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December 05, 2011 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-12-05

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4A - Monday, December 5, 2011

The Michigan Daily -michigandaily.com

4A - Monday, December 5, 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 ofttheir authors.
Imran Syed is the public editor. He can be reached at publiceditor@michigandaily.com.
(AID)i ngrecovery
Federal funds will benefit AIDS research
Jn honor of World AIDS Day last Thursday, President Barack
Obama announced a plan that seeks to put a serious dent in the
transmission of HIV, and he declared that our generation "can
beat this disease." Obama pledged $50 million toward AIDS treatment
centers and research throughout the United States. This statement is
a huge commitment to a serious disease that has killed more than 30
million people since it was first diagnosed in 1982. With technologi-
cal and medical advances in this field occurring at a rapid pace, it's
important that Obama continues to reaffirm his promise to help fund

Benign bias

n my time as editorial page
editor of The Michigan Daily,
there was no more consis-
tent criticism of our page than the
constant cries of "bias." We would
try to explain to critics that bias
is kind of a necessity on opinion
pages - without it there wouldn't
be too many opinions to speak of.
But the epithet of bias is much
harder to shake when leveled at
facially objective news organiza-
tions, or divisions of a newspa-
per that are supposed to be about
"just-the-facts" - like the Daily's
news section.
Having considered the question
for a longtime, I continue to believe
that most news stories mean well.
Even in the age of Fox News and the
cable news infotainment explosion,
it's important to remember that
most news outlets that purport to
be unbiased really do try to live up
to that billing.
For example, when NBC was
owned by General Electric, and
the latter was building planes for
the American war effort, NBC's
news division faced criticism for
its apparent pulling of punches
when it came to reporting the true
disaster of the war in Iraq. It made
for an intriguing story, but it's sim-
ply not sensible to believe that an
organization that employed Keith
Olbermann for all those years was
somehow not critical enough of
the Bush administration's failure
in Iraq.
Commenting on a story in the
Daily last week, however, a reader
reminded me of a significant addi-
tional nuance to the bias-in-news
argument: There is some degree
of advocacy in every news story,
whether it's explicit enough to
annoy the average reader or not.
Even a simple decision on what
to deem newsworthy enough to

publish is a biased decision driven
by, and reinforcing, a particular
And with that contention (which
I think rings true), I turn my atten-
tion to a story that appeared in this
paper last week: "To professors'
dismay, students still use RateMy-
Professors.com," 11/28/2011. The
focus of the story was a website
that we're all familiar with - and
the potential problems students
and professors face when students
rely on that website for informa-
tion about courses. While the story
did disclose that the Daily operates
a competing website (maizeand-
bluereview.com), several people
expressed to me some discomfort
with the story.
The main point I think the aver-
age reader would take away from
that news story is that RateMyPro-
fessors is often inaccurate (given
its penchant for extremist reviews
by outlying students), and students
would be better informed about
the suitability of classes if they
could look at the University's own
course evaluations, which are more
detailed, though not always eas-
ily available. The Daily's compet-
ing website makes those University
course evaluations more accessible
to students, thereby seemingly
being the solution to the problem
the story points out.
Perhaps some readers will find
that to be a convenient enough out-
come to indicate somethingsinister,
but I disagree. The actual answer is
simple: The thesis of the story (that
RateMyProfessors is bad) is obvious
and widely known. And the Daily
provides course evaluations on
Maize & Blue Review not because
there is some gold mine there to be
tapped, but rather because it is a
simple and obvious student service,
the likes of which this paper should

engage in.
But that's not to say that no issue
remains. Ultimately it cannot be
denied that the Daily wrote a news
story that pushed readers into a
view that reinforces a competing
service provided by this news-
paper. What I want to suggest,
however, is that isn't always a bad
thing. The only alternatives the
Daily would have had are to: 1) not
create a website like Maize & Blue
Review, which would mean there is
less information out there for stu-
dents - an undesirable outcome, or
2) not write about the significant
shortcomings of the most popu-
lar professor and course review
website - another undesirable
outcome, given that students care
about such issues.
The Daily in this case avoided
both of those silly alternatives and
picked what I think is the most sen-
sible course: Write the story, have it
say what needs to be said, and pro-
vide full disclosure.
Sarcastically extrapolating a
common conservative complaint,
Stephen Colbert famously said,
"Reality has a liberal bias." That
comedic observation hits home
because it hints just enough truth.
Some stories need to be written,
even if writing them pushes read-
ers toward a certain viewpoint.
This isn't egregiously biased jour-
nalism, rather, it's an inevitability
for a paper trying to do its job. And
there's no use denying it or hiding
it - all we can do is explain it.
-The public editor is on independent
critic of the Daily, and neither the editorial
board nor the editor in chief exercise
control over the contents of his columns.
The opinions expressed do not necessarily
constitute the opinion of the Daily.
Imran Syed can be reached at


