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January 08, 2014 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-01-08

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4A - Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A - Wednesday, January 8, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

I C Mdcigan 4:at*g
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.
Buying democracy
Snyder introduces bill that reduces transparency in campaign donations
n Dec. 27, 2013, Governor Rick Snyder signed a law that doubles the
amount of campaign contributions individuals can donate. The law
also solidifies non-disclosure laws that hide the names of individual
and corporate donors from the public, inhibiting proper democratic oversight
of the election process. Duringhis gubernatorial campaign, Snyder blasted the
lax regulations on issue ads. He ran on the promise that he would force donors
to reveal their identities as well as reduce the amount of spending in political
campaigns. Transparency is crucial to the fair and democratic process of gov-
ernment. Snyder and the Michigan legislature should introduce more legisla-
tion increasing transparency, rather than promote non-disclosure.

Bursting the Ann Arbor bubble

ike clockwork, twice a year
it happens: exams end sud-
denly, winter break and
summer vaca-
tion begin just
as abruptly and
all of my Uni-
versity friends
from outside
Metro Detroit
leave ASAP to
their respective
homes. Those ALEXANDER
who do hang HERMANN
around for any
period of time
either imbibe themselves emphati-
cally (somewhere between South U
and Main Street, of course) or spend
an unthinkable amount of time on
the couch catching up on the latest
Netflix offering, both as a means of
numbing the mind following their
undoubtedly roughest semester yet.
And who can blame them, really?
Exams are stressful. The weather
sucks. And at home family and
friends typically claim everyone's
holiday time months in advance.
But for me, this time serves as
the perfect reminder that there's
so much worth seeing in Metro
Detroit, including things without
equivalent in Ann Arbor, and even
in the United States. Unfortunately,
many University students rarely
take advantage of this during their
time here.
Though you may have missed
one perfect opportunity at the end
of last semester, an equally good
opportunity presents itself right
now at the beginning of another.
So, before another "worst-semes-
ter-ever" really heats up, grab your
nearest car-owning friend and
burst the Ann Arbor bubble for the
first time.
Allow me to make a few recom-
Middle Eastern Cuisine
Of any community in Metro
Detroit, Ann Arbor might have the
best overall food options. From
cheap college food and late-night
options, to a wide-range of eth-
nic (or ethnically inspired, in most

cases) choices, to
ing, Ann Arbor off
everyone. But tha
does all food equal
Take Middle E
example. Without
options on- and of
Arbor are of the
they-are" variety.
city of Dearborn,
concentrated Arab
munity in the Uni
forty minutes eas
The crucial stop
ery on Warren Av
Middle Eastern pa
fee and even its o
cream. From ther
just Yelp your way
better than anythi
Arbor. That stratel
last time in Dearb
Al-Ameer res-
taurant left-
overs, just a
couple blocks
from Shatila, for
days after eat-
ing there for the
first time over
I could - and
have - devoted
entire columns tc
city of Detroit, I'
gritty details and
just a few recomm
itously, there are e-
for students not to
with the Detroit C
offering weekend<
For the uniniti
Institute of Arts r
class museum wit
Bruegel the Eld
Gogh and more.
do in Detroit: Slor
best barbecue yo
ern challengers we
Bell's, though it's
Last Word for jazz
Michigan Brewe
I love Ann Arb
much as the next g

some finer din- ery, Grizzly Peak and Blue Tractor
ers something for included. But only Wolverine State
t doesn't mean it Brewing Company holds a candle to
lly well. the larger stock of incredible Mich-
Eastern food for igan breweries across the state.
pointing fingers, Now, I won't ask you all to drive out
f-campus in Ann to Kalamazoo, Bellaire or Grand
"good-for-what- Rapids to try Bell's, Founder's and
Fortunately, the Short's, respectively, especially
with the highest considering their most prominent
American com- beers are readily available locally,
ted Sates, is just bottled and on tap. