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January 20, 2011 - Image 4

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4A - Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
E-MAIL BRUNO AT BRUNORS@UMICH.EDU

C NIC igan Batj
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

BRUNO STORTINI

0

STEPHANIE STEINBERG
EDITOR IN CHIEF

MICHELLE DEWITT
and EMILY ORLEY
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS

KYLE SWANSON
MANAGING EDITOR

I ~ sl~e .yol exsns
v.. i /,./

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.
Snyder's one-point plan
The governor shouldn't only focus on economy
espite media speculation, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder
didn't indicate any plans to make the University private
in his State of the State address last night. In fact, Snyder
barely mentioned the University. His speech focused heavily on
his plans for the economy, explaining that "job one is jobs" and his
plan to support Michigan businesses. While repairing the economy
is a top priority and his economic platform appears thorough and
well planned, Snyder only elaborated on one point of his five-point
"Michigan dashboard." Though his speech was optimistic for Mich-
igan's business industry, Snyder needs to ensure that other sectors
- particularly education - aren't neglected.

Planning for the perfect storm

Snyder delivered his first State of the
State address in Lansing on Wednesday
night. Snyder spoke in detail about mea-
suring the state's performance through
a report card that would gauge the state's
success. He presented a tool for monitor-
ing the state's progress that he called the
"Michigan dashboard," which incorporates
21 measures in five key areas. In his speech,
Snyder listed the components of the Michi-
gan Dashboard as: economic growth, value
for government, quality of life, public safe-
ty and health and education.
Snyder is clearly focused and enthusi-
astic about his plans for the economy. He
began his speech by stating, "Economic
development is the focus of the night." In
talking about plans for developing Michi-
gan, he indicated his plans to eliminate the
controversial Michigan business tax and
replace it with a 6-percent corporate net
income tax. Snyder also expressed his sup-
port for a second downriver bridge - a joint
project with the Canadian government that
will hopefully foster international trade.
These plans have the potential to help grow
Michigan businesses and bring people to'
th1e state.,
Though the economy is obviously a pri-
ority, there are other pressing issues for the
state. And while Snyder described them as
part of his Michigan dashboard, he went

into no detail about the future of the pub-
lic sector, the environment or social issues.
Snyder mentioned his support for environ-
mental projects and expanding the Univer-
sity Research Corridor so that it's accessible
for all students in Michigan, but he failed to
explain how he would do so. It's troubling
that these topics and programs received so
little attention compared to the economy.
An obvious concern for students was also
glossed over last night - the future of educa-
tion in Michigan. Snyder briefly mentioned
that the emphasis should be on P-20 edu-
cation - an education system that includes
pre-natal through college - and that he
plans to address education in April. But with
potential cuts to public education fund-
ing in the new budget, administrators need
to be informed further in advance of their
school's financial status. Snyder focused on
the importance of retaining young people
after they graduate, but he needs to ensure
that resources remain available for current
Michigan students as well.
Though Snyder's economic plans were
positive, it's concerning that describing them
took nearly the entire hour. The state has too
many problems for Snyder to afford the kind
of one-dimensional approach that his speech
exhibited last night. He needs to make sure
that all Michigan issues are given the focus
they deserve.

Notorious for its earthquakes
and Prop 19 - the state of
California could be in for
another major
disappointment.
Scientists and
government offi-
cials are cur-
rently bracing
for a storm that
has the potential
to be far more
devastating than
any earthquake JOE
and is as much
of a buzz-killas SUGIYAMA
a Slayer album.
Last Thursday,
the United States Geological Sur-
vey released its findings concerning
a "superstorm" that could devastate
California. This storm could poten-
tially cause damages up to $300 bil-
lion.
For those of you who may be quick
to jump on the global warming band-
wagon, bear in mind that this has
happened before - quite a few times
actually. The most recent California
superstorm took place in 1861. That
storm lasted for more than one month
and flooded California so severely
that the state capital was temporarily
moved to San Francisco once Sacra-
mento had been turned into an island.
Scientists estimate that storms of this
same magnitude had hit the Golden
State at least six times prior to the
storm in 1861.
These storms are caused by atmo-
spheric rivers, which are massive
jets of warm air that contain large
amounts of moisture and cause exten-
siVe flooding due to extreme rain and
wind. By observing sediment buried
in the coastal regions of California,
researchers have been able to get
a good grasp on how these storms

