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February 13, 2013 - Image 4

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4A - Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
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tothedaily@michigandaily.com

Even as we protect our people, we should remember
that today's world presents not only dangers,
but opportunities."
- President Barack Obama remarked in the House chamber at the State of the Union address.
Obama's manufacturing solution

0I

ANDREW WEINER
EDITOR IN CHIEF

MELANIE KRUVELIS
and ADRIENNE ROBERTS
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS

MATT SLOVIN
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.
Stating the Obvious
Obama's speech demands common sense from Congress
n Tuesday, Feb. 12, President Barack Obama delivered one
the more forceful and decisive speeches during his time in
office. The president called on the U.S. Congress to enact
common-sense legislation on immigration, jobs, gun violence and
taxes, while encouraging Americans to accept fully their obligation
to one another as citizens. Along with his typically lofty rhetoric
and demands for investment in new infrastructure, the President
described several new goals to revamp the U.S. economy, reform edu-
cation and bring equal opportunity to workers. Though Obama dis-
cussed crucial issues such as education reform, minimum wage and
immigration reform, he failed to fully address drone warfare and gay
rights, both of which deserved more attention.

Obama called for legitimate, comprehensive
education reform. He outlined a system of col-
laboration between schools, universities and
companies that would allow students to earn
a technical associate degree upon graduation
fromhighschool.Reformssimilar tothis would
improve the education system, strengthen our
economy and equip young people with the tools
necessary to find work in a suffering economy.
However, schools must remain committed
to a well-rounded education - emphasizing
humanities and liberal arts values and occupa-
tions, as well.
Moreover, Obama called on colleges and uni-
versities to lower tuition costs, stating that in
order to successfully accomplish this feat, "col-
leges must do their part to keep costs down."
However, it's imperative that at the federal
and state level the government supports higher
education. Universities across the nation are
already strapped for cash. If the government
wants to make lower tuition a priority, it must
be willing to help colleges make the numbers
work with increased funding.
Obama also called for an increase in the
minimum wage - the first since 2009. The
president noted that even with tax relief and
government assistance, families on minimum
wage are below the poverty line. By increas-

ing the minimum wage to $9 an hour, low-
wage workers will be able to better provide
for themselves and their families - though
this increase will not nearly end the hardship
of our most needy citizens. Opposition will
likely point to increased costs for employers
and possible harm to the economy, but as the
president noted, corporate profits and CEO's
salaries are at all time high. Businesses must
be willing to sacrifice for the better of the
economy and the country.
Obama's address was one of his stronger
speeches in both delivery and content. His
demand that Congress get things done on a
common-sense basis seemed to shine through
stronger than everbefore. Obama and congres-
sional leadership must implement legislation
for immigration reform, work to end gun vio-
lence and pass the Violence Against Women
Act. While the president has already proposed
these measures, he failed to mention key issues
that cannot be avoided. Obama only subtly
alluded to gay rights, and he brushed over his
administration's controversial use of drone
warfare and extra-judicial killings. These top-
ics may be controversial, but the president is no
longer facinga re-election, so he must live up to
the promises he's made as a candidate - striv-
ingfor equality, peace and true progress.

For the past four years,
Americans have been wait-
ing for the solution to the
economy they
thought would
have come
sooner. Four
years ago, in
his-first State
of the Union
address, Presi-
dent Barack PAUL
Obama said that SHERMAN
Americans had
to "answer his-
tory's call" in the light of a poten-
tial "second depression." This time,
as he entered the House chamber
and looked in the television cam-
eras for a fifth time, he focused on
the idea that creating middle class
jobs must be the "North Star that
guides our (economic) efforts."
while there are many important
issues that face this country, I was
pleased that the president brought
up manufacturing. He said that
Washington must "guarantee that
the next revolution in manufactur-
ing is made in America." With the
Republicans reeling and looking
to find support, Obama must strike
a bipartisan agreement on the fis-
cal issues facing this country. Now
is the time for Congress to finally
make America a "magnet for jobs
and manufacturing."
Though there have been signs
of erosion, the American manufac-
turing industry is still one of the
largest in the world. A Jan. 2012
Congressional Research Service
report found that America's share
of global manufacturing activity has
decreased in recent years. China's
manufacturing sector is almost as
large as in the United States, val-
ued at $1.814 trillion and $1.756 tril-
lion respectively. In Dec. 2012, the
manufacturing sector made modest

