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January 11, 2011 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-01-11

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4 - Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

1E CIt44an 4 a
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109





Unsigned editorials reflect the official position oftthe Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Wasting precious time
Attempts to repeal health care reform are pointless
he new Republican-led United States House of Represen-
tatives has taken office and kicked the year off by wasting
as much time as the old House did. Plans had been made
for a House vote tomorrow to repeal President Barack Obama's
health care reform law. The vote - along with other action on
legislation - has been postponed this week in light of Saturday's
attack on Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords. While this is.
the appropriate thing to do for the time being, the vote on this par-
ticular piece of legislation needs to be postponed indefinitely. The
U.S. Senate has vowed to derail any House efforts to repeal health
care reform, so this is merely a symbolic and time wasting gesture.
Representatives need to compromise on legislation and do what is
in the best interest of their constituents.

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Problems at the printer
A t the end of last semester, I There are a couple of ways this sys- pages that Isprinted in color for a proj-
got an e-mail from the won- tem gyps us. First, even if students ect. If the University wants to deal
derful people at University print on both sides of a single sheet of with ink costs, they could count color
Information and paper, it counts as two pages of their printing as two pages worth of a stu-
Technology Ser- allotment. The logic behind that is dent's printing allotment - or what-
vices. The e-mail probably that the printing allotment ever the monetary equivalentis.
kindly informed is really meant to manage the amount Printing allotments should also roll
me that I had used - of ink that goes onto a page, not really over. For example, I took a class one
up half my print- the amount of paper used. Paper is a semester in which I had to print out
ing allotment for considerable coston a campusof about all my readings from CTools. My pro-
the semester. Since 26,000 undergraduates, but ink car- fessor and GSI were quite insistent.
it was the Tuesday tridges are much more expensive. That semester, I blew through half
after classes ended That's why color pages aren't my allotment in about one month. If
when I received RACHEL included in the printing allotment. the University had roll over printing, I
that e-mail, IVAN GILDER It's an extra $0.35 to print a page on a would've had abouts00 pages left from
wasn't too con- color printer - even if that page only previous semesters to use. This would
cerned. has black and white text. That extra ensure that students get to use every
Then I started cost is charged to students' accounts. single page which they are entitled.
thinking that in my three and a half But the biggest rip off is that stu-
years at the University, this is only the dents' printing allotment doesn't roll
second time I've gotten that e-mail, over. At the end of. each semester, Printing doesn't
I'm pretty sure I'm getting ripped students lose whatever pages they
off haven't used. My tuition must pay forgiesu nt th r
Most students get a measly 400 my printing in some way - tuition
pages worth of printing each semes- money goes into the general fund, money's
ter, according to the ITS website. Stu- which pays for operating costs. I'm Y Worth.
dents in the College of Engineering paying for 400 pages per semester,
are allowed to print 2,000 pages each and I'm barely using half of them.
semester if they use a computer con- This isn't a good system. The Uni-
nected to the University's Computer versity says it is committed to going But not every student will use up
Aided Engineering Network (more green - the Planet Blue program all their pages - in fact, I bet.fairly
commonly known at CAEN). being implemented in select build- few students ever use up all 400
I've heard some students say that ings and campus recycling initiatives pages every single semester. Students
their 400 pages aren't nearly enough, are evidence of this. Printing duplex should get reimbursed for pages they
but it's actually a fair amount consid- is certainly more environmentally- don't use at the end of their college
ering that we live in an increasingly friendly than printing single-sided, career. This way, students would only
digital world. Professors often allow but the University doesn't offer stu- be paying for what they actually use.
laptops in the classroom so that stu- dents any incentive to do this. Duplex The University isn't giving stu-
dents don't have to print readings printing should count as a single page dents their money's worth, The Uni-
and lecture slides off CTools. Some - or perhaps as one and a half if the versity should overhaul its system of
even allow students to submit papers University needs to consider the cost printing allotment to give students
via e-mail. So the number of pages of ink. what they're paying for.
allotted is reasonable. What's unrea- It's also outrageous that even
sonable is the way that the Univer- thoughI had about 200 pages remain- - Rachel Van Gilder was the Daily's
sity counts those pages and the way it ing in my allotment last semester, I editorial page editor in 2010. She can
makes students pay for them. had to pay an extra $0.70 for the two be reached at rachelvg@umich.edu.
Want to be an opinion cartoonist? The Daily is looking for creative,
artistic and opinionated people to draw weekly cartoons.


