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November 14, 2012 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-11-14

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4A - Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A - Wednesday, November14, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

C4C Ndcigan4:aily
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
Li 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.
Sma llsteps to legalization
Regulate marijuana like alcohol on federal level
ov. 6 was a monumental day in American history, but not for
the presidential reasons one may first assume. Throughout
the country, various marijuana support ballot proposals
garnered landslide victories. Each one passed works toward drug
reform on a small scale, but with a similar large-scale goal in mind
- total legalization throughout the United States, where federal law
criminalizes pot. In Michigan, five individual cities voted to change
marijuana laws, taking small steps in the uphill battle toward legal-
ization. However, this isn't enough. Michigan, along with the rest of
the United States, should take a similar stance toward marijuana as
it does alcohol. It should follow the trail of Colorado and Washing-
ton in passing legislation allowing marijuana for recreational and
medicinal purposes with appropriate regulation.

No' is the easy way out

participated in policy debate
for four years during high
school. We were given a broad
topic proposition
and assigned
roles - either
the affirmative
or the negative.
The proposition 7
would be some
sort of resolu-
tion like "The U.
S. federal, gov- IARSHA
ernment should NAHATA
increase social
services for persons living in pover-
ty in the United States" (an example
resolution from 2009).
If we were assigned the role of
the affirmative team, our responsi-
bility was to create a plan, as broad
or as specific as we wanted, that in
some way accomplished the stated
goal of the resolution. For example,
for the resolution mentioned above,
anything from expanding social
welfare programs such as Unem-
ployment Assistance, Medicaid or
Temporary Assistance for Needy
Families, just to name a few, to
reforming laws to provide better
social services. There was gener-
ally a wide range of possibilities -
the only constraint being the plan's
ability to effectively accomplish
what was stated in the resolution..
If we were the negative team,
on the other hand, our role was
to throw counterarguments at
the affirmative plan. We would
research a wide variety of attacks,
ensuring we had something that
could apply to any type of plan the
affirmative might think up.
In policy debate, there were five
to six categories that were debat-

ed, and on which each team was
judged. Essentially, these were
the points that each side had to be
convincing on. For the affirmative,
they had to convince that there was
a need for the plan - actual prob-
lems that merited such proposals
- a current barrier to implement-
ing their plan, feasibility in terms of
logistics, funding and enforcement
- and, finally, that their plan would
work. The proposal should solve the
problems addressed and overcome
the barrier cited. But in addition
to that, the affirmative team was
burdened with the responsibility of
ensuring that the plan didn't do any
more damage to the status quo.
To win a debate, the affirmative
team had to win on every single one
of these points. They had to have
sound arguments that could stand
up to the negative team in each of
these categories.
What did the negative team have
to do to win? Win only one argu-
ment. If they could dismantle one
aspect of the affirmative team's
case, they won.
Now, you might be wondering
why I'm giving such a long descrip-
tion of debate technicalities. The
fact is that there's a very valuable
lesson embedded in the structure of
policy debate.
The way of judging the effec-
tiveness of a policy proposal isn't
limited to policy debate. In fact, it's
something that very much carries
over into the political sphere. The
lesson is that to be effective and con-
vincing, the side opposing a policy
change, the "negative," only really
needs one sticking argument. They
need one point that can in some way
discredit the proposed policy. Any-
time there is a change to the status

quo, the burden of evidence is on the
individuals proposing that change.
They have to win on almost every
point. And if they can't, they have to
be able to convince the public that
benefits of the plan far outweigh any
potential negatives.
It's easy to
discredit a new
idea and go with
the status quo.
The point being that anytime a
policy is proposed, it's always eas-
ier to be on the side saying "no."
And our politicians will confirm
that. Today, anytime something is
proposed by the other side, there's
a line of naysayers ready to speak
out. It's easy to discredit a new idea,
especially when people naturally
drift toward the status quo.
While it is easier, it's not nec-
essarily better. Progress doesn't
happen in this way. We need new
ideas and new proposals to solve
the policy Issues we currently face.
Simply saying "No" or putting forth
endless counterarguments against
them won't actually solve any
issues. While purely attacking the
other side might be a good strategy
for winning debates - and for poli-
ticians, elections - when it comes
to moving forward as a nation, it's
a strategy that'll cause us all to lose
in the end.
-Harsha Nahata can be reached
at hnahata@umich.edu.


