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October 26, 2010 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-10-26

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4 - Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Jb 1J*i4 igan 0aith
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 of their authors.
Let there be light
Lighting needs to be improved for student safety
afety is an important concern for students, whether they
are on or off campus. And adequate street lighting is essen-
tial to keep students safe. Earlier this month, the Ann
Arbor City Council decided against plans decrease city street
lighting. It's important that the city continues to recognize the
importance of streetlights by implementing policies that improve
lighting to protect residents - both student and year-round -
rather than reduce it to save money. And it is the responsibility
of the Michigan Student Assembly to represent students' inter-
ests. City Council must work with MSA to improve off-campus
lighting without overspending to maintain this important safety
measure for students.

RlOW Yot'c~l" Vosti8
ryd ReCA &C.tI +s '
A APocerNTLitemnton
CL A ss ?,iNa " F
hen I get on a plane, I've ple. This viewpoint is far from being liams for his remarks, the move back-
gotta tell you if I see people worthy of termination. fired - within a day of his remarks,
who are in Muslim garb, The day after the decision to ter- according to a Oct. 21 report in the
and I think, you minate Williams, Vivian Schiller, Los Angeles Times, Williams signed
know, that they're NPR's President and CEO, added fuel a hefty $2-million contract with Fox
identifying them- to the fire. Speaking about Williams's News, whose executives were eager
selves first and firing, Schiller argued that "his feel- to cash-in on the controversy. It's
foremost as Mus- ings that he expressed on Fox News a fitting conclusion to a story that
lims, I get worried, are really between him and his, you highlights the worrying state of our
I get nervous." know, psychiatrist or his publicist." domestic media institutions.
These were the If Williams crossed the line with
caustic remarks his statements, Schiller's remarks
by Juan Williams, jumped well past it. Her suggestion
National Public TOMMASO that Williams either has psychologi- Diverse opinions
Radio news ana- PAVONE cal problems or made the statement
lyst, during a guest as part of a publicity stunt was of are essential for
appearance on Fox poor taste at best.
News's O'Reilly Yet, Schiller's remarks begin to good journalism .
Factor last week. Two days later, he expose the real reason Williams was
was on the phone with Ellen Weiss, terminated. Appearing on NPR last
Senior Vice President for News at Friday to discuss the firing, journal-
NPR. "That crosses the line," Wil- ist Richard Prince said that Williams Over the past decade, the media has
liams recounts her saying. Shortly had become "a headache" for NPR. become increasingly polarized politi-
thereafter, Weiss informed Williams, He argued that Williams was termi- cally. It's in this light that Williams's
an 11-year NPR veteran, that there nated because NPR was in the middle termination is most concerning. Now,
would be no discussion - NPR had of a pledge drive and, more impor- NPR has lost one of its more moderate
terminated his contract. tantly, because of Williams's associa- voices and has thereby reinforced alle-
At first, it would appear that NPR tion with Fox News. "You can't serve gations of the organization's liberal
made the right decision. But Wil- two masters," Prince concluded. bias and allowed Fox News to exploit
liams' statement needs to -be contex- Now, I'm no fan of Fox News, and the situation. The real loser, in this
tualized. After his remark, O'Reilly I realize that many of NPR's donors case, is us - a public that's left to rely
responded that Williams's anxiety were upset with Williams's remarks, on mediasources that are increasingly
was the reason why it's fair to say but diversity of opinion is vital for bound by political ideology instead of
"Muslims attacked us on 9/11." That's journalism. journalistic principles.
when Williams retorted, "Hold on... Asra Nomani, a visiting professor When diversity of opinion dies,
becauseifyou said Timothy McVeigh, of journalism at Georgetown Univer- journalism dies with it. Journalism
the Atlanta bomber, these people who sity who also discussed Williams's requires a lot more than just news
are protesting against homosexuality firing on NPR, seems to agree. "What reporting - it needs analysis and
at military funerals... you don't say Juan Williams expressed," Nomani debate, which in turn, calls for a vari-
first and foremost 'we've got a prob- said, "is the sentiment of many peo- ety of perspectives. While it's too late
lem with Christians,' that'd be crazy." ple, including Muslims ... I believe, for NPR to ask Williams to return -
Clearly, Williams's statements unfortunately, that NPR short-cir- I don't foresee him giving up a two-
lacked finesse - a costly omission cuited a conversation that we really million dollar paycheck - there is
when discussing sensitive issues. Nev- need to be having." an important lesson to be lear-ned
ertheless, any careful observer will Indeed, NPR has found itself from his firing. sometimes it's best
realize that Williams wasn't being a defending Williams's termination to engage, rather than to denounce,
bigot. Rather, he was making the case rather than engaging in a construc- those with whom we disagree.
that while we should be aware of our tive dialogue regarding religion, ter-
own bias, we should refrain from pro- rorism and xenophobia. Further, if it - Tommaso can be reached
jecting it onto an entire group of peo- was NPR's objective to punish Wil- at tpavone@umich.edu.


