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February 07, 2011 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-02-07

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4A - Monday, February 7, 2011

The Michigan Daily --- michigandaily.com

4A - Monday, February 7, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom


Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109






Republican To-Do List
Cut axes' despite 4. Make ObTama a one
federal deficit term president (if
impeachment faiis)
LI2. Strip jmillions o hea-lt h. care
D 5. Use spare.DNA to
3. Redefne thle m2eran clone President Reagan
An American like any other

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.
No more safety slip-ups
'U' must ensure all students can get to class
nowpocalypse in Ann Arbor didn't turn out to be quite the
weather emergency it was expected to be. And to many stu-
dents' disappointment, the University's Ann Arbor campus
stayed open. Most students braved the snow and trudged to class, but
for those with disabilities, the day was a struggle. It's commendable
that the University wants to continue to have classes and is commit-
ted to giving its students the best possible education. But the Univer-
sity needs to make sure that all students - especially students with
disabilities - can safely attend classes in inclement weather.


ave you heard of Roger
Stockham? You really
should know his name by

Stockham is a
terrorist - he
did drive from
his home near
San Diego, Calif.
all the way
to Dearborn,
Mich., appar-
ently to blow up
a mosque. When
he was arrest-


According to a Feb. 3 Daily article, there is
miscommunication between the University
and the city about plowing after snow storms.
Often, the University plows the sidewalks and
then the city plows the streets. But this blocks
the sidewalks with snow piles and doesn't
allow for wheelchair access to the sidewalk,
even though the sidewalk itself has been shov-
eled. And when the snow piles up along the
curbs, it's difficult for students in wheelchairs
to use the wheelchair lifts on their cars. Dis-
abled students have the opportunity to use
Paratransit Services, a University transporta-
tion system, but they said in the article that
they still have trouble getting to class.
The University had plenty of time to pre-
pare for last week's storm, and there was
adequate time to communicate with city snow
removal services to coordinate plans for han-
dling the storm. The University should have
made sure that students with disabilities knew
their transportation options. There were days
to plan alternative ways for wheelchair-bound
students to get to their classes, but many stu-
dents still had to miss glass because they were
unable tophysically get there.
Sidewalks in front of academic and residen-
tial buildings need to be a priority for snow

removal. The University should work with
private companies if there is too much snow
to clear. Students should be able to get from
their place of residence to their classes, even
if they are ina wheelchair. It's the University's
responsibility to make sure campus sidewalks
are cleared.
Bad weather is dangerous for all students,
especially those with disabilities. If the side-
walks can't be adequately cleared to allow
every student to attend class safely, the Uni-
versity should close. If the University choos-
es not to close and students are expected to
attend class, they should be able to get there
without endangering themselves. The Univer-
sity remains open because it's not a commuter
school, but it has forgotten that students still
have to brave the weather and walk to class.
Clearing the roads but pushing snow onto the
sidewalks isn't a solution on a campus where
most students - disabled or not - walk to class.
The University has a responsibility to
ensure the safety of students as they make
their way to class. If the University is going
to choose to remain open during times of bad
weather, it needs to do a better job of keeping
the sidewalks clear and helping all students
travel safely to class.

ed on Jan. 24 in the parking lot of
Dearborn's largest mosque, he was
wearing a black ski mask, taking
photos of the mosque and his car
was packed full of "high-end" ille-
gal fireworks.
But news outlets have also
uncovered that Stockham has a his-
tory of mental illness. For example,
he pleaded not guilty by reason of
insanity to threatening the life of
former President George Bush in
But whether Stockham is a ter-
rorist or simply a lunatic isn't my
concern at the moment. What he did
after his arrest is far more interest-
ing. In court for his arraignment on
Friday, Stockham decided to fire his
court-appointed attorney and asked
the court to appoint him a new one.
It's not an unusual move for defen-
dants to make, but Stockham's rea-
son was unique: He wanted to fire
his attorney, Mark Haidar, because
he claimed Haidar was a Shiite.
It's not clear whether Haidar is
actually a member of the minority
Shiite sect of Islam; it could just be
another voice in Stockham's head.
Regardless, Stockham certainly has
the right to ask the court for a new
lawyer, buthis action raises an inter-
esting conceptual question: If the