Grand Rapids, Flint and Detroit voted to
decriminalize marijuana. Ypsilanti - advo-
cated for by the Students for a Sensible Drug
Policy at Eastern Michigan University -
chose a more symbolic act, voting to make
possession of the drug the lowest prior-
ity for law enforcement officials. Meanwhile,
Kalamazoo voters called for better regulation
of marijuana dispensaries by the city. Each of
these ballot measures passed with more than
55 percent of the vote.
While a stigma against marijuana use still
exists, the ,widespread passage of amend-
ments across the country suggests that many
citizens are open to legalization. Similar to
the shifting views against the prohibition
of liquor in the late 1920s, popular opinion
about marijuana is changing. Medical and
recreational purposes have become more
accepted by society.
The main ingredient in marijuana, tetrahy-
drocannabinol, bonds with lipids in the body,
causing it to stay in the system longer than
many other substances. While alcohol persists
in the blood for only a few days, traces of mari-
juana can be found in the urine weeks after
use. As a result, employers and law enforce-
ment officials face difficulty in determining
the accurate time of use, and whether or not it

should factor into legal situations. Though sali-
va, urine, blood and hair follicle tests already
exist, they are neither cost-efficient nor effec-
tive for determining whether misuse occurred
in the workplace or behind the wheel.
Smoking pot is a personal choice simi-
lar to drinking alcohol. It also has medici-
nal properties beneficial to cancer patients,
those afflicted with arthritis or fibromyal-
gia, and others suffering from depression
and eating disorders. Studies have proven
the long-term effects relatively harmless and
addiction rate practically non-existent, espe-
cially in comparison to prescription drugs
such as morphine or Vicodin. Marijuana can
be a dangerous substance in the same way as
alcohol. However, individuals who moder-
ate their usage of these substances should be
able to decide for themselves when it comes
to marijuana use.
Rather than'fill jails to fight this form of
drug use - which is ineffective with atrocious
costs and minimal results - full legalization
should be implemented. Current possession
charges allow for legal discrimination against
otherwise harmless people. The stigma about
the personal choice to use marijuana is erod-
ing, paving the way toward widespread legal-
ization throughout the country.


Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, Eli Cahan, Nirbhay Jain,
Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis, Patrick Maillet, Jasmine McNenny,
Harsha Nahata, Timothy Rabb, Adrienne Roberts, Vanessa Rychlinski,
Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth, Gus Turner, Derek Wolfe
Stressed out? T squir reling

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. Send
the writer's full name and University affiliation. to tothedaily@michigandaily.com.
Denied choices in China

peanut in hand, I slowly
walk toward one of the
mall, fuzzy rodents moving
busily from tree
to tree, and nut
to buried nut. I
wave the peanut
up and down and
a squirrel snaps
its head around
to look right at
me, sitting up
on its hind legs. ERIC
I kneel, arm FERGUSON
extended, as it
approaches the
peanut slowly but determinedly,
loping through the chilly November
grass. I accidentally jerk my hand a
little to the right, and the squirrel
scampers back a few steps in exag-
gerated alarm but is not deterred
from its quest. It comes right up to
me and takes the peanut out of my
hand with the utmost care, cock-
ing its head in order to get just the
right grip. I let go and it takes a few
hopping steps away from me before
sitting on its hind legs and taking
the nut from its mouth to between
its front paws. With practiced
precision, the squirrel systemati-
cally removes the shell to get at the
nutty goodness within, while I grab
another peanut and go search for
another squirrel to feed.
This is what happens on Sundays
during good weather for members
of the Squirrel Club, like myself. For
no more than an hour, I take a hand-
ful of peanuts into the Diag and for-
get about most of the daily concerns

of the college student: the readings,
the essays, the homework, the all-
important balance between work
and play that makes college neither
a place for pure academiaor constant
partying, but an engrossing mix of
the two. At this point in the semes-
ter, with professors trying to wrap
things up before Thanksgiving and
final exams barely a month away,
finding something to do for a little
while that's totally unrelated to aca-
demics clears my head so when I do
return to work, I'm in a better men-
tal place than when I left. And with
all of the other hurdles that life can
throw at a person - like the end of a
relationship or problems involving a
family member - sometimes it's best
to just engage in an activity where all
of that becomes irrelevant for a little
while. Plus, you get to make squirrels
Apart from being fun, it can be
good for your health to have a lei-
sure activity, whether it's feeding
squirrels, playing basketball, vol-
unteering around Ann Arbor or
getting your gank on in League of
Legends. I'm not alone in receiv-
ing stress-reduction benefits from
this; one study has shown that
along with reducing symptoms of
stress, leisure activities can also
reduce the symptoms of anxiety
and depression.
Anyone reading this should con-
sider becoming a Michigan Squir-
reler, though, even if it's just for an
afternoon. It's really hard to be in a
bad mood when feeding a squirrel,
with passersby looking at you with

