4A - Thursday, February 3, 2011 T M g D - c a o
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
E-MAIL BRUNO AT BRUNORS@UMICH.EDU
EDITOR IN CHIEF
and EMILY ORLEY
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS
.J1 IS r.e
Bring Stewart to the Big House
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.
Insuring the choice
House Republicans cannot limit women's rights
Women in the United States have a right to choose
what they want to do with their bodies. But U.S.
House of Representatives Republicans are trying
to restrict legal abortion procedures by introducing H.R. 3,
the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act." The bill quali-
fies exemptions to the existing prohibition of taxpayer-fund-
ed abortions while making the ban permanent. Though H.R.
3 is unlikely to overcome a Democratic majority in the U.S.
Senate and a presidential veto to become law, it's a concerning
attempt to restrict women's legal rights. The offensive legisla-
tion is a waste of time and should be rejected by Congress as
soon as it comes to a vote.
On Jan. 20, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.)
introduced H.R. 3, which has the support of
Republican leadership and 173 co-sponsors.
The bill modifies the provisions of the Hyde
Amendment, a provision that prohibits fed-
eral funding for abortion except in cases of
rape, incest and when the life of a woman is
threatened. Under the proposed legislation,
the exception for rape has been changed to
an exception for "forcible rape." The ban
on federally funded abortions would also
become permanent - the Hyde Amendment
would no longer need to be passed yearly as
part of the budget.
Lawmakers need to understand that abor-
tion has been alegal medical procedure in the
U.S. since Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade
in 1973. Restricting the procedure would take
away from a woman's right to choose that's
protected by the Constitution. Threaten-
ing this right through proposals like H.R. 3
puts citizens on a dangerous path to deny-
ing women's rights. Though steps could be
taken to reduce the number of abortions, the
approach that House Republicans have taken
is wrong and lacks foresight of the potential
consequences the bill might have.
Most disturbingly, H.R. 3 threatens the abil-
ity of rape victims to undergo an abortion by
qualifying the existing exemptions to prohibit
federal funding for abortions. The wording for
the exception of "rape" has been changed to
"forcible rape." The legislators' intensions are
unclear and, to a degree, alarming - the word
rape is defined as sexual intercourse without
consent. Arguing semantics with such a seri-
ous and sensitive issue insults rape victims
and all women. This is the most egregious
facet of the bill and is enough reason alone to
drop the legislation.
To make matters worse, H.R. 3 is a waste
of time, since the legislation has little chance
of becoming law. Ironically, this isn't new to
House Republicans, who campaigned dur-
ing the midterm elections under promises of
change and effective governance. Instead,
they've chosen frill over form, reading the
Constitution on the floor of the House and
making futile attempts to repeal President
Barack Obama's health care bill. Republicans
should stop playing rehearsed political games
and engage Democrats in substantive policy
debates that produce positive outcomes for the
The health and well-being of Americans
isn't something that should be compromised
for partisan gain. Congress must resist this
offensive campaign against women's rights.
P resident Barack Obama's
commencement speech in
Michigan Stadium last spring
of "real Ameri-
of levity, tales
of the found-
ing fathers and
all the grandeur MATT
befitting a presi- AARONSON
ance since his inauguration.
Sure, his address was dishearten-
ingly political and it lacked anything
resemblingthe bigannouncements of
presidential speakers past (Lyndon
Johnson laid out plans for his Great
Society programs in the Big House in
1964). But even Obama detractors -
they were in there somewhere - had
to admit it was cool to be inducted
into real life by the leader of the free
Many of us came to a realization
within minutes of finding out Obama
would be here in 2010: The class of
2011 may be in store for a serious let-
Go ahead, call us the entitled gen-
eration. I call it unavoidable recency
bias. Any speaker would be a disap-
pointment following a president.
Rick Snyder, Michigan's new
governor, is the obvious choice for
this year's commencement. A great
choice, actually. He has three degrees
from the University. He broke the
tradition of living in the governor's
mansion to instead remain an Ann
Arbor residenst. As a longtime ven-
ture capitalist who once called the
shots for Gateway, he's earned a'
reputation as a champion of innova-
tion. The previous four governors all
sent off Wolverine graduates whilemin
office, including Snyder's predeces-
sor, Jennifer Granholm, who spoke,
in the year of her inauguration.
I can hear the basic outline of his
speech already. He'll share a nostal-
gic story and corresponding life les-
son from his days as a student here.
He'll assure everybodythathe'sjust a
"nerd" and abusinessman, notapoli-
tician. He'll talk about jobs, jobs, jobs.
