4 - Tuesday, February 9, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
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EDITOR IN CHIEF
RACHEL VAN GILDER
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR
I ; 4
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position oftthe Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
U.S. Supreme Court needs to intervene to stop Asian carp
t sounds preposterous that one of the biggest threats to the
Great Lakes is a fish. But Asian carp, an invasive species,
are no laughing matter, and could seriously damage the
Great Lakes' ecosystem. Last week, Michigan Attorney Gener-
al Mike Cox filed a second request with the U.S. Supreme Court
for an injunction to force Illinois to close commercial waterways
through which the fish are migrating. Since the Great Lakes are
an interstate resource, their safety lies squarely in the hands of the
federal government, which has so far refused to act. The Supreme
Court should issue an injunction to stop the progress of Asian carp
toward the Great Lakes.
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A just defense offree speech
Asian carp, imported to the Mississippi
River area to control algae populations,
have now migrated north and are threat-
ening the Great Lakes. The fish are cur-
rently contained behind electric fencing at
the Illinois border. But detection of traces
of Asian carp DNA north of the barriers
suggests that the fences are failing. On
Dec. 21, Cox filed a request for an injunc-
tion with the U.S. Supreme Court to force
Illinois to close locks between the Chicago
Sanitary and Ship Canal and Lake Michi-
gan and stall the progress of the fish. The
Supreme Court chose not to hear the case.
Cox renewed his request on Feb. 4.
Should they enter the Great Lakes, Asian
carp will upset the balance of the ecosys-
tem by taking up more than their fair share
of resources. And as if the environmental
damage wasn't alarming enough, the result
of damage to the lakes would be economi-
cally disastrous. The invasive fish would
endanger the billion-dollar commercial
fishing and tourism industries throughout
the region. Michigan, particularly, can't
afford the loss of another major industry.
All of the Great Lakes states will suffer
should the carp reach the lakes. But Illi-
nois, which depends upon the trade in the
Illinois River, has refused to close its com-
mercial waterways. Illinois is discount-
ing the long-term effects of damage to the
Great Lakes. Illinois's shortsighted refusal
to close the waterways will only lead to
interstate catastrophe. Currently, the rest
of the Great Lakes states are trying to urge
Illinois into action - yesterday, Michigan
Gov. Jennifer Granholm joined Wisconsin
Gov. Jim Doyle and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn
at the White House to discuss the issue.
But if Illinois refuses to act, federal inter-
vention will be necessary.
The Supreme Court has refused to inter-
vene in the matter - it shut down Cox's first
request for an injunction without even hear-
ing the case. But because this is an interstate
dispute and it will affect all the Great Lakes
states, the federal government has a respon-
sibility to get involved. The Supreme Court
should hear Cox's case, and issue an injunc-
tion to force Illinois to close its waterways
and halt the progress of the Asian carp.
The effects of damage to the ecosys-
tem caused by Asian carp would reach far
beyond one state, and the federal govern-
ment must get involved to prevent disaster.
The Supreme Court needs to take decisive
action to stop the Asian carp invasion.,
P resident Barack Obama's
State of the Union address
last month stirred some con-
he criticized the
Supreme Court T
for their ruling in
Citizens United v.
Commission. In a
5-4 decision, the "
a corporation's CHRIS
right to spend
money on politi- KOSLOWSKI
cal campaigns and
Departing from State of Union tradi-
tion, Obama voiced his disapproval of
the court's ruling, saying it "reversed
a century of law." Justice Samuel
Alito, similarly ignoring court mem-
bers' customary silence during the
speech, shook his head and mouthed
"not true" during Obama's remarks.
The exchange was just the latest
breach of etiquette during a State of
the Union Address that marks the
increasing intensity of partisan poli-
tics in Washington.
This partisan fervor is exactly what
kept Justice Clarence Thomas away
from the floor of House of Represen-
tatives last month. The 19-year Court
veteran's refusal to be a silent State
of the Union whipping boy, along
with his staunch defense of the First
Amendment during Citizens United
v. Federal Election Commission, has
earned him the top spot as my favor-
ite Supreme Court justice. He rose
from-humble beginnings and fought
through oppression to become a stal-
wart proponent of American freedom
as defined by the Constitution. He's
the epitome of the unshakable Ameri-
can underdog, and he should be your
Thomas's absence from this year's
State of the Union sent an important
message to Washington. The Supreme
Court is intended to be an institution
free of the political squabbling that
defines the executive and legislative
branches of our government. That's
not to say there aren't healthy ideolog-
ical differences on the Court. But as
an institution, the Court is-supposed
to be as politically impartial as possi-
ble. This is why justices serve life-long
terms and why justices traditionally
do not react during State of the Union
This year, however, Obama's pot-
shot indicting the Court for simply
protecting the First Amendment
broke down the respect that has tra-
ditionally existed between the judi-
cial and executive branches. Rather
than twiddling his thumbs or reacting
like Alito when Obama criticized the
Court, Thomas's lack of attendance
clearly communicated a sentiment
I wish all the justices shared - the
Supreme Court has no place at the
State of the Union Address.
