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September 15, 2010 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-09-15

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4A - Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

paId igan4:atIl
Edited and managed by students at
4,the University of Michigan since 1890.
Jj !4 420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


We want to make Google
the third half of your brain."
- Google co-founder Sergey Brin, after the introduction of Google instant,
as reported by Time Magazine last week.




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.
Bank on recycling



Students should capitalize on incentives to go green

First they came for the president

I *

Everyone knows that recycling is good for the earth - but
did you know it could also be good for your wallets? That's
the incentive used by the program that will be Ann Arbor's
partner in recycling for the next 10 years. The program, called
RecycleBank, focuses on promoting environmental friendliness
by offering incentive points that are redeemable at participating
businesses. Since the program is newly established, there are some
issues that the city and RecycleBank need to figure out - like dis-
tributing points to shared residences. But nevertheless, students
and residents should take advantage of the points-based program
to benefit the environment.

In July, Ann Arbor shifted to a sin-
gle-stream recycling system. The shift
attracted RecycleBank, a New-York based
initiative that operates internationally, to
increase recycling. RecycleBank aims to
make participation in its recycling pro-
gram simple. Households that choose to
participate will receive a 64-gallon Recy-
cleBank cart. As reported by the Daily
last week, Recyclebank carts will contain
a sensor. When households participate,
they will be credited with points on online
accounts. These points are redeemable at
restaurants like Zingerman's Deli and Ann
Arbor Brewing Company, grocers and both
local and national retailers. The program
was enacted on Sept. 1.
The RecycleBank program was made
possible by Ann Arbor's switch to a sin-
gle-stream recycling system. This system
allowed residents to recycle everything in
one easy trip to the curb without having to
sort plastics from paper.
Many college students live on a tight bud-
get. This new program will help students
save the world and put a few bucks in their
pockets in the process. If students haven't
already been recycling, there's absolutely
no reason now not to throw their card-
board pizza boxes in the recycle bin rather

than the trash. According to a spokeswom-
an for RecycleBank, program participants
can earn between $130 to $200 in points
per year. Points are redeemable at some of
the many popular businesses frequented
by students like The village Apothecary,
Cottage Inn and Stucchi's, according to the
Ann Arbor city government's website.
However, there is a minor glitch in this
seemingly beneficial program: the problem
of dealing with group housing, which is
common in Ann Arbor. It's not very prac-
tical for everyone in a residence to have
their own 64-gallon RecycleBank cart -
that would take up quite a bit of space. One
possible way to manage the problem is for
RecycleBank to distribute the points equal-
ly among the number of residents. Or the
program could award points in a lump sum
to each house and let the residents work it
out. Students should voice their opinion and
offer suggestions to fix the only problem in
an otherwise great plan. Students enrolled
in the program can comment on service at
RecycleBank has made it more personal-
ly profitable than ever to recycle. There is
no reason to not take advantage of this new
program to continue to clean up and pre-
serve our planet - and get another pizza.

Sometimes it's difficult for me
to accept that things like rac-
ism and homophobia still exist
in the world today.
But living in Ann
Arbor has shown
me that instances =
of bias and preju-
dice can happen
anywhere, even in
the most liberal of
places. If you don't
believe me, sim-
ply Google "Chris NOEL
Armstrong Watch"
and you'll find doz-
ens of examples of
hate speech that
personally attack our newest Michi-
gan Student Assembly president,
Chris Armstrong. Unfortunately for
the "concerned Michigan alumnus"
operating this blog, I also know how
to spot a bigot when I see one.
According to the Attorney Gen-
eral's office, 2002 University gradu-
ate Andrew Shirvell is an Michigan
assistant attorney general, as reported
by the Daily yesterday. He has a long
history of launching personal attacks
against members of LGBTQ commu-
nity, abortion rights supporters and
congressional Democrats.
And even though you'd think
Shirvell would have learned his lesson
by now given his various run-ins with
people who have decried his outra-
geous behavior in the past, he's back to
his old tricks again with "Chris Arm-
strong Watch." The site, he claims in
his opening post, is "for concerned
University of Michigan alumni, stu-
dents, and others who oppose the
recent election of Chris Armstrong -
a radical homosexual activist, racist,
elitist, and liar - as the new head of
student government." But, per usual,
Shirvell has willfully mischaracter-

