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4A - Monday, October 25, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
E-MAIL SIMONAT SIMKAL( aUMICH.EDU

(71C NC tgan i ailp
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@umich.edu

SIMON BORST

JACOB SMILOVITZ
EDITOR IN CHIEF

RACHEL VAN GILDER
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

MATT AARONSON
MANAGING EDITOR

~ *
, . . 0

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.
A balancing act
Detroit Public Schools must manage funds better
or years, the Detroit Public School system has dealt with
corruption in its school board, a multi-million dollar defi-
cit and a dismal graduation rate. These days, DPS is scat-
tered and inefficient. Detroit started construction of a new high
school funded by a bond program last week. At the same time,
following friction with the school board, Emergency Financial
Manager Robert Bobb announced that he won't return for anoth-
er school year with the district. The future is uncertain, but one
thing is clear: the district needs an overhaul. DPS must properly
manage its finances and balance its budget in order to tackle its
academic problems.

Failing to Consider

0

On Thursday, according to an Oct. 22
Detroit Free Press article, DPS broke
ground on its new Mumford High School
- a $50.3-million building funded by a
bond program. According to the Free Press
article, the new high school will feature
new athletic fields, an eight-lane swim-
ming pool and an auditorium that can seat
800. The day after the ground-breaking,
Bobb announced that he won't return to
Detroit for another school year, according
to an Oct. 22 article in the Free Press.
The new Mumford High School - one
of three new Detroit high schools planned
- should shape up to be a beautiful build-
ing. Students and teachers need facilities
that create an environment in which learn-
ing is possible - environments that many
schools in Detroit currently lack. Students
deserve schools in which they feel com-
fortable, safe and able to learn. Teachers,
of course, will also be attracted to districts
with nicer facilities.
But DPS must remember that it must
also keep up its facilities - old and new.
And with DPS's deficit sitting at $332 mil-
lion, it's not clear where the district will
find the funds to maintain the buildings
and staff them with custodians, admin-
istrators and office personnel. DPS must
make sure that its new facilities don't fall

into disrepair, or it will simply be giving
Detroit residents more of the same.
DPS's facilities aren't the only thing
in need of update. Detroit students often
don't have textbooks. They sometimes lack
basic necessities like toilet paper, paper
towel and light bulbs. Test scores have
been poor. And less than 40 percent of
Detroit students make it to graduation.
But before DPS can tackle these defi-
ciencies, it has to clean up its spending.
Now that Bobb has chosen to leave DPS,
the condition of the district's finances is
uncertain. Things between Bobb and the
DPS Board of Education have been tense.
Bobb may have spent more time focusing
on fixing academics than he did on balanc-
ing the districts' budget. He has argued
that the two go hand-in-hand. But Bobb
increased the deficit by $100 million in a
year. Whoever takes control of the city's
finances after Bobb should be sure to focus
on money, not academic reform.
Unless the district can manage its money
properly, it can't combat the problems stu-
dents face. To increase its test scores and
graduation rate, DPS must provide stu-
dents with a learning environment that
includes more than just eight-lane swim-
ming pools: it must give them tools to suc-
ceed academically.

A s co-founder and president of
the Michigan Political Union,
find it hard to criticize any
student organiza-
tion whose mission
statement closely
resembles our own.
Take Consider mag-
azine, for example.
According to its V
official website,
Consider magazine
is a "non-partisan,
non-profit publica- NOEL
tion operated by
students at the Uni- GORDON
versity of Michi-_
gan." Its purpose is
to "provide an open forum for discus-
sion of significant issues of campus,
community and national interest."
Like MPU, Consider has a duty to pay
close attention to the way it portrays
certain issues and the people affected
by them. But in the case of open hous-
ing (formerly known as gender-neu-
tral housing), I think that the "point
counterpoint publication" - as it
defines itself - failed to appropriately
weigh the consequences of publishing
its Oct. 6 edition.
In March, the Gender Neutral Hous-
ing Coalition conducted a survey that
found 67 percent of the student body
supports introducing what was then
called a gender-neutral housing option
at the University. But the issue I have
with Consider has nothing to do with
my stance on an open housing policy; it
has everything to do with what I think
was a lapse in judgment and foresight.
In case you haven't seen it yet, Con-
sider's Oct. 6 edition has a cartoon on
its front cover that depicts a line of
four bathroom stalls with closed doors.
Seen from beneath the door of the first
stall is a pair of boots, in the third is a
pair of high-heels and in the fourth
two pairs of sneakers. Hopefully, you
noticed that I skipped the second stall.
That's because coming out from under-
neath the second stall is what looks like
a fish or mermaid tail.
Failing to find a caption anywhere

