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March 17, 2014 - Image 3

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3A - Monday, March 17, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

3A-Mndyarh1. 04Th .ihia, aiy-mihgnd. yo

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com
MEGAN MCDONALD
PETER SHAHIN and DANIEL WANG KATIE BURKE
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS 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.
FROM THE DAIL
An alternate (PATH)way
Community service should be another option to maintain welfare benefits
epublican Gov. Rick Snyder is currently considering signing a bill
that will allow state welfare recipients to use community service
participation - in addition to other activities - to maintain
their welfare eligibility. Already suffering at the hands of a difficult
job market, allowing welfare recipients another option to extend their
welfare benefits helps alleviate the situation. Welfare programs not only
offer financial assistance, but encourage job training programs that help
welfare recipients who are unemployed to develop the necessary skills to
successfullyreentertheworkforce. Snydershouldsignthelegislationtohelp
people on welfare maintain their benefits and continue their job training.

KARA ARGUE

E-MAIL KARA AT KARGUE@UMICH.EDU

ALL
7f. .jf r?
A 1
Political theatrics

he average global tempera-
ture during each of the last
three decades has consis-

tently risen.
Levels of car-
bon dioxide in
the atmosphere
reached 400
parts per mil-
lion in 2013 -
the highest they
have been since
humans began
walking the
earth. Sea lev-
els are rising at

PATRICK
MAILLET

Under the Personal Responsibility and
Work OpportunityAct of1996,most recipients
are required to work in order to receive
federal cash assistance, though factors such
as age and medical condition may excuse
certain recipients from these "work for
welfare" requirements. Michigan Senate Bill
276, approved by the state House last week,
would simply allow the act of community
service to fulfill the Department of Human
Services'work requirements.As a supplement
to Michigan's welfare-to-work program,
recipients can participate the in Partnership,
Accountability, Training and Hope program
which requires individuals seeking welfare
to participate in a three-week assessment of
their personal employment barriers and help
find some form of permanent employment.
Including community service as an
option provides an additional alternative for
recipients to maintain their welfare eligibility.
Michigan's Department of Human Services
has said the bill wouldn't force welfare
recipients to perform community service.
Instead, if welfare recipients - for whatever
reason - are unable to fulfill the other welfare
requirements, community service can serve
as a final resort to maintain eligibility.
The community service option allows
people to stay on welfare, which not only

assists them financially, but also gives
them access to services to prepare them for
the future. Currently, the state sponsors
a program called PATH. The program is
comprised of a "21-day assessment period
during which barriers to employment are
identified and caseworkers work individually
with clients to connect them with resources
to address these barriers." Thus, those on
welfare can receive state-provided assistance
in finding a job and working on their weakest
areas. Providing this will help people when
finding long-term jobs and, hopefully, help
them leave the welfare program permanently.
While this is a necessary first step, there
is a larger issue at play. Working full time
- without welfare benefits - does not
guarantee that the worker will be able to
support themselves or their families. The
minimum wage in Michigan is $7.40 per hour
and isn't tied to inflation. The living wage for
a single parent with two children is $22.34.
The difference between what individuals
need to earn and what employers actually
pay creates the need for programs like PATH
and the welfare system in general. Finding a
way to reduce this wage gap would decrease
the need for supplemental programs by
improving the wage-earning potential of
those in low-paying jobs.

the fastest pace in recorded history
and the rate is expected to continue
to rise. And do you know what our
government is doing about it? Hav-
ing a slumber party.
Last week, more than two dozen
U.S. Senate Democrats spoke
throughout the night about the
dangers of climate change and the
need for action. These Senators
each took turns bashing the GOP
and spewing facts that were
meant to "wake up" Americans.
Unfortunately, Democratic leaders
have said that a bill on climate
change won't be brought before the
floor in 2014. So what was the point
of this talkathon about climate
change? The same two motivations
for everything else in Washington:
money and theatrics.
For one of the first times in
my life, I actually agree with
Senate Minority Leader Mitch
McConnell (R-Ky.) with regards
to this climate change all-nighter.
McConnell referred to the event as
"30 hours of excuses" perpetuated
to appease "some billionaire in
San Francisco." The man that
McConnell is referencing is Tom
Steyer, a former hedge fund
manager and environmentalist who
has pledged $100 million in the
2014 election cycle to make climate