ized his victim in a feeble attempt to
gain legitimacy and credibility.
In the same Apr. 29 entry, Shirvell
insists that our new MSA president
plans to "promote (a) radical homo-
sexual agenda, including gay 'mar-
riage' and adoption 'rights."' But
that doesn't seem right. When asked
about this issue in an interview with
the Daily, Armstrong unequivocally
said that he planned to advocate for
all students regardless of their sexual
Just a few paragraphs later, Shirvell
suggests that Armstrong's support of
gender-neutral housing will "endan-
ger female students, as it will also
force heterosexuals of different gen-
ders to share the same room and
will undoubtedly lead to a massive
increase in rapes." But that argument
doesn't make a whole lot of sense,
because a gender-neutral housing
option - which hasn't even become
official University policy yet - will
undoubtedly beone that is opt-in only.
And while it's certainly possible that
there might be an increase of rapes at
the University with the implementa-
tion of such a policy, it isn't "undoubt-
edly" going to happen. As far as I
know, there is no causal link between
simply living with a member of the
opposite sex and getting raped.
I suppose the one thing that I can't
criticize Shirvell for is his condemna-
tion of Armstrong's decision to join
the Order of Angell. But disagreeing
with the president's decision to join
Angell doesn't justify vilifying him,
his family or his friends. Shirvell
doesn't want to "ensure that (Chris
Armstrong) does not discriminate
against pro-life, pro-family, Chris-
tian, and minority student organiza-
tions at U of M" as he suggests in his
May 11blog post. He wants to promote
his own radical, hate-filled agenda by

whatever means necessary.
I am a firm believer in the First
Amendment. But this isn't a First
Amendment issue. This is unsub-
stantiated character assassination.
You can't publicly speculate about
a person's sexual history, stalk his
Facebook page for material you think
supports your absurd position or
harass students who make clearly sar-
castic remarks at your expense. These
are the actions of a coward - nothing
more, nothing less. People who make
baseless accusations from behind a
computer screen don't deserve a plat-
form. That, to me, seems to suggest
that Shrivell has something to hide,
whether that is alack of evidence or a
lack of character.
Students should
unite against
alum's hate speech.
It is our job as a community of
proud Wolverines to ensure that
Shirvell does not make a mockery
of what it means to have once worn
the maize and blue. We must stand
up against his attempts to victimize
Armstrong. Failing to do so would
allow Shirvell to continue moving
from victim to victim without pause.
We must stand up and fight against
all forms of intolerance lest we forget
the somber fate of those who regret-
fully conceded that, "First they came
for the Communists, but I did not
speak up because I was not a Com-
- Noel Gordon can be reached
at noelaug@umich.edu.

The Daily opinion blog wants you to tell us what you think. Asa Smith ponders
the usefulness of a gubernatorial debate between Rick Snyder and Virg Bernero.
Stand up for tolerance

Your choice of spiritual utensil

Last Saturday was the ninth anniversary of
the terrorist attacks on Sept, 11, 2001. That day
unified us as Americans. But at the very same
time, it divided us across religious lines and
amplified negative Muslim stereotypes.
Over the past few months, this anti-Muslim
sentiment has reared its ugly head across the
nation. In May, a man brought a pipe bomb into
a Florida mosque during daily prayers and set
it off. In late August, a cab driver in New York
City was stabbed by his passenger after the
driver told the passenger he was Muslim.
Most prominent in the news is the contro-
versial Islamic community center in New York
City not far from ground zero. Created for the
purpose of social and cultural activities, it has
been inaccurately portrayed by some news
media and many renowned pundits as a radical
Islamic headquarters in one of America's most
iconic cities.
Though the acts on Sept. 11 were commit-
ted in the name of Islam, Islam is a large and
diverse religion. It is a gross misrepresentation
to associate a small number of fanatics with all
of Islam. The writers of this viewpoint think it's
vital that Americans understand that the ter-
rorist acts of Sept. 11, 2001 were carried out by
radical extremists motivated by fear and hate
- a description that doesn't include most of the
wide array of Muslims across the world. We
have been appalled by all of these events as well
as the support that these anti-Muslim extrem-
ists have received from the American public.
Signs of anti-Muslim sentiments are taking
root on university campuses in this area. At
Michigan State University, a Quran was burned
and left on the steps of a local mosque. Pages
from the book were spread throughout the
campus. Even here in Ann Arbor, some Mus-
lim students have been the victims of hateful
actions. Our campus community should act
now before the hate gets worse.
As members of JStreetU, we are dedicated to
finding a peaceful and just solution to the Israe-
li-Palestinian conflict. To achieve this, there
must be mutual respect on both sides. Because
many locations in the Middle East are consid-
ered holy by all three Abrahamic religions,

peace in this region can't come without mutual
religious respect. Pervasive anti-Muslim senti-
ments are a major issue prohibiting a peaceful
agreementbetween Israelis and Palestinians. If
America - which is leading the peace talks at
the moment - can't bring its citizens to appre-
ciate Muslim citizens, then our nation has no
place at the bargaining table. As Americans, we
want to be present in creating a solution. This
requires an end to negative Muslim stereotypes
and violence against Muslims at home to make
peace abroad.
Starting right now, the University's chapter
of JStreetU is joining over 50 campuses across
the country in a massive campaign to fight anti-
Muslim hate acts and speech across America.
We have started a petition that aims at raising
awareness on campus and becoming a presence
in this important national conversation. This
fight is important to us as students, to the cam-
pus community and to our nation. Most impor-
tantly, the fight against anti-Islam sentiments is
important to the peace process.
JStreetU calls upon the University campus
to join this effort for unity in this time of divi-
sion. Campus leaders - Muslim and non-Mus-
lim, religious and non-religious - should join
together as a unified force to fight unfair ste-
reotypes and actions. Everyone deserves to feel
safe in their community. Joining our campaign
will bring us one step closer to developing a safe
and supportive community for all students.
The University community prides itself on
its inclusiveness. JStreetU aims to make that
ideal a reality. People will notice a unified
movement to stop hateful stereotypes. Ameri-
cans will take a moment and reconsider their
abusive stance towards Muslims and recognize
the need for respect for all. '
Sign our petition and join us. Please contact
either of us at yonahl@umich.edu or aglevy@
umich.edu if you are interested in joining the
coalition or find us at our booth in Mason Hall,
starting one week from today.
Yonah Lieberman is the outreach chair
of the University's chapter of JStreetU and
Alex Levy is a co-chair of JStreetU.

