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January 22, 2010 - Image 4

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4 - Friday, January 22, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

e Mt igan Batlg
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 the views oftheir authors.
Busting health care
Republicans must put health care reform above politics
The debate over President Barack Obama's revolution-
ary health care bill has raged in recent months. And
the future of the bill descended deeper into uncertainty
this week when Republican Scott Brown of Massachusetts won
the election to fill the late Edward Kennedy's U.S. Senate seat.
Brown's election makes him the 41st Republican senator - and
gives the GOP the filibuster power they need to indefinitely stall
the important health care bill. But the bill is about more than
party politics. Republicans must forego this political obstruc-
tionism and work with Democrats in order to ensure that com-
prehensive health care reform is passed.

The perfect blend of learning

On Tuesday, Brown defeated Democrat-
ic Massachusetts Attorney General Mar-
tha Coakley in a special election to fill the
state's vacant Senate seat. This reduced the
Democratic majority in the Senate to 59,
keeping them one seat short of the votes
that they need to prevent Republicans from
employing the filibuster - a procedure that
allows Aenators to stall a bill indefinitely in
the absence of 60 votes to the contrary.
This election has shaken up reliably left
Massachusetts with major policy impli-
cations on the national level. Nowhere
is the effect more noticeable than in the
health care debate. Ted Kennedy, who
occupied the Massachusetts seat for the
last 47 years prior to his death in August
of 2009, referred to health care reform as
"the cause of my life." This sentiment sym-
bolizes the significance of the legislation
Brown's election now threatens to kill.
Accordingto U.S. Census Bureau statistics,
46.3 million Americans were without health
insurance in 2008 - a number this nation
shouldn't tolerate. Considering the intent
of recent health care legislation - making
health care affordable to all Americans -
the Republican Party should be willing to
work with the Democrats to deliver a bill
that achieves this goal. Health care costs are
out of control, and reform is important to all

Americans. It's appalling that even though
the United States has the advanced medical
technology and the ability to treat so many
ailments, health care remains out of reach
for millions of its citizens.
As the minority party in both houses of
Congress, Republicans have consciously
evaded the role of a constructive partner
in the legislative process by placing politics
above the welfare of citizens. U.S. Senator
Jim Demint (R-S.C.) infamously said, "If
we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be
his Waterloo. It will break him," a clear sig-
nal that Republicans may care more about
thwarting Obama than working to improve
the quality of life for their constituents.
Republicans have consistently used every
tool available to prevent the bill from being
taken to a final majority vote, where they
are outnumbered.
Health insurance statistics make it clear
that the status quo isn't working. Congres-
sional drama won't cure the nation's ill, but
efforts at reform will. Republican senators
must stop placing their own agendaabove the
well beingoftheir constituents and become a
contributor - not a roadblock - to the legis-
lative process. That means putting aside the
filibuster now and working with their Demo-
cratic counterparts in order to make health
care reform a reality for all Americans.

After spending two years at the
University and finishing the
cross-discipline sampling that
is the beauty of dis-
tribution require-
ments, I now knowj
a little bit about the
biology of nutri-
tion. I took the class
"Biology of Human
Nutrition" to ful-
fill the natural sci-
ence requirement
that my philosophy LIBBY
major didn't cover. ASHTON
But because my
nutrition class was
held in a lecture
hall filled with history majors trying
to satisfy their own natural science
requirements, I still don't know any-
thing about biology majors.
Because of this lack of exposure
to students of the non-humanities, I
haven't been able to achieve any real
concept of how their minds work.
The only impressions I've been able
to form are rooted in their stereo-
typed identities. For example:
I am a philosophy major. Iam "pre-
tentious, planning to spend the rest of
my life working at Starbucks, judging
you for being shallow, unshowered."
You are in the Business School.
You are "high on Adderall, selfish,
wearing a tucked in button-down,
loudly complaining about your
finance homework."
She is a communications major. She
is "in a sorority, also studying psychol-
ogy, trying to take the back door into
the advertising/marketing world, hot."
He is an Engineering student. He
is "self-important, socially incompe-
tent, a minority, going to make more
money than the rest of us."
I came to the University wide-eyed
and ready to wring every drop of stim-
ulation out of my liberal-arts-meets-
major-research-university education.
I chose not to go to Kenyon College
in Ohio or Bowdoin College in Maine
because I wanted to expose myself
to more academic diversity than I
expected to find at these classic lib-

