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April 15, 2011 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-04-15

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4 - Friday, April 15, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4- Friday, April 15, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom


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 of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Blowing in the wind
Learn from DTE's alternative energy efforts
As the debate over the state budget continues, one question
remains at the forefront: How can Michigan rebuild its
economy for the 21st century? According to DTE Energy,,
the answer may be blowing in the wind. On Wednesday, the utili-
ties giant, which provides more than three million Michigan homes
and businesses with energy, unveiled plans to build its first wind
farms in the state. By providing cleaner energy and developing the
promising renewable energy business sector, this $225 million proj-
ect is a solid investment for both DTE and the state of Michigan.

Meanwhile, Palin's polls continue to drop...
Maybe if we just give
her some change, she'll
leave us alone.


Collective amnesia


According to an April 13 article from The
Associated Press, DTE plans to build about 50
wind turbines in Huron and Sanilac counties,
producing 110 megawatts of energy that can
power over 100,000 homes. This is an encour-
aging turnaround for the corporation, which
was sued in August by the Environmental Pro-
tection Agency for spending tens of millions
of dollars repairing coal-fired power plants.
By building these energy farms in Michigan's
Thumb region, DTE is not only saving face, but
doing its part to help meet Michigan's renew-
able energy goal - a 45-percent reduction of
fossil fuel use by 2020. The development of
these turbines is a great way to make clean,
sustainable energy available to Michigan citi-
zens on a large scale.
The development of the turbines will not
only serve as a source of clean power for
Michigan, but will also aid in the growth of
businesses focussed on renewable energy in
the state. The Big Three's financial roller-
coaster ride, over the past decade, made it
clear that in order to get out of this state of
economic stagnation, Michigan must begin
industrial development in more modern and

promising sectors. From the construction
teams to analysts, the production of wind
turbines in Michigan will create jobs in the
renewable energy industry, helping the state
move forward economically.
Other corporations in Michigan should
take note of DTE's turbine initiative and
work toward developingsimilar environmen-
tally friendly practices. While the creation
of the wind farms will certainly be an aid in
reaching both the state and nation's renew-
able energy goals, DTE can't do it alone.
Other sectors, like the automobile industry,
need to make an effort to create renewable
energy operations. Clean, sustainable energy
is key - not only for the state's and nation's
economic future, but also for the future of
the planet. Michigan companies need follow
DTE's lead, and make a conscious effort to
become more sustainable.
DTE's investment in wind turbines across
the state was a smart move, both economically
and environmentally. Other Michigan busi-
nesses should mirror DTE's efforts and end
'business-as-usual' environmental practices,
in exchange for innovative, green technologies.

don't care about college foot-
ball, but plenty of my friends
do. Every Michigan fan I know
is excited about the Brady Hoke
Era. This new
era will not have
any impact on
my life, but I am
pulling for him.
I still root for
the school, and
more impor-
tantly - speak- /
ing as someone NEILL
who received MOHAMMAD
a degree from
the University
of Illinois - for the Big Ten. Any-
thing that might restore midwestern
glory at the expense of the rest of the
country is a cause I can get behind.
But as someone who studies polit-
ical behavior for a living, the total
about-face among the Michigan fans
overthe pastfewyearsis fascinating.
Lloyd Carr was hustled out of his job
by disgruntled alumni because he
was unfairly perceived to be insuf-
ficiently modern. Just a few years
later, Carr's high-tech, bleeding
edge successor, Rich Rodriguez, has
also been replaced, but by someone
who seems to out-Carr Carr him-
self. Hoke's persona and philosophy,
as they are described in the media,
areso old-fashioned and home-spun
that they come off as caricature.
Rodriguez, the slicked-back opera-
tor, managed to convince Michigan
to pitch in for his multi-million dol-
lar penalty from breaking a contract
at West Virginia University early. By
contrast, Hoke famously signed his
contract with the University with-
out reading it, or even bothering to
ask what he'd be making. I still find
that hard to believe, though I com-
pletely believe that the idea that it
could be true is important to many

fellow fans. t
As is so often the case with nos-
talgia, the facts themselves get in
the way. Carr's farewell tour in 2007
wasn't greeted with the salivation
that Rodriguez's dismissal was,
but most people thought it was for
the best. The conventional wisdom
was unambiguous: Michigan foot-
ball needed to be dragged, kicking
and screaming, into the modern
era. Enter Rodriguez, whose spread
offense put an unheralded West Vir-
giniateamin two BCS bowls in three
years. Of course, the formula didn't
work at Michigan. But now, under
Hoke, the fans have decided after
the fact that not only was a Rodri-
guez himself a poor hire, but the
entire idea of bringing in a modern-
izing figure was a mistake to begin
with. In 2007, Michigan football was
too hidebound and traditional to
compete, but after the 2010 season,
Michigan football was too modern.
What ails us now isn't a failure of
tradition, but instead a failure to be
traditional enough.
This same pattern plays itself
out, over and over again, in sports
and in the wider world. Consider
the budget wars taking place in
Lansing, in Washington, and seem-
ingly everywhere in between. In
the fall of 2008, Barack Obama was
a mortal lock to win the presiden-
cy after eight years of Republican
rule. This was largely because of
those eight years, seven were spent
assaulting the middle class and the
eighth saw the largest single eco-
nomic crisis since 1929. Though
this synopsis probably reads like
ancient history, it was only two and
a half years ago.
Over the past few weeks, col-
lective amnesia has set in with a
vengeance. Everything we took to
be true in 2010 - that tax cuts for

