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January 31, 2012 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-01-31

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4 - Tuesday, January 30, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4 - Tuesday, January 30, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

l e Mic4t*pan,3at*lp

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

@UGLi I know that you want us to use the
Windows 98 computers on the 1st floor, but
can you please install more outlets
for our laptops!
The red, white and blues


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.
Imran~Syed is the public editor. He can be reached at publiceditor@michigandaily.com.
Action over optimism
Business leaders' plan should reflect reality
Michigan needs more than an idealistic plan to revitalize
the state's economy if the current trend of positive change
is to be expected to continue. The Business Leaders for
Michigan, a group of the state's business elites including University
President Mary Sue Coleman, formed a list of goals that set to create
jobs and bolster the economy. Included in its plan is a prediction that
500,000 jobs could be created with an $18,000 per capita increase in
average income within 10 years. While this goal is admirable and the
group's enthusiasm is refreshing, it's unreasonable to expect that this
many jobs could be created in such a short amount of time without

government and business cooperati
Last Tuesday, the Business Leaders for
Michigan announced its 2012 Michigan Turn-
around Plan, which lists recommendations
for ways to improve Michigan's economy. The
plan focusesonsixideas: utilizingengineering
talent, capitalizing on Michigan's geographic
location, investing in higher education, tak-
ing advantage of natural resources, revital-
izing the automotive industry and developing
health and medical expertise.
Adding 500,000 new jobs to the state of
Michigan would be greatly beneficial to the
economy and would replace 60 percent of the
jobs lost in the past decade. It's unclear, how-
ever, who will pay for the investments needed
to make this goal a reality. Without a clear plan
of who will invest and take action to make this
happen, it can't be assumed that 500,000 jobs
will magically return to Michigan's economy.
Michigan ranks 39th in higher educa-
tion state support per student in the country.
Michigan must invest greatly in higher edu-
cation, as a degree is a necessity in order to
find a job its today's economy. Doug Rothwell,
CEO of the Business Leaders for Michigan,
predicts that by 2018, as much as 62 percent
of Michigan jobs will require post-secondary
education. The cost of college has been steadi-
ly increasing as a result of decreased state
funding. The government should put a stop to

tuition increases by undoing their 15 percent
divestment from public unversities to allow
more people the option of higher education.
While the hopeful creation of more jobs for
college graduates is beneficial for many peo-
ple, much of Michigan's economy is composed
of people who have not received a college
degree. Getting these workers employment
or training them for new work should also
be a priority. President Barack Obama has
proposed serious incentives for companies
to build manufacturing facilities to hard-hit
areas. Investing in the factories of Flint and
Investing in the factories of Flint and Detroit
is vital in order for Michigan's economic
The Business Leaders for Michigan's plan is
a worthy plan for businesses, the government
and citizens to follow. However, some of the
goals in this plan, while idealistic, are imprac-
tical without definite funding. The govern-
ment needs to invest in higher education,
businesses and jobs for non-college graduates
to bring Michigan to its full potential. It boils
down to less talk and more action from every-
one involved.
Michigan's government should explore
the business leaders' recommendations while
remembering that all residents must work
together toput the state on the right path.

Ct de dnde ees?"
Desperate to retain an
air of experience, I felt my
face crimson and
my hands damp-
en as I sputtered
out incoherent .
Spanish babble.
It was like my
first time all
over again.
"Soy ... soy ...
estadounidense." MELANIE
And there it KRUVELIS
was, the admis-
sion, where I'm
from. Iam an American.
You would think after three
semesters of drooling through Span-
ish class, I would at least possess the
capabilityto identifymyself. Afterall,
with a haircut a la Ellen DeGeneres
and a demeanor a la Larry the Cable
Guy, my nationality practically leaps
out of me and into a bi-curious Texas
Roadhouse. And yet, two weeks into
my semester abroad, I found myself
struggling to spit out the most basic
phrases to the poor madrileno who
dared to ask.
But it wasn't as if I didn't know
the vocabulary. Hell, telling some-
one I was from the States was just
about the only phrase I bothered to
memorize on the flight, aside from
"where exactly does it itch?"
I knew the question. I knew the
answer. For once, I was prepared.
What I wasn't prepared for was
the apparent shame in admitting
my citizenship. Behind the lexical
blunders, the linguistic faux pas
and the really sweaty palms, behind
all that was a red-faced American
who couldn't bear to reveal her
nationality. And apparently needed
stronger antiperspirant.
Being an American had never
really been a point of pride for me
prior to leaving the country, but it