research for a cure for AIDS.
About 1.2 million people live with HIV
in the U.S. Each year, nearly 50,000 people
are infected with the disease, according to a
White House statement. In Obama's address,
he stated that over the last three years, it's
estimated that the disease has increased in
young, gay, black men by 50 percent.
In 2003, former President George W. Bush
launched the President's Emergency Plan for
AIDS Relief - a program that provides treat-
ment and support for the 15 countries that are
most affected by the disease. The plan cur-
rently has a budget of $48 billion, and a major
benefit of Obama's pledge is that the major-
ity of the money will be reallocated from this
existing resource, rather than taking addition-
al funds out of the government's budget.
The money will be put toward the govern-
ment's plan for expanding research, funding
medical facilities and digging deeper in pur-
suit of an eventual cure. But the funding will
not just be limited to helping to decrease AIDS
and HIV transmission. Money will also be put
toward providing antiretroviral drugs to HIV-
positive pregnant women in order to prevent
them from passing the disease along to their
unborn child. It will also fund the distribution
of more than 1 billion condoms in developing
countries around the world. These are impor-
tant measures that can help prevent HIV from
continuing to spread while people work on

finding a permanent cure.
In 2009, the International AIDS Society
announced that it will be holding the 2012
International AIDS Conference, a biannual
conference for HIV and AIDS professionals,
in Washington, D.C. Coinciding with this
news, Obama lifted a 20-year ban prohibit-
ing people from entering the country if they
were infected with the HIV virus. This event
should unite leaders and innovators from
various countries all over the world in hopes
of working together to improve global health
and medicine.
Paul De Lay, deputy director of the Joint
United Nations Programme on HIV and Aids,
said in a Dec. 1 CNN article that, "2011 has
been a game-changing year, with new sci-
ence, unprecedented political leadership and
continued progress in the AIDS response."
He stressed that countries around the world
must utilize these resources and use them to
end this disease. Obama's plan is a tremendous
financial backbone that can help scientists and
doctors work toward this goal.
The AIDS epidemic is a serious public health
issue in this country and around the world.
Proper funding must be assigned to research
so that a cure can be discovered. Obama's plan
to allocate $50 million toward AIDS research
and medical treatment across the countrywill
move us even closer to this goal.

Aida Ali, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer, Nirbhay Jain, Jesse Klein,
Patrick Maillet, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley, Teddy Papes, Timothy Rabb,
Vanessa Rychlinski, Caroline Syms, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner
The economics of immigration



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Big House, big memories
I stood in the endzone after the Ohio football game in East Lansing. While it was
football game this year, the last game I eye-opening in more ways than one, we were
ver attend as a student at the University, again surprised by the stadium. Spartan Sta-
a moment to reflect on how lucky I am dium looks like a college stadium, which was
. the Big House my college football home. more than we could say for Purdue, but we
r this year on a tour of the stadium, I still suffered some culture shock (beyond the
early in tears as I sat on the block 'M' at sea of green and taunts that assaulted our eyes
0-yard line, overwhelmed by the history and ears). To be fair, our scoreboards are now
radition of the stadium. For three years I the size of a blue whale, so it's not really fair to
he Big House for granted - laughing at compare them to other stadiums' scoreboards.
lends from the University of Illinois who But even our old scoreboards could have eaten
ln't miss their chance to come to the Big these scoreboards as an afternoon snack. Once
e,eventhough they don'twatchtheir own again, comparisons to our high school were
playgames intheir own stadium. Butthis running through our heads. It was nearly
realized just how lucky we truly are - impossible to watch a replay - something
g House is one of a kind, which became very frustrating at that game
huge part of my realization came from in particular - and there was only one score-
ing to away games. Last year, my room- board, so if you were sitting on the far side of
and I road tripped down to Purdue Uni- the stadium like us, good lucktrying to read the
y in West Lafayette. We were amazed yardage and down. And Spartan Stadium plays
e stadium. At the risk of being disowned advertisements too.
y Boilermaker relatives - the stadium Michigan Stadium has clearly spoiled me.
d more similar to our high school sta- With history and tradition backing us up, I've
than the Big House. The away locker become really proud to walk to the stadium
s weren't even attached to the stadium, every Football Saturday. I'm thankful that
he players had to walk outside through the Athletic Department doesn't need to sell
owd to get onto the field. And there were advertisements during the game soI can watch
antly ads playing throughout the game. replays and awesome sports montages on
ere astonished - we thought it was a Big screens the size of a whale. I'm proud that our
le that schools couldn't have advertise- stadium is admired country-wide and that fans
splaying at the game. It didn't take long from other schools are excited to visit. Most of
to wish we were at the Big House after all, I'm happy that I will always be able to call
ing the 27th Pepsi commercial instead of the Big House my home.