change a top-tier election issue.
The vast majority of the
Democrats who stayed up last
week will likely get donations from
Steyer withouthavingto actually do
anything. Most Senate Democrats
who face tough reelection bids at
home stayed out of the event, such
as Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.),
Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Mark
Begich (D-Alaska) - all Democrats
from traditionally red states who
are afraid to come out in support of
the environment.
Democrats are quick to blame
the GOP for why the government
has remained virtually stagnant
with regards to climate change
over the last couple years. Though
I'm usually all for pointing fingers
at Republicans for America's trials
and tribulations, Democrats cannot
possibly argue that they have done
everythingtheycantopassanyform
of legislation that would seriously
fight climate change. Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-
Nev.) and Democratic leadership in
the Senate have stated that there is
no use in passing a climate change
bill because it will undoubtedly be
shot down by the Republican House
of Representatives. This logic
hasn't stopped the House from
voting on repealing the Affordable
Care Act 42 times. Speaker of the
House John Boehner knows that
the Democratic-controlled Senate
will never repeal President Barack
Obama's landmark legislation, yet
he still allows these repeal bills to
come to the floor because it allows
Republican candidates to go back
to their district and tout that they
have done everything in their
power to repeal the ACA.
Why doesn't the Senate take the
example from its Congressional
counterparts and at least show
concerned Americans that someone
in our government cares about

climate change? Like most things in
life, talking the talk is much easier
than walkingthe walk.
Senate Democrats are afraid of
actually taking any action against
climate change because they fear
upsetting the very businesses that
finance their campaigns. Coal,
oil and natural gas companies -
the biggest producers of carbon
emissions - give millions of
dollars every election cycle and
hire more lobbyists than almost
any other industry. There are
even some Senate Democrats who
are vehemently opposed to any
climate change legislation such
as Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) who
literally shot a copy of the Clean
Air Act nailed to a tree with a rifle
during one of his campaign ads.
Considering that West Virginia
is a major coal-producing state,
it's no wonder that most coal
companies and workers came out
and supported Manchin soon after
that ad aired.
Instead of actually taking any
action, Senate Democrats are able
to play both sides by appeasing
to the environmentalist left of
the party by making this public
spectacle while also not actually
doing anything and keeping their
donors happy.
Climate change is very real.
According to NASA, more than
97 percent of scientists agree
that human activity is very likely
causing Earth's temperature to
rise. Our government needs to stop
pandering to its powerful donors
and start worrying about the planet
that will be left for generations
to come. My message to Senate
Democrats: put aside the theatrics
and actually do something about
our warming planet.
- Patrick Maillet can be
reached at mailletiumich.edu.

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Barry Belmont, Nivedita Karki, Jacob Karafa, Jordyn Kay,
Kellie Halushka, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Victoria
Noble, Michael Schramm, Matthew Seligman, Paul
Sherman, Allison Raeck, Linh Vu, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
LET TEE TO THE EI)l TOE R SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@MICHIGANDAILY.COM
The expanding infuence of former AD Bill Martin and former President
the Athletic Department James Duderstadt, claims this lack of
regulation is responsible for the "unbridled
TO THE DAILY: expansion" of University Athletics that late
While the student body's condemnation Athletic Director Don Canham warned of.
of former Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons' This expansion has occurred with limited
alleged sexual assault and support for his benefit to student athletes, but amounts
alleged victim signal a campus with a con- to a 62-percent increase in administrator
science, the same cannot be said for Michigan's compensation and a near tripling in the AD's
administration. The circumstances surround- salary compared to his predecessor.
ing the University's response (or rather, the Though soaring ticket prices may already
lack thereof) to the reported assault point to hurt students' pocketbooks, Gibbons' case
a growing disconnect between the interests should be taken to be the first example of
of students and those of the school, which Michigan's profit-driven focus on athletics
has been veiled with boisterous displays of actually harming students . Students must
supposed focus on students (see: Victors for now question whether administration will
Michigan). Though such efforts may ultimate- look after their welfare or act in the interest
ly improve the quality and availability of the of athletic (read: financial) performance. The
Michigan education, Michigan Athletics and University may see repercussions as a result of
the University of Michigan seem to be increas- the ongoing Department of Education investi-
ingly separate entities; the latter being defer- gation, but Michigan's suspicious handling of
ential to the former. this case and its delayed punishment does not
According to John U. Bacon's, a college - bode well for students' confidence in the Uni-
football writer and Michigan alum, blog, versity's future decision making.
Michigan Athletics has shed faculty control
under Athletic Director Dave Brandon's Jake Prosyniuk
leadership. Bacon, who has interviewed 'LSA junior
Evidence is consistent with
someone acting deliberately
inside the plane."
- Malaysian Prime Minister Najibrazak told reporters in regards to the missing Malaysia
Airlines Flight 370. The aircraft disappeared March 8 with 239 passengers.

