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March 30, 2009 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-03-30

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, March 30, 2009 - 3A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Monday, March 30, 2009 - 3A

State employees
resist budget cuts
State workers who didn't get
a raise this fiscal year while see-
ing their health care premiums
double are resisting talk of more
But they may not be able to
dodge the bulls-eye on their backs
as the state's financial situation,
already shaky, grows worse. With
hundreds of millions of dollars to
be made up, one of the places state
government is looking to save is
labor costs.
State employees have been here
before, enduring furlough days
and other concessions earlier in
the decade. None of the state's
52,600 employees are eager to
relive those times.
"We've given and given and
given. That's the thing that's so
frustrating," said Steve Gilroy, 53,
who does billing and reimburse-
ment at the state's Kalamazoo
Psychiatric Hospital.
House Republicans caused a stir
last week by proposing to reduce
state workers' wages 5 percent
in the current budget. They also
want to freeze a 1 percent raise this
October and a 3 percent raise in
October 2010 and boost workers'
share of health premiums from 10
percent to 15 percent.
Tobacco prices rise
in lieu of new tax
However they satisfy their nic-
otine cravings, tobacco users are
facingabighit asthe single largest
federal tobacco tax increase ever
takes effect Wednesday.
Tobacco companies and public
health advocates, longtime foes in
the nicotine battles, are trying to
turn the situation to their advan-
tage. The major cigarette makers
partly to offset any drop in profits
once the per-pack tax climbs from
39 cents to $LOl.
Medical groups see a tax
increase right in the middle of a
recession as a great incentive to
help persuade smokers to quit.
Tobacco taxes are soaring to
finance a major expansion of
health insurance for children.
President Barack Obama signed
that health initiative soon after
taking office.
Other tobacco products,
from cigars to pipes and smoke-
less, will see similarly large tax
increases, too. For example, the
tax on chewing tobacco will go
up from 19.5 cents per pound to
SO cents. The total expected to
be raised over the 4 1/2 year-long
health insurance expansion is
nearly $33 billion.
UN mulls power-
sharing plan for Iraq

Seeking to head off an explo-
sion of ethnic violence, the United
Nations will call for a power-shar-
ing system of government for
Iraq's deeply divided region of
Kirkuk in the oil-rich north.
A draft U.N. plan, outlined to
The AssociatedPressbytwo West-
ern officials, aims to defuse dan-
gerous tensions. Kurds, a majority
in the region, have been trying to
wrest control from Arabs, Turko-
menand otherrival ethnic groups.
If open warfare breaks out, it
could jeopardize the U.S. goal of
stability across Iraq before elec-
tions at year's end.
Peaceful elections are criti-
cal to reducing the U.S. presence
in Iraq, promised by President
Barack Obama.
The U.N. has played only a
minor role in Iraq since 2003,
when its Baghdad headquarters
was destroyed by a truck bomb.
Now, officials in Kirkuk say
the U.N. efforts may be the last
chance for a peaceful outcome.
Shooter kills six
at nursing home
A gunman opened fire at a
North Carolina nursing home yes-
terday, killing six and wounding at
least two others, police said.
The gunman was also injured
before he was apprehended by
police after the 10 a.m. shooting
at Pinelake Health and Rehab in
the town of Carthage, Carthage
Police Chief Chris McKenzie
told television stations WRAL in
Raleigh and WTVD in Durham. A
police officer was also among the
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports

On campus, Pandora founder talks of life's work

Westergren aims to
transform the way
people listen tomusic
Daily StaffReporter
When Tim Westergren, the
founder ofthe Internetradioservice
Pandora, asked a packed Stamps
Auditorium on Friday afternoon,
"how many people here have used
Pandora?" all the hands in the room
went up.
The Pandora phenomenon has
been sweeping the nation since it
launched in 2005. The free web-
site allows users to discover new
music based on the artists they
already like.
Westergren said that through
Pandora - as an established radio
service with about 600,000 songs in
its collection - he aims to reinvent
radio and help lesser-known artists
gain the publicity they deserve.
Westergren, who was brought
in by the campus entrepreneurship
group MPowered, said he aspires
to change today's radio, which "is
very limited in the music it plays,"
and transform it to "something
that's much more satisfying and
Seventy percent of Pandora's
music library belongs to artists
without a record label, Westergren
said. He explained that as long as
the quality of the recording meets
Pandora's standards, any music is