on the page, or inside the magazine for
that matter, I came to the conclusion
that the image was meant to suggest
that there is something strange, dif-
ferent or perhaps other-worldly about
people whose gender identity does not
match their presumably biological sex.
Why else would you draw a fish tail ina
cartoon about open housing?
In an effort to gain a better under-
standing of the cartoon, I contacted
Rose Jaffe, the cartoonist responsible
for the cover. Jaffe is also a cartoonist
for The Michigan Daily. Jaffe said that
such a depiction was not her intention
at all. She claims that her cartoon was
supposed to conveythat "the bathroom
is typically a place that we think of as
being separated," explaining that open
housing would be "more inclusive and
welcoming of all types of people."
"It's not meant to imply that there
is something freakish about transgen-
dered students," Jaffe added.
She went on to say that she is an
"open person and accepts everyone."
From the 30-minute conversation
I had with Jaffe, I have no reason to
think she's lying. After all, she was
more than willing to answer all my
questions directly and candidly. But
Jaffe's carton was certainly not inter-
preted that way by many students on
campus, myself included. Take for
example Anya Nona. Even though she
wrote the counterpoint for the open
housing edition, Nona conceded dur-
ing our conversation that "after look-
ing at it, I think the illustration is a
little offensive. I can see why you're
writing an opinion piece on it."
In striving to be provocative and
thought-provoking, I think Consider
unintentionally crossed over the line
into offensive. Now of course some
people may disagree with me. Others
may think that this is a case of politi-
cal correctness gone awry. But the fact
of the matter remains that if such an
offense could have been avoided, it
should have been.
Zachary Berlin, Consider's edi-
tor in chief, said that the cover was
meant to "challenge pre-conceived

notions about sexuality. We (Consid-
er) have been around for two decades.
We want to get people talking." But in
an effort to "get people talking" and
play a polarizing hand," Berlin and
his staff inadvertently created a car-
toon that might have caused a queer
person to feel uncomfortable and
insecure about his or her gender iden-
tity and expression. Human sexuality
can be an extremely sensitive issue
for some people. As such, it should
have been treated with a bit more tact
than some of Consider's previous top-
ics, which range from pornography to
Internet privacy.
Consider should
have thought about
impact of cartoon.
Moreover, the campus publica-
tion should have done a better job of
fact-checking Nona's counterpoint.
All of the arguments in her piece
stemmed from a factually inaccurate
assumption. Nona insinuated that
an open housing policy, if adopted by
the University, would force students
who didn't express interest in the
program into an uncomfortable situ-
ation. But this simply isn't true. Uni-
versity Housing has explicitly stated
that such a policy would be opt-in
only. In response to this issue, Berlin
stressed that Nona does not represent
the views of Consider magazine and is
not a member of its staff.
Ultimately, I think Consider is a
fine publication. I genuinely believe
that it plays an important role in stir-
ring much needed discussion on our
campus. But as the Spiderman clich6
goes, with great power comes great
responsibility.
- Noel Gordon can be reached
at noelaug@umich.edu.

