The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
4 - Tuesday, December 8, 2009
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Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
AVE COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR
GARY GRACA ROBERT SO)
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE
In my mind and in my heart,
it is not over until it's over.
- Former New York state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, referring to the guilty verdict
in his corruption trial, as reported yesterday by the New York Times.
Unsigned editorials reflect the officialrpositione ythe Daily's editorialboard. All other signed articles
snd illustrations represent solely the views ofttheir authors.
A home for the holidays
State government should expand efforts to aid homeless
ot everyone has a warm place to call home this winter.
As national homelessness rates rose last year, more than
1,200 Washtenaw County residents were evicted from
their homes, according to county officials. But thanks to the county's
recent commitment to provide assistance to those facing homeless-
ness, more local families and individuals will be kept off the streets.
Other Michigan municipalities should follow Washtenaw County's
example and expand their efforts to reduce the number of people
left out in the cold this winter.
E-MAIL ELAINE AT EMORT@UMICH.EDU
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Keep your options open
The Washtenaw County Board of Com-
missioners approved $175,000 in funding
last Wednesday for an emergency relief
program for families confronted with the
loss of their home. A host of local Ann
Arbor non-profit organizations and reli-
gious groups are involved in the effort.
The money will support housing provid-
ers by supplying 10-year housing vouch-
ers for families close to losing their homes,
bringing stability to those in unpredictable
living situations. It will also help fund an
increase in beds at the Shelter Association
of Washtenaw County and provide support
services to families on the brink of losing
their homes. The goal is to house families
before this winter reaches full intensity.
Homelessness is a serious problem, and
it's on the rise as Michigan's struggling
economy fails to improve. In this difficult
time, some people need an extra hand.
Those who don't have to worry about
making ends meet this winter have an
obligation to help those who do. It's the
government's responsibility to facilitate
this by aiding the homeless through relief
And by helping the homeless find shel-
ter, the county can prevent harmful situa-
tions. According to the National Coalition
for the Homeless, more incidents of vio-
lence against homeless people have been
reported every year since 2006. It's impor-
tant to protect them by keeping them off
the streets. And last month in Ann Arbor,
two men who are thought to be homeless
started a fire that caused serious damage
to the former Pinball Pete's building on
South University Avenue. Had these men
had access to suitable housing, this unfor-
tunate event may not have occurred.
Washtenaw County has the right idea.
But the program simply isn't big enough
to handle the thousands of residents in the
area who lose their homes each year. The
county needs to make its emergency relief
program a higher priority and expand its
size and reach. And Washtenaw County
isn't the only local unit of government that
needs to prioritize care for the homeless.
Other counties should follow suit to pro-
tect their least fortunate residents.
During a harsh winter in a difficult time
for Michigan, everyone must do their part
to protect vulnerable members of society.
Local governments are aptly positioned to
offer meaningful relief programs for the
homeless, and Washtenaw County's pro-
gram should be imitated and expanded
across the state.
often spend much of my col-
umn attacking pseudoscience
or extolling the virtues of ambi-
tious or creative
projects. that use
good. This time,
since I won't have
before I graduate
this December, I'll
share my advice
for those of you
still trying to find BEN
a niche in college CALECA
or trying to get the
most of your time
here. Whether or
not you're. aware, there is plenty of
opportunity to take advantage of what
makes Michigan such a great univer-
A lot of freshmen are by now enter-
ing the dreaded phase of trying to fig-
ure out what they wish to major in, a
daunting prospect for many students
that is compounded by economic
frustrations about what majors night
leave them best able to find work. In
searching for a major, there is no bet-
ter reason than to pursue something
that you love. If you come here and
decide to slog through classes you
despise so you can have a job, 'vho's to
say you'll enjoy your work any better?
For someone with a passion, there is
always work to be had. Ask any Efig-
lish major who studied writing and
now makes more money than many of
their peers or any musician making a
living job-to-job but enjoying life.
Beyond simply picking a major, take
classes that you want to take. If you're
not sure what exactly you want to do,
your friends in other classes can be
valuable and your GSIs even more so
- after all, if mastering in your area
of study. they've been in your shoes
already. Once you finish your foun-
dation classes, your professors can
increasingly -guide your search for
what fits you. Don't be afraid to take.
classes outsideyour major, even if they
seem irrelevant, if you enjoy it and do
it well you can only be more knowl-
edgeable. The more I've met people
and learned about career options, the
more I have seen that we are really in
a global, interconnected world - there
are crossroads for almost any set of
interests you can imagine. Those who
can take advantage of these intersec-
tions are often very successful.