According to an Oct. 5 AnnArbor.com
article, City Council voted at its Oct. 4
meeting to repeal a plan that would turn'
off 17 percent of city streetlights. Their
decision came following complaints from
residents who were affected by the pilot
program. With the plan, the city would
turn off lights based upon a 1970s study on
the smallest amount of lighting required
for safe driving. The move was intended
to save the city about $120,000 annually in
energy costs. The city has decided to move
forward with other money saving plans,
such as using more LED lighting in the city,
according to an Oct. 21 Daily article.
While all students must be smart about
their safety, college-aged women are par-
ticularly vulnerable. Especially here in
Michigan, where it's dark by late afternoon
in the winter months, quality lighting is
vital. Improved lighting not only makes
these students feel more secure - as con-
firmed by the pilot program - but it also
helps them be aware of their surroundings
and potential threats,.
But costs must be taken into consider-
ation, too. Switching to LED lights is one
way to save money in the long term and
also become more environmentally friend-
ly. Installation of LED lighting is already
underway in some areas and it's important
that the city continues to invest in this

smart lighting option.
And to increase lighting around the
town, the city should also encourage local
business owners to switch to LED lighting.
Using cheaper lights may make business
owners more likely to leave lights on lon-
ger after the end of business hours, which
would make the city brighter and safer.
LED lights cost less to fuel and could pay
for themselves in the long term.
Students travel on foot more than the
average Ann Arbor resident, and City
Council needs accommodate students'
need for safer streets. It's the Michigan
Student Asssembly's responsibility repre-
sent students and work with City Council
to encourage the installation of more lights
throughout the city in areas frequently
traveled by students. For years, MSA presi-
dents have promised to work with City
Council to improve off-campus lighting,
but these promises haven't come to frui-
tion. In fact, the LSA Student Government
has managed to make more progress on
the issue than MSA. MSA must put student
safety at the top of its to-do list.
While saving money is important, cut-
ting city lighting is not a safe option. City
Council, with the help of MSA, should
work to improve the quality of lighting in
the city and help students and year-round
residents alike stay safe.

Reevaluate femininity


Seeing Red: Kylie Kagen takes a look at John
Dennis, the Republican candidate giving U.S. House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi a run for her money.
Go to michigandaily.com/blogs/The Podium.

Commit to reducing waste

In Sanskrit, "darshan" means "vision." How
befitting this is, as Dashan Karwat, a Rackham
third year Ph.D. student in the aerospace engi-
neering program has devoted one year of his
life producing little to no waste, including recy-
clables. Karwat began this lifestyle metamor-
phosis on March 29 after realizing how wasteful
his lifestyle was. Darshan, a humble and focused
individual, is not looking to gain notoriety
through his pursuits. Karwat was born in New
Jersey, but his family originates from India. He is
currently studying "the environmental impact of
alternative fuels in aviation through experimen-
tal combustion studies, and regulatory policy for
air pollutants," according to a Rackham student
His commitment is rooted in his passion for
creating a more sustainable environment. He
has produced between one and two pounds of
waste in the past six months, includingrecycling
products. The average person creates 821 lbs of
waste in the same amount of time. His humble
experience is quietly chronicled through his
online blog, entitled "Minimizing Entropy,"
enabling many to follow and support him on his
daily pursuits. His minimalistic approach to life
is "refusal," he simply rejects the idea of becom-
ing a part of the waste problem that is negatively
affecting life around us.
Living in Ann Arbor, many of us choose to
support the local community by buying our
groceries from the farmers market and skip-
ping food packaging, which amounts a large
portion of the waste we create each year.
Though many people opt to recycle packaging,
and it does prove to be the lesser of two evils,
recycling still generates excess waste.
Committing to limit this waste altogether
would be the better option. Karwat was recently
quoted in an Oct. 10 AnnArbor.com article say-
ing "recyclingis something people doto feel good
about consumption. Rather than simply buy less
or use what you have, you can feel that you're
doing your part when you recycle." He is abso-
lutely right. Karwat describes his experience as

simply a change in consciousness. The more con-
scientious people are of their individual choices,
the morethey can impact the world around them.
I am an ardent practitioner of yoga. Yoga
teaches Ujai Breath, a sort of "ocean-like"
sound, bringing a sense of awareness and a
burning focus. When I find myself in challeng-
ing situations, I focus on my breath, utilizing
a new sense consciousness of a traditionally
involuntary practice, breathing. Though it
takes practice, it is possible to bring awareness
to even the most involuntary practices, like
breathing - and waste.
Waste is automatic, involuntary, something
that few of us have reflected upon. We have
always chucked things into the garbage, never
daring to think how it may be affecting our
Earth. Filling up landfills and polluting our
air, we can no longer ignore the detrimental
effects. However, if you employ a new sense
of consciousness, you can reverse this vicious
cycle. Though most of us aren't as extreme, and
will not commit to producing no waste in the
next year, we can do small things to reduce our
consumption and minimize our guilt.
Investing in a metal coffee mug or glass
water bottle is a good first step to reduce the
hundreds of paper cups, plastic bottles, lids
and insulators we students rely on each day. In
addition, many local coffee places will discount
your total as an incentive for green living.
Even the smallest of changes, like dishtowels
instead of paper towels and bringing your own
bags to the market, can be beneficial. We can
be the generation to turn the tables on the lazy
practices of waste. The more conscious we are,
the more successful we will be in our every-
day efforts. Karwat even carries his own set
of silverware to restaurants. Make a commit-
ment and stick to it. Live intentionally by chal-
lenging yourself to make one environmentally
friendly decision a day and renew a sense of
focus back to a thoughtless ritual, waste.
Adrianna Bojrab is an LSA junior.