the wealthy don't produce growth,
that gutting economic regulations
damages the economy and leaves
the middle classes holding the bag,
that we can't keep paying more for
healthcarethan any other developed
economy in the world and getting
such poor care for our money - has
been cast out.Even modest changes,
like a healthcare bill that makes it
slightly more difficult for private
insurers to cancel coverage if you get
cancer, have been painted as some
sort of Communist plot against free
enterprise. Warren Buffet already
pays less in taxes, as a percentage of
his income, than his secretary does.
But in 2011, Paul Ryan can peddle
the same regressive tax cuts his
party has proposed for the last 30
years and come off like a courageous
reformer for doing it.
Facts seem to
get in the way
of nostalgia.
Change is hard. New ideas don't
always work as quickly or as neatly
as we'd like. Brady Hoke has been
given the opportunity of a lifetime
because Michigan fans have for-
gotten every word they ever said
or thought about football three
years ago in order to scapegoat Rich
Rodriguez. These are unfortunate
circumstances to be sure, but I hope
Hokedoes well because he seems
like a good guy. I wish I could say
the same for the people benefiting
from our political amnesia.
-Neill Mohammad can be
reached at neilla@umich.edu.


Relative morality


Conservatives often counter the propos-
als to legalize gay marriage with the "slip-
pery slope" argument. I was listening to a
Glenn Beck broadcast in which he warned
that defining marriage between two consent-
ing adults would open the door to incest and
other deviant persuasions. Some may claim
that these are different situations and that
Republicans are scaremongering, but I would
say that Glenn Beck has exactly the right
idea. I hope that with the legalization of gay
marriage, our other marriage taboos - spe-
cifically our laws against incestuous marriage
- will slide down the proverbial slope into
humanity's closed-minded history.
If you think gays shouldn't get married,
you're probably not going to be convinced
by this article. But if you tend to favor an
expansion of our current marital parameters,
I think some reflection is in order. The laws
barring interracial marriage weren't over-
turned until 1967, when 15 states still had
laws against such a union. God did put differ-
ent ethnicities on different continents, so do
we really want to violate his grand plan? It's
important that we step out of our contempo-
rary societal (and religiops) constraints and
reflect on our culture and history. Our goal
should be to create a contemporary world that
will not have a progeny that is embarrassed of
its forebears.
The logical step when we federally give
gays the rights to marry must also extend
the parameters to incestuous marriages.
The argument that it is gross certainly has
no bearing. Many people are bothered by
homosexual relationships and consider them
unnatural or depraved. Everyone is entitled
to their opinion, but that should not give
these opinions any legal credibility. Our sen-
sibilities changed for interracial marriage,
our sensibilities are changing for gay mar-
riage and our sensibilities should, and most
likely will, change for incestuous marriages.
The best argument levied against incestu-
ous marriages is its effect on children. The
chance of genetic defects among the offspring
of incestuous couples is increased because of
an increased prevalence of recessive genes.
If this is going to be the main argument,
wouldn't it logically follow that we should
ban couples that are known carriers for reces-
sive genetic disorders? Ashkenazi Jews had
a higher prevalence of Tay-Sachs than the
general population. They underwent genetic
screening to avoid having children who had

Tay-Sachs, but if a couple both tested posi-
tive, shouldn't they be barred from having
Legalizing marriage in no way means
legalizing procreation, and incestuous cou-
ples could easily have children even if their
cohabitation isn't legally recognized. As a
form of compromise to those concerned with
the children of incestuous marriages, the U.S.
could arrive at a law that legalized incestu-
ous marriage, but still barred incestuous
procreation. The marriage law could require
medical proof of a vasectomy or a tubal liga-
tion. Incestuous couples simply cohabit with
the marriage benefits that the U.S. extends
to childless couples. What argument could
people levy against people taking precaution-
ary and socially responsible steps to ensure
the prevention of children with birth defects,
who want to receive marriage rights with the
one they love? And if children truly are the
main concern, then the legalization of same-
sex incest and same-sex incestuous marriag-
es circumvents any concerns for offspring
because they obviously won't be having any
Incest with minors is and should remain
a crime, but its legality between consen-
sual adults needs to be modified. Consen-
sual incest between adults is legal in Rhode
Island and New Jersey and is completely
legal between consenting parties in France.
In 25 U.S. states, marriage is legal between
first cousins, while some have counseling
mandates for cousins who want to get mar-
ried. For example, Illinois allows cousins
who are unable to reproduce or are 50 years
or older to get married. These laws need to be
expanded to all 50 states and need to apply
to sibling and other more immediate family
relationships. Cousins who want to get mar-
ried are forced to travel to other states where
it is allowed, much like homosexual couples
of today.
This may be a little hard to swallow, but
whatever progressive logic we apply to homo-
sexual matrimony needs to apply to other
marginalized groups within the country. It
may be complicated, but that doesn't mean we
should wholeheartedly ban incestuous rela-
tionships., Our easily offended sensibilities
shouldn't create victims out of those whose
love manifests itself in a form different than
our own.p
Teddy Papes is an LSA junior.