a combination of curiosity and won-
der and a sleek, grey-furred animal
with the fluffiest of tails chowing
down on something you gave it. Fat
squirrels, skinny squirrels, groups of
squirrels, loner squirrels who would
rather crouch in the bushes near
the Chemistry Building than come
onto the Diag proper - getting one
of them to come over and grab a nut
out of your hand isn't really some-
thing that can be imagined. You
have to try it. And if you do, and you
enjoy it as much as I do, get a friend
out there and convince them to try
it for themselves. While doing it by
yourself is fun, spreading the joy of
squirreling with other people can be
even more entertaining.
There are many
leisurely campus
activities to
try out.
If feeding the squirrels isn't your
thing, that's fine. It'll mean more
squirrels for me, and there's no
shortage of other leisurely campus
activities that one can partake in. But
whether you're stressed out, enjoy
small animals or are just plain bored,
squirrel feeding is an activity sure to
brighten your day.
-Eric Ferguson can be
reached at ericff@umich.edu.

I believe that the ability to make choices is
a God-given right inherent in all living crea-
tures that are capable of thinking conscious-
ly. As humans, we have the capability to think
consciously, which therefore bestows upon
us the inherent right to make choices. These
choices could be as insignificant as the type
of coffee we purchase at Starbucks, or as con-
sequential as the future of a baby whose life
is tantamount in significance with that of the
person making the choice.
Abortion has always been a controversial
topic in the United States. People voice their
stance as either pro-choice or pro-life in end-
less debates across the country. However, in
China, a woman's right to decide whether to
keep or abort the baby is denied. The depriva-
tion of this inherent right is only the tip of the
iceberg - it's indicative of a brutally repressed
society where human rights abuses, tortures
and disappearances of political dissidents
often vanish and go without a formal charge, a
just trial or due process.
China has enforced the One-Child Policy
since 1979. The policy may be an effective
way to ease China's overpopulation problem,
yet the unjust implementation of this policy
fundamentally intrudes in the lives of Chi-
nese women by depriving them of the right
to choose. In an article published by USA
Today, Calum Macleod tells a tragic story
that took place in Daji Township, a Fujian
province in China. A township supervisor,
whose obligation was to monitor family plan-
ning and enforce the rules of the Communist
Party, gathered eight men to kidnap a preg-
nant woman, Pan Chunyan, from her grocery
store. They took Chunyan to a nearby hospital
and forcibly injected chemicals into her, thus
killing the child. The woman delivered a fully
formed dead baby. One could only imagine the
emotions running through Chunyan's mind.
This incident reflected the social injustice
and the lack of respect for civil liberties and
human rights that still exist in China to this

day. These are important problems that need
to be addressed. The rapidly growing Chinese
economy is a result of careful and strict cen-
tral regulations and monitoring; however, it's
evident that the Communist Party has abused
its untouchable authorities when their policies
greatly harmed the fundamental rights and
liberties of the Chinese people.
Two resolutions were passed to investi-
gate the abuses of human rights in China in
hopes of helping the Chinese citizens who are
suffering from the unethical and inhumane
ways of the Communist rule. First, Resolu-
tion 232: Recognizing the continued perse-
cution of Falun Gong practitioners in China,
and Resolution 497: Government of the Peo-
ple's Republic of China should immediately
release from custody the children of Reebyia
Kadeer. There needs to be more efforts by the
United States, the United Nations and the rest
of the world, in a collective manner, directed
towards calling on the government of the PRC
to terminate all acts of unreasonable violence
that put an individual's fundamental rights to
life in grave harm.
Each individual rightly possesses the abil-
ity to choose. Denying the pregnant woman
of her right to choose whether to abort or
keep her child and forcibly injecting chemi-
cals into her body not only violated a woman's
right to choose but also the right to her own
body. This incident was fortunate enough to
have been reported; many other equally bru-
tal tragedies were often buried or erased by
the Chinese government.
This has to stop. The United States and other
developed, democratic nations should heed
human rights abuses in China and take actions
to put an end to the social injustices that are
becoming a threat to our efforts to achieving
a global community with higher and stronger
moral codes, where each individual rightly
possesses and enjoys his or her rights to life.
Kevin Tung is an LSA junior.


We'll take one for the team
and marry the crap out
of (your grlfriends)."
A CollegeHumor video, "Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends," says.
The video takes a new approach on same-sex marraige.


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