y picture of the world has
always looked a bit rosier
than the picture I was
shown in my history textbooks and
sociology classes.
I tend to believe
that I am a part of
a community of
people who would
never stand as an
obstacle in my pur-
suit of a good life.
But I'm just start-
ing to gain aware-
ness of the subtle, LIBBY
yet powerful, chal- ASHTON
lenges I stand to
face that have
nothing to do with
the more commonly discussed prob-
lems plaguing our generation. I am
a woman and though the odds aren't
stacked against me quite like they
were 50 years ago, our society is still
a long way from gender neutrality.
A basic sociological understand-
ing of gender teaches that men are
the advantaged group. Their pursuit
of power and leadership is compat-
ible with the norm, making it easier
for a man to succeed in such a pursuit
while those of us who diverge from
that archetypal image of the "Person
in Control" have to do what we can to
legitimize ourselves in the world of
The women on the television
series "Mad Men," who personify the
efforts of 1960s women to legitimize
their role in the workplace, ended
the show's fourth season recogniz-
ing how fruitless their attempts at
working the system had been. Joan
(the advertising firm's sexually iconic
office manager) said to Peggy (the
eager young copywriter who des-
perately wants to earn a name for
herself at the firm) on their way out
of the office, "I'm just a meaning-
less secretary and you're a humor-
less bitch." Though much progress
has been made since the time period

when Joan and Peggy were scratch-
ing at the glass ceiling, women still
struggle with the social weight their
gender carries.
"The Fashion Conservatives," a
recent article in The New York Times,
explored the two modes by which
Joan and Peggy achieved power - to
rely on their femininity or strip them-
selves of it entirely - in the context
of politics today. The article con-
trasted Sarah Palin's "conventionally
feminine" look with Hillary Clinton's
decades-in-the-making collection of
pantsuits. While a handful of female
Republican politicians have taken
Palin's cue to dress up the battle gar-
ments and lead the Tea Partiers for-
ward, the rest of the women in politics
"adhere to a rigid, patently dated style
that has the allure of a milk carton," as
the Times article puts it
Clinton'sconvictionto keepherfem-
ininity wholly separate from her public
persona led herto decline an invitation
to appear in Vogue during the 2008
presidential election. Anna Wintour,
Vogue's editor in chief, responded to
Clinton's decision with an angry edi-
tor's letter, saying "the notion that a
contemporary woman must look man-
nish in order to be taken seriously is
frankly dismaying." But it appears as
though Clinton may have been onto
something, as the political women who
have decided to don their ruffles are -
coincidentally or not - taken perhaps
the least seriously of all.
Barneys New York's creative direc-
tor, Simon Doonan, was quoted in the
article arguing that "flamboyance
and politics are mutually exclusive."
While he likely consciously used the
term "flamboyance" to refer to fash-
ion, it could be taken to refer to any-
thing that explicitly diverges from
masculinity as a standard trait among
people in power. So it seems that a
woman - or even a gay man - can
successfully achieve power as long
she (or he) walks, talks and dresses
like the men who traditionally hold

the positions they're after.
My own awareness of my struggle
to be taken seriously as a woman
developed only in the last couple of
years, after I decided to concentrate
in a subject matter that is largely
male-dominated. For the first time in
my academic career, I feel reserved
about raising my hand in one of my
philosophy classes because my man-
ner of speech is entirely different
from that of three fourths of the class
and my GSI. I often find myself think-
ing about how to condense my com-
ment into as few words as possible,
while working to speak much slower
and at a lower register than what
feels natural.
There's still a long
way to go for
women's rights. *
A friend of mine recalled her
mindset during her semester in
Washington, D.C. She employed
the hyper-feminine route, feeling
committed to looking beautiful and
"exceptionally womanly" to make
her stand out among the men in suits
around her. Though she felt able to
express her femininity in a profes-
sional setting rather than feeling
forced to tuck it away, she wasn't able
to simply be without thinking about
what to do with her gender identity.
The march toward gender neutrality
in the public sphere is long-running
and I celebrate the distance we've
travelled. Still, I believe my pretty
picture of the world is attainable -
but only if we recognize the imper-
fections of the picture of today.
- Libby Ashton can be reached
at eashton@umich.edu.

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

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