gains in manufacturing activity and
factory hiring.
One of the common arguments
related to manufacturing thrown
around recently is that American
companies are outsourcing jobs to
other countries because their labor
laws allow manufacturing opera-
tionstobe moreprofitable. However,
this is not as big of an issue as most
Americans think it is. As the Bureau
of Labor Statistics has found, the
effect of outsourcing has been mini-
mal. In the third quarter of 2012,
when more than 100,000 workers
were laid off, firms told BLS that less
than 1 percent of these workers had
their jobs moved to another country.
An article from The Atlantic
reported that American companies
are seeing the economic benefits of
keeping jobs in America and have, in
fact, started to "insource" jobs. Chi-
na's Foxconn, the Chinese manufac-
turing giant, is actually planning on
increasing their operations in the
United States. American companies
are realizing the benefits of keeping
jobs in the U.S., which will limit the
effect that outsourcing will have on
the economy.
On the other hand, what's pre-
venting companies from producing
in the United States is the attrac-
tiveness of production in other
countries. Part of the issue is that
the value of the dollar made pro-
ducing goods in the United States
less attractive than other countries
with cheaper labor and production
costs and lower marginal tax rates.
If America wants to become more
competitive in this regard, the fed-
eral government must be willing to
create a plan that provides subsidies
and "lowers tax rates for businesses
and manufactures that (will) create
jobs right here in America." This
would help reduce the costs of pro-
duction in the U.S., which would

make companies more willing to
attract new jobs without having to
reduce workers' salaries.
Obama's plan will
make America more
competitive.
One point that President Obama
has been stressing is that increas-
ing our focus onalternative energy
will make America a stronger man-
ufacturing country. According the
Department of Energy, in Aug. 2012
the wind sector was employing
"75,000 American workers, includ-
ing workers at manufacturing facil-
ities up and down the supply chain,
as well as engineers and construc-
tion workers who build and operate
the wind farms." People are now
feeling the benefits of alternative
energy manufacturing. On top of
providing jobs, it will help Ameri-
cans save money on energy con-
sumption. This is the direction the
manufacturing sector is going. If
we fail to recognize the importance
of alternative energy, America will
fall behind.
Manufacturing is what has driven
America over the past century. If we
plan to give up on manufacturing,
we are throwing the future of this
country away. But words can only go
so far. This plan will not completely
revive the American car industry
or the steel industry. While it's not
complete, President Obama's plan
will make American manufacturing
industry more competitive that it is
today so that we can be authors of
the next great chapter in our Ameri-
can story.
- Paul Sherman can be reached
at pausherm@umich.edu.

