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4A -Wednesday, September "21, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A -ednsday Setembr 2, 201 Te Mchign Dily mihigadaiyco

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

SUMMER KRINSKY

E-MAIL SUMMER AT SKRINSKY@UMICH.EDU.

SUMMER KRINSKY E-MAIL SUMMERAT SKRINSKY@UMICH.EDU.

Who wants a
^ piece of us?
That's right, we're
nationally ranked.
Welcome to the
Big House.
\i
\

STEPHANIE STEINBERG
EDITOR IN CHIEF

MICHELLE DEWITT
and EMILY ORLEY
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS

NICK SPAR
MANAGING EDITOR

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.
F ROM T HE DAILY
Shape up, Michigan,
Gov. Snyder's health care plan shows promise
Michigan was named the 10th-most obese state in the
nation in July. In light of this staggering ranking
and other alarming health statistics, Republican
Gov. Rick Snyder unveiled a health care plan that aims to
promote overall wellness for Michigan citizens.

Flexing conservative muscle

6

The obesity rate in Michigan are among
the highest in the nation - almost 70 per-
cent of the state's residents are overweight or
obese - and this number has steadily risen
for the past 15 years. But Snyder is taking
realistic action to combat this statistic. His
plan includes providing healthier cafeteria
choices to schoolchildren, improving exer-
cise programs and keeping track of cases of
childhood obesity by putting the data into a
state registry.
A primary aspect of the proposal is the
plan to require pediatricians to report their
patients' body mass indices. While monitor-
ing children's BMI may seem invasive, the
practice should ultimately prove beneficial.
Based on their BMI, 12.4 percent of children
in the state are considered obese and obtain-
ing information to track obesity data can help
communities form comprehensive plans to
combat childhood health issues. Efforts like
providing healthy, affordable school lunches
and ensuring children see a doctor regularly
will help Michigan children develop positive
habits for the future.
Another aspect of Snyder's proposal is to
ban smoking on beaches- a measure compa-
rable tothe University smoking ban that went
into effect in July. Smoking poses widely
known health risks, and health care modifi-
cations should promote statewide education
and assistance in curtailing these risks. But
the decision whether or not to smoke should
ultimately reside in the hands of individual

citizens, not the government.
In addition to attempting to curtail smok-
ing, his "4x4" plan emphasizes the impor-
tance of a balanced diet, regular exercise and
yearly physicals. These efforts are appropri-
ate and beneficial because they promote well-
ness while simultaneously allowing residents
to make positive choices for themselves.
Snyder's plan also seeks to combat autism
in children. Believing that those with the dis-
order are best treated early in development,
Snyder proposed to help families with autis-
tic children by providing them with better
health coverage aswell as treatment options.
In his statement, he explained that Michigan
is one of the worst states to raise an autistic
child. Improvements in care for young chil-
dren are important in combating autism.
The proposal also called for a new meth-
od for health insurance in the state - the
MIHealth Marketplace. With an unofficial
start date of Jan. 2014, the plan would cover
upwards of 500,000 Michigan citizens and
be overseen by a nonprofit firm. Unlike many
conservative governors who are fighting
President Barack Obama's health care ini-
tiative, Snyder is showing bipartisanship by
developing an insurance program that is in
line with the federal government's plan.
Many alterations in Snyder's health care
reform plan are common sense. The state
should get behind the changes and show a
commitment to improvements in the overall
health and wellness of Michigan's citizens.