There is no spoon.
Okay, there is a spoon, but
it's in the drawer. I think it
would be weird if
a person only had
spoons, but some
people just think
that they are the
best of the uten-
sils. So whether ,
they keep forks
and knives or not is
their prerogative.
People should be ERIC
able to use which-S
ever of the three SZKARLAT
utensils that they
like. And what is it
to me where you keep your spoons, or
when you buy them?
Now replace the word "spoon" with
the word "mosque". Replace "drawer"
with "community center." Replace
"forks" and "knives" with "churches"
and "synagogues." Adjust the scenar-
ios accordingly, and you have a situa-
tion similar to the one regarding the
so-called "ground zero mosque."
Eating utensils aren't as odd a choice
of a metaphor as you may think. Frank-
ly, whichever of the Abrahamic reli-
gions youpracticeyou share aspiritual
history with the other two, particular-
ly the prophets. The figure Abraham
is the root of all three. The Quran, the
Old Testament and the Bible all share
common laws and stories, includ-
ing what are often known as the "Ten
Commandments." All three consider
Jerusalem a holy city.
Yes, there are numerous differences,
just like between eating utensils. Usu-
ally, if you buy a particular set of silver-
ware, they will share similar handle
designs, be made of the same material,
have the same shine, and be roughly
similar sizes to one another. Their
functions can even overlay. Certainly
you could either use a fork or a spoon to

eat your macaroni and cheese.
In the Western World food is...
heavenly, for lack of a better word.
So if we consider an arbitrary divine
creator and its related paradise to be
food and the utensil used to be which-
ever Abrahamic religion you practice
- if any - then what does it matter
whether you worship in a mosque,
synagogue or church? Abrahamic
religions are more similar to each
other than you might gather at first
glance. Granted, you will get some-
thing different from each particular
religion, and they are absolutely not
the same. But the similarities - if you
study these religions extensively -
are striking.
So why is a mosque so contro-
versial? Certainly a form of violent
radicalism arose from Islam. But
al-Qaeda is not demanding to build
a monument on ground zero. If the
planned structure was a church or a
synagogue and someone protested,
millions of people would likely stand
defiant in support of American values
and condemn the protesters. And the
First Amendment states explicitly
they have the right to protest.
But the First Amendment clearly
establishes something else: We are
a country of free religion. If you
practice reasonably, you may prac-
tice Christianity, Judaism, Islam or
anything else - or you may practice
nothing at all. Some might argue
that practicing insensitively, as some
believe is the case with the proposed
community center, is practicing
unreasonably. Others might argue
that freedom of location isn't part
of freedom of religion. But reason-
able practice requires more than the
threat of insensitivity.
And while freedom isn't always
absolute, it's actually beneficial to our
cause to permit peaceful Muslims to
practice in such a location. It shows

that we were not destroyed on that
day. The terrorists who hate West-
ern ways of life didn't win on Sept. 11,
2001, and we must show them that by
not compromising those ways even
when it's insensitive or inconvenient.
First Amendment
protects ground
zero mosque. 0
The Muslims of this project have
every right to exercise their religion
wherever they want. If we deny them
this right - whether as a society or
as a republic - we're closing one gap
between American values and radi-
cal values. We are admitting that we
think it is wrong to practice one reli-
gion freely, but not others. We move
one step closer to a theocracy and one
step away from freedom.
The reason the United States is a
great nation is because it allows citi-
zens to use whichever spiritual tool
they like to reach whatever god you
like. It's a utensil store. Like every-
thing else in our society, it is plu-
ralistic and offers multiple choices.
Just because you prefer the fork does
not mean the spoon cannot function
just as well in the same place. We all
live in the United States and we all
draw from the same drawer of spiri-
tual utensils based upon what we're
exposed to.
If you're like me, you still haven't
decided where you stand on issues of
religion. I don't know about you, but
if there were no spoon I would feel as
if the world were just a little emptier.
- Eric Szkarlat can be reached

Aida Ali, Jordan Birnholtz, Adrianna Bojrab, Will Butler, Michelle DeWitt,
Will Grundler, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer, Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga, Tommaso Pavone,
Leah Potkin, Asa Smith, Brittany Smith, Laura Veith


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