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April 13, 2010 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-04-13

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4 - Tuesday, April 13, 2010


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

The percentage of the public
that believes that the U.S. will be
attacked with nuclear weapons
by terrorists in the next 10 years.
- According to a poll by CNN/Opinion Research Corporation published yesterday.




Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Smart funding
Mich. must use smart grids to diversify its economy
T he state government is getting energized about electric-
ity. Michigan was recently awarded $5 million in federal
stimulus funds to train workers in the electrical power
industry. In addition to creating much-needed jobs, the program
has given the state the opportunity - and the resources - to arm
workers with the skills needed to modernize and update its out-
dated power system. These funds will allow Michigan to maxi-
mize its energy efficiency and will encourage the growth of new
environmentally friendly industries. The state should use the fed-
eral funds and the creation of the smart grid to kick-start its tran-
sition to a greener, more diversified economy.

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Making the most ofMichigan

Last week, the Obama administration
announced the $5 million award, which is
part of the 2009 American Reinvestment
and Recovery Act, more commonly known
as the stimulus plan. The grant is part of a
larger, $4 billion federal initiative to spur the
growth of "smart grids" across the country,
which refers to a broad set of improvements
to the electrical system. The program hopes
to eventually train 30,000 workers for 54
smart grid projects nationwide.
These initiatives will modernize Michi-
gan's electrical grid and improve its reliabil-
ity and efficiency. Home electrical systems
will be retrofitted to communicate with
energy suppliers, which will allow house-
holds to buy only the energy they need when
they need it. This will help homeowners save
money by avoiding using electricity during
the hours where energy use is at its peak.
And the smart grid will be able to determine
which appliances consume the most power
and automatically stop the flow of energy to
them when they aren't being used.
Smartgrids also encouragethe use of alter-
native energy. Consumers who equip their
homes with solar panels or, in more rural
areas, wind turbines will be able to power
their own homes and sell excess power back
to electrical companies through the smart
grid. These advancements will incentivize
consumers to both use energy efficiently as

well as contribute to the electrical grid in a
clean, environmentally friendly way.
But most importantly, this program
should help Michigan pull itself out of eco-
nomic crisis. With an unemployment rate
above 14 percent, according to the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Michigan badly
needs this opportunity. The program will
directly create jobs and retrain workers.
And it will also lay a framework for long-
term growth in the electrical sector that
will call for more jobs in the future.
And the effects of the program won't be
limited to the jobs it hopes to directly cre-
ate. Consumer's involvement in generating
energy will make them more aware of the
impact of their energy choices. Electrical
grid modernizations and improvements
will encourage the proliferation of other
energy-efficient innovations and catalyze
demand for solar panels and other means
of alternative energy generation. This
will draw alternative energy companies
to Michigan, creating even more jobs and
starting the growth of a new economic sec-
tor in the state.
It is clear that the smart grid will trans-
form the way people use and consume
energy. But the state shouldn't overlook
the opportunity to use such innovations to
shape a sustainable, diversified and green
grounded in solid evidence, best practices and
diverse student input and respect for the whole
The second aspect is historical. It's important
to remember that the decision to create a smoke-
free campus is another step along a path of simi-
lar decisions made at this university dating back
to the mid-1980s.
The University first adopted a ban on smoking
in buildings (with exceptions for some residence
halls) and Universityvehicles in 1987. In 1998, the
University Health System prohibited smoking on
its grounds and in public spaces. Then in 2003,
the Residence Halls Association, a student-repre-
sentative organization, eliminated smoking from
all residence halls. Through these initiatives, stu-
dents, faculty and staff have asked for smoking
to be eliminated from more areas of the campus.
This, too, is an important form of input.
The University of Iowa and Indiana University
implemented smoke-free campus initiatives on
Jan. 1, 2008. Even campuses in states with sub-
stantial tobacco production, like the University
of Kentucky, have enacted similar policies.
I am completely confident we will have the
best-possible plan in place for this campus by
July 1, 2011. It will be an implementation plan
reflecting some of the best work of students, fac-
ulty and staff from across the entire University.
Simone Himbeault Taylor
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs

'm terrified to graduate.
It's not for fear of the unknown
or for worry about the future.
After all, I've
known since
August what I'm3
doing after gradu-
ation, which has -
made this year a lot
less stressful.
It's because I
can't stand good-
byes. And in addi-
tion to all the "last COURTNEY
times" that are RATKOAK
inevitable over
the next couple of
weeks, one of the
most depressing things about prepar-
ing to leave Ann Arbor is realizingthat
I've done almost everything on my
University of Michigan bucket list.
Many of the items on the list are
predictable University traditions,
ones that almost all students will have
experienced by the time they gradu-
ate. But others are more like goals -
set freshman year - that took a couple
of years to achieve. And even though
they may have been more difficult to
check off, they ended up being some of
my best memories at Michigan - and
should be on every student's list.
Run through the Michigan Stadium
tunnel. I stood on the Big House side-
lines for 15 home games in the past
two years and watched the end of the
game unfold a few feet away from me.
On our way back to the press box after
postgame interviews during each
of those Saturdays, my fellow Daily
football beat reporters and I walked
through the Michigan Stadium tun-
nel. But after this year's Delaware
State game, we decided to run.
Granted, I was in business casual
and high heels, not shoulder pads and
cleats. The stadium had maybe 500
people in it, not 110,000. And instead
of touching the GO BLUE banner and

storming into a maize-and-blue hud-
dle, we collapsed to the turf and stared
up at the sky. Despite the obvious dif-
ferences, running through the tunnel
that day was still the ultimate Michi-
gan experience.
Perform at Hill Auditorium. Of
course, "see a show at Hill Auditori-
um" is on everyone's bucket list - the
tradition of the acoustically perfect
concert hall is matched only by Burton
Tower, Yost Ice Arena and Michigan
Stadium. But no student should leave
Ann Arbor without being the one on
the stage, staring out at an audience.
.I was lucky enough to perform
at Hill three times in college while
playing the French horn in the Cam-
pus Band. Playing on the same stage
where talented artists like the New
York Philharmonic, B.B. King and
Bob Marley once stood is more than a
little humbling. Although I was in an
ensemble with non-music majors, Hill
Auditorium somehow makes everyone
feel like professionals. Even for those
who aren't music, theatre or dance-
inclined, it's worth it to walk into the
auditorium, stand on stage alone and
test the acoustics of the hall.
Celebrate St. Patrick's Day, Ann
Arbor style. I feel a little ridiculous
including this in the same column as
my first two items. But St. Patrick's Day
is truly Ann Arbor's Mardi Gras, and
no student should leave the University
without shirking all responsibilities for
one day to observe the holiday.
After three years of hearing about
people in green headbands, shirts,
socks and beads lining the streets
outside Ashley's starting at 4 a.m., my
friends and I finally decided to go all
out this year. We assembled a 30-per-
son group, went shopping for glittery
green St. Patrick's Day hats and sham-
rock socks, organized an itinerary and
started the marathon.
By the end of the day, two of the
people in our group - one from Chica-

go and the other from Kentucky, who
were both experiencing their first St.
Patrick's Day in Ann Arbor - said they
had never seen or heard about any-
thing like it in any other town. Stand-
ing outside the South University bars
before sunrise and finishing the day 17
hours later at an outdoor State Street
party was something we'd never
be able to do if we weren't 21- and
22-year-old college students - and
that's exactly why we wanted to do it.
Make your 'U'
experiences as
diverse as possible.

There are still a few more things
I'd like to do before the class of 2010's
May 1 deadline, like exploring the Uni-
versity's underground tunnel system
and ringingthe bells in Burton Tower.
(Considering that the underground
tunnels are rigged with motion sen-
sors and students have been arrested
for unlawful entry, I'm not sure if I'll
be able to pull that one off -unless the
University offers guided tunnel tours
that I haven't yet heard about.)
Though it's definitely satisfying
to check things off the list, the real
reason I've stayed so loyal to it is that
it's forced my friends and I to stop
thinking about those inevitable "last
times." Instead, we've been focused
on finding experiences that will keep
pushing us out of our comfort zones.
Because that, if anything, is what
going to college in Ann Arbor has
been - and should be - all about.
- Courtney Ratkowiak was the Daily's
managing editor in 2009. She can be
reached at cratkowi@umich.edu.


The smokinq ban initiative
includes student body's input
I'd like to address two important aspects of the
Smoke-Free University Initiative.
The first is student involvement. Since the ini-
tiative was announced one year ago, more than
1,500 students have told us what they think of
this effort. Many support the plan to take all
three University campuses smoke-free by July
1, 2011. Others have expressed concern about
knowing the boundaries of campus or how the
University will enforce the smoking ban.
This student feedback has been invaluable to
the Student Life Subcommittee (of which I am
chair), which is charged with exploring how the
smoke-free effort will affect students. The group
is now in the process of formulating its recom-
mendations for policy implementation. These
recommendations will be reviewed by students
to gather diverse feedback and perspectives.
Our 24-member subcommittee includes 12
students. Most of those students are connected
to other students through the organizations
they represent and reflect the varied opinions
on the initiative. Additionally, the subcommit-
tee has used focus groups and surveys to gather
additional feedback from students. Our group is
committed to making recommendations that are