Attempts at immigration reform have been undistin-
guished at the federal level. The last serious bipartisan
effort - the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act
of 2007 - failed. Since then, states have enacted their
own legislation, which go to great extents to deter ille-
gal immigration. For example, in one of the most extreme
provisions - that was struck down inArizona, but upheld
in Alabama - officers must check the immigration sta-
tuses of individuals who they stop or arrest when they
suspect them to be in the country illegally.
Severe immigration laws like these at the state level
appear to differ drastically and unprecedentedly from
legislation previously debated at the federal level and
are gaining momentum in at least six states. These
laws are noteworthy because they come at a time when
illegal immigration to the United States is declining
According to Marcelo Suirez-Orozco, a professor of
globalization and education at New York University and
co-founder of the Harvard Immigration Project, since the
collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, illegal immigration
has significantly decreased while lawful immigration has
remained steady. But if illegal immigration is declining,
why is legislation that drastically deters it becoming more
prevalent, and what will it achieve? There's probably no
single or simple answer, but much could be understood
by considering the history of Mexican immigration tothe
As early as the 1850s, and well into the 1920s, Mexi-
cans filled labor shortages created by the U.S.'s expand-
ing agricultural and railroad industries. Mexicans were
crucial to the American economy. Moreover, central
Mexico in the 1920s was essentially a backwater of Mex-
ico's faltering economy. As agricultural economist Paul
Taylor documented in his pioneering work, jobs there
were scarce, and those employed in agriculture could
likely earn five times more building railroads in America.
Since Mexicans could easily cross the border at this time,
many migrated.
This trend reversed when the stock market crashed
in 1929. As unemployment escalated during the Great
Depression, so did opposition to Mexicans and beliefs
that Mexicans drain the country's welfare. For several
reasons the federal government and Legislatures nation-
wide passed laws that restricted Mexican immigration.
These laws also restricted Mexicans from getting jobs,
denied them welfare when they became unemployed
and, eventually, encouraged their deportation from
the country. In cities as north as Dearborn, police were
known to coerce Mexicans to prove their legal residence
to immigration authorities - something alarmingly close

to what the current Alabama legislation requires. Byl1937,
approximately 453,000 Mexicans were deported. Then
during World War II, this trend reversed. In response to
labor shortages, Mexicans were once again recruited to
the farms and factories they left just 10 years prior.
In hindsight, the essence of pre-Depression Mexi-
can immigration policies resonated in immigration
legislation debated by Congress before the 2008 reces-
sion. The 2007 legislation, for example, would have
introduced a guest worker program and given many
illegal immigrants paths toward citizenship. The
Depression-era anti-Mexican policies were somewhat
extreme manifestations of immigration legislation
that's emerged during our recession. Though immi-
gration regulations have evolved since the Depression,
two things remain clear: when the economy roared,
policies were more lax toward illegal immigrants,
even though they came illegally. When the economy
crashed, policies became harsher toward illegal immi-
grants because they came illegally.
Considering this history, it's troubling that the
emerging harsher immigration laws come at a time
when illegal immigration is dramatically declining, ille-
gal immigrants fill a labor shortage in unskilled farm
jobs that more Americans avoid today than during the
Depression and a significant number of illegal immi-
grants come from rapidly industrializing nations that
provide far more economic opportunities for its citizens
- and therefore far less push for them to leave - than
Mexico did from 1850 to 1940.
This raises two questions. If illegal immigration is
declining as a result of the recession, to what extent
will drastic measures at the state level further this
decrease? When the economy recovers, our labor short-
age for unskilled farm jobs will rise. We will require
more migrant workers. But if the new fences staked by
emerging harsher legislation significantly curtails ille-
gal immigration, will enough migrant workers climb the
extra fences to come to the U.S., legally or illegally, when
the economy recovers? Unlike deported Mexicans who
rushed back during WWII, 21st century migrants come
from countries far wealthier than 1940s Mexico.
States that now wish to enact even harsher legislation
to deter illegal immigration need to understand that ille-
gal immigration is now both informed and complicated
by our history and our current and future economy. Per-
haps this change in complexity is the only thing that is
drastic and unprecedented about illegal immigration
reform today.
Lou Wang is an SSA senior.

cal replay.
is year we went to the Michigan State

Erika Mayer is an LSA senior

Ok so maybe
scutny th ing tr...u... $1.8milio trom
Int such a uh... Freddie Mac?
good iaea WHAT $1.8 milliun?
for me D on't break, I'm a
Mitt, dont candidate
sreak yarp yarpl
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