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February 11, 2013 - Image 4

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4A- Monday, February 11, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A- Monday, February 11, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

aloe firichinan l +




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.
Breaking down the budget
Snyder's proposal has potential, but some funding is misplaced
n Feb. 7, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder released his proposed
budget for the 2014 fiscal year. Though Snyder made some
positive recommendations like health care expansion, his
proposal fell flat in its suggested funding for the Michigan State Police
and Department of Corrections. Instead of focusing on correctional
facility spending, the governor should look to crime prevention and
criminal rehabilitation as a solution. While the proposed funding for
mental health courts is a positive step for Michigan, the 10.5-percent
increase in funding for MSP is misplaced. Our executive and legislative
branches should focus on local law enforcement rather than state law
enforcement. While Snyder's budget proposal effectively moves beyond
party lines, his proposals suggest misplaced funding for correctional
facilities and MSP and ignores many of Michigan's pressing problems.


i ;

Stigmatized style*

Snyder's budget recommends $8.7 bil-
lion for medical services and $2.4 billion - a
1.1-percent increase - for the long-term care
programthat's partof Medicaid. Over the next
10 years, the state of Michigan is expected to
save more than $1 billion under the Afford-
able Care Act. This proposal could potentially
reduce the number of uninsured individuals
in the state of Michigan by 46 percent. It also
calls for $3 million in health innovation grants
for the Department of Community Health.
Snyder's proposal for health care expansion
is a positive recommendation, and Michigan's
legislation should take control of the federally
funded ACA.
On the other hand, Snyder's resolution to
continue funding Michigan's. correctional
facilities with approximately $2 billion per
year is illogical. Our state currently incarcer-
ates 43,000 prisoners. The number of inmates
and amount of funding for a "secure prison
system",remains practically unchanged from
the currentfiscalyear. Michigan'sgovernment
should use crime prevention and other more
effective methods of rehabilitation, instead
of condemning nonviolent criminals, like
drug offenders, to penitentiaries. Rather than
housing and releasing criminals without ade-
quately looking into the root of the problem,
the state should implement proactive solutions
such as therapy and recovery programs.

In the proposedbudget, Snyder also recom-
mends an additional $33.5 million in funding
for MSP. The funding is supposedly going
to benefit MSP core programs such as road
patrol, motor carrier enforcement, investiga-
tive services, etc. While it's usually advanta-
geous to have more patrolmen on our streets,
the government needs to focus its spending on
local law enforcement agencies rather than
MSP. Michigan is home to two of the most vio-
lent cities in the nation, Flint and Detroit. In
order to reduce the number of violent crimes
in these cities specifically, local law enforce-
ment needs to be strengthened with financial
help from the state government. Snyder also
proposes funding for state troopers to provide
enforcement services at Belle Isle Park. This
is irrational considering the city of Detroit
recently turned down the state's offer to take
over Belle Isle.
Snyder's recommendation for the upcom-
ingbudget is constructive, with approximate-
ly 75 percent of the funding going toward
education, human services and community
health. The governor seeks to expand health
care across the state, potentially insuring
320,000 more residents in the first year alone.
However, Michigan's executive and legis-
lative branches should seek to reorganize
spending toward our correctional facilities
and state police.

ast week, Katie Steen wrote
a great column about the
ties women
face due to the
clothes they
wear, whether
as professionals
in the workplace
or students
conforming to
a school dress JAMES
code. However, BRENNAN
I did take issue
when she start-
ed talking about men. Don't get me
wrong, most men do have a much
easier time getting through the
whole clothing issue than women.
But, the black community espe-
cially deals with a quite damaging
stigma surrounding dress choice.
The way our society defines
proper attire is not just sexist, but
also inherently racist. Black youth
have been associated with fashion
choices such as sagging their pants
and wearing backwards baseball
caps. In passing dress codes that
forbid these style choices, schools
have effectively instructed young
men and women that the popular
styles in their demographic are
wrong, while "white" fashion is
right. All this amounts to is a codi-
fied decision that one culture is
inherently better than another.
Young black men are told that
the fashion trends popular in their
community are not allowed - that
sagging pants and backwards hats
equate to the uniform of a crimi-
nal. This simply isn't true. Movies
and television may have us believe
that certain types of dress are syn-
onymous with thugs, but clothing is
nothing more than personal style -
a point made clear in my interview
with Harwood McClerking, an
assistant professor of political sci-