work. Using this information, engi-
neers working for the USGS created
computer-generated models that pre-
dict how the superstorm will act. The
USGS has also laid out plans of action
that state and federal officials can use
in their preparations for an impend-
ing storm.
I mentioned earlier that you
shouldn't be too quick to blame this
situation on global warming, but it
shouldn't be discounted entirely.
Increases in temperatures can accel-
erate the development of the atmo-
spheric riversjust as theincreases can
cause more extreme weather patterns
throughout the world. But because
this isn't California's first encounter
with a superstorm, it's not unreason-
able to believe that this particular
storm isn't entirely the fault of green-
house gases.
As we all witnessed with Hurri-
cane Katrina, there are some major
implications of massive floods. Power
outages, loss of communication tools,
landslides and polluted water sup-
plies are some of the many problems
- as noted by the USGS - which
California residents would face as a
result of such a storm. Perhaps the
most important section of the USGS's
report concerns the evacuation of
the affected areas. The approximate
number of people who would have to
be evacuated due to flooding is esti-
mated to be about 1.5 million. It seems
that swift action - that we didn't see
with Hurricane Katrina - might be
the key to saving many lives.
Our government has a tendency to
sluggishly address important issues,
especially those pertaining to the
'environment. But because we have
seen this scenario play out in the past,
California government officials need
to make sure the state doesn't suffer
the same fate as New Orleans. Now

there are certainly some extenuating
circumstances that make Hurricane
Katrina something of an anomaly
- including shoddy levees and the
inherent risks of costal cities - but
that doesn't mean there is nothing to
be learned from the experience.
A "superstorm"
could devastate
California.
According to the report issued by
the USGS, the storm currently predi-
cated is a scenario "of catastroph-
ic proportions for which existing
national and state disaster policies
are ill-suited." Because of the magni-
tude of this storm and the potential
flooding of California's entire Cen-
tral Valley region - a 300 by 20 mile
area - there is simply not a plan to
safeguard citizens from this storm.
If we thought that we were unpre-
pared for the breaking of a few levees
in one city, I shudder to think of how
ill-equipped we are for the potential
flooding and evacuation of 22 Califor-
nia cities.
The bottom line is that without
proper planning and forethought
many lives could be lost. The writing
is on the walls - or perhaps locked
in layers of sediment - and we know
that there is a good chance that a
superstorm could devastate the state
of California. I think the federal gov
ernm ent should do its best ta not get
caught with its pants down this time.
-Joe Sugiyama can be reached'
at jmsugi@umich.edu.

*

4

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Aida Ali, Will Butler, Eaghan Davis, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer,
Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga,
Teddy Papes, Roger Sauerhaft, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner
MELANIE KRUVELIS|I
(Dis)Like A Little

--the
podim

Science Savvy: Nick Clift is annoyed with Facebook's
continuous attempts to share his private information
with third-party applications.
Go to michigandaily.com/blogs/The Podium