STUDENTS ALLIED FOR FREEDOM AND-EQUALITY I
Support divestment, support human rights

This past Tuesday, members of
Students Allied for Freedom and
Equality proposed a resolution to
the Central Student Government
titled "A Resolution For the Uni-
versity of Michigan to Divest From
Socially Irresponsible Companies
that Violate Palestinian Human
Rights." The resolution calls on
the University of Michigan to re-
evaluate its financial investment
in corporations that unethically
profit from and facilitate the viola-
tion of Palestinian human rights.
The companies in question include
United Technologies, Caterpillar,
Heidelberg Cement and General
Electric. All these companies are
explicitly linked to Israel's illegal
occupation of Palestine and ongo-
ing human rights abuses.
United Technologies possesses
millions of dollars in contracts
with the Israeli Air Force for the
manufacture of armed Blackhawk
helicopters, which have been used
by the Israeli military in offensive
campaigns against Palestinian
communities, resulting in many
civilian deaths and casualties. In
addition, United Technologies
produces the engines for the F-15
and F-16 aircraft used in strikes
that result in the killing of innocent
civilians. F-15 and F-16 aircraft
were used in Operation Cast Lead in
2008/09, when 1,400 Palestinians
were killed over a three week
period, the vast majority of them
innocent civilians.
Caterpillar produces the D9 mili-
tary bulldozers that are used to ille-
gally demolish Palestinian homes.
Its bulldozers and civil engineer-
ing tools have also been crucial to
the construction of the separation
wall and settlements on Palestin-
ian land. The #UMMockEviction
campaign SAFE organized last
semester raised awareness about
the illegal demolition of Palestin-
ian homes. Since 1967, more than

27,000 Palestinian homes have
been demolished.
Heidelberg Cement is involved in
theexploitationofnaturalresources
in occupied Palestinian land for the
benefit of the Israeli construction
industry. It operates two concrete
plants and one asphalt plant in the
West Bank and has provided the
cement used for the building of
illegal settlements as well as the
building of the separation wall.
Lastly, General Electric sells
engines for a variety of Israeli
military aircraft and provides
the propulsion systems of AH-64
Apache helicopters that have been
used in terrorizing raids against
Palestinian towns and villages.
The human rights violations in
which the University is invested
are severe. Five million Palestin-
ian refugees are forcibly prevented
from returning to their homes. In the
West Bank, Palestinians live under a
military occupation, in Gaza they are
under constant siege and Palestinian
citizens of Israel are explicitly denied
equal rights under the law. Israel
arbitrarily and punitively destroys
Palestinian homesand farms, impris-
ons and tortures Palestinian children
and has killed thousands of Palestin-
ian civilians since the year 2000.
Investing in companies that profit
from military occupation and vio-
lence, no matter where or why, is
wrong. And with thousands of via-
ble alternatives, it is not necessary.
In asking for the divestment from
companies that continue to cooper-
ate with the violation of Palestinian
human rights, we are merely hold-
ing our University accountable to its
stated moral and ethical standards.
The President's Advisory Commit-
tee on Labor Standards and Human
Rights at the University of Michi-
gan states that its role is to "moni-
tor code enforcement and promote
University leadership in corporate
citizenship with respect to fair labor

practices, human rights and sustain-
ability in its licensing operations."
The University has reflected its
commitment to ethical practices
and human rights in its corporate
investments in the past, when stu-
dent pressure led to divestment
from apartheid South Africa in 1978
and from tobacco-related companies
in 2000. By calling attention to this
issue, we are continuing the spirit of
the thousands of University student
activists who have been and contin-
ue to be committed to social justice
and equality for all people - not just
those whodemanded divestment
from apart-heid South Africa, but
also the courageous students that
vocally opposed the Vietnam War,
that pried open the doors of higher
education to people of color and
those that continue to fight for equal
access to higher education.
Instead of being cause for contro-
versy, the respect for human rights
should be a commonly acknowl-
edged principle. When the student
representatives vote next Tuesday
on the resolution, they will face a
simple choice: whether to stand
in solidarity with Palestinians'
non-violent resistance to occupa-
tion and violence, or to remain as
accomplices in human rights viola-
tions and indigenous displacement.
The voting for the resolution will
take place tomorrow, March 18 at
7:30 p.m. in the Chambers room of
the Michigan Union. Please join
us if you would like to show your
support and stand in solidarity.
Additionally, Ali Abunimah, the
founder of Electronic Intifada, will
be speaking about his latest book
The Battle for Justice in Palestine
and the future of Palestine and
Israel March 17 at 7 p.m. in the
Rackham Amphitheater.
This viewpoint was written by
the members of Students Allied
for Freedom and Equality.

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