DILLON KIM-SANCHEZ AND KATE STENVIG I
Keep on marching
The proposed "Bipartisan Framework for practices. BAMN is asking the University to
Comprehensive Immigration Reform" reflects join Western and other universities in taking
recognition on the part of the Democratic and a stand now and establishing a fait accompli,
Republican parties of the growing strength rather than allowing the right wing to make
of the immigrant rights movement and the gains at our expense.
Latina/o communities. If we can recognize that The Republican Party has been forced to
strength, we can win much more than what is change their position on immigration because
being offered now. they understand losing the Latina/o vote is
The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, more detrimental to their existence than the
Integration & Immigrant Rights, and Fight for risk of alienating their far-right, anti-immi-
Equality By Any Means Necessary's starting grant supporters. The liberal University of
point is that everyone who works here, lives Michigan, known for its defense of affirmative
here, goes to school here or otherwise contrib- action, commitment to diversity, and academic
utes to this society is a citizen and should have freedom, is allowing that same far-right wing
full citizenship and rights in the United States. to determine its policies by the mere specter
We, as the Coalition, can't endorse the proposal of a lawsuit. The University is self-imposing
as it is now because too much of it is based on the kind of paralysis Martin Luther King Jr.
chauvinism and racism and it doesn't guaran- described as the legacy left by McCarthyism
tee a pathway to citizenship for the majority of through the 1960s, in which "fear persisted
undocumented people. through succeeding years and social reform
We can shape the final bill if we mobilize remained inhibited and defensive. A blanket
and fight for our demands. A march on Wash- of conformity and intimidation conditioned
ington has been called for April 10 to support young and old to exalt mediocrity and con-
the reform. BAMN is organizing a contingent vention." If the University continues on this
to demand full citizenship rights for all and treacherous path, it will become a segregated
assert that we won't be satisfied until we win backwater, with a lot of posh buildings but
the freedom, dignity and equality we deserve. devoid of critical thought.
The University of Michigan can and must In contrast to the fear and pessimism of
play a decisive role in this debate. The best the University, the optimistic young leaders of
way for the University to influence the nation- the immigrant rights movement are already
al debate and the final immigration reform bill propelling our whole society in the direction
is to lead by example. Since 2003, when the of freedom and equality, breaking down the
University had the courage to defend its affir- divisions of national boundaries and realizing
mative action programs to the U.S. Supreme humanity's vast potential.
Court and won, our campus has been viewed Our greatest danger is not recognizing
nationally as the champion of black, Latina/o our own independent power. We can't let the
and other minority and poor students' rights. Democratic Party and electoral politics absorb
If our University fails to lead by example in this movement. The most important leaders of
this fight, the University will send the false the walkouts and marches in 2006 were either
message that our side is weakest, when in fact too young to vote, or were undocumented
we are strong. and couldn't vote. The U.S. Senate's defeat of
The main explanation offered by University the anti-immigrant bill H.R. 4437 was just
President Mary Sue Coleman for not granting the appetizer that made us hungry for more.
in-state tuition and creating Dream Scholar- It showed that we can win so much more by
ship programs for undocumented students is taking the power into our own hands than
that the University may be sued if it acts before by leaving it in the hands of the politicians,
the federal law is changed. First, 26 states school administrators, etc. Whether or not we
already allow in-state undocumented students succeed in getting this administration to act,
to pay in-state tuition prices. Hundreds of our student body, with its reputation as path-
public and private universities have also estab- breakers, must throw itself into this fight.
lished Dream Scholarships. The attitude of Join us on the April 10 march on Washing-
Western Michigan University, where undocu- ton; march today, march tomorrow and keep on
mented students already pay in-state tuition, marching until we win.
is that it would be much harder for politicians
to overturn their popular existing policies than Dillon Kim-Sanchez is an LSA
to simply bring the law inline with the existing freshman and Kate Stenvig is a University alum.

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
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
When the show's over

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"T he best part about
going to the Oscars is
telling people you're
going to the
Oscars. Even
my mom, who's
been my date
for the last two
years, she says
that the best
part is telling
her hairstylist JOSEPH
in Pennsylvania HORTON
that she's going
to the Oscars."
My friend Mary
Howard, who works for the Acade-
my of Motion Picture Arts and Sci-
ences, is making her third trip to
the Oscars this year. "The second
best part is the moment you walk
in you're handed a glass of, like,
Cristal champagne. A lot of people
are drunk."
I've been to the Academy Awards
ceremony precisely once. And by
"been," I mean I've stood outside,
beyond the security cordon, neck
craned for a starry glimpse. And by
"ceremony," I mean the bejeweled,
self-congratulatory apex of the Hol-
lywood fame mountain. From a dis-
tance, I've loved, and been frustrated
by, the Oscars forever. I've known
film-school friends nominated for
their work, and I've written about
the Academy's odder choices and
the ripple effects that one bad win
can have over decades. However,
ever since that moment of false inti-
macy at the corner of Hollywood and
Highland, I've wondered what the
Oscars really mean.
Mary's Oscar day starts at 10:30
a.m. with hair and makeup. "I do
my mom's makeup, and I do my
own hair," she says, "and we try to
arrive early. I walk not the fancy
red carpet, but the side red carpet.
It's basically the same as the red
carpet except it's full of people say-
ing 'keep it moving."'
The highlight of the day for com-
moners and celebrities alike, she