certainly wasn't a point of shame
either. To be honest, I hadn't really
given it much thought. I knew how
to point out my hometown on a
palm. I could croak out the national
anthem, and I think I saw a com-
mercial for NASCAR once. In other
words, I was just about as Ameri-
can as a bleeding heart who prefers
Ricky Gervais over Steve Carell
could get.
And I thought nothing of it.
But then I stepped off of my
international flight. I hailed a
hybrid taxi. I confused a bidet for
a verne Troyer-sized drinking
fountain. And as I sat back in that
cab, I started to wonder, why was I
from the U.S.? I mean, yes, I know.
Because of some unfortunate inci-
dent in the handicap bathroom of
a K-mart in Flint some 19 odd years
ago. But after nearly two decades
of taking up space in the States, I
had never considered what my life
would be like outside of America.
Or if some other country might be
better for me. But now I was start-
ing to wonder why.
It's not just me getting the red,
white and blues. Whether or not
they realize it, other American
students I've encountered while
studying abroad seem to echo the
same shame when speaking of their
"I don't really want to travel
with some big American group, you
know?" "Last night I totally con-
vinced some guys that I was Ger-
man." "Hey, DeGeneres, would you
please stop eavesdropping?"
At first I thought maybe they just
didn't want to come across as tour-
ists, but as the days go by it becomes
more apparent that feigning a dif-
ferent nationality is preferable to
pulling out a U.S. passport. It's got-
ten to the point where American has
become a pseudo-insult, as in, "Is

this too American?" "She's so obvi-
ously American." "Does this Ameri-
can make my America look big?"
I guess it's hard not to get sucked
into the European way of life. In
Spain, the kids can drink, the gays
can marry and the prostitutes can
take business when they please.
Oh, and everyone's as high as a
drunk, gay-friendly whore of a kite.
And I know, for the average Ann
Arborite there's hardly any differ-
ence between Europe and a visit
to the People's Food Co-op. But
what about for the rest of the coun-
try outside our 27 square miles of
socialism and hairy legs? Well, it's
like Disney World without the price
of admission.
Forgive and
forget. But mostly
just forget.
Sowhat's anAmerican, bespecta-
cled curmudgeon to do? Renounce
all American connections? Start
humping The Communist Mani-
festo? Take up space with a mess of
rhetorical questions? The best I've
got so far is to adapt and find ways
to fit my American habits within
the Euro-lifestyle.
Or better yet, just come clean.
Yes, I'm American. Yes, my coun-
try still forbids marriage rights to
about four million citizens. And
yes, we still have a death penalty.
There may be shame, but I prom-
ise, there's always more alcohol.
So drink and be merry. Forgive and
forget. But mostly just forget.
- Melanie Kruvelis can be
reached at melkruv@umich.edu.

Aida Ali, Laura Argintar, Kaan Avdan, Ashley Griesshammer, Nirbhay Jain, Jesse Klein,
Patrick Maillet, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Harsha Panduranga, Timothy Rabb, Adrienne
Roberts, Vanessa Rychlinski, Sarah Skaluba, Seth Soderborg, Caroline Syms, Andrew Weiner
Unlocking Turkish skeletons

Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor and viewpoints. Letters should be fewer
than 300 words while viewpoints should be 550-850 words.
Both must include the writer's full name and University affiliation. Send submissions to
Take notes or Temple Run?


Students across Ann Arbor were collecting
around their televisions or inside Al Glick Field
House, watching President Barack Obama
inject hopes and dreams into the minds of
Americans everywhere (only because of Uni-
versity President Mary Sue Coleman's letter
to him, and the fact that Michigan is a swing
state, but that's a different .story). While the
president spoke, many were ignoring a very
important development concerning the past,
one that may shape the future of the world.
On Dec. 22, the lower house of the French
Parliament passed a bill that would make it
an offense to deny that the Armenian geno-
cide by the Turks took place in 1915. On Jan.
23, the bill passed the French Senate, effec-
tively making it law. This development comes
on the heels of a tense relationship between
Turkey and France, and resulted in the two
countries severing diplomatic relations. The
denial of the Armenian genocide is one of the
sticking points.
When Turkey was still the Islamic Otto-
man Empire, fighting alongside the Central
Powers in World War I, they marched over
more than 1 million Christian Armenians into
the desert, a crime on par with the Holocaust:
Resolutely, however, the present-day secular
Turkish nation refuses to acknowledge the
heinous act. Where the Germans have made it
illegal to deny the Holocaust, the Turks have
locked up their skeletons.
France has quite a bit of influence, espe-
cially when it comes to the European Union.
The -EU's position has weakened recently -
financial crises in Greece, Spain, Ireland and
most all countries not named Germany have