He'll say something like "putting
Michigan back to work starts with
you." He'll make those of us leaving
Michigan to work elsewhere into
the unspoken villains of the "brain
If the University selects Snyder,.
it won't be the end of the world. I
like Snyder. In fact, he was the first
Republican I've ever voted for. But
I'll eat my cap and gown if a Snyder
speech doesn't satisfy the aforemen-
tioned predictions. And that's the
problem - he would be entirely too
predictable. He'd be another politi-
cian, except, well, he's not the presi-
In my conversations with fellow
class of 2011 Wolverines, I've sug-
gested - to near-unanimous agree-
ment - that if there's one person
capable of matching or topping the
excitement for Obama, it's Jon Stew-
To say "The Daily Show" host is
popular among Michigan students .
would be an understatement. He's
almost universally admired on this
campus, and many keep an 11 p.m.
weeknight appointment to watch
Stewart challenge conventional
knowledge (and make fart jokes) on
While he often downplays his
influence by insisting he's just a
comedian, Stewart is dependably
sincere in a way no politician could
ever be. He combines insight and
debate with entertainment - not to
dumb it down for his demographic
(that's us), but because that's how he
can best shed light on issues.
For this, people like us trust him
and identify with him in a way we
twice our age.By keepingus laughing
and thinking critically in a format
that stays on top of the cable news
cycle, Stewart has become a singular
figure in our cultural landscape.
"The Daily Show"
host is popular
Can Michigan land him? Who
knows? The University can't deliver
a crowd to match that of Stewart's
last large public speaking engage-
ment - October's "Rally to Restore
Fear and/or Sanity," during which
Stewart and his Tv faux-foe Stephen
Colbert performed for an estimated
215,000 on the National Mall. But
the Big House represents at least
an opportunity to one-up Colbert -
the total capacity at Northwestern
University's stadium, where Colbert
has committed to speak this spring,
is 47,130 people, while an estimated
80,000 turned out for Obama last
year in Ann Arbor.
Stewart should at least be sought
out. He's notoriouslyunafraidof say-
ing "this is absurd," and as we enter
aworld as uncertain as it'sever been,
who better to mark the transition?
Matt Aaronson was the Daily's
managing editor in 2010. He can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Aida Ali, Will Butler, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer,
Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga,
Teddy Papes, Roger Sauerhaft, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner
LARA SLOTNICK |
Science Savvy: Nick Clift discusses the push for an Internet
kill switch bill in the United States.
oJimUIi Go to michigandaily.com/blogs/The Podium
EITAN NEUMARK AND MANDY KAIN I
Participate in Purple Week Elevate conversation about Israel
It's truly unfortunate that there are very
few individuals, like myself, lucky enough
to not have been deeply affected by cancer.
Though one of my grandfathers died of colon
cancer, it was long before I was born, and hav-
ing never met him, cancer remained for me a
theoretical. All I knew was that it was some-
thing really bad that could happen, but with-
out experiencing the sickness firsthand, I had
no way of comprehending the trauma that
came along with the disease.
Strangely, whatreally prompted my involve-
ment in Relay For Life wan't cancer, but rather
the absence of cancer in my life. When I was
16, my mom sat down on my bed one Satur-
day morning to say something "important."
I remember being pretty ticked off that she
was in my room without knocking and at the
ungodly hour of 10 a.m. on a weekend. She
had never said anything like that before, and
I couldn't imagine what would be so vital that
she just had to wake me up to share it. My
scowl in her direction quickly melted from
my face, however, when she told me that she
would be having a hysterectomy because a
recent doctor's visit had shown a great like-
lihood of ovarian cancer. I felt as though my
heart had grown to a size just slightlytoo large
for containment in my chest, and the flow of
tears came instantly. I was the most scared
I had ever been, and nothing had even hap-
pened. Nothing was even definite.
The following week came and my mom's
surgery was scheduled on Rosh Hashanah.
It was a Jewish holiday meant to be spent
with family, and I couldn't have been further
removed from mine. Though my parents were
only one hour away at the hospital, the uncer-
tainty created a torturous divide. I spent the
day with a friend, feeling helpless and hang-
ing on to every purposefully vague conversa-
tion with my father. The surgery took hours,
and even long after its completion, the doctors
still had no final answer. It wasn't until the
next morning that I awoke early to a tearful
but relieved call from my dad saying every-
thing was fine and the tests had come up nega-
tive for cancer. He'd said everything was fine,
but everything was most definitely not fine.
A week of my life had been ruined by just
the very idea of cancer, and the thought that
I could have received the opposite phone call
was paralyzing. And the fear and anxiety I felt
has stuck with me ever since.
One week of terror leading to an ultimately
benign result is absolutely nothing compared
to what many people have to deal with, and
understanding only a fraction of that pain was
enough to teach me that something had to be
done. The instantaneous panic that comes
from hearinga single word is simplyunaccept-
able and that was when I decided to become a
part of Relay For Life.