In a recent speech to the University
of South Florida's law school, Thomas
defended the Court from Obama's
condemnation. Thomas argued that
First Amendment protections for the
individual also apply to organizations
assembled to influence political cam-
paigns. "If ten of you got together and
decided to speak, just as a group, you'd
say you have First Amendment rights
to speak and the First Amendment
right of association," Thomas said. "If
you all then formed a partnership to
speak, you'd say we still have that First
Campaign finance reform passed
through the legislature like the
McCain-Feingold Actis inobviousvio-
lation of these basic First Amendment
rights. Some would argue that cam-
paign contributions from "Big Busi-
ness" unfairly drown out the influence
of the "little guy" in elections. Thomas
knows a fear of the influence of special
interest advertisements doesn't justify
the hedging of rights guaranteed by
the First Amendment. It's an individ-
ual's duty to vote in a way that reflects
his or her personal beliefs. Thomas
understands that it's neither the gov-
ernment's responsibility, nor its right,
to protect citizens from political
best of America. *
Thomas's defense of the First
Amendment and refusal to be vic-
timized by a president with a seem-
ingly deficient understanding of the
Supreme Court's responsibilities and
traditions is just the latest demonstra-
tion of the intelligence, resolve and
bravery which has made him the ideal
justice. Throughout his career, Thom-
as has led the charge to return the
Court to its roots in judicial restraint
and defense of the Constitution.
Fighting through allegations of sexual
harassment, claims that he lacked-the
prerequisite knowledge to serve on
the nation's highest court and rac-
ist accusations aimed at pegging him
as an "Uncle Tom;" Thomas has been
the most influential voice in stemming
the Court's fifty years of unwarranted
activism. He's been a resolutg ssp-
porter of individual rights and equal-
ity, most notably in his opposition of
affirmative action. You should cele-
brate his role in preserving the values
that have made this country great.
- Chris Koslowski can be
reached at cskoslowgumich.edu.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Nina Amilineni, Jordan Birnholtz, William Butler, Nicholas Nlift,
Michelle DeWitt, Brian Flaherty, Jeremy Levy,Erika Mayer, Edward McPhee,
Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga, Alex Schiff, Asa Smith, Brittany Smith,
Robert Soave, Radhika Upadhyaya, Laura Veith
NASA's new adventures
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AMERICAN MOVEMENT FOR ISRAEL
In Middle East, it's time to negotiate
Forty years ago, it was widely believed that
the United States would travel to Mars by 2000.
It's now 2010, and it's unlikely we'll launch a
manned spacecraft to Mars before 2040. Pre-
dicting the future of spaceflight is literally
rocket science, and it's hard to know if private
spaceflight will be a sustainable business.
There are a number ofunanswered questions
regarding the commercial viability of space-
flight. A small number of companies, includ-
ing Virgin Galactic and Bigelow Aerospace, are
currently investigating the possibilities. The
latter, founded by Las Vegas hotelier Robert
Bigelow, aims to put inflatable space hotels into
orbit. It's a lofty goal, and it's unclear if there's
a real market for such a stay.
Private space ventures, it follows, are sub-
ject to the business cycle. Exciting a prospect
as it is, it's uncertain if a long-term market
truly exists for anything other than launching
cargo and satellites.
A year and a half ago, one imagined that
plenty of people would fork over the six figures
that would be necessary to participate in space
tourism. Since the recent market contraction,
it's a lot less clear who will pay for this luxury.
In the 1990s, the joint public-private sector
space plane, the Venturestar, consumed $1.2
billion before a scaled-down prototype failed.
The entire project was abandoned. It was an
enormous waste of time and valuable resourc-
es. For this reason, the best route forward is to
continue to fund public endeavors, like NASA,
while still subsidizing the private market.
NASA technology has played a huge role
in developing modern technology. The array
of devices derived from NASA .research and
development is enormous. Without satel-
lites, there could be no GPS and no cell phone.
Similarly derived from NASA research are the
cochlear implant, grooved roads and the com-
puter mouse. NASA fulfills a role much greater
than simply putting humans into orbit. It's a
And NASA allows for pure scientific
research. There isn't room in the market for
that at this point. It may not seem as economi-
cally vital, but it's a worthwhile exercise to
learn about the universe.
This doesn't mean that it's sensible to keep
NASA around forever. The private sector may
one day fulfill all of our stellar needs. That day
certainly isn't here, however, and it's unclear
how far off it is. One ought to expect similarly
positive externalities of private space compa-
nies. For this reason, the federal government
should help foster these through subsidies.
This is the route President Barack Obama is
taking, and it's the right one. He has promised
a $6-billion increase in the NASA budget over
five years. Obama also called for $6.1 billion to
fund private space companies, hoping to find a
privately-built craft that can supply the Inter-
national Space Station. He's added $51.5 mil-
lion to NASA's biomedical research on humans
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has criticized
Obama for his latestbudget. "The president has
sent Congress a budget proposal that contains
more spending, more borrowing and more
taxes," read a recent statement from his office.