entered into the database.
He said that he hopes to "turn
Pandora into a massive promotional
channel for tens of thousands of oth-
erwise invisible workingmusicians."
In 2007, when Pandora's exis-
tence was threatened by sky high
ited the help of the website's mil-
lions of users. Westergren said he
sent an e-mail to subscribed users
asking them to write to Congress.
He said the overwhelming response
kept Pandora in business.
"Washington received 400,000
faxes in three days and eventually
about 2 million calls, faxes, and let-
ters to Congress,' he said.
In the near future, Pandora plans
on going global so that music lovers
and musicians all over the world
can enjoy the benefits of Pandora
radio, Westergren said.
After studying political science at
Stanford University, Westergren's
idea for Pandora was born from his
experience as a struggling musi-
cian, he said.
As he played in bands and hung
around fellow musicians, Wester-
gren said he noticed a discouraging
"What I saw was a tremendous
number of very talented musicians
who nobody knew about," he said.
After reading an article about
a semi-well-known artist whose
record company refused to release
another one of her CD's, Wester-
gren decided to create a solution
that would expose lesser-known
artists to the ears of the world.

I kind of put this thing all
together and thought, 'well there's
a genome thing,' " he said. " 'Maybe
if I can marry that to technology,
some kind of algorithm, I could
deliver (the artist's music) to the
Web asa recommendation tool.'"'
After sharing the idea with a
friend, renting office space, hiring
engineers and finding investors,
Westergren's Music Genome Proj-
ect was put into action.
Yet the road to success for Pan-
dora was far from smooth. Wester-
gren said that in mid-2001, after
the investors' money ran out and ;.
some of the technology collapsed,
employees' paychecks shrank until
they were non-existent.
He said that for three years, about
50 people worked without pay.
"We were really in a pretty deep
dark hole," Westergren said. "I
had 11 maxed-out credit cards and
I owed I think a couple hundred
thousand dollars to friends and
Now with 25 million registered
U.S. listeners - a number that
grows by 50,000 people each day
- Pandora has finally reached the SAID ALSAL AH/Daily
e Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora online radio, spoke at the Stamps Auditorium
level of success that Westergren o North Campus oFriday.
knew it could.
The event was part of MPow- ered, said that to most students the neer or business major to pursue
ered's Entreprelliance conference word "entrepreneurship" is very entrepreneurship.
this weekend that brings together intimidating. She said her group "Pandora is used by students on
students involved in entrepreneur- aims to make it less frightening. campus at Michigan from every
ship from colleges across the nation She said that having Tim Wester- major," Cheng said, "and we really
to discuss, share and collaborate on gren as a speaker enabled MPow- invited Tim because we thought he
entrepreneurial ideas. ered to bring students with varied would connect with so many stu-
Michelle Cheng, an Engineering interests together to demonstrate dents, share his story and what he's
senior and the president of MPow- that you don't have to be an engi- learned."

North Korea to test
rocket this week,
despite warnings

In this June 26, 2008 file photo, then-Sen. Barack Obama talks with General Motors Chairman Rick Wagoner. Wagoner will
step down immediately at the request of the White House.
Obama gives G Crysler
an ultimatumo n vfutueaid

GM's Rick Wagoner
forced out, Chrysler
required to partner
with Fiat in final plan
White House says neither General
Motors nor Chrysler submitted
acceptable plans to receive more
bailout money, setting the stage
for a crisis in Detroit and putting
in motion what could be the final
two months of two American auto
President Barack Obama and his
top advisers have determined that
neither company is viable and that
taxpayers will not spend untold bil-
lions more to keep the pair of auto-
makers open forever.Inalast-ditch
company a brief deadline to try one
last time to convince Washington it
is worth saving, said senior admin-
istration officials who spoke on the
condition of anonymity to more
bluntly discuss the decision.
Obama was set to make the
announcement at 11 a.m. Monday
in the White House's foyer.
In an interview with CBS' "Face
the Nation" broadcast Sunday,
Obama said the companies must do
more to receive additional financial
aid from the government.
"We think we can have a suc-