ence at Ohio State University. He's
a visiting scholar at the Center for
Political Studies here at Michigan
and specializes in black politics.
McClerking - typically dressed
in track pants, a long sleeve t-shirt
and baseball cap - is an embodi-
ment of the very concept that
clothes don't make the man. We
talked extensively about differ-
ent issues surrounding dress codes
and cultural perceptions of dress,
drawing on McClerking's experi-
ence as a police officer in Colum-
bus, Miss. He explained to me that
in the beginning of his career,tthe
gang film "Colors" came out and
several of his colleagues began
identifying gang members by their
clothing choices. Despite a huge
absence of major gang activity in
Mississippi at this time, pop cul-
ture socially constructed an idea in
officers' minds about the existence
of gangs and how to identify them.
Sadly, he explained, kids took
cues from these movies too. Baggy
clothes, big coats; low pants and
all-black outfits were the rage, but
also the target of police profiling.
This has, of course, translated into
school dress codes, where parents
and administrators have banned
certain styles as a way to combat
"gangs" and "crime." I can remem-
ber my sixth grade social studies
teacher explaining that sagging
pants were banned because "certain
groups of people do that to keep
their guns there."
When I was in middle school,
all of my friends rocked the sag-
ging pants. We did it just because it
looked "cool" at the time. Some of
my friends still do it. Our fashion
rights were trampled on just the
same as black kids, but as whites, we
had our own cultural style that was
accepted. Black kids are told that
the fashion they choose is inferior

to mine. Sure, I'll admit that walk-
ing into a workplace in jeans, a white
tee and Jordans would be frowned
upon, but it's not like a student of any
race shouldn't be able to wear this
outfit to class. If schools required a
jacket and tie, maybe this argument
would be made, but dress codes tell
kids that one type of casual fashion
is higher on the social ladder than
another - it has absolutely nothing
to do with workplace clothing.
Race is a social
construction, and
so is fashion.
I was always taught to dress well
and dress conservatively - not
for me, but for whoever I may end
up meeting. Looking "like a thug"
would make people draw unfair
conclusions about me, resulting in
lost opportunities. However, I was
also taught in school not to judge
others based on how they looked.
We saw a lot of pictures of people in
hijabs, sombreros and other "ethnic
clothes." But dress codes imply the
exact opposite. Whether it's label-
ing a girl with short shorts as a slut
or telling a black kid with baggy
pants that he looks. like a crimi-
nal, judging on appearance alone
goes against all the things school
taught us. about diversity. Race
is a social construction, and so is
fashion. How we appear is noth-
ing more than our personal style.
If our schools and society plan on
teaching real acceptance and toler-
ance, then it's time we start to actu-
ally accept and tolerate everyone.
- James Brennan can be
reached at jmbthree@umich.edu.


Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, Eli Cahan, Jesse Klein,
Melanie Kruvelis, Maura Levine, Patrick Maillet, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald,
Jasmine McNenny, Harsha Nahata, Adrienne Roberts, Paul Sherman, Sarah Skaluba,
Michael Spaeth, Luchen Wang, Derek Wolfe
Invest li 1776

Cap ital-T true'

The Wall Street Journal published a rivet-
ing piece last Monday called "Thomas Jeffer-
son, Investment Guru" by Romain Hatchuel.
Hatchuel states the need for old-school style
investing - like, really old school. He claims
that at their core, people have a remarkable
sense of patriotism. He observes that life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness are at
the essence of market movements. Citing the
recession as an example, consumption was
bound to the things we can touch and feel -
commodities have always been a classic hedge
against the bear market.
"Life" was manifested in the resilience of
the housing market. "Liberty" was represent-
ed in the immediate need for credit reform.
"The pursuit of happiness" was indicated by
market outperformance during the past five
years in the soda, entertainment and restau-
rant sectors. It's not impossible to beat the
market - we just get ourselves into trouble
when we look beyond the basic desires of
humanity itself.
So the status of the economy boils down to
people. While we get lost in the acronyms -
CMBSs, LBOs and CDOs - we can attribute
some portion of the recession to neglect of
human interest. It seems too convenient that
such oversight came in the midst of the tech
era. The information age has driven us so far
down the side streets of knowledge that we get
lost in our own neighborhood. It's our genera-
tion's prerogative to right the ship. But let's put
our money where our mouth is.
The first step toward the rediscovery of
people is investing in ourselves. That requires
an intimate understanding of life, liberty and
the pursuit of happiness. We must be daring
enough to reflect upon what really makes us
happy, as opposed to what we think should
make us happy. We must be brave enough to
pursue anything and everything that makes
life worth living. The pursuit of happiness was