eral arts colleges. I wanted to study
with engineers and business-minded
students along with the less linear
thinking, more familiar students of
the humanities. I saw the University
as the perfect shade for me, blending
together every color I looked for in an
undergraduate experience.
The potential for integrating the
minds of the University's diverse intel-
lectual community is not being actu-
alized. The components of my perfect
shade have been divided up, branded
as primarycolors and stuckinseparate
buildings throughout Ann Arbor.
The B-School students stay in
their palace on Tappan Street, only
to be bothered by the rest of us when
we crash their cafeteria for the sushi
option - because you can only go to
Sadako so many times. The English
majors, who are rumored to be the
coolest kids on campus, are probably
drinking coffee somewhere (because
I hear they never really have work to
do) and reminiscing about the good
times they had while attending the
New England Literature Program.
The political science majors sneak
into whatever part of the Law Library
is the most off-limits and try to look
as intensely studious as possible. I
guess they think the more they look
like law students, the more likely
they'll one day become law students.
No one knows where the pre-med
students go. Apparently they lose all
their friends by the time they're done
with Orgo II.
The division among academic con-
centrations is so tangible to students
that it becomes nearly impossible to
take individuals out of their major
subcategory and see them as peers in
a larger educational context. As with
the division among any set of groups,
stereotyping exists often as a cogni-
tive shortcut to processing informa-
tion about someone or something
Generalizing the identity and
behavior of students studying some-
thing different from what I study
makes the humanity of these people
less salient to me. I see them as two-

dimensional figures roaming around
the Diag on their way to some class
I'll never take. One method of adding
dimension to these faces that deco-
rate my walk to class is to make our
paths intersect.
classes bridge the
concentration gap.
The declaration of a major can't
be avoided and shouldn't stop. But
the University could make a stronger
effort to promote integration among
the different departments.
Perhaps the University could
implement a policy wherein students
are required to take four seminars
during their time at the University.
This policy - which would be inde-
pendent of concentration qualifica-I*
tions -would provide anopportunity
to satisfy distributional requirements
in an intimate, discussion-based
environment. These classes would be
similar to first-year seminars in that
a variety of departments would offer
them and students from a variety of
departments would enroll in them. 0
As it stands now, the general edu-
cation requirements encourage Engi-
neers to take -a sociology class and
film and video studies majors to take
a statistics class. However, the nature
of a large university is such that few of
these classes foster genuinely collab-
orative learning among the students
wherein we can directly benefit from
our engagement with each other.
The University offers us an ideally
explorative, integrative and broad-
ening college experience. We have
the entire color spectrum, running
through the streets of Ann Arbor and
it's the University's responsibility to
cultivate their blending.
- Libby Ashton can be reached
at eashton@umich.edu.

Nina Amilineni, William Butler, Nicholas Clift, Michelle DeWitt,
Brian Flaherty, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer, Edward McPhee,
Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga, Alex Schiff, Asa Smith,
Brittany Smith, Radhika Upadhyaya, Laura Veith
Allow wind farm.in in Mich.