court appointed attorney was in fact
a Muslim, should that matter? Can't
a Muslim lawyer fairly represent a
man in Stockham's situation? Or is
the "lawyer" part hopelessly ham-
pered by the "Muslim" part?
Let me be clear about one thing:
Even with the recent spike in anti-
Islamic rhetoric - I'm sure the com-
ments to this column will be a fine
example - being Muslim in America
is actually not that hard. Sure, there
are the crazies who shout epithets
and bully and harass Muslims, but
these are rare instances. The more
important problem I see is subtle:
Muslims in America are being iden-
tified primarily, and only, by their
religion. A nation that has always
accepted outsiders for the common-
alities that make us all Americans
suddenly doesn't give such benefit of
the doubt to Muslims.
A Muslim politician/lawyer/
professor/etc. is seen today by the
average person as a Muslim first,
with everything else faded into an
obliviated backdrop. Regardless
of what the person may be talking
about, there remains a doubt in
even well-meaning people's minds
about the person's true motives. It's
no different from the anti-semitism
that lurked in the world's psyche for
the better part of several centuries,
the anti-Catholic sentiment in this
country that was only overcome
with Kennedy in power or the anti-
black suspicions that still linger in
significant pockets of this nation.
It's natural to fear those who are
different, but America has always
been better than other countries in
understanding that the differences
between cultures and people can be
accepted, and diverse people can live
and work together in a productive
society. This is a precious insight
that much of the world lacks: Just
look at the remnants of the Soviet

Union and Yugoslavia, or the bitter-
ness between India and Pakistan,
where different peoples feel the
need to wall themselves off, to disas-
trous result.
With a few glaring exceptions -
segregation and Japanese intern-
ment, among others - America has
generally been above such polariz-
ing squabbles. But every principle,
no matter how beloved, gets tested.
There will always be a group that
is just a little too different, that we
just aren't comfortable with.
It's natural to
fear those who
are different.
Muslims today are one such
group, but they're not alone. Con-
sidering the baseless questions of
neutrality raised about the (possi-
bly) gay California judge who over-
turned the state's gay marriage ban,
it's clear that Americans aren't yet
very trusting of gay people either.
But why do we assume a gay per-
son can't fairly decide gay issues?
By that standard, Justice Thurgood
Marshall would have had a lot of
explaining to do for every Supreme
Court opinion he ever wrote.
Ideals are defined inthe moments
when they matter. Wilting even for
a second in our enduring belief that
all Americans - regardless of petty
labels - are equally American will
be the defeat of that great ideal.
And it would be a shame to lose
it now, after all we've been through
to protect it.
-imransSyed can be reached
at galad@umich.edu.



Aida Ali, Will Butler, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer,
Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga,
Teddy Papes, Roger Sauerhaft, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner
The real Reagan

Rising tensions, rising prices

Yesterday marked what would have been
the 100th birthday of former President Ron-
ald Reagan. One of the most controversial
- and beloved - presidents in American his-
tory, Reagan is largely unknown aside from
common stereotypes by students our age. His
centennial anniversary allows people to take
a fresh look at the man who was president,
governor, corporate spokesman, union leader,
actor and lifeguard.
Reagan was born in the one-street town of
Tampico, Ill. Without fortune or privilege, he
worked several odd jobs - proudly serving as
the Rock River lifeguard - while dealing with
an alcoholic father. Reagan once recalled com-
ing home from school to find his dad passed out
inthe snowand somberlycarryinghim inside.
After college, Reagan was a sports broad-
caster and then an actor - becoming a B-mov-
ie star for Warner Bros. Entertainment and
working his way up to head the Screen Actors
Guild. He served as a second lieutenant in
World War II and was one of the first offi-
cers to see footage of European concentration
camps, which strengthened his convictions
against totalitarian regimes.
After working for General Electric Com-
pany and making speeches across the coun-
try for free enterprise, Reagan turned his full
attention to politics. Frustrated by the growth
of government and what he saw as a weak
approach to the Soviet Union, Reagan offi-
cially became a Republican in 1962, famously
declaring, "I didn't leave the Democratic
Party. The party left me."
Elected governor of California in 1966, Rea-
gan handled eight years of cultural and eco-
nomic distress. He quelled violent protests
across the University of California campuses
and worked with Democrats in the Legisla-
ture to secure spending cuts in exchange for
tax increases with surpluses refunded to the
By 1980, America was suffering from
high inflation, stifling unemployment and a
declining reputation. Reagan's presidential
campaign was based onthe ideas that Amer-
ica was a "shining city on a hill" and that a

restrengthening of our military and economic
capabilities was needed to regain the nation's
productive leadership. Running against
incumbent Jimmy Carter, Reagan won 489-
49. In 1984,49 states re-elected him.
Reagan - in conjunction with Chairman of
the Federal Reserve Paul Volcker - quickly set
out to repair America's economy. He negotiat-
ed with a Democratic House to reduce income
taxes - with top marginal rates falling from
70 percent to 28 percent during his tenure.
With deregulation, tight monetary policy and
a push to decrease federal expenditures, infla-
tion fell from 13.9 percent in 1980 to 4 percent
in 1988. Real gross domestic product growth
averaged 4.3 percent annually.
In foreign relations, Reagan focused on
nuclear weapon reductions with the Soviet
Union but understood that America had to
speak from a position of strength. Convinced
the USSR was fundamentally unsustainable,
Reagan pushed a dramatic military build-up.
Having returned the nation to a place of pre-
eminence, Reagan overcame GOP opposition
to secure the Intermediate-Range Nuclear
Forces Treaty and began what would become
the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
One hundred years after his birth, Reagan's
legacy remains a dominating force in Ameri-
can politics. He wasn't perfect - Reagan him-
self lamented his inability to cut the national
debt and the Iran-Contra Affair tarnished his
second term - yet he changed the national
conversation on a multitude of issues, promot-
ing individual freedom, expanding economic
opportunity and pursuing peace through
His life was about more than jelly beans
and cabinet meeting naps. Reagan's rise from
a working class kid to leader of the free world
- and his ability to bring so many others along
with him, in the United States and abroad -
offers inspiration to students facing a weak job
market and uncertainty about the direction of
their lives.
Alexander Franz is a Business School
senior and Jonathan Pape is an LSA senior.