f you've everhappenedtowatch
a professional ~ bodybuilding
competition, you might agree.
with this assess-
ment: The con-
testants don't
look human
with their bulg-
ing muscles and
grossly-propor-
tioned bodies.
You might ques-
tion whether DARWEI
engaging in CHEN
such an activ-
ity is healthy, as
bodybuilding requires insane diet-
ing, extreme training regimens,
unhealthy steroid use and other
unnatural behaviors. I'm not even
sure if most bodybuilders would be
able to perform basic athletic acts
like running an eighth of a mile.
The point here is that bodybuilding
is almost functionally useless and
serves only to fulfill a misguided
notion about the "ideal" man.
So how is bodybuilding compa-
rable to the current Republican field
of presidential candidates, and what
can it tell us about the upcoming pri-
mary seasontA striking similarity is
the extent to which both are extreme
and ideological. When bodybuilders
traintheytake an activitythatmany
people do to some extent (working
out and getting in shape) and carry
it out to absurd extremes - conse-
quences be damned.
Sounds like the GOP. Many
around this country consider them-
selves to be politically conservative,
and nothing is wrong with that.
However, being moderately conser-
vative is not enough to run for pres-
ident in today's Republican Party.
The modern Republican Party has
an unspoken conservative purity
test that every candidate must pass.
One of the criteria on this test
is being anti-science, presumably
because scientists are liberal elit-
ists. Top-tier candidates, Gov. Rick
Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann

have unequivocally denied the sci-
ence of climate change, which is a
message that runs counter to the
opinions of every major scientific
body of national and international
standing. Former Gov. Mitt Romney
has been slightly more accepting of
the science, but not by much. The
only GOP candidate to embrace cli-
mate science is Gov. Jon Huntsman,
who has actuallycalledoutthe other
candidates for being anti-science.
However, his position on science is
very unpopular and the criticism he
has received for it as well as his poll,
numbers indicate as much. In terms
of evolutionary theory, the situation
is similar, as Huntsman is the only
major candidate to openly accept
evolution.
And just like in bodybuilding
competitions where the most mus-
cular contestant is rewarded with
the grand prize, the GOP candidates
who exemplify the most extreme
forms of conservatism are rewarded
with public support. In the Fox News
debate held this summer, all eight
contenders onstage raised their
hands when asked whether they
would reject a deal that contained
$10 of spending cuts for every dollar
of revenue increases. Of course, the
audience applauded enthusiastically
as this scene unfolded. For refer-
ence, former president and conser-
vative saint Ronald Reagan accepted
a deal with a 3:1 ratio of spending
cuts to revenue increases.
Why do these candidates show
such deference to the politics of the
far-right wing if the views are so
extreme? The answer is simple: The
candidate, by taking these absurd
stances, shows thathe or she is ideo-
logically pure. In bodybuilding, the
competitors chase the "ideal" bodys
in the modern GOP, candidates want
to be the "ideal" conservative. How-
ever, we know that in both cases,
these notions. of what is ideal are
very wrongbecause extreme conser-
vatism (like professional bodybuild-
ing) is unhealthy. But in today's GOP,

the farther right you are, the more
ideal you are.
For example, let's look at the
MSNBC Republican debate held
a couple of weeks ago, where the
audience cheered when moderator
Brian Williams talked about Rick
Perry's record-breaking execution
record as governor of Texas. Fur-
thermore, the audience applauded
when Perry denied ever struggling
with the possible innocence of any
of the executed. I don't think I am
being unreasonable when I say
that most people would rather not
live in a country where the death
penalty is recklessly and unapolo-
getically applied. How about last
week's debate sponsored by the Tea
Party and CNN, where the audience
apparently agreed with the idea that
uninsured patients should be left
to die if they have life-threatening
illnesses, and Ron Paul insinuated
that churches should be responsible
for the uninsured, not government.
These views are literally unhealthy.

S

GOP should stop
being extreme
and ideological.

The current Republican candi-
dates do not seem to understand the
consequences of their stances and,
more disturbingly, they do not seem
to care. For them, the ideal image
is being ideologically and purely
conservative, regardless of wheth-
er governing the country in such a
way is functional. But in the sport
of governing, the country needs
an athlete, not a bodybuilder. Let's
hope for some reasonable options
from the GOP.
-Dar-Wei Chen can be reached
at chendw@umich.edu.

