. If
it is implied that Brown's violence was
passed down, then by the same logic,
Brown, black men and their progeny
are doomed to a legacy of violence.
Many media outlets glorify the
black pimp, a lifestyle that includes, as
a requisite, patriarchal violence - or as
self-proclaimed pimp Ice Tea puts it,

"Bitches get smacked". In bell hooks'
book "We Real Cool", she documents
these historical and current images of
patriarchal violence. While she holds
blacks responsible for the images they
personify, she holds whites respon-
sible for endorsing these images and
helping to make violent representa-
tions as opposed to more positive ones.
The more these prominent, negative
images are endorsed and personi-
fied, the more they seem to take form,
enforcing the illusion that black men
are particularly violent.
Racial prejudices
affect perceptions
of Chris Brown.
The above context is necessary to
understand the depth of Chris Brown's
alleged actions, Brown and Rihanna's
subsequent alleged reconciliation and
the black community's responsibility
to respond to these issues. If Brown
is guilty of assault and violent threats,
we must not give him a break. But we
must not pathologize him and other
black men as if he is a part of a legacy
of black patriarchal violence. If we
learn that Rihanna did "provoke" him,
we must strongly question the implica-
tions of justifying brutal violence as an
appropriate response to an annoyance.
Strife as a result of patriarchal violence
could, as bell hooks puts it, "ignite the
flames of a gender war so intense that
it has practically consumed the his-
torical memory of black males and
females, working together equally for
liberation, creating love and family
and community."
This memory is the image that
should dominate impressions of the
black community. But instead, black
patriarchal violence and an appropri-
ate response still troubles the black
community, and many whites still
endorse the most negative historical
image of blacks.
-- Matthew Hunter can be
reached at majjam@umich.edu.


TO THE DAILY: focused on building
TheMichiganVision Partyand ThereMICH- nity.
IGAN Campaign are pleased to contend with
one another in what appears to be the first com- Jason Raymond an
petitive Michigan Student Assembly election in The letter-writers
some time. Though our two organizations dis- reMICHIGAN Cam
agree on aspects of MSA's policy and plan for Vision Party, respect
the future, we understand that our potential as
a student body can only be reached if we engage Labeling he
in a dialogue across the entire campus. It is this
discourse of perspectives that encouraged most inherent ri
students to enroll at the University, and we are
anxious to extend this conversation to student
government. TO THE DAILY:
Yet, in order for this dialogue to fulfill its Matthew Green'
potential, our campaigns would like to empha- care is an "inherent1
size that underhanded tactics and dirty politics care system, 3/12/09
have no place in this process. However, some ety is based on whal
have already threatened to derail our intent to rights. These are rig
maintain a respectful campaign. Last week, a the pursuit of happ
malicious individual posed as a candidate in us from coercion as
the Daily's online forum in an effort to slander tive rights, such as
the candidate whom he was impersonating. only be created thi
Though this was an attack on one candidate thin air.
and one party, the entire democratic process is
a victim. Jonathan Slemrod
As parties asking for your vote, we pledge to LSA junior

g a better campus commu-
d Bradon Smith
are chairs of the
spaign and the Michigan
alth care as an
fght" is flawed
s implication that health
human right" (A sick health
) is problematic. Civil soci-
t are referred to as negative
ghts such as life, liberty and
iness. These rights protect
nd guarantee liberty. Posi-
a claim to health care, can
rough contract, not out of

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