cessful U.S. auto industry. But it's
got to be one that's realistically
designed to weather this storm
and to emerge - at the other end
- much more lean, mean and
competitive than it currently is,"
Obama said.
Frustrated administration offi-
cials said Chrysler cannot func-
tion as an independent company
under its current plan. They have
given Chrysler a 30-day window to
complete a proposed partnership
with Italian automaker Fiat SpA,
and will offer up to $6 billion to the
companies if they can negotiate a
deal before time runs out.
If a Chrysler-Fiat union cannot
be completed, Washington plans to
walk away, leave Chrysler destined
for a complete sell-off. No other
money is available.
Shawn Morgan, a Chrysler
spokeswoman, said the company
wants to work with the Treasury
Department and Obama's auto task
force but declined to comment on
the White House's plans.
"With the administration's
announcement on the restructur-
ing of the automotive industry
imminent, it would be inappropri-
ate to comment on speculation,"
Morgan said in a statement early
Monday morning.
For GM, the administration
offered 60 days of operating money
to restructure. A frantic top-to-
bottom effort began Sunday after

CEO Rick Wagoner resigned under
pressure from the White House.
Fritz Henderson, GM's presi-
dent and chief operating officer,
became the new CEO, a Treasury
Department source said. Board
member Kent Kresa, the former
chairman and CEO of defense con-
tractor Northrop Grumman Corp.,
will be interim chairman of the GM
One official said a majority of
the GM board was expected to step
Obama advisers saw public out-
rage come to an ugly head in recent
weeks, as populist anger escalated
over bonuses paid to American
International Group executives.
They realized Americans are frus-
trated with the economy and its
business leaders; they also said
they would not invest one dollar
more than was necessary to keep
the companies alive and would
walk away if it looked impossible.
Officials said GM had not
made good on promises made in
exchange for $13.4 billion in gov-
ernment loans, although there are
no plans to call in those loans.
Administration officials still
believe GM's chances are good,
given its global brand and its
research potential. Officials say
they are confident GM can put
together a plan that will keep pro-
duction lines moving in the com-
ing years.

U.S. says testing
would violate U.N.
security resolution
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -
North Korea's plans to launch a
rocket as early as this week in defi-
ance of warnings threatens to undo
years of fitful negotiations toward
dismantling the regime's nuclear
The U.S., South Korea and Japan
have told the North that any rocket
launch - whether it's a satellite or a
long-range missile - would violate
a 2006 U.N. Security Council Reso-
lution prohibiting Pyongyang from
any ballistic activity, and could
draw sanctions.
violate the spirit of disarmament
agreements, and said it would treat
the pactsas null and void if punished
for exercising its sovereign right to
send a satellite into space.
"Even a single word critical of the
launch" from the Security Council
will be regarded as a "blatant hos-
tile act," a spokesman with North
Korea's foreign ministry said Thurs-
day, according the North's state-run
Korean Central News Agency. "All
the processes for the denucleariza-
tion of the Korean Peninsula, which
have been pushed forward so far,
will be brought back to what used to
be before their start and necessary

strongmeasures willbe taken."
That would be a sharp reversal
from June 2008 when the North
made a promising move toward
disarmament, dramatically blow-
ing up a cooling reactor at its main
Yongbyon nuclear complex.
But the regime routinely back-
tracks on agreements, refuses to
abide by international rules and
wields its nuclear program like a
weapon when it needs to win con-
cessions from Washingtonor Seoul,
analysts say.
"History has shown them that
the more provocative they are, the
more attention they get. The more
attention they get, the more they're
offered," Peter M. Beck, a Kore-
an affairs expert who teaches at
American University in Washing-
ton and Yonsei University in Seoul,
said Sunday.
Despite years of negotiations and
impoverished North Korea's grow-
ing need for outside help, it's clear
the talkshave done little to curb the
regime's drive to build - and sell -
its atomic arsenal, experts say.
"Ifthis is Kim JongIl's welcoming
present to a new president, launch-
ing a missile like this and threaten-
ing to have a nuclear test, I think it
says a lot about the imperviousness
of this regime in North Korea to
any kind of diplomatic overtures,"
Defense Secretary Robert Gates
said in an interview broadcast on
"Fox News Sunday."

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