Last week, the 112th Congress began
its work under new Republican leader-
ship. This work began by reading the
entire United States Constitution aloud.
The reading came a day after the chamber
approved new rules for passing legislation.
The first requires bills that feature spend-
ing increases must balance these increases
with spending cuts in another part of the
budget. The second states that tax hikes
are prohibited. The third requires the
specification of which part of the Consti-
tution validates the bill. The new Republi-
can leadership has also scheduled a vote to
repeal the health care reform bill, but the
new date of this vote has yet to be deter-
Conservatives were able to take con-
trol of the House in November's mid term
elections by campaigning on a platform of
change. Many representatives asserted that
they wanted to change the way Congress.
operated and make it more efficient. But all
we've seen so far are grand, pointless ges-
tures. Taking the time to read aloud a docu-
ment that all legislators should already be
well versed in is exactly that: a grand, point-
less gesture. It doesn't accomplish anything
for the voters who put these people in office.
The vote to repeal health care reform, also

accomplishes nothing since it has no chance
of making it past the Senate. Instead of arbi-
trarily asserting their power over House
Democrats, House Republicans should
compromise and pass legislation to modify
the health care law.
Repealing last year's health care law
would actually increase the budget deficit,
according to the non-partisan Congres-
sional Budget Office. It would also deprive
30 million Americans of health insurance.
The law hasn't been fully enacted and needs
to be given time to work. If congressional
Republicans want to address their concerns
with health care reform they should do it in
a way that actually has the opportunity to
make positive change.
Now that they are a majority in the House,
Republicans must commit to governing. If
they wish to lead this country responsibly,
Republicans must begin by changing House
spending rules and stop wasting time with
meaningless votes. After one week in office,
they have shown themselves more inter-
ested in political theater than responsible
governance. Republicans need to make an
honest effort to keep their campaign prom-
ises to voters by making Congress more
efficient and reasonably addressing serious
legislative issues.


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
Circumventing circumcision

Drop New Year's diets

I've got a new sibling on the way who is due
in a few months. Along with the many experi-
ences I want to pass along to my sibling, there
are also a few I wish to shield it from. Should he
be a boy, the most immediate and foreboding
offense that I must fend off is the circumcision.
Mutilated at birth without any say in the
matter, my parents had the doctor abbreviate
my penis. What I'm left with is what I assume
to be a "normal"-looking organ, but as you
can imagine, I'm totally ungrateful. The most
important issue to me is the decrease in physi-
cal pleasure. Apparently there are some major
nerve endings in the foreskin, and, allegedly,
that sexual pleasure is significantly decreased
when the skin is removed. It's like-that old say-
ing, "IfI had a penny for every time ..." If I had
foreskin for every sexual encounter ... well, my
sex life would be a lot better.
On top of that, there's a practical reason to
have a foreskin - a skin shield on one of the
most important biological organs seems like
a good idea. According to healthychildren.org
"Without (the foreskin) the tip of the penis
may become irritated and cause the opening of
the penis to become too small. This can cause
urination problems that may need to be surgi-
cally corrected." Fortunately no terrible medi-
cal incidents have befallen my penis because of
circumcision, but that's not always the case.
There's the famous David Reimer of the
"John/Joan Case" who had his penis destroyed
during circumcision - and he isn't the excep-
tion. While the issues aren't always as extreme,
the American Medical Association says that
complications arise during 0.2 to 0.6 percent
of neonatal circumcisions, and the rates are
much higher in non-developed nations. The
American Medical Association, the American
Academy of Pediatrics and The British Medi-
cal Association don't recommend routine, non-
therapeutic circumcision for males.
This procedure also produces a severe
amount of pain for weeks on end. I remember
my brother's circumcision soon after birth. As
you can imagine, it was a grueling healing pro-
cess. Though babies don't remember their pain,
this doesn't excuse the infliction.
The other problem with circumcision is the
total lack of consideration of a child's rights. I
obviously regret that I was circumcised. Had
the decision been left up to me, I would have

kept my body intact. But if aboy is not circum-
cised, he can always choose to be circumcised
at a later age. If there's a health issue, it might
be necessary for parents to make a decision on
behalf of their child, but if cosmetic, the deci-
sion should be left up to the child. We shouldn't
let parents tattoo and cut up their child's geni-
talia because it's the prevailing societal trend.
In the U.S. there seems to be a social taboo
against the natural penis. It's anecdotal, but I
personally have heard girls voice complaints
about the uncut penis. Is this any differ-
ent than men in Mauritania suggesting that
women undergo female circumcision? One
might prefer it, but in an attempt to reverse a
backward social trend, people should encour-
age the abstention from circumcision and open
their sensibilities to less mutilated genitalia.
About 56 percent of infants born in the U.S.
are circumcised and the rate is much lower in
Europe and Australia - where they've begun
to abandon the procedure. Unfortunately reli-
gion plays a large role in the world, and cir-
cumcision is a common practice among Jews
and Muslims due to religious traditions. This
is no excuse and religion shouldn't be a mask
to hide behind child abuse or any other detri-
mental activity. Circumcision is a total viola-
tion of rights, and religious tradition shouldn't
be the influential force that decides the fate of
the penis.
If circumcision were necessary, it might be
acceptable, but in most cases there is no sig-
nificant advantage to the procedure. There are
some therapeutic reasons to circumcise a boy
- like phimosis - where the foreskin is too
tight and is difficult to retract, but this is a rare
occurrence. Other benefits of circumcision
are minor and achievable through responsible
health practices. For example, circumcision
can slightly lower the risk of HIV and the
chance of infantile urinary tract infections,
but proper hygiene and the practice of safe sex
make permanent mutilation of the male sex
organ totally unnecessary.
If a male truly wants a circumcision, then it
should be granted, but to circumcise an infant
at birth - for cosmetic or social reasons - is
totally inexcusable. One day, maybe, all men
will have the penises they were born with.
Teddy Papes is an LSA junior.