Aida Ali, Will Butler, Ellie Chessen, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer, Melanie Kruvelis,
Patrick Maillet, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga,
Teddy Papes, Timothy Rabb, Asa Smith, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner
The wrong choice for Senior Day


Each year, the University Law School has its own
graduation ceremony on Senior Day, which takes place
the week following the University-wide commence-
ment. Senior Day is a much more intimate and personal
event than the University's ceremony - understand-
able because the graduating law school class is much
smaller, and therefore everyone knows pretty much
everyone else.
The Law School announced the selection of this
year's Senior Day speaker on Monday: It will be Sen.
Rob Portman (R-Ohio), an alumnus of the law school.
Before being elected a senator, Portman served in the
House of Representatives and in a couple different
positions in the George W. Bush administration.
The students who are aware of Portman's selec-
tion are largely disappointed - highlighting his dubi-
ous positions on civil rights issues most salient to the
new generation of lawyers being minted on Senior
Day. For example, the website On The Issues notes
that Portman opposes affirmative action, voted to ban
adoptions by gay people, opposes gays serving in the
military and has even gone so far as to support a consti-
tutional amendment barring gay marriage - a position
considered somewhat extreme even within the Repub-
lican Party.
Some will say it's sad that the mere fact that Portman
is a Republican makes him a controversial and unpopu-
lar selection. Last year's Senior Day speaker was Val-
erie Jarrett, advisor to President Barack Obama. And
while she was also a politicized selection, the majority
of students found her perfectly palatable. But Portman
is not coming to the law school to speak on gay rights.
So should it matter what his political positions are?
Is the fact that he is a successful alumnus of our Law
School and a person who can certainly impart some
words of wisdom on us lawyers-to-be enough to over-
look the rest?
Actually, the problem is deeper than that, and tied
mostly to Portman's views on civil rights for gay peo-
ple. Our graduating class is among the first of a genera-
tion that views equality based on sexual orientation as
something more than an academic question on which
people can agree to disagree. Rather, we have been
raised in a slightly more enlightened world, and count
amongst our friends and colleagues many gay people
who continue to face discrimination that is abhorrent

to the spirit of constitutional protections afforded to
all people.
There was a time when such discrimination was
common, and acceptable. That time has passed: Equal
rights in terms of sexual orientation have become the
most salient social issue for our generation. While
plenty of diversity of opinion remains in our class and
generation, the vast majority of us who find Portman's
views on civil rights tobe outright despicable cannot be
expected to applaud him as an intellectually and pro-
fessionally viable selection.
Senior Day is different from most platforms a pub-
lic university and law school may provide. While
I'd generally commend the presentation of speakers
with diverse opinions, Senior Day is not the time or
place to present a man whose position on perhaps the
most important social issue of our time is so person-
ally offensive and egregious to the vast majority of the
graduating class.
We lawstudents are adults, and the vast majority of
us are responsible, open-minded adults. We should and
do know how to disagree about important things with-
out being belligerent. Even if we strongly disagree with
his political stances, we should be able to listen to Port-
man, politely clap and move on. We should be able to do
this, but we should not have to - not on our Senior Day.
Senior Day is not supposed to be about politics. I
have always been a strong believer that there is a time
and place for political debate and disagreement, but
by presenting Portman as speaker, the Law School has
made Senior Day the appropriate time and place. I'd
rather it wasn't this way. But it is equally crucial that
we Law School students, who owe so much intellectual
growth to our years at this amazing law school, exer-
cise the rights and ideals that we have spent our lives
learning about.
Failing to speak our objection in light of the Law
School's decision to give a platform to a man who advo-
cates positions that are outright discriminatory toward
many of our friends and colleagues is simply unbecom-
ing: We who follow as proud Michigan Law alumni in
the spirit and footsteps of giants of social justice like
Clarence Darrow, Frank Murphy and Branch Rickey
cannot make such a glaring omission.
Imran Syed is a University Law School student.
A i


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