91

Brandon's brand

Without a Blood Alcohol Content of .10, it
can be tricky to get up the nerve to ask out that
"perfect 10" in your chemistry lecture. Fortu-
nately for all the Nervous Nellies and Shy Ron-
nies across campus, maintaining your virginity
is no longer the only option. LikeALittle.com,
a website launched on Oct. 25, aims to help the
meek, the mild and the all-around creepy avoid
another Friday night alone watching Full House
reruns.
According to a Jan. 14 article in the Michigan
Daily, LikeALittle's CEO and co-founder Evan
Reas hopes to build "a social network where
people around each other, can connect" - a
novel concept, no doubt. But if you ask me, Reas
was being modest. LikeALittle is a platform
for modern Edgar Allan Poes and 21st century
Elizabeth Barrett Brownings to bear their souls,
as evidenced by three recent posts on the site's
University of Michigan page:
"Female, blonde. 5'3, skinny, does kegstands.
I saw you at a frat party doing a kegstand. I was
impressed...vour hot. Hit me up."
"Male, Brunette. You were jump-roping after
you ran. Nice endurance."
"Female, blonde. You were barfing outside a
party of State Street. It was gross."
And they say romance is dead.
Of course, this isn't the first instance when
the Internet has served as a breeding ground
for love connections. Back when we were still
watching Recess, our weird uncles were using
online dating websites to, well, let's face it,
embellish their various accomplishments and
embrace perhaps lackluster physical appear-
ances in hopes of scoring a date ("Middle-aged
man with 'more to love' seeks chubby chaser").
What makes LikeALittle standout is of course
the anonymous factor - the ability for users to
hide behind the screen names the site selects, all
named after fruit.
Now, I'm not concerned with the site's effects
on flirting and relationships. Despite the fact
that Reas describes the site as a "flirting facilita-
tor platform," it's fairly obvious that most users
use LikeALittle as a stage for a battle of wits,
as anonymous posters try to out-clever fellow
users with academic innuendos ("I'd like to light
your Bunsen burner") and deliberate placement
of Ke$ha lyrics. The real concern? The website
is a breeding ground for narcissism and has the

potential to feed into our generation's already
massive ego.
For years, psychologists have claimed that
the moderncollege student is becoming increas-
ingly self-absorbed, which has led to people
coining a slew of new titles for Generation Y -
Generation 'N' for narcissism, Generation Me
or simply "brats." In 2009, USA Today report-
ed that 57 percent of college students polled
believed that social networking sites fueled self-
promotion and narcissism, while two-thirds of
students surveyed said our generation was more
egocentric than any other. Two years later, that
percentage is most likely on the rise, and anony-
mous sites such as LikeALittle and Formspring
are sure to up the ego ante.
My fears of the growing generational egotism
were elevated as I overhead students in the East
Quad cafeteria while they were huddled around
a laptop as they scrolled through the site.
"Oh my God, male, brunette, green shirt - I
was wearing a green shirt two days ago!"
"Wait, wait - beautiful, blonde, female, in the
Bursely dining hall? Do you think that's me?!"
"You guys, this is so creepy....Hey, wait, scroll
back up. Female, brown hair, reading a book? Is
my hair brown? I was totally reading yesterday."
The group of students continued to refresh
the website, hoping that someone, somewhere
- whether it was iii Angell Hall or outside of a
bathroom at the UGLi - had noticed them.
Now, there's nothing wrong with the occa-.
sional ego boost, but we're starting to go too
far. Through the compulsive use of social net-
working sites, our generation is taking compli-
ment fishing to a whole new level. Ifa day goes
by without a single Facebook notification, it's
almost as if we've been cast off by society. And
now with LikeALittle, students peruse the web-
site and become offended if they aren't men-
tioned in the hundreds of posts - despite the
fact we go to a university with more than 40,000
students who could just as easily be described as
"brunette, eating lunch in Mojo." Do we really
need the constant attention? Isn't ita little self-
absorbed to assume -
Oh, wait, what's this - "female, blonde, glass-
es, creeping in EQ South Cafe" - OMG, do you
think that's me?
Melanie Kruvelis is an LSA freshman.