it's that time of year again -
early January - which for many
also means that it's time for yet
another attempt to
lose weight. Every
year as January
approaches, I get
more and more
e-mails about
how to lose that
weight gained or,
even more improb-
ably, how to lose
15 pounds pain- MARY
lessly. Typical tips DEMERY
include taking only
one bite of that
really delicious
cookie, or exercising like a maniac
five days a week. Few e-mails suggest
that I enjoy what I eat, or that I treat
meals like what they actually are -
meals, not heightened experiences
and certainly not cause for hinging or
As a regular reader of fitness and
health-oriented magazines and web-
sites, I've come to accept the constant
barrage of weight loss tips and tricks.
Like it or not, they're embedded in
my psyche. I know, for instance, that
3,500 calories equals one pound.
Likewise, blueberries and green tea
are "super foods" and should be con-
sumed as often as possible for their
bountiful health benefits. These are
dietary tidbits that, in accepting them,
I've stored away. I've also accepted
that though these weight loss tips are
ever changing, the overall message of
the fitness magazines doesn't change.
Weight loss remains, issue after issue,
the main selling point.
And though this message isn't the
greatest for readers' self-esteem,
magazines like Self and Shape retain
subscribers year after year. The per-
manence of these magazines reflects
the steady interest American women

have in losing weight and a collective
desire to lead a healthy lifestyle.
The New Year's weight loss dilem-
ma remains. Why, during the begin-
ning of a new year, must weight loss
be an issue? Why isn't it possible to
flip through Self without seeing a rec-
ipe for low-calorie dinners? Do peo-
ple really gain that much weight over
the holidays? It seems unlikely to me.
And even if some people do gain a few
pounds, I'd argue that fitness maga-
zines contribute to the feeding frenzy
the holiday season is so often associ-
ated with. By berating readers with
weight loss tips, fitness magazines
are (subconsciously or not) telling
readers that weight gain during this
season is a common occurrence. For
me personally, this makes me more
inclined to over eat. I rationalize it -
it's the holidays. I'm supposed to eat
until I'm stuffed. I put off the serious
thoughts about weight loss until after
New Year's, telling myself that this
will be the year I actually make los-
ing weight a serious resolution.
I didn't ajways think this way. The
family Christmas party used to be
a time when I saw my family from
out-of-state, and the food just hap-
pened to be really good. Now, though,
the holidays are all about food to me.
It can be a bit of a minefield. I want
to enjoy all the hors d'oeuvres, the
mashed potatoes and the sweets. But I
also don'twantto gain weight. Fitness
magazines, with all their hype about
how to offset holiday weight gain and
jumpstart weight loss resolutions,
make it seem impossible to do both.
The New Year's weight loss hype
has gotten so frustrating that I've
had to take a break from health web-
sites and magazines. When I see an
issue of Women's Health Magazine
at the drugstore during this time of
year, I pass it up, choosing Vanity Fair
instead. At least I know Graydon Cart-

er won't assault me with diet tips.
I'm trying something new this
year. It's sort of an anti-New Year's
resolution. I'm not going to diet my
way through next December, nor am
I going to eat so many cookies that
my stomach starts to swell up like
Santa's. Instead, I'm going to do what
I should have been doing all along,
which includes thoroughly enjoying
each meal - realizing that it's only
that: one meal. It isn't magical. It
won't make me miraculously gain or
lose five pounds. This rational men-
tality will serve as a practice run for
something I'd like to start implement-
ing full time in 2011: eating when I'm
hungry without guilt.
This year I'm
trying an anti-New
Year's resolution.
This all sounds deceivingly easy.
But ask anyone that's felt stuffed after
a few too many servings of turkey,
and you'll know that it's not. And it's
OK to eat a little more on the holidays
than you would usually. But doing so
isn't cause for panic. In choosing to
not associate the holidays with food
and food with guilt, it's easier to stop
thinking about weight gain. After
all, good food is a major part of the
holidays, but it shouldn't be the only
part. It shouldn't be a powerful part.
Thinking about food this way makes
it easier to resist the pressure to make
losing weight one of your resolutions.
Food can only cause guilt if you let it.
- Mary Demery can be reached
at mdemery@umich.edu.

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