But Cornyn has simultaneously criticized
Obama for not spending enough on the Project
As emotional and glorious as another trip
to the moon may seem, it's not the best use of
NASA money. Biomedical research and other
projects are more likely to yield the positive
externalities, which justify the agency in an
economic sense. Cornyn claims that neglecting
the moon project will lead to a decrease in the
country's "global status." This is nonsense.
His criticisms are at best ignorant and at
worst an abusive politicization of science.
There's plenty to criticize in our president's
agenda, but this isn't one of them.
Jordan Birnholtz is an LSA freshman.
Ending the occupation of Palestinians and ensuring
Israeli security is the overall goal for moderates on both
sides of the Middle East conflict.
According to many historians, the 1973 war was a major
driving force for the peace agreement signed between
Israel and Egypt only six years later. However, there is
another avenue to achieve peace that does not require
such tragic violence: negotiations.
Since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
formed a new government in March 2009, there have.
been no direct negotiations between the Israeli and Pales-
tinian leaderships. Palestinian National Authority Presi-
dent Mahmoud Abbas insists that there be a full Israeli
settlement freeze in both the West Bank and East Jerusa-
lem before bilateral talks can resume.
At the beginning of Netanyahu's term, this might have
made sense. Netanyahu was considered a hard rightist.
He refused to back a two-state solution, and during his
election campaign he fervently supported the settlement
movement in the West Bank.
However, like many politicians, Netanyahu has
changed his platform. In June 2009, he delivered an
important policy address supporting a Palestinian state,
and a few months later agreed to freeze settlement activ-
ity in the West Bank for 10 months. George Mitchell, the
United States special envoy to the Middle East, comment-
ed on Netanyahu's move saying that, "it is more than any
Israeli government has done before, and can help move
toward agreement between the parties."
In addition to Netanyahu freezing settlements, the
prime minister has initiated several concrete gestures to
assist the average Palestinian individual. Israel's policy of
removing checkpoints throughout the West Bank along
with additional security cooperation between the two
sides has boosted the Palestinian economy in the West
Bank by seven percent, according to the International
Monetary Fund. For over a decade, Palestinians have not
experienced such a dramatic financial growth.
It is true that currently Netanyahu refuses to freeze
building within East Jerusalem as Abbas demands. How-
ever, is not settling differences between the two parties
the reason why negotiations exist? If everyone agreed,
then a peace treaty would have been signed years ago.
Israel also has significant disagreements with the Pal-
estinian National Authority regarding terror incitement
in Palestinian schools and security threats, but Israel has
not derailed peace talks. A year ago, Netanyahu's policies
were hawkish, but he has taken significant steps towards 0
peace while in office. Despite Israel taking these moder-
ate steps, Abbas is punishing Netanyahu by refusing to
It is interesting to note that before Netanyahu, the first
Israeli prime minister to freeze settlement building in the
West Bank, Abbas never had a policy of refusal to enter
into negotiations. Intense final status talks were held
with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who
according to Abbas "had a great desire for peace." aven
during the Second Intifada, a period of extreme violence,
both sides continued to meet. But now Abbas refuses to
speak directly with Netanyahu.
Maybe Abbas believes that Netanyahu is a right wing
leader who will never really change. But politicians in the
Middle East can and do change. Before Egyptian Presi-
dent Anwar Sadat flew to Jerusalem to extend a hand for
peace, he initiated one of the bloodiest wars in the Middle
East. Former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin
was a champion of the settler movement. This same man
was later the first Israeli leader to evacuate settlers in a
peace treaty with Egypt. If Abbas is looking for Netan-
yahu to make a bold decision at the negotiating table, he
has to give him a chance.
In the Middle East, history has proven that an absence
of negotiations can take a violent turn. When talks stalled
between former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and
Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat in 2000, violence
filled the void and lead to the bloody Second Intifada.
Sometimes leaders are faced with a dramatic decision. It
is either yes or no, forwards or backwards - there are no
alternatives. Sometimes the reality really is that simple.
Former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban said, "Pales-
tinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity."
Whether this statement is accurate or not, the past cannot
be undone. And this suspicionstill lurks on both sides. After
almost a year of stagnation on the peace front without nego-
tiations, something needs to change. Abbas, please prove
Eban wrong. Too much is at stake for both Israeli and Pal-
estinian children. Seize the moment, or the extremists will.
This viewpoint was written by Aaron Magid on
behalf ofthe American Movement for Israel.
The Daily is looking for a diverse group of passionate, strong
student writers to join the Editorial Board. Editorial Board
members are responsible for discussing and writing the
editorials that appear on the left side of the opinion page.
E-MAIL RACHEL VAN GILDER AT RACHELVG@UMICH.EDU
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