The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.cam
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 - 3A
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, September 22, 2010 - 3A
passes state House
People who owe back state taxes
could be let off the hook under an
amnesty proposal that advanced
yesterday in the Michigan Legisla-
ture, part of a plan aimed at balanc-
ing the state budget.
The Democtatic-led House
passed a bill that would set up a
window - May 15 through June 30
- for delinquent taxpayers to pay
off their debts without criminal or
civil penalty from the state trea-
surer. The program would apply to
taxes due before the end of 2009.
The bill passed 58-49 mostly
along party lines. It now returns to
the Republican-led Senate, which
passed a version of a tax amnesty
plan in 2009.
The two chambers will have
to resolve differences between
their versions for tax amnesty to
become part of the state's overall
budget solution. The tax amnesty
plan could raise about $60 million
to help offset a projected deficit
of $484 million in the budget year
starting Oct. 1.
First lady enters
Michelle Obama is jumping into
the midterm political fray in a big.
way: She'll headline at least nine
fundraisers in six states next month
for endangered Democrats.
That's a fairly big commitment
for a first lady who's always said
she's not a political animal, but the
White House insists Mrs. Obama is
eager to get out there.
' And it's no surprise that the
Democrats are anxious to use the
first lady's star power: Polls show
she's more popular than her hus-
band, President Barack Obama.
Among those Mrs. Obama will
campaign for is Wisconsin Sen.
Russ Feingold, who passed up a
chance to appear with the president
on Labor Day in Milwaukee. Fein-
gold, in a tough re-election fight
and slightly behind his opponent in
spending, instead opted to attend a
parade in his hometown about 60
miles away. He's also not expected
attend the president's rally in
Madison next week because the
Senate will be in session.
* NEW YORK
Secretary of State Hillary Rod-
ham Clinton is unveiling programs
to combat child hunger and reduce
pollution from indoor stoves that
causes diseases, especially in poor-
In New York yesterday, Clinton
helped launch a program to address
chronic malnutrition blamed for 3.5
million maternal and child deaths a
year. The program is co-sponsored
by the Irish government and focus-
es on the first 1,000 days of a child's
life, during which nutrition is criti-
cal to mental and physical develop-
Later yesterday, Clinton is to
announce a U.S. contribution to
the Global Alliance for Clean Cook-
stoves that promotes the use of
leaner and more efficient cooking
materials. Exposure to pollution
from traditional indoor stoves and
fires causes diseases that kill nearly
2 million in the developing world
annually, mostly children and
kidnapping of five
AI-Qaida's North Africa branch
has claimed responsibility for kid-
papping five French nationals near
4uranium mine deep in the desert
of the African nation of Niger, an
audio message broadcast yesterday
In the recording broadcast by the
Arabic news channel al-Jazeera,
a voice claiming to represent al-
Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb said
the group would issue its demands
to the French government shortly.
"It was not a real surprise to
learn that al-Qaida was at the ori-
gin" of the kidnapping, French
Foreign Minister Bernard Kouch-
ner told journalists at the United
Nations in New York. "Now that
it's certain, we will continue - the
French, their allies, Israel - to put
every effort into obtaining their
Daily wire reports
'Don't ask, don't tell' repeal fails in Senate
Harry Reid says the
ban will be tackled
again during lame-
WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate
Republicans on Tuesday blocked
an effort by Democrats and the
White House to lift the ban on gays
from serving openly in the mili-
tary, voting unanimously against
advancing a major defense policy
bill that included the provision.
The mostly partisan vote dealt
a major blow to gay rights groups
who saw the legislation as their
best hope, at least in the short
term, for repeal of the 17-year-old
law known as "don't ask, don't tell."
If Democrats lose seats in the
upcoming congressional elections
this fall, as many expect, repeal-
ing the ban could prove even more
difficult - if not impossible - next
year. With that scenario looming,
Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid said that a lame-duck session
was being planned and that lifting
the ban would be taken up then.
The episode upset advocates
who believe that neither President
Barack Obama nor Reid did enough
to see the measure through.
"The whole thing is a political
train wreck," said Richard Socari-
des, a White House adviser on gay
rights during the Clinton adminis-
Democrats included the repeal
provision in a $726 billion defense
policy bill, which authorizes a pay
raise for the troops among other
popular programs. In a deal bro-
kered with the White House, the
measure would have overturned
the 1993 law banning openly gay
service only after a Pentagon
review and certification from
the president that lifting the ban
wouldn't hurt troop morale.
But with little time left for
debate before the November ballot,
the bill languished on the Senate
calendar until gay rights groups,
backed by pop star Lady Gaga,
began an aggressive push to turn it
into an election issue.
Earlier this month a federal
judge in Los Angeles declared the
ban an unconstitutional violation
of the due process and free speech
rights of gays and lesbians. The
decision was thethird federal court
ruling since July to assert that stat-
utory limits on the rights of gays
and lesbians were unconstitutional.
Reid agreed to force a vote on
the bill this week and limit debate,
despite Republican objections. A
Nevada Democrat in a tight race of
his own this fall, he also pledged
to use the defense bill as a vehicle
for an immigration proposal that
would enable young people to
qualify for U.S. citizenship if they
joined the military.