Why we need Spitzer

Many of us know the story of Eliot's Spitzer's fall from the
top of the political ladder.After being linked to a high-priced
prostitution ring in 2008, he was forced to resign as the gov-
ernor of New York. Regardless of the hypocrisy unveiled by
the breaking of the news - as New York attorney general,
Spitzer led a task force in a prostitution ring bust - the sala-
cious scandal was a purely personal failing. He now works
at his father's real estate firm and making appearances on
television from time to time.
But Spitzer's flaws don't challenge his credibility as an
effective politician nor do they represent a misuse of pub-
lic office. His immense knowledge of the financial system is
essential to policy makers at this critical juncture for regu-
latory reform in the industry. Spitzer's personal mistakes
shouldn't hinder the protection of the average American
taxpayer from the excesses of Wall Street.
Spitzer's reputation as "The Sheriff of Wall Street" is
well deserved. During his tenure as the attorney general of
New York, he utilized an obscure 1921 New York statute -
The Martin Act - to expose conflicts of interest within the
workings of ten of the top investment firms in the United
States. The companies agreed to pay fines in excess of one
billion dollars, representing a victory for the state against
the abuses of the financial industry.
Since he stepped down as governor, Spitzer has been
an outspoken critic of banks like Goldman Sachs "dou-
ble-dipping" into bailout money. In 2008, he questioned
the rescue of AIG not because of its profligate yet largely
irrelevant bonuses that occupied the public's attention, but
because it had been the insurer for financial institutions
that were already assisted by the government. Spitzer's
work made him a feared character on Wall Street and dis-
tinguishes him as the type of official currently needed to
help rein in the industry.
In addition to his track record as a successful financial
prosecutor, Spitzer's persona also makes him well suited to
have a role in the reform of the financial industry. He's arro-
gant, ambitious and shows no mercy as a prosecutor. His
arrogance has been apparent: in a private conversation with
a New York assemblyman who opposed his choices for state
comptroller, Spitzer said, "I am a fucking steamroller and I'll
roll over you or anybody else." He also quite harshly called
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg "wrong on every
level" because of Bloomberg's opposition to his plan to issue

driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. Though these state-
ments may frame Spitzer as bigheaded and hot tempered,
they also allude to his toughness and imposing stature,
which are necessary to police the cutthroat business world.
Bearing in mind the recalcitrant tone the investment
banks have taken when it comes to atoning for their mis-
takes, these qualities are exactly what are needed for a
policymaker and regulator. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd
Blankfein issued a vague apology for the crisis but refused to
take the blame for questionable business practices. One such
practice was the bank's unloading and subsequent shorting
of subprime mortgage securities - or betting on the secu-
rities' devaluation - to limit their exposure to the crisis
and create profits. Blankfein's apology surely requires a
"situational" sense of morality to understand, as banks were
simultaneously selling these securities to their clients. Per-
haps Spitzer could be a guns blazing sidekick for the meek
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to help him hold
Wall Street in check.
Spitzer also has a good work ethic. According to a Feb.
18 article in The New York Times, he "installed appointees
with substantial credentials and took a deep interest in their
work, peppering them with e-mailed policy questions in the
early-morning hours." Several state officials are quoted in
the article attesting to his responsiveness and engagement.
So while Spitzer was caught - in a personally and morally
reprehensible situation, no doubt - with a prostitute, he
never allegedly abused his authority to coerce a woman to
not press sexual assault charges on an aide like current New
York Governor David Paterson or left his state without an
executive for an Argentinean fling like South Carolina Gov-
ernor Mark Sanford. Spitzer's personal character flaws may
not make him a good role model, but they don't reflect on his
capacity as an effective policy maker or adviser.
The new regulatory legislation being discussed should
impose strict and logical regulations on the institutions that
contributed to the worldwide financial crisis and enforce *
them. Politicians should utilize all possible resources to
ensure the best outcome for the American economy. Now
is not the time for Spitzer to sit on the sidelines when he is
clearly qualified to be a top adviser to Congress or the U.S.
Treasury Department on matters of financial regulation.

s osmso::::'

Harsha Panduranga is an LSA sophomore.


Nina Amilineni, Jordan Birnholtz, William Butler, Nicholas Clift, Michelle DeWitt, Brian Flaherty,
Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer, Edward McPhee, Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga, Alex Schiff, Asa Smith,
Brittany Smith, Robert Soave, adhika Upadhyaya, Laura Veith

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