Now for the shameless promotion: Support
Relay For Life and The American Cancer Soci-
ety. But really, how could you not agree with
the sentiment? This week - Jan. 30 through
Feb. 4 - is Relay For Life's "Purple Week," a
time for promoting the fight against cancer
through some awesome fundraisers, including
restaurant nights, a bar night and Relay's Got
Talent finishing it off. See the Relay For Life
Facebook page for event details and mrelay.
org for more information.
If you're not convinced, I would say imag-
ine someone you know having cancer, but
please don't do that. The fact is, if you haven't
been there, you (and I) simply can't fathom
how tremendously awful that would be.
Instead, just think of the possibility of a loved
one developing cancer, and consider the terror
that a stupid six-letter word carries. That's all
it should take.
Lara Slotnick is an
Art and Design junior.
Too often, whenever the Israeli-Palestinian con-
flict is discussed, crucial issues remain hidden behind
rehearsed rhetoric. This leaves little room for an effec-
tive, open dialogue. It's tempting to make such black and
white arguments. But these aren't the strategiesthat will
achieve a lasting peace, and they don't reflect the com-
plications and nuances of the conflict. Nor do they allow
us to recognize the reality in which people in the region
live - or the often-unproductive context in which the
conversation unfolds here in the United States.
Daniel Luks's article (In defense of Israel,1/24/2011)
exemplifiesthis tendency to substitute analysis for rheto-
ric. While he may feel that Palestinians are implicated in
Egypt's discrimination against Sudanese refugees, solely
for sharing a race and ethnicity, J Street UMich doesn't
agree with such broad, sweeping statements. Similarly,
while he may feel that Israel's support for its gay commu-
nity justifies its continued discrimination against Pales-
tinians inside and outside of the West Bank and Gaza, we
don't subscribe to such simplistic arguments.
Campus conversations using these simplistic argu-
ments have long been dominated by those who are pro-
Israel or those who are pro-Palestine. Each discussion
turned into an argument. Each fact met with a counter
fact. Voices were raised and emotions ran high. People
left these exchanges angrier rather than more under-
standing. We at J Street UMich recognize that this
campus atmosphere must change and nuance must be
J Street UMich is, first and foremost, a pro-Israel
group. We believe that Israel has a rightful and important
place in the family of nations. The concept of a homeland
in Israel for us will always be treasured and supported.
Our love for Israel is like love for family, constant and
enduring. However, just like any close-knit family, we
are not uninvolved and uncritical in each other's affairs
- we observe, we advise and, when necessary, we nag
because we want the best for our family, and we want
our family to be its best.
This definition of pro-Israel doesn't match up with
that of many who claim the term. We do not seek to sup-
port each and every Israeli policy, nor do we think such
a defense serves Israel nor our own community. To sub-
scribe to such a version of support would be to deny the
very democratic values we hold true both as Americans
and as supporters of Israel's democracy. In addition, it
perpetuates a status quo in the Middle East, which is
unsustainable for Israelis and Palestinians.
For J Street, to be pro-Israelisto wrestle in deep affec-
tion and agreement and deep disagreement with many
of Israel's policies, chief among them an occupation that
now stretches into its fifth decade. To be pro-Israel for
us is to recognize that such an occupation betrays our
values and threatens to undermine the very possibility
of Israel's democratic future. To be pro-Israel is to there-
fore support a future state of Palestine and to do all we
can to bring it about. This is the only way that we believe
one can be pro-Israel and pro-Peace.
A two-state solution, with Israelis and Palestinians
living side-by-side in peace and security, is the only
answer to this conflict that will allow an expedient end
to the occupation and the possibility of democratic self-
determination for both peoples. This requires intelli-
gent, critical and reasoned dialogue, not empty rhetoric.
It requires a drastic change in how these types of con-
versations are had. And it requires a range ofviewpoints
that reflects the nuanced opinions of the Jewish com-
There will always be those who wishcto reducethe dis-
cussion to a series of black and white talking points. But
it's in the best interest of our community and Israel for
us to come together and create one community commit-
ted to Israel. J Street U National and J Street represent
thousands of American Jews who live firmly in the world
of nuance - who love Israel, actively work for peace and
believe that relationship requires tough conversations
and a real commitmentto Jewish and democratic values.
On campus we must elevate the level of conversation by
avoiding broad sweeping generalizations and recogniz-
ing hard truths and difficult complexities to find com-
mon ground that will set the stage for inclusion and
This piece was written on behalf of JStreet
UMich by LSA freshman Eitan Neumark and
Rackham graduate student Mandy Kain.