Republicans alleged that Reid
was using the defense bill to score
political points with the Demo-
"This is not a serious exercise.
It's a show," said Senate GOP leader
Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Democrats countered that the
bill merely reflects public opinion.
Recent polls suggest that a major-
ity of Americans think the ban on
gays in the military should be over-
"We're going to fight for this,"
said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.,
chairman of the Armed Services
But at least for now, the ques-
tion of how and when to change
the policy returns to the Penta-
gon, which had set a December
deadline to complete a study of the
effects of lifting the ban. Defense
Secretary Robert Gates has said
that he supports Obama's goal of
repeal, but Gates made it clear he
thought the process should move
PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAI
Military service men and women stand together after they handcuffed themselves tothe fence outside the White House in
Washington during a protest for gay rights in April 2010.
It is not clear how quickly the
Pentagon might make its own rec-
ommendations. Pentagon press
secretary Geoff Morrell declined
to comment Tuesday on what he
called "an internal procedural
matter for the Senate."
Initially, advocates had thought
that Democrats might win the 60
votes needed to overcome GOP
objections and advance the bill.
Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate
Maine Republican, was seen as a
crucial vote because she supports
overturning the ban.
But Collins ultimately sided
with her GOP colleagues in argu-
ing that the bill shouldn't advance
because Republicans weren't given
sufficient chance to offer amend-
ments to the wide-ranging policy
Democrats also failed to keep
all of their party members in line.
Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln
and Mark Pryor, both of Arkansas,
voted with Republicans to scuttle
the bill. The vote was 56-43, four
short of the 60 required to advance
under Senate rules.
Lincoln said she objected to
the limits on debate and wanted a
chance to offer amendments that
would benefit her state. In a state-
ment, Pryor said the bill deserved
more serious debate than was
"There needs to be a genuine
and honest effort to craft a defense
bill that senators from both par-
ties can support, because support-
ing our troops should not ever be a
partisan issue," he said.
When itbecame clear that Dem-
ocrats would lose, Reid cast his
own vote in opposition as a proce-
dural tactic. Under Senate rules,
doing so enabled him to revive the
Conservative groups hailed the
vote as a victory for the troops. "At
least for now they will not be used
to advance aradical social agenda,"
said Tony Perkins, president of the
Family Research Council.
An estimated 13,000 people
have been discharged under the
law since its inception in 1993.
Although most dismissals have
resulted from gay service mem-
bers outing themselves, gay rights'
groups say it has been used by vin-
dictive co-workers to drum out
troops who never made their sexu-
ality an issue.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at United Nations headquarters on Tuesday, Sept. 21 2010.
capitalism for poverty
At U.N. summit,
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -
Iran's president yesterday pre-
dicted the defeat of capitalism
and blamed global big business
for the suffering of millions, but
Germany's chancellor said mar-
ket economies were key to lifting
the world's least developed coun-
tries out of poverty.
The clash of visions at the U.N.
anti-poverty summit drew a line
under the stark differences on
easing the misery of the one bil-
lion people living on less than
$1.25 a day.
More than 140 presidents,
prime ministers and kings are
attending the three-day summit
which started Monday to assess
and spur on achievement of U.N.
targets set by world leaders in
2000. The plan called for an
intensive global campaign to ease
poverty, disease and inequalities
between rich and poor by 2015.
Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, however, never
mentioned the Millennium
Development Goals in his speech
to the 192-member General
Instead, he took aim at capital-
ism and called for the overhaul
of "undemocratic and unjust"
global decision-making bod-
ies, which are dominated by the
United States and other West-
ern powers. While Ahmadinejad
didn't single out any country, he
said world leaders, thinkers and
global reformers should "spare
no effort" to make practical plans
for a new world order - reform
of international economic and
"It is my firm belief that in
the new millennium, we need to
revert to the divine mindset...
based on the justice-seeking
nature of mankind, and on the
monotheistic world view...," the
Iranian leader said in a brief
speech intertwining philoso-
phy and religion with the cur-
rent state of the world. "Now
that the discriminatory order of
capitalism and the hegemonic
approaches are facing defeat."
Ahmadinejad proposed that
the United Nations name the
coming 10 years "the decade for
the joint global governance."
Soon afterward, German
Chancellor Angela Merkel, the
world's fourth-largest economic
power, took an opposite tack,
likely speaking for the rest of the
Stressing that "the primary
responsibility for development
lies with the governments of the
developing countries," she said
the key to economic prosperity
was good governance and a flour-
ishing capitalist economy.
"The countries themselves
must promote the development of
a market economy...for without
self-sustaining economic growth
developing countries will find the
road out of poverty and hunger
too steep to travel," Merkel said.
The German leader said inter-
national assistance can't sub-
stitute for domestic resources,
warned that "development aid
cannot continue indefinitely"
and declared that "support for
good governance is as important
as aid itself."
Oxfam, one of the world's
most respect aid organizations,
slammed Merkel's address.