Always know your professors. They
are the people who will educate you,
and they're human just like us. If you
don't converse with your professors
at least occasionally, they'll never
remember who you were as a person
and will never be able to give per-
sonal advice. You may not realize it as
underclassmen, but it's not uncommon
to go out drinking or sharing dinner
with professors and grad students as a
senior. They like to know good people
as much as you do, and it's one of the
easiest means of networking. It also
makes sense if you're considering grad
school. For grad students, who you do
research with is often more impor-
tant than where you go to school. Not
to mention they know about great job
opportunities out there and might
help you get your foot in the door.
As far as networking is concerned,
be smart about jumping on any oppor-
tunities to meet new people. If there's
a physicist giving a lecture on some
obscure theory you'd heard of - that
you don't understand or even study
but you want to know about - go lis-
ten to it and see if you can talk to him
after. You never know what can come
of showing an interest in people's lives
and work. The same goes for career
fairs. If you see a company, and you
are interested in their field, even if
you think it's not suited to your skills,
talk to their representatives, ask them
about their work and ask them what
got them there. Expansive businesses
often have room for all kinds of people.
. Communication is the key when
it comes to standing out to people.
Professors and coworkers appreciate
someone who can explain their work.
It's better to be a good engineer who
can write agreatreportthan anexcep-
tional engineer who cannot explain
what he did - the most financially
successful artists can sell their work
byexplainingits esthetic andsymbolic
attributes. You'll also constantly learn
after college, and you will be expected
to ask questions when you don't know
how to do something or understand it.
This shouldn't be awkward - it's an
opportunity to get an understanding
of your work.
The last bit of advice is one that I've
gleaned by watching friends here who
seem to have a complex: they think
Some words of
wisdom from a
soon- to.-be grad.
theyneed to know exactly what they're
doing with their life after college. They
need to know their career, their spouse
and where they will live. Statistically
speaking, each of you will have several
careers, each with a few jobs, in the
next 20 years. You'll probably move
and meet new "true loves" at least two
or three times. College is about getting
the basic skills down - the real learn-
ing comes later.
If you made it to a school like Michi-
gan, then you've been given a fantastic
opportunity to learn and grow. It can
be for many people overwhelming, but
if you go out and look for whatyou love
to do, it really is easy to find your niche
and be successful. Even if you might
miss one chance there are always sev-
eral more waiting.
- Ben Caleca can be reached
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Nina Amilineni, Emily Barton, William Butler, Ben Caleca, Michelle DeWitt,
Brian Flaherty, Emma Jeszk'e, Erika Mayer, Edward McPhee, Harsha Panduranga,
Alex Schiff, Asa Smith, Brittany Smith, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Laura Veith
The Daily is looking for a diverse group of strong, informed, passionate
writers'to be columnists for the winter semester. Columnists write a
700-800 word column every other week on a topic of their choosing.
If you are an opinionated and talented writer, consider applying.
-E E-MAIL RACHEL VAN GILDER AT RACHELVG@UMICH.EDU
FOR MORE INFORMATION.
SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU
l dt g manipulation is certainly unethical and not
something I would ever defend, it is definitely
not grounds to suggest that his original data,
warming a hoax"u "iLolihtehs
warmng ahoaxmuch less the data of all the scientists in the
previously mentioned organizations, is in any
TO THE DAILY: way fake.
I have officially given up on climate change If anything, this is merely a demonstration
contrarians and their complete disregard for of the fact that scientists are no less susceptible
science, the scientific method and any applica- to personal motivations than any of the rest of
tion of logical thought. us, particularly in circumstances where cer-
Over the past few weeks, a pseudo-contro- tainty is demanded from a political perspective
versy has raged over the so-called "Climat- yet impossible from a scientific one. But these
egate" e-mail, which allegedly proves that the types of personal biases are acknowledged
entirety of climate science is an elaborate hoax and addressed by the scientific establishment
devised by liberals to turn the United States through the process of peer review and con-
into Nazi Germany (or something equally sensus.
inane and, frankly, unimaginative). Yes, some Let me be clear: I have no intention of treat-
people claim this single e-mail from one rela- ing the consensus of climate scientistls as some
tively obscure scientist contains enough evi- sort of religiously infallible and unquestionable
dence to overturn the consensus of thousands truth. If legitimate questions can be raised.over
of other experts, including the National Acad- how a climate model is constructed or how data
emy of Sciences, the Intergovernmental Panel is interpreted, such questions should absolute-
on Climate Change, the American Meteoro- ly be addressed in the interest of advancing our
logical Society, the U.S. Department of Defense understanding of this complex phenomenon.