never intended to be passive, nor easy.
To liberate ourselves, we need to take a step
forward before we can step back and admire.
Initiative is the force that breaks us out of
the social current. The University of Michi-
gan embraces that more than any place: The
resources are everywhere around you, but
no one's going to beg you to take advantage.
"Declaring" should not be about the idea of
declaring - it's a lot more intimate than that.
We declare for us, not for them. Living the life
we want comes from havingthe liberty to pur-
sue our own happiness.
The second step in the process regards
investing in others. To support humanity in all
of its life, liberty and happiness is to expand
outward. We must be open to gaining perspec-
tive and to building relationships. David Wes-
sel wrote about the role of trust in the market.
As "credit" is in essence a valuation of trust, it
follows that the lending crisis was as much a
betrayal of trust as anything else. The reces-
sion, he claims, was a true exhibition of the
disconnect between people: Relationships
fell apart. And, without any inclination to the
"worth" oftrustingeach other, people receded
into their shells. Lending and borrowing is the
fiscal means of empowerment. Supporting one
another is but good business.
I would hope that we all try to kick it a little
more old school. Value people for who they are,
not how they appear. In order to best benefit
ourselves, each other and the communities in
which we live, our focuses must be human. We
all benefit when we do exactly what we please
and are open to others who do the same. So
invest like it's 1776. Care enough aboutyourself
to never settle. Care enough about others to
create community, relationships and networks.
Invest like it's 1776 - and who knows, maybe
you'll make some money while you're at it.
Eli Cahan is a Business sophomore.

elcome Week 2.0 has
come and gone. And
now like most Univer-
sity of Michigan
students, all my
work has man-
aged to pile up,
and the stress
has too. It's
sad to say, but
I experienced,
shortness of ZOE
breath as I
walked to the STAHL
Law Library
this morning.
I kept repeating, "Woe is me!" in
my head as I braced myself for
the upcoming week. And this isn't
my attempt at some Woody Allen
schtick - some kind of blind neu-
roticism. It's the truth, pure and
So before I sat down to write this,
I attempted to snap out of this dis-
gustingly self-indulgent state and
took 25 minutes out of my work-
filled Sunday to listen to David Fos-
ter Wallace's commencement speech
at Kenyon College from May 2005.
Unlike many other commencement
speeches, Wallace managed to go
beyond the usual graduation cli-
ches. Instead, he reminded the audi-
ence how hard and important it is
to "(get) free of (our) natural, hard-
wired default setting, which is to be
deeply and literally self-centered"
so that we have the mental space to
actually "care about other people."
Crazy thought, eh? And you know
what - to my high-school self, it
sure was. I remember reading Wal-
lace's speech at my dad's suggestion.
But as a stressed student with limit-
ed perspective (things don't seem to
change), I don't think I really picked
up on the lessons my dad (or Wal-

lace) was tryingto teach me.
I read it again for the second time
this past fall, but I've been putting
off writing or even thinking about
it. I've been afraid that my musings
would never be appropriately intel-
ligent or thoughtful, but this fear
has only delayed the need to fully
process it.
His speech has defined my year.
After reading Wallace's words this
fall, I listened to his delivery on
YouTube. Afterward, I began read-
ing up on Wallace - articles about
his personal life, work and his even-
tual suicide. However, my involve-
ment went beyond basic Internet
research; Wallace now seems to
creep up everywhere (and not just
in some blog's suggestion to be the
ghost of Wallace for Halloween).
When I attended a meditation ses-
sion, Wallace's words were re-iter-
ated - the importance of not letting
experiences out of your control
upset you. As I washed dishes with
my roommate with whom I shared
the speech, we discussed the impor-
tance of context in understanding
individuals. Having used his own
instructions about understanding
and appreciation in our perception
of him, we applauded ourselves on
being "so DFW!" (Having read, lis-
tened to and experienced the speech
as many times as I now have, I feel
that we're on an initials-basis.)
But, why now? Why did his advice
that "(deciding) how you're gonna
try to see it ... so that it will actually
be within your power to experience
a crowded, hot, slowtype situation as
not only meaningful, but sacred ... "
resonate now? I've read his speech
before, but only now did I internal-
ize it. Partly, it was the realization
that Wallace makes brilliant ideas
accessible. He was not "presenting

himself as the wise, older fish." He
personalized these struggles.
A little humor and
self-mockery can go
a long way.
speech was a testament to the power
of humor. I laughed at his delivery
of "What the hell is water?" and at
the punch line to the story about the
atheist and the believer. Laughing
made his speech more palatable. By
not taking himself too seriously, his
messages did not become what he
calls "banal platitudes." Wallace's
speech, packed with intellectual
ideas, clever observations and valu-
able lessons, can feel dense at times.
However, these moments - these
pauses - provide the time and space
needed to fully digest his (at times
preachy, but enlightening) advice.
His delivery also took the bit-
terness out of the descriptions of
the "soul-killing muzak" in the
supermarket or the cash register's
"have a nice day" as the "absolute
voice of death" and injected them
with humor. On the page, his cri-
tiques can appear angry, limiting
the potential contagion of these
compelling ideas. However, once
infused with humor, these con-
cepts, no longer dampened by
anger,ringthat much more "capital-
T True." Only to prove and remind
me that a little laughter, a little
self-mockery and little less self-
importance can go along, long way.
- Zoe Stahl can be reached
at zoestahl@umich.edu.



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