Spokeswoman Emma Seery said
more had been expected from the
Germans, who "failed to explain
how they will meet their prom-
ises of aid to poor countries, and
sidestepped their responsibility
to make aid work by laying this
at the door of the poorest coun-
Seery also chided the German
leader for not joining with France
and Spain in calling for a sMall
tax on financial transactions
that would go to meet develop-
ment needs of poor countries.
"Whether Germany can still
claim to be a development leader
is now questionable," she said in
an unusually blunt assessment of
a government leader's address.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon has said the world is "on
track" to cut extreme poverty by
half, the No. 1 goal, though some
critics say it's mainly because
of the big strides in China and
India. Many recent reports show
that the world's poorest coun-
tries, especially in sub-Saharan
Africa, have made little progress
in eradicating poverty.
And in Africa, Asia and Latin
America there also has been a
lack of progress in meeting other
key goals: reducing mother and
child deaths, increasing the num-
ber of people with access to basic
sanitation, and promoting wom-
en's equality. Ban is expected to
launch a new initiative Wednes-
day to spur action on improving
the lot of women and children.
sued by ACLU over
ACLU: police used onto the lawns of the University of
Pittsburgh'sCathedral of Learn-
unlawful protocol ing," the lawsuit said. Police then
surrounded about 100 people,
during protest made them lie down, handcuffed
them and "falsely charged them
PITTSBURGH (AP) - City with failure to disperse and disor-
police wrongly arrested 25 peo- derly conduct," the lawsuit said.
ple - and used unnecessary force The suit targetsthe city, Harper,
against some - to "punish" them Donaldson and 15 officers iden-
for participating in or being near tified as those who arrested the
an anti-police brutality protest plaintiffs, all of whom were heldby
after the Group of 20 summit police for six to 20 hours, the law-
ended in the city last year, the suit contends.
American Civil Liberties Union The lawsuit asks a federal judge
said in alawsuit. to declare that the plaintiffs' con-
The ACLU filed a 42-page fed- stitutional rightsawere violated and
eral lawsuit yesterday alleging to award damages for false arrest
police created most of the problems and emotional distress.
themselves by surrounding about It also asks the judge to declare
100 people with officers in riot gear Pennsylvania's "failure to disperse"
and then ordering them to disperse. statute unconstitutional. The law
Many who tried to leave couldn't allows officers to declare an assem-
and were instead pingponged bly unlawful if police see at least
between groups of advancing police, three people engaged in "disorderly
the ACLU said. Five people not even conduct," Walczak said.
at the protest were arrested blocks The Pittsburgh summit brought
away, the ACLU contends. thousands of protesters to Pitts-
"It appears that these police burgh, including anarchists who
were simply looking for anybody responded to calls to disperse by
who was young and maybe looked rolling trash bins, throwing rocks
like a demonstrator and then and breaking windows. Many
rounded them up," Witold "Vic" protesters condemned the harsh
Walezak, the ACLU's legal direc- law enforcement response that
tor in Pennsylvania, said at a news followed, which included pep-
conference yesterday. per spray canisters, rubber bul-
The ACLU announced the law- lets, flash-bang grenades and huge
suit at a plaza near the University of speakers emitting earsplittingly
Pittsburgh campus where the pro- loud sirens.
test was staged on Sept. 25, 2009. One of the plaintiffs, Jason Mun-
"When people see video of ley, 31, of Pittsburgh, said he wasn't
peaceful demonstrations in places part of the Pitt protest but stopped
like Russia and Iran where the to give police "the middle finger"
police all of a sudden declare the on his way to a friend's house.
assembly to be unlawful and then Munley said he did that because he
come in and arrest everybody ... we disagreed with police tactics at the
recoil in horror and say, 'It's just G-20, and was shot with pepper
free speech, it's just peaceful dem- spray pellets and arrested.
onstrations. Thank goodness that Ben Tabas, 20, was aPittstudent
can't and doesn't happen in this who was recording the protest on
country,"' Walczak said. video. He said he tried to disperse
"Well, I'm sorry to advise you but was hemmed in by police and
that in fact it does happen in this arrested. He told officers he was
country and it did happen in the a diabetic, but wasn't allowed to
city of Pittsburgh." access his medication and in jail
Pittsburgh police spokeswoman was given a type of insulin not pre-
Diane Richard relayed a copy of scribed byhis doctor.
the lawsuit to the city's law depart- Casey Brander, a 21-year-old
ment, which did not immediately student at nearby Carnegie Mel-
comment on it. An attorney for the lon University, walked over with a
Fraternal Order of Police, which friend to check out the protest and
typically represents individual a concert before it. Brander said
officers in such lawsuits, did not she tried to leave but kept being
immediately comment on the suit. turned back by police in riot gear.
The lawsuit says police Chief "The police didn't say anything,
NateHarper andDeputyChiefPaul they just marched and beat their
Donaldson sent police to declare shields and had this very intimi-
the gathering illegal after seeing a dating presence," Brander said.
protest advertisement that dispar- One officer called her his "girl-
aged police with an expletive. friend" and other officers told
"Instead of providing a way for some women being arrested that
people to comply with the disper- they were "hot" said Brander, who
sal order, police funneled everyone was held for 19 hours.