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Aida Ali, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer, Patrick Maillet,
Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley,
Teddy Papes, Timothy Rabb, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner
PATRICK MAILLET T
Reignite political passion

Regulate gases, regulate health

During one of my classes last week, my pro-
fessor decided to take a quick poll. The ques-
tion he asked was whether you A) approved of
President Barack Obama's performance thus
far as president B) disapproved of Obama's
performance thus far as president or C) did not
care. The response was that 26 percent of the
class approved of Obama's performance thus
far, 34 percent disapproved and 40 percent did
not care. The problem isn't the fact that more
kids disapproved than approved of Obama's
job - it's that 40 percent simply didn't care
enough to express an opinion.
Normally this breakdown would not be that
odd consideringthattheAmericanyouth rare-
ly devotes much attention to politics. How-
ever, this poll was taken in a Ford School of
Public Policy class - a class in which students
are almost unanimously interested in politics
and government. Also, let us not forget that
we go to the University of Michigan - one of
the more liberal and politically affluent public
universities in the country. So here isthe prob-
lem: If young people in a public policy course
at the University of Michigan do not care
about what the president has or has not done,
then who does?
During the 2008 presidential campaign,
Obama was able to harness the youth vote bet-
ter than any candidate in recent American his-
tory. His undeniably exceptional oratory skills
captured young audiences across America,
and students organized in record numbers to
support him. On his platform of "hope" and
"change," Obama was ableto convince my gen-
eration that he represented an alternative to
the status quo. And sure enough, we believed
him. According to Civicyouth.org, an organi-
zation that promotes raising youth voter turn-
out, 51 percent of people ages 18 to 29 voted in
the 2008 election, which is the highest voter
turnout for this demographic since 1972. Fur-
thermore, 66 percent of these young people
voted for Obama and volunteered more exten-
sively than any other age group. These young
people not only gave Obama their vote, but
many of them worked painstakingly to lobby
other people to do the same. It's almost impos-
sible for one to deny the colossal effect that

young Americans had on securing Obama's
2008 election victory.
Unfortunately, times haven't changed.
We're still at war with Afghanistan and Iraq,
Guantanamo Bay is still open and tuition pric-
es have only continued their ridiculous climb.
These issues, among many others, are the rea-
sons young people have given up on American
politics. This compounded by the seemingly
daily fiasco of watching our politicians stub-
bornly refuse to work together has turned
so many people in my generation away from
politics. Many people believed Obama would
represent a new era in modern politics. More
specifically, young people supported Obama
because they believed he was the first major
presidential candidate that actually under-
stood and cared about the problems of Ameri-
ca's youth. Sadly, the "hope" and "change" we
were promised simply wasn't as drastic as we
would have liked. The worst part about this is
that it's not entirely Obama's fault. In reality,
it's ours.
Obama has made some fantastic strides
during his time as president. Allowing kids
to stay on their parent's health insurance
until age 26, reforming credit card law and
hunting down Osama bin Laden all benefited
Obama's young voters terrifically. However, to
put it bluntly, we were promised more. Many
of the young people who supported Obama
expected everything to be fixed after he was
elected. After all, we were promised 5 million
green jobs, an effective health care system and
financial reform that benefit those who need
it, not those who need another yacht. Call it
naivete, call it just plain stupid, but unfortu-
nately we set our sights way too high.
The mesmerizing and electric 2008 presi-
dential campaign simply cannot be recre-
ated for the 2012 election. These young voters
aren't going to vote for the Republican nomi-
nee. They just aren't going to vote at all. And
that is where the problem lies. Obama, in order
for you to be re-elected in 2012, you must reig-
nite the passion within America's youth, and
unfortunately, this might just be impossible.
Patrick Maillet is an LSA sophomore.

