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January 10, 2011 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-01-10

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4A - Noonday, January 10, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

C R1dC gan B3ailm
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109




It doesn't seem like he was motivated by a political
ideology. Craziness is not an ideology"'
- Aide to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin Rebecca Mansour said
on Sunday in response to the Arizona shooting, as reported by USA Today.


Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations representsolelythe views of their authors.
Planting the seeds
A2 City Council should pass marijuana ordinance
Medicinal marijuana was legalized by voters in 2008,
but an abundance of state and local laws have pro-
hibited the drug from being accessible to patients. On
Jan. 18, Ann Arbor City Council members will decide whether
or not to pass a licensing ordinance that will clearly explain the
legality of marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities. The
ordinance is crafted in a way that ensures the safety of residents
in the vicinity of these facilities. City Council members should
pass this ordinance to make legal prescriptions for medical mari-
juana more available for patients and to strengthen an underde-
veloped market.

This has gone too far

'm slightly ashamed to admit
it, but over the years, I've got-
ten several column ideas from
"The Daily Show."
This one started
out that way too.
But a lot happened
between start and
Sen. Kirsten Gil-
librand (D-N.Y.)
was the guest on
"The Daily Show"
last Tuesday. IMRAN
After watching SYED
the interview and
being intrigued by
the centrist Demo-
crat about whom I previously knew
nothing, I decided to Google her. I
then came across an interesting New
York Times piece from 2008 titled
"She Might, be President Someday"
(05/18/2008). Written in the heat of
the Democratic Primary season, the
article discussed - in light of Hillary
Clinton's eminent defeat to Barack
Obama - who might actually become
the first female president someday.
Many of the usual, boring names
were thrown about - Kathleen Sebe-
lius, Janet Napolitano, Sarah Palin
and Condoleeza Rice among them.
But two younger women were men-
tioned as actual contenders a bit
down the road. Both deemed "dragon
slayers," these women were thought
to have a solid chance because they
were Democrats who had fought
their way to Washington from tra-
ditionally Republican districts. Gil-
lebrand was one of them.
Gabrielle Giffords was the other.
And so this column started, sure to
be yet another predictable commen-
tary extolling the virtues of being a
centrist in today's fiercely divided
political environment. As I did with
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) six years
ago, I intended to anoint Gillebrand
and Giffords as the right kind of
Democrats, and the type of female
candidates qualified and positioned

to win the presidency six to 10 years
down the road.
A few days later, as I completed the
final version of the column - much
different from the first version - Gif-
fords remained in critical condition
in the intensive care unit at Univer-
sity Medical Center in Tucson, Ari-
zona. Doctors cautiously hope that
she will survive, but the prognosis for
the extent of her recovery remains
grave. Six others were killed in the
rampage at the event where Giffords
was speaking informally with con-
This terrible tragedy does nothing
to change who Giffords has always
been, the qualities I intended to dis-
cuss. Indeed, in the most bizarre way,
it actually promotes this discussion
onto a higher level.
Being a Democrat from Arizona
who supports President Obama's
health care plan and opposes Ari-
zona's infamous, largely unconsti-
tutional, immigration law made
Giffords about as popular as a con-
gressman from Michigan who drives
a Toyota and spends his Saturdays in
a scarlet and gray sweater.
As a person whose political posi-
tions often trouble both my conser-
vative and liberal friends, I've always
been fascinated by politicians who
can speak to different parts of the
political spectrum. Such people are
worth studying for the simple reason
that, in understanding their political
thinking, I can gain more than just
guidelines to a party platform, but
rather actual social insights that drive
a thoughtful, compassionate person.
Giffords is one such person. A
strong proponent of gun rights, she
also received a 100 percentratingfrom
the National Abortion and Reproduc-
tive Rights Action League for her con-
sistent pro-choice stance. While she
opposes Arizona's fascist, search-and-
seizure immigration law, she is actu-
ally astrong proponent ofsecuringthe
Mexican border. Those who know her
spent the entire weekend talking on