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Aida Ali, Jordan Birnholtz, Adrianna Bojrab, Will Butler, Eaghan Davis, Michelle DeWitt,
Ashley Griesshammer, Will Grundler, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley,
Harsha Panduranga, Tommaso Pavone, Leah Potkin, Asa Smith, Laura Veith
ADAM DE ANGELI
Vote for accountability

Far from foregone

For all the gnashing of teeth in the media
over Tea Party upset candidates like Delaware's
Christine O'Donnell and New York's Carl Pala-
dino, you never hear much about the establish-
ment Republicans they beat: Mike Castle and
Rick Lazio. Both were viewed by the Tea Party
movement as unacceptable candidates because
of their support for the 2008 bank bailouts by
the federal government. And when Bob Ben-
nett, the incumbent Senator from Utah, was
defeated in his party's primary, representatives
of the Tea Party then, too, asserted it was for his
support for the bailouts.
Say what you will of the Tea Party - it knows
how to clean house. Voters said that they would
rather take a boor like Carl Paladino over a bank-
ster toad like Rick Lazio.
The push against bank bailouts stands in stark
contrast to that other popular movement, the
anti-war movement against the occupations of
Iraq and Afghanistan. The left-dominated anti-
war movement dissipated into the sad slogan,
"Anybody But Bush." While the Tea Party move-
ment stuck to its guns and ignored cries that it
was nominating the unelectable, anti-war orga-
nizers took the pill: they must settle for candi-
dates who"can win."
Two years into the Democrat-controlled pres-
idency, our foreign policy has notchanged. Presi-
dent Barack Obama has reneged on promises of a
military drawdown and increased transparency,
restoration of civil liberties and an end to the
abuse of executive power - the very things he
was elected for. Why would that be?
One politician, in an unusual fit of honesty,
explained it.many years ago. Shortly after the
tragedy at Columbine High School in 1999, Col-
orado's Republican governor Bill Owens, who
has earned the endorsement of the National
Rifle Association, signed a major piece of gun
control legislation. Asked by a reporter if he
was afraid he may have alienated his voter
base, Owens quipped: "What are they going to
do, vote for the Democrat?"
This is the attitude politicians take toward
people whose votes they know they have. And
there are a lot of voters who will always vote
for their party's candidate, no matter the issues
or the candidate. Politicians call this "the base-

line vote."
So now election day is around the corner. Will
you be your party's "baseline vote"?
Whether your representative is John Dingell
or Mark Schauer, both Democrats voted for the
bloated military budget and for the $106 billion
war supplemental. Both also voted against audit-
ing the Federal Reserve and instead to give it
even more control over our economy.
Can any of their votes be considered a reversal
of Bush-era policies? Before you say the health
care bill, remember that Bush signed the Medi-
care prescription drug bill. He, too, increased
government's role in medical care.
Ultimately, politicians will never heed the
demands of the people unless they are held
accountable on election day. Our representatives
in Congress are, if you consider their votes, pro-
war. If you don'tsupportour foreignpolicy- and
I should hope you don't - you must hold them
accountable. Accountability is the last thing the
political establishment wants, which is why they
avoid the subject.
Antiwar.com's Justin Raimondo identified
three major reasons politicians aren't discussing
foreign policy this year. First, typical politicians'
cowardice assures them it's easier to say nothing.
Second, pro-war Democrats don't want to alien-
ate their anti-war base and pro-war Republicans
have no dispute. And third, examination of our
foreign policy would reveal painful facts about
our domestic policy that would re-shape the
political dialogue.
That's why it's time to bring this into the
political dialogue. It's time to face reality and
do something about it. In fact, just before the
election is precisely the right time. Election
results teach the politicians to listen - or not.
It's up to us.
For this reason, Raimondo will be speak-
ing at the Michigan League at 7 p.m. tonight to
discuss the necessity of a bi-partisan anti-war
coalition, determined to hold all politicians
accountable for pro-war votes, regardless of
party. The event is sponsored by Campaign For
Liberty and College Libertarians. Information
is at mic4l.com/antiwar/.
Adam de Angeli is a University alum.