and numerous other scientific organizations. But if the best argument climate naysayers can
As though this claim was not already ludi- construct is one based on factual and logical
crous enough to disqualify it from any seri- distortions, it does not serve any such interest.
ous consideration, when the actual content of Instead, it cheapens public debate of an already
the e-mail in question is reviewed, there is no intellectually challenging issue that has pro-,
evidence of data falsification. Rather, the mis- found consequences for the future.
guided scientist in question is talking about
doctoring one of his graphs to exaggerate the Eileen Divringi
trends in certain areas. While this type of LSA sophomore
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
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Hey, MSA make yourself matter
Each time I hear the Michigan Student Assembly men-
tioned, the words "Gaza," "apartheid" and "gag rule" are
sure to follow. If you believe the propaganda disseminated
in anti-Israel groups, there. is a mass conspiracy to stifle
debate and clandestinely support the racist, genocidal
actions of the Israeli Empire. In fact, there may be good
reason to believe that MSA leaders are engaged in a covert
operation with the Israeli Mossad, in which MSA silences
Palestinian supporters in exchange for a lifetime supply of
hummus. Israel understands that nothing poses a greater
threat to its stability thanthe army of anonymous Internet
activists leaving anti-Israel comments all over The Michi-
gan Daily's website.
Give me a break.
MSA has a reason for trying to avoid getting dragged
back into this debate. The last time they tried to interject
themselves into this conflict, it was a disaster. After spend-
ing hours debating the topic over the course of two meet-
ings, they finally passed a resolution suggesting that the
two opposing advocacy groups, American Movement for
Israel and Students Allied for Freedom and Equality, come
together in unity to watch a movie. MSA knows what must
be done to establish peace across the region - Mahmoud
Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu, leaders of the Palestinian
Authority and Israel respectively, must grab their Snug-
gies, pop some popcorn and put aside their differences
with the power of film.
Maybe I'm just a naive freshman, but I think a student
government should be concentrating on things that affect
students, notweighingin on foreign affairs over which they
have no influence. MSA is not the United Nations - and
-even the UN has proved itself entirely impotent in solving
this problem. They have absolutely no power whatsoever
to do anything but say, "Boooo! We don't like you!" And,
even though I passionately disagree with such action, they
couldn't even do that - they suggested we watch a moyie.
Demanding that MSA promulgate foreign policy is only
going to delude representatives into thinking that they're
actually part of something more than a gloriffed middle
school student council with fancy websites.
Let's not kid ourselves. There's a reason MSA celebrates
when turnout exceeds 5 percent - no one cares. The low
turnout is a sign that the organization is already seen as
irrelevant by the studentebody.We have our choice between
the Michigan Vision Party, a bunch of "independents who
collectively express opinions" (in other words, a party) and
the Defend Affirmative Action Party. I think they are all
terrible choices for various reasons - repeating the word
"vision" over and over doesn't qualify you for office, the
independents are just like those emo kids in high school
that told you they don't have a label and DAAP represen-
tatives actually encourage the Gaza resolution madness.
But mainly, it's because I have trouble supporting an insti-
tution - andby extension its members - that broke state
law. MSA did this by appointing - not electing, as the law
stipulates - members to the Department of Public Safety
Oversight Committee. Then, they denied it and reversed
course when people found out. It gives me flashbacks of the
lies and deceit of the Bush years.
If MSA ever wants their representatives to draw more
votes than my high school class president did, they need to
start making themselves more relevant to the lives of the
student body. It started with ensuring that onlythose with
a valid MCard, i.e. only people actually affiliated with the
University, have the right to speak to them without prior
clearance. The "gag rule" so condemned by the activists it
targeted was a positive step toward concentrating MSA's
time on issues they have the power to affect.
MVP - you want my vision? Here it is: Lobby for poli-
cies that will positively affectthe lives of your constituents.
MSA has been doing a great job at helping to push through
the "Good Samaritan" law, ensuring that students won't be
afraid to call an ambulance to help a friend in trouble. I'd
like to see more things like that. Advocate for additional,
more frequent and later-running bus schedules on nights
and weekends so my North Campus friends stop spending
every Saturday night on my futon. Work with the Univer-
sity administration to find ways to lower the costs ofeduca-
tion for students. And for crying out loud, get us a theater
on campus that shows new movies.
Alex Schiff is an LSA freshman.