television about what an understand-
ing and open person she is and how
productive and effective that makes
her as a congresswoman.
Given that background, it's bizarre
and distressing that Giffords - the
calm, beloved voice of the cooler
heads - will suddenly become the
face of our explosive political age.
The rhetorical firefight that erupted
at Obama's election - involving slo-
gans such as "Kill the Bill" and actual
crosshairs being placed on political
maps - has finally claimed a victim:
It's the young congresswoman who
did things differently, who avoided
that bitter partisan fight and spent
her free time talking to constituents
rather than lobbying and plotting in


In an attempt to better regulate medical
marijuana in the city, the Ann Arbor City
Council made several changes to the licens-
ing ordinance for dispensaries, cultivation
centers and home growers. The most recent
draft makes three major changes to the
ordinance. According to a Jan. 4 article in
the Daily, home growers will no longer have
to register with the city, individuals who
have been charged with drug-related mis-
demeanors will be permitted to open dis-
pensaries and there will be an increase in
the maximum number of facilities allowed
in the city. The ordinance also mandates
security measures like alarm systems, cam-
eras and ventilation systems in facilities
where marijuana is distributed.
Medical marijuana laws have been the
subject of controversy since the legaliza-
tion of medical marijuana in 2008. The
laws are poorly worded and explained in a
way that penalizes otherwise law abiding
citizens. Ann Arbor's ordinance will help
to advance the acceptance of marijuana as
a legal prescription drug. If implemented,
the ordinance will clearly lay out what is
a legal way to grow and sell marijuana to
patients with a prescription. This is impor-
tant for giving many people the medicine
they need.
At a time when Michigan's economy is
struggling, medical marijuana is a viable

source of revenue for many people. Ann
Arbor's unemployment rate is hovering
around 8 percent, and 30 new dispensa-
ries and cultivation facilities will create
new jobs. Not only will increased clarity
help patients, it will also help new busi-
nesses operate efficiently and legally. City
Council needs to approve this ordinance to
facilitate a new industry in Ann Arbor and
support economic development.
While marijuana is often regarded as
inherently illegal, the reality is that it's a
legal prescription and an effective way to
treat many ailments. Medicinal marijuana
was legalized by Michigan voters, and it's
good that efforts are finally being made to
make obtaining a legal prescription more
efficient. City Council is also taking every
possible precaution by requiring certain
safety measures at facilities. The rest of
the state needs to approve these rules and
make the laws around medical marijuana
clear and easy to abide.
With proper regulations in place, there
will be increased comfort and clarity for
those who wish to legally provide and
receive medical marijuana. And this will not
come at the expense of Ann Arbor residents'
safety. The regulations concerning medical
marijuana have been unclear for too long,
and City Council shouldn't hesitate to spell
out the distinct laws and regulations.

The rhetorical
firefight has
claimed a victim.
Fingers were pointed as early
as Saturday evening, with liberals
blaming the Tea Party movement for
creating the nuclear environment
that emboldens the mad. The Right
responded with a sharp condemna-
tion of those who seek to politicize
this tragic event - an interesting
response, given their 10-year love
affair with 9/11.
This is a time when pointing fin-
gers comes so easy. But there's a big-
ger lesson here for all of us, the young
firebrands on this campus especially.
As important as it is to advocate for
your issues, to win debates and to
make change, there is something else
that's much more important.
Godspeed, Madame President.
- Iran Syed can be reached
at galad@umich.edu.