ighlighting, as always, a side
of the truth that serious news
coverage could never grasp,
The Onion recently
posted an alarming
news brief about
the upcoming elec-
tion on its website.
In part, it read:
"DemocratsZ
stand to lose as
many as 8,000 con-
gressional seats
and more than 917 IMRAN
gubernatorial races
in November's SYED
midterm elections
... Republicans are
poised to pick up 1,500 seats in Ohio
alone, and could wind up with a 23,576-
to-12 majority in the Senate..."
If you've watched cable news recent-
ly, then the sarcasm should hit home:
Hardly a second goes by these days
withoutyet another blabbering politico
declaring the death of the Democratic
Party. And from staggering poll deficits
even in previously safe districts, a rhe-
torical firefight that's been a lost cause
since about April and the recently-
exalted "enthusiasm gap," we can cer-
tainly say that the Democrats are in for
a tough one.
But lost in all the alarmist non-
sense about the permanent Republican
takeover of the world is the individual
candidates themselves. When Repub-
licans take the majority in one or both
houses of Congress, and in governor's
offices and state legislatures across
the country, who those individuals are
will matter. At a time when Tea Party
candidates continue to push the enve-
lope for how crazy extreme a person
can be and still get elected, we need to
understand that not all Republicans (or
Democrats) are the same.
About two years ago, I wrote a col-
umn about the particular Republican
who represents my home district,
Michigan's 11th (My McCotter mistake,
11/03/2008). Thaddeus McCotter is, by
all relevant standards, as evil a failure
as one could possibly imagine. Divisive,

self-absorbed and bitterly vengeful
toward pretty much any proposal that
comes from the Left, Thaddeus has
nonetheless been elected four times -
and he'll win again this time. The time
to defeat him was in the 2002 Republi-
can primary, but that's also when most
of us sensible people in the 11th district
couldn't be bothered to care.
Regardless of the ultimate fate of
Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Russ Feingold
(D-Wis) or Charlie Crist (I-Fla.),
what happens right here in Michigan
will matter, and those races are the
ones we can actually affect. It's true
that Republican gubernatorial can-
didate Rick Snyder will cruise into
office (even if his independent streak
has already begun to fade), but lower-
level races remain in play and voters
had better look beyond the cable news
political narrative to understand that
much remains at stake.
One especially important election
is the race for the Michigan Supreme
Court. Yes, it's silly that Michigan
elects supposedly non-partisan judges
who have been nominated by politi-
cal parties, but let's get over that. The
Michigan Supreme Court obviously
plays a pivotal role in the state of the
law in Michigan, but few people real-
ize the widespread implications the
court's rulings have.
In the world of criminal justice,
the court is currently considering
measures that could slam the door on
thousands of inmates, many of whom
are innocent. The court's rulings also
affect the state's business culture and
economic outlook, making those seven
justices key players in Michigan's road
to recovery.
There are two incumbents vying
for reelection - Alton Davis (unof-
ficially a Democratic nominee) and
Robert Young (unofficially a Republi-
can nominee) - and three challeng-
ers, Denise Langford Morris (secret
Democrat), Mary Beth Kelly (secret
Republican) and independent Robert
Roddis.
While incumbents nearly always
win reelection in judicial races, the

2008 election shook up that conven-
tional logic. Unofficial Democrat
Diane Hathaway challenged then-
sitting Chief Justice Clifford Taylor
(a Republican favorite) and soundly
defeated him. The sweeping coattails
of President Barack Obama clearly
carried over to the "non-partisan"
side of the ballot as well.
Even local races
can have big
consequenes.*
That the political atmosphere
affects "non-partisan" races is thus
undeniable. But voters must again
consider their options thoroughly. I,
for example, will vote for Davis and
Kelly, which is an unconventional
combination at first glance, but not
so when we look beyond labels and
consider the candidates personal
records, ideals and convictions.
Young and Kelly are both nominat-
ed by the Republican Party but offer a
stark contrast in terms of judicial out-
look, personality and loyalty. Davis is
nominated by the Democrats, but asa
native of Michigan's upper peninsula,
he offers plenty in terms of personal
conviction and philosophy for Repub-
licans to admire.
With much of the electorate sitting *
out the races they can't understand
(i.e. the ones with no party affilia-
tion), those few informed voters who
do vote in all races can make a huge
difference. Regardless of the eulogies
being sung on cable news for Obama,
Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the
Left in general, Michigan's political *
and economic future remains very
much undecided. And it's up to the
informed few to set the course.
- Inran Syed can be reached
at galad@umich.edu.

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