explains, is watching the arrivals.
"When everyone was arriving, Tea
Leoni was standingnext to me on this
little overhang pointing out celeb-
rities just like the rest of us." Mary
admits her most significant celebrity
encounter was John Williams, the
movie-score maestro himself.
"John Williams once told me
that I was nice. Nobody's opinion
matters anymore but his. Next time
someone calls me a bitch, it doesn't
matter, because John Williams
thinks I'm nice."
When the show begins, Mary
sits in the second-to-last row of the
Dolby Theatre, where the steepness
of the auditorium puts the feet of
those sitting behind her squarely at
her head. "There's a free bar up until
15 minutes before the show, so when
people get drunk you can get kicked
in the head."
Provided your head doesn't get
kicked in, I think there's value in this
back-of-the-theatre view.Ambitionis
found in the cheap seats, and maybe a
measure of perspective accompanies
distance. Or, provided you're nattily
black-tied, there's similar value in
working as a seat-filler, as Mary's dad
did last year, and seeing, even for the
length of a commercial break, what it
might be like to one day have a VIP
seat for yourself. Maybe there's a
necessary measure of motivation to
earn this proximity and maybe, just
maybe, winning isn'teverything.
Now, I'm not falling back on the
old, "it's an honor just to be nomi-
nated" garbage or admitting that
streakers always steal theshow. I'm
not surrenderingto a SallyField pop-
ularity-check or acknowledging the
common slight that "nobody remem-
bers who won last year," referenced
by Kevin Costner in his acceptance
speech for "Dances with Wolves."
But I'm convinced that the Academy
Awards are most valuable for the
work they inspire. That statuette of a
naked golden man isn't really for the
person holding it on stage, no mat-
ter how many Jack Palance pushups

the winner does to show us he has
earned it. The Oscar at its best is a
down payment, a shiny anchor tossed
into the future to hold firm the film-
makers and artists watching, way
back in the Dolby rafters or at home
in Michigan, who will one day shape
the cinematic world.
Keep striving, keep
working and keep
dreaming.
"When the show's over, if you're
lucky, all of a sudden you're walking
next to winners with their Oscars
and you congratulate them," Mary
says. "Their families will be all in
the balcony, and they'll come back
up to show them their Oscar. The
people who win the shorts, the live
action and animated shorts, they're
the future. They are the ones that are
most inspired and affected by win-
ning an Oscar."
We live in a world obsessed with
instant fame and celebrity, which,
like the Oscars, can seem easy and
glamorous. On television we see the
first few rows of seats, populated by
the biggest stars, and maybe Mary's
dad, but we're offered little more
than a passing pan over the balco-
nies. The hope of those in the balco-
nies -'where people like Mary can
see the long-view of the Academy,
where short-film winners can see
the path ahead and down - keeps me
watching. To them, to all those who
do their own hair and makeup, who
are exiled to cash bars and foot/head
seats, who walk the "side red carpet"
and are presciently told to keep mov-
ing, I say keep going - keep striving,
keep working, keep dreaming and
keep drafting that acceptance speech
for the night you cast out the anchor.
- Joseph Horton can be reached
at jbhorton@umich.edu.

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