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
Attack policiesnot people



Women's studies department
promotes an equal society

"relax in our Ad
been "blown awa
politicians and ti
work - and star

TO THE DAILY: need to know th
In Eric Szkarlat's column, (Gender studies be difficult to ov
101, 12/09/2011) he criticized feminism and ger have time ft
the field of women's studies for not being con- cannot performt
cerned about "true equality of the sexes." I'm elected.
writing to invite Eric - and anyone else who is
curious about gender and inequality - to take John Laich
WS240, our introductory course, to learn what University alum.
we're about.
As Szkarlat notes, women activists start- Climate c
ed our field and our name, women's studies,
reflects and honors that history. But today, risks that
women's studies encompasses much more
than that. One of the first ideas we talk about
in WS240 is that if the aim of feminism is for TO THE DAIL
women to be equal to men, it begs the ques- By failing to
tion of which men women should be equal to. change, we not
Certainly all men aren't equal. So if we want to own most vulne
understand the ways gender is at work in soci- elderly and the p
ety and to work for equality, we must also try world's poorest,
to understand the ways race, sexuality, social lions as well.
class, ability and other forms structure our In the United
society and opportunities within. tures and shiftin
For this reason, our mission statement ety of harmful
describes our department as dedicated to frequent and se
building interdisciplinary collaborations respiratory ilins
among faculty and students that bridge gender, spread. Accordir
racial, ethnic, economic and national divides; Control and Pr
creating new knowledge about women, gen- million America
der, race and sexuality; challenging unequal chronic illness tI
distributions of power; and improving the impacts margin-
lives of all women and .men. Here in wom- related factors h
en's studies, we do believe that in the future in asthma preval
we can have a more just society. And we're years.
working for it every day. Please join us! In developing
mate change ar
Elizabeth R. Cole countries amoni
Chair ofthe Department of Women's Studies. increased atmos
they are also pr
the most severs
Hold officials accountable thuencestse
qecsof these
regardless ofparty affiliation far-reaching, inc
collapse adinc;
TO THE DAILY: In times of ec
I found Will Butler's editorial (Rick Skywalk- it can be easy to
er, 1/5/2011) on Governor Snyder's inaugura- ments about fin
tion to be both comical (partying Ewoks) and believe that inv
appropriate (demand results from political win these argum
agents). However, as a "strongly-committed the underlying e
Democrat," he chose to spend time waxing forget what is tru
about President Barack Obama and national climate change.'
politics rather than focuse on the problem we es of energy will7
have in this state. Where were Butler and his threaten our glot
Democrats during the two terms of the inef- human and fina
fective Granholm administration? Butler's serious about as
commitment to party identification is stronger time to repowe
than his commitment to holding the political
elite accountable. Those Michiganders seek- Thomas Witk
ing work and opportunity want to know as we Engineeringsoph

irondack chairs" after having
ay." It's time to stop loving our
me to demand that they do the
ry-eyed supporters of Snyder
at the state's dysfunction will
ercome - and that we no lon-
or those elected officials who
the tasks for which they were
hange poses health
cannot be ignored
take bold action on climate
only put the health of our
rable citizens - children, the
poor - at risk, but many of the
most disadvantaged popula-
States alone, rising tempera-
ng climates can lead to a vari-
health effects, ranging from
were allergies, to heat stroke,
esses and infectious disease
ng to the Centers for Disease
revention, approximately 6.8
an children have asthma - a
hat already disproportionately
alized communities. Climate-
ave led to a four-fold increase
Jence in the U.S. in the past 20
nations, the problems of cli-
e twofold. Not only are these
g the least responsible for the
pheric carbon concentration,
edicted to bear the burden of
e climatic shifts. The conse-
shifts are likely tobe dire and
cluding drought, agricultural
reased ranges of tropical dis-
onomic stress and uncertainty,
reduce every matter to argu-
ancial costs and benefits. We
estments in clean energy can
ents. However, we can't ignore
thical challenge, and we can't
sly at stake when talking about
Transitioning to cleaner sourc-
reduce harmful emissions that
bal health and cause unneeded
ncial strain. It's time we get
ddressing climate change. It's
r America - and the world.
in and Eileen Divringi
omore and LSA junior