Revisions to the Clean Air
Act were again delayed ear-
lier this
month. For those
of you who may
be a little rusty .
on Environmen-
tal Protection
Agency guide-
lines, the Clean
Air Act, intro- JOE
duced in the SUGIYAMA
1970s,isdesigned
to reduce the
amount of pol-
lutants - known to have adverse
effects on humans - from being
released into the atmosphere. Much
like the Safe Drinking Water Act -
whichisn't just a clever name - the
CAA is designed to protect the over-
all health of Americans.
The CAA is a success story of
the EPA, and our country is bet-
ter for it. But with any regulation,
the name of the game is adapt or
die. That's why in 2009, the EPA
was given the go-ahead to regu-
late greenhouse gases (GHGs) after
years of research indicated that
the six gases - including carbon
dioxide - are detriments to human
health as well as the environment.
After the controversial ruling
to regulate greenhouse gases, I
thought the EPA would have a great
deal of power to tweak the CAA to
provide a healthier environment
for Americans and rule the air with
a zero-emissions fist. Not so. Ear-
lier this month, stricter regulations
on acceptable levels of smog in the
atmosphere, and the execution of
regulating GHGs were delayed for
the second time in three months.
If you're sitting there thinking
that I'm just another hippy, who only
stops hugging trees long enough to
spew out some global warming non-
sense, hear me out, These stricter
guidelines would reduce acceptable

amounts of smog in the atmosphere
from 75 parts per billion to some-
where between 60 and 70 ppb. These
new rules are the result of years of
scientific investigation of the effects
of smog on humans. Experts have
estimated that this reduction would
prevent nearly 2,200 heart attacks
and 8,400 emergency room visits in
the next eight years. It isn't the trees
that the EPA is trying to save, it's the
lives of thousands of Americans.
The steps taken to improve the
quality oflife aren'tsolely because of
the EPA. A Sep. 15 blog post by the
New York Times explains that the
U.S. Supreme Court has mandated
the regulation of emissions to be "a
threatto human health and the envi-
ronment." The EPA has provided
proof that the current acceptable
levels of smog and GHG under the
CAA are just that.
The backlash of increasing these
regulation levels. comes from the
expected industrial parties who
argue the new regulations will cost
them money they don't have. And,
though EPA officials have said the
delay is a result of "agency consider-
ations and not by political pressure
from the White House," it's apparent
that this isn't the case.
President iBarack Obama is a for-
ward-thinking man when it comes
to decisions that could jeopardize
his re-election in 2012. Sen. James
Inhofe (Ok.-R) seems certain,
according to a press release, that
the price of these new regulations
could "cost hundreds of thousands
of American jobs, [as well as costing]
President Obamahis own job, and he
knows it all too well."
On the flip side of this are experts
who argue the lack of regulations are
more costly to Americans than the
actual employment of these guide-
lines. Mark Jacobson, a greenhouse
gas expert at Stanford University,
told the Huffington Post that "the

EPA is well aware that controlling air
pollutionhas abenefit-to-costratioof
about four to one" due to the health
care expenses of hospitalvisits.
These academic endorsements on
the new regulations are to be expect-
ed with as much certainty as indus-
trial companies' opposition on the
matter. We've come to an impasse-
one that certainly won't be resolved
until after the 2012 election.
Act needs to
provide cleaner
air for Americans.

0

Though it's clear thattaking away
a person's job is the quickest way to
create a straight Republican ticket,
Obama should have a little more
pride when it comes to following up
on promises. I can't even begin to
imagine the pressures of running
for office, and I'm not so naive that I
turn everything a president says into
gospel. But I do sense a certain trend
of actionsby the current administra-
tion. Think big. Act small.
These new regulations will
undoubtedly create a healthier
environment and save lives. The
research and plans for implemen-
tation are there, yet the courage to
stand behind an unpopular decision
is not. If every president's decisions
came down to a popularity con-
test, Obama would certainly not be
in office. Though the CAA is a far
cry from emancipation, they both
require courage by our country's
leader. Courage that I hope is dis-
played soon.
Joe Sugiyama can be reached
at jmsugi@umich.edu.

'" 4

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