For the past two weeks, the
world's eyes have been fixed
on Egypt. As peaceful pro-
tests began to

draw crowds in
the tens of thou-
sands, and vio-
lence erupted as
the protesters
started to clash
with one anoth-
er, Tahir Square
has had every-
one's full atten-
tion. But while
glued to the tele-


vision screens watching the chaos in
a city thousands of miles away, many
people may have missed a direct
consequence of the unrest right here
at home: soaring gas prices.
This past weekend, prices for
gasoline were well over $3 per gal-
lon around Ann Arbor, and the story
is the same throughout much of
the country. A member of Kuwait's
Supreme Petroleum Council said
yesterday that the turmoil in Egypt
could push oil prices to over $110 per
barrel, according to a Feb. 6 Reuters
These price increases shed light
on how fragile the international oil
market is. Oil prices aren't going up
because of an actual change in the
market. They're going up because
of anxieties about a potential change
in the market. The protests in Egypt
threaten the stability of the entire
Middle East region. And disregard-
ing the danger this poses to all the
civilians caught in the middle of
these disputes, any changes in the
stability of the region could make
getting oil at a "reasonable" price,
or getting it to the United States at
all, extremely difficult. That is why
prices are going up. Oil companies
want to prepare for there to be a real
reason for them to go up.

What's arguably most absurd
about the situation is that Egypt
barely produces anyoil, and yet their
political volatility is able to com-
pletely shake up the entire Middle
East oil industry. The biggest tangi-
ble threat is that Egypt could cut the
flow of the Suez Canal oil pipeline
that passes near Cairo. But while
this canal is functioning properly
despite the country's unrest, the fear
of what could happen is enough to
raise prices.
While Americans have been riv-
eted by the images they've seen on
the news of the chaos in Egypt, the
United States's involvement in the
country's struggle has been, by most
standards, minimal. And given that
domestic gas prices are still on the
rise despite our nation's relative neu-
tralityit's in our best interest that we
stay out of it. Many people have been
calling for a more serious response
from President Barack Obama, but it
makes sense that he is staying mum.
You can't go into a business meeting
pushing and shoving, and Egypt's
government is a business client for
the U.S. and it's important that we
remain on good terms with this cli-
ent no matter who's in charge. As far
as the nation is concerned, democ-
racy in the Middle East is good, but
cheap oil is better.
The situation in Egypt is by no
means the first international issue
that has threatened the stability of
U.S. gas prices. Yet we never learn.
While candidate after candidate has
campaigned on the platform of end-
ing America's dependency on foreign
oil, we're nowhere near reaching
that goal. Any progress we have
made toward economic recovery will
be derailed if Americans are consis-
tently paying $3.25 per gallon for
gasoline and heating their homes at
unmanageable costs. The U.S. needs
energy reform now. The business

as usual of crossing our fingers and
hoping that Middle Eastern leaders
like Americans enough to do reason-
able business with us isn't working.
And as we saw from the summer's
BP oil spill, the domestic oil market
isn't working too well either.
Egypt is showing
the weakness in
the oil market.
As far as the environmental
aspect of the issue, we're actually
moving backward. Sen. John Bar-
rasso (R-WY) has introduced a bill
that would keep the Environmental
Protection Agency from regulating
carbon emissions. This bill would
prevent the federal government
from doing anything to get Ameri-
ca's carbon footprint under control.
And if we're under no obligation to
reduce our carbon emissions, we
have no reason to make real efforts
to shake our dependency on oil.
Egypt is moving toward a solu-
tion to its conflict, and as things
calm down, oil prices will decrease
and the world will move on. But the
U.S. can't afford to return to com-
placency. We need to start invest-
ing in renewable energy options
and think seriously about the envi-
ronmental impact of our lifestyle.
Our use of petroleum and our role
in the market currently operates at
an unsustainable level, and we need
to make adjustments sooner rather
than later.
- Michelle DeWitt is the
co-editorial page editor. She can be
reached at dewittm@umich.edu.



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