n Saturday, Congresswoman
Gabrielle Giffords, along with
19 other people, were shot
outside a supermarket in Tuscon,.
Ariz. The Demo-
crat representa-
tive was attending
an event called
"Congress on Your,
Corner," which
allowed constitu-
ents of her district
to meet with her
and discuss issues
concerning the MICHELLE
federal govern- DEWITT
ment. There were
six fatalities in the
shooting, includ-
ing John Roll, a chief judge in the
U.S. District Court of Arizona and a
9-year-old girl. As of 8 p.m. last night,
Giffords was in critical condition.
While no direct motives are under-
stood at this time, authorities have
said that this was a clear attempt to
end the life of a public official.
Giffords tenure as a representa-
tive of the state of Arizona has not
been without controversy, and many
assumptions point to this attack as
being politically motivated. Many
have thought of Giffords as being soft
on immigration, which is a particu-
larly contentious issue in Arizona.
She outspokenly opposed the state's
immigration laws that are some of
the strictest in seeking to deter ille-
gal immigration. Giffords was also
one of the supporters of the health
care reform bill - a decision that
drew some criticism and led to the
vandalization of her office.
Saturday's events were a disgusting
and heinous crime that has brought
about tragedy for the families of six
individuals. And while no difference
of opinion could even begin to justify
the shooter's actions, many people are
pointingtotheheated politicalclimate
between Republicans and Democrats
as inciting this type of behavior. The

purpose of Giffords's meeting was
to facilitate open discourse with the
constituents of her district and civilly
discuss what is happening in our fed-
eral government. Butit instead turned
into a terrifying disaster because of
the actions of a cowardly, repulsive
It's no secret that politics in the
United States have been particularly
polarized lately, a fact that was made
very clear during November's elec-
tions. Health care reform and eco-
nomic concerns alone have almost
completely separated Republicans
and Democrats. And neither group is
mincing words about how they feel
about the opposing party.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
has been particularly criticized in
the wake of these attacks for com-
ments like "Don't retreat - Instead,
reload!" There have also been com-
ments about her controversial "cross-
hairs map" that she posted on her
Facebook page during the midterm
election season. The map depicted
districts where Democratic repre-
sentatives were up for re-election in
the crosshairs of a gun, and Giffords's
district was among those targeted on
the map-
Republicans aren't alone in this type
of display. Also during the midterm
elections, Democrat Joe Manchin,
who was running for a seat in the West
Virginia Senate, released an advertise-
ment in which he fired a gun ata copy
of the cap-and-trade bill. In the ad, he
spoke strongly about "taking on Wash-
ington" and taking "dead aim."
It's frightening to think that
these types of displays have become
the business as usual approach for
today's politicians and talking heads.
The notion that outright displays
of violence have become acceptable
metaphors when discussing legis-
lation is nothing short of absurd.
Political talk shows have become
increasingly extreme in their rheto-
ric, and there is constant talk - even

among politicians - about battle
lines being drawn between Republi-
cans and Democrats. And while there
are certainly large, divisive issues at
play in our country, there are also
consequences for the way we speak
about them.
I don't think that any politician or
media figure wants physical harm to
come to an individual of their oppos-
ing party, but they speak as though
they do. The fact that one of the only
ways that Americans can speak in
support of their party or a piece of
legislation is to deride the opposing
view - instead of building up their
own - is one part of the problem.
Everyone needs to be conscious about
the environment we're creating and
ensure that debates and discussions
are the promoted outlets for political
action. Psychotic, insane people are
going to do the things that psychotic,
insane people do, but shows on CNN
and Fox News don't need to offer any
misguided encouragement.

Today's heated
political climate is
While it's important to evaluate
whether the climate surrounding
politics has become dangerous, it's
also important to acknowledge that
the shooting was an attack carried
out by an individual. These tragedies
serve as a reminder that we're all
connected in our basic human right
of life, and my thoughts go out to the
victims and their families who had
that right taken away.
- Michelle DeWitt is co-editorial
page editor. She can be reached
at dewittm@umich.edu.


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