cut at the core of its economic strength. But
by making it illegal to deny the Armenian
genocide, France has effectively blocked one
of the most economically dynamic nations
from the EU.
Despite its best efforts to hide it, the EU is
a dying organization. It can no longer hold on
to its members, and internationally, countries
such as Brazil, China and India are shaping
the future. Turkey is a new and emerging
power in the Middle East. More importantly,
it is a new secular power in the Middle East.
The West needs to make friends with Turkey.
Let's face it. Iran doesn't like us very much.
Neither does Saudi Arabia - they only are
nice to us because we pay them a lot. Once we
(hopefully) need less foreign oil, the Middle
East will have no reason to play ball with us.
That's a lot of people against the U.S. But if the
EU would be so kind as to let Turkey in and
establish a power base in the Middle East, the
West might have a say in the events that hap-
pen there.
France is coming from a place of high
morals and is conveniently ignoring what
happened during the Algerian War of Inde-
pendence. France has a worthy sentiment,
but, especially in light of its recent credit
downgrade, it can't afford to pick and choose
its allies. None of Europe can.
Obama, in an election year, projected a mes-
sage of hope without any real feasible plan for
the future. Sarkozy, in an election year, gave
a clear plan, but does not project any hope for
the future. Which is worse?
Nirbhayilain is an LSA freshman.

They say you'll never get the
right answers if you're ask-
ing the wrong question. It's
exactly the case
with education
today. I've seen
many adults
stand in front of
me -teachers,
public service
employees and HARSHA
even College NAHATA
Board officials -
all with the same
concern: the decline of education
in the United States and the subse-
quent inability of American students
to stand out in a competitive global
The reason we aren't able to work
toward a viable solution is because
we aren't asking the right questions.
The debate currently focuses o why
kids don't get good grades and test
scores. People ask: Why aren't stu-
dents paying attention in school, why
aren't they making learning a prior-
ity or why aren't they absorbing the
information presented to them?
We never ask, however, why
aren't students interested in school?
We never ask, what else is going on
to detract from focus on their edu-.
We never ask why staring at
a computer screen reading 540
of your Facebook friends' status
updates is more interesting than
learning how the world around you
functions. Why watching YouTube
clips of people embarrassing them-
selves is more appealingthan learn-
ing skills to help sustain yourself
for the rest of your life.
With the amount of things vying

for a student's attention these days
- Facebook, YouTube, Iwasteso-
muchtime.com and the list goes on
- education must be not only inter-
esting, but captivating enough to
hold a person's attention.
When you start asking these
questions, the answer becomes
clearer. All these distractions are
designed to be entertaining. Mil-
lions of dollars are poured into
creating a product people want to
consume, a product that fascinates
people, a product that keeps them
coming back again and again.
These are products that are
designed to solicit and earn people's
attention, and they keep adapting
accordingly. If a game or movie is
boring, it fails. Simple - people just
don't buy it and move on to the next
thing. This, in turn, forces com-
panies to keep innovating, to keep
investing in the new.
Yet, in education - something so
important to an individual's future
- why aren't classes held to the
same expectations? At a university
where students are paying hundreds
of dollars for each hour they sit in
class, why aren't lecturers expected
to make the content interesting at
the least, if not engaging. Professors
must now compete with technology
for their students' attention.
Unless the professor is present-
ing information in a way that makes
students want to listen instead of
text their friends, play Temple Run
on their smartphone or Facebook
stalk the girl they met last night,
people aren't going to pay attention.
It isn't enough for teachers to
walk into a room, read off of a Pow-
erPoint and expect to have the full
attention of their audience. Yes, it's

admirable to be an expert in a par-
ticular subject or to have a Ph.D.
from a top-ranking university, but
until a professor or teacher is able
to take their information and pres-
ent it in a way that holds people's
attention and conveys why it's is
useful to them, they won't be effec-
tive teachers.
And students will continue to
Education has

to become more


There was a time when even if
something wasn't captivating, peo-
ple sat through it because they had
nothing else to do. But now enter-
tainment goes with people wher-
ever they are. There are so many
apps, games and devices compet-
ing for a person's ever-shortening
attention span.
For classes to truly get a person's
attention they must recognize that
they're competitors. They have to
elicit curiosity and passion, and cap-
tivate students so they want to come
to class and delve into the subject
matter. That'sthe only way toget stu-
dents to the point of truly absorbing
what they learn and being able to do
something with their education.
- Harsha Nahata can be reached
at hnahata@umich.edu. Follow her
on Twitter at @HarshaNahata.

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