Dave Brandon doesn't have an
unhealthy obsession with tra-
dition.
In fact, the
Michigan Ath- ;
letic Director and
former Domino's
Pizza CEO has
been raising eye-
brows with sweep-
ing moves that
run contrary to
Michigan lore MATT
ever since he took AARONSON
over. Last March,
in Brandon's first
month on the job, .
he announced that the football team
would - for the first time in history
- play a night game at home, against
Notre Dame next September. He car-
ried out the Big Chill at the Big House
event, the first hockey game held in
Michigan Stadium. In October, he
announced that Michigan would play
a "home" game against Alabama in
Cowboys Stadium in 2012. And as a
University regent, Brandon support-
ed a $226 million expansion of the
stadium - a position that alienated
many traditionalists and may have
played a role in his defeat when he
ran for re-election in 2006.
Given all this, it's tempting to call
Rich Rodriguez a kindred spirit. Upon
becoming Michigan's head football
coach after the 2007 season, Rodri-
guez, like Brandon, showed respect -
in most cases - for the proud historyof
the winningest college football team of
all time while also rejecting the notion
that he couldn't make significant
changes. He set out to builda new kind
of Michigan football team, one cen-
tered on his innovative spread offense
that had inspired praise and imitation
among other college coaches while he
was at West Virginia University.
But Brandon has something Rich
Rod never seemed to have earned:
"Michigan Man" status. That's right,
Brandon holds just about the most
meaningless distinction ever, the
central piece of a philosophy that says

one is only worthy of the University
if he has lived in Ann Arbor and had
some association with the Wolver-
ines in the past.l
There are apparently a good deal ofi
Michigan fans and supporters who arec
preoccupied with this charming but
ultimately limiting ideal. And no one
seems to mind that the quintessential
Michigan Man - legendary football
coach Bo Schembechler - wasn't aj
Michigan Man when he came to town..
He became one through success on
the football field.
In his handling of Rodriguez's dis-1
missal, the coaching search and the
eventual hiring of Brady Hoke, Bran-
don has only reinforced the Michigan]
Man hang-up. But I don't think rever-1
ence for tradition drove him. Instead,
he saw an opportunity in which tradi-
tion happened to align with his main]
area of concern.
Schembechler, for whom Brandon
was a backup quarterback, had a sin-
gle focus: The Team, The Team, The
Team. For Brandonit's The Brand.
In speeches and interviews, he
can't stop referring to The Brand. It's
entirely appropriate, even vital, for
the boss of the Athletic Department
to embrace marketing. But he has
treated the program like a corpora-
tion with an image problem instead
of a football team with a football
problem.
During a press conference follow-
ing Rodriguez's firing, Brandon was
asked to prioritize the characteristics
of his ideal replacement candidate.
First was "a clear understanding of
what the University of Michigan is all
about." Second, a "spokesperson for
the University," because "Michigan
athletics is the front door to the Uni-
versity of Michigan in terms of the
brand and the shaping of the brand."
And finally, someone who can "com-
pete at the highest level."
That all came before acknowledg-
ing that the new coach ought to be a
worthy leader for a group of young
athletes who moved to Ann Arbor'
from all over the country because of

the guy he just sent packing.
Brandon sees the Michigan Man
as the cornerstone of the Michigan
Brand. So with Rodriguez flailing in
the tail end of his third season, Bran-
don sought to score a grand slam for
the Wolverines' slouching reputation.
We may never know the full story of
the coaching search, but as I interpret
what has been reported, Brandon pri-
marily pursued three Michigan Men:
Jim Harbaugh, Les Miles and Brady
Hoke, in that order.
By presumably holding out for Har-
baugh because his Stanford team had a
January bowl, Brandon left players in
the lurch and recruits feeling uneasy.
He acknowledged that this could've
had a detrimental effect on recruiting.
And in settling on Brady Hoke after
evidently failing to land the first two,
Brandon raised questions about his
priorities.
AD capitalized on
"Michigan Man
hang-up.
Hoke deserves every Michigan fan's
support. He is praised widely by those
who know him and have worked with
him, and skepticism related to his
record as a head coach (47-50) is easily
discredited by recent history - Gene
Chizik, who just coached Auburn to
a national championship, had a 5-19
head coaching record when the school
hired him three years ago.
Michigan fans can only hope that
Brandon picked Hoke for who he is,
not what he symbolizes. Time will tell
whether Brandon sold short the single
most beloved tradition in Michigan
football: winning.

-Matt Aaronson was the Daily's
managing editor in 2010. He can be
reached at maarons@umich.edu.

0

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