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.
An underrated colun

With the economy in Michigan at historic
lows, the state should be jumping at opportuni-
ties that would provide a surplus of jobs. With
America's dependence on fossil fuels at an all
time high, the development of green sources
of energy should be a top priority. With the
mounting environmental implications of burn-
ing coal, people should do everything pos-
sible to reduce their carbon footprints. Well,
according to the citizens of Oceana and Mason
Counties, in the western part of the state, these
actions might cramp their style.
As reported in the Muskegon Chronicle last
month, the $3 billion dollar project, proposedby
Havgul Clean Energy AS, would place between
100 and 200 wind turbines over a 100 square
mile stretch off the shore of Lake Michigan.
The Aegir Offshore Wind Farm would produce
approximately 1000 megawatts of energy and
power roughly a million homes. The wind farm
would help to invigorate Michigan's struggling
economy by offering thousands of jobs during
construction, which is predicted to take 5 to 10
years, as well as roughly 200 positions after its
Who would argue with such a valuable proj-
ect? Apparently, the residents of the counties
on the coast of Lake Michigan would. Many
of the citizens of this coastal area attended a
meeting with Havgul Clean Energy to discuss
the project and most opposed construction of
the wind farm. The project would place 300-
to 450-foot-high wind turbines four and a half
miles off the Ludington shores. Though this
may seem like a sufficient distance, the models
provided by Havgul showed the turbines would
be clearly visible from the shoreline, much to
the distaste of those who attended the meeting.
The coastal citizens complain that much
of their revenue is derived from the natural
beauty of Lake Michigan, and gaudy turbines
may lower property values, hurt tourism and
harm fishing. These seemingly legitimate con-
cerns raise the question of why the state would
choose an area that relies so heavily on scenery
for revenue.
Havgul extolled the many benefits of the
project, citing the optimal prevailing winds of
the area and its proximity to Detroit and Chica-
go. The cities would utilize the energy, allevi-
ating the need for fossil fuels and maximizing

use of the energy generated by the wind farm.
Though the benefits of this project are plen-
tiful, the question of the environmental impact
needs to be examined. Environmental engi-
neers will need to survey the area during a $10
million pre-production process taking place
before any construction. The outlines for this
process haven't been released, butI suspect the
pre-production team will survey the terrain
of the lake bottom, create models to predict
any adverse current alterations and attempt to
understand any negative effects the turbines
might have on the local fish, bird and flora
populations. They will certainly consider the
construction and maintenance of the massive
structures as factors. Following the research,
there will be massive efforts to minimize any
and all of the adverse environmental impacts of
the wind farm.
But with all of this laid out in front of them
last month, the majority of citizens of the lake
shore communities who attended the meeting
with Havgul still felt that this eco-friendly,
economy-boosting project wasn't worthwhile.
I respectfully and wholeheartedly disagree.
Students at Michigan are so often beat over
the head with the environmental problems of
global warming and deforestation that we may
forget that not all people are as focused on this
issue. Even so, there is enough news coverage
out there for the average person to understand
that dwindling supplies of fossil fuels and the
dangers posed by global warming are major
concerns. With this in mind, the benefits of
green energy are undeniable.
There is no question that we must take full
advantage of the world's renewable resources
if we are to preserve healthy life on this planet.
By opposing this project, citizens of the lake-
shore counties are preventing the state from
becoming an innovator and leader in renew-
able energy. The wind farm would contribute
to the revitalization of the state economy. It is
unacceptable for such a positive development
to be shot down by a concern about lakeshore
aesthetics. For the sake of the environment and
the economy, I hope that those in opposition
will come to see the good that can come from
this project.
Joe Sugiyama is an Engineering sophomore.

There is nothing worse than
being on a first date or out
with friends, and reaching a
point in the con-
versation where
nobody knows
what to say. The
well is dry. You sit
there and pretend ,
to look around,
admiring the
scenery while des-
perately search-
ing your brain for LINCOLN
something remote-
ly interesting to BOEHM
break the deafen-
ing silence.
Beyond being
as awkward as .farting during sex,
these conversation-less circumstanc-
es leave all parties involved feeling
uninteresting. Well, those days are
over. I recently invented a game per-
fect for such situations. I call it "over-
rated/underrated." While the game's
premise is simple - and at first glance
seems too simple to be fun - it's
hard to stop playing once you start.
The game goes like this: one person
names something that they find to be
overrated or underrated. For exam-
ple, I think that air is underrated.
We breathe it all day and can't live
without it, but rarely think about it.
From here, other parties either argue
or agree with my assessment of air's
value and then move on to a different
Not only is this game surprisingly
entertaining and endless, but the
more you play it, the more you learn
about the person you're playing with.
In contrast to the awkward conversa-
tions that persist on first dates, play-
ing overrated/underrated gets to the
core of what the person on the other
side of the table values. As opposed to
hearing about what sports they played
in high school, you'll find out whether
or not they agree that Nickelodeon's
"Doug" is vastly underrated.
Here is a sample game for you to
Massages: underrated - "The

Rock" on Washtenaw Ave.: overrated
- Hubie Brown: underrated - CPK
soups: underrated - Peanut But-
ter and Jelly: underrated - Manny
Harris: overrated - Leather: over-
rated - Finished wood: underrated
- Stickers: overrated - The NFL:
overrated - Nature: overrated -
Playing basketball in your driveway:
underrated - Detroit Metro Air-
port: underrated - Bar Louie's food:
underrated - Middle Earth (as far as
shopping for presents is concerned):
underrated - Hanging out in your
underwear: underrated - Watching
sports with your best bros: overrated
- Florida: overrated - The beach:
overrated - Sunblock: underrated -
Lloyd Carr: underrated - Bo Schem-
bechler: overrated (I'm not saying he
wasn't a great coach, but he didn't
even win a national championship! I
have a feeling that one is going to get
me stabbed. Ugh.) - Clint Eastwood:
overrated - Mel Gibson: underrat-
ed - Performance art: underrated
- Skateboards: underrated (were
overrated back in like 2001 but have
recently become less popular, mak-
ing them now underrated) - Moses'
accomplishments: underrated.
At this point, you might be wonder-
ing, "What am I learning from this
other than your opinions on about 20
random things?" The answer: enough
to determine whether or not you and
I have anything in common. If I were
to tell you that I love writing and trav-
elling and am from California, you
would know general things about me.
But, if I told you that I think potato
salad is an underrated appetizer, and
find the "cuteness" of babies to gen-
erally be overrated, you would know
much more about my substance as a
person and probably be able to guess
how I feel about other similar topics.
Now, where was I?
Playboy: overrated - Egotastic.
com: underrated - John F. Kennedy:
overrated - Queso: underrated -
Subway on South U.: underrated - No
Thai!: overrated - JC Rich Korean
Restaurant: underrated - The peri-
odic table of elements: underrated

- The refractory period: underrated
(that's when you get all your work
done) - G-strings: overrated - Boy
shorts (sexiness): underrated -
"MILPS": overrated - George Karl:
underrated - Numbers: underrated
- Instincts: underrated - Wash-
ing machines: underrated - Arnold
Palmer (the drink): underrated -
Arnold Palmer (the golfer): overrated
- Identity theft: underrated (as far as
it's ability to ruin your life) - Ashton
Kutcher: underrated - Sex appeal:
underrated - Ancient Egypt: under-
Do you need a way
to fill those pesky
awkward silences?
I'm stopping here only because my
editors are making me stick to aword
count. I could go on for days.
In a world with tons of serious
problems, why am I writing about
Moses, Lloyd Carr and Ashton
Kutcher as underrated cultural fig-
ures? Because it's easier for people
to argue about guacamole thad about
the United States's involvement in
Iraq. Learning to engage one another
in intellectual discussions is a great
goal, but we have to get to know each
other and learn to communicate first.
This game takes you on a roller-
coaster of topics, and in the end gives
you a pretty solid understanding of
what a person is like. My guarantee to
you - on a side note, "The Guarantee"
is my Jersey Shore nickname - is that
after playing this game with people
you don't know very well, you will be
able to immediately determine wheth-
er or not you want to hang out with
them again. That's "The Guarantee."
And by the way, Daily opinion col-
umns: underrated.
- Lincoln Boehm can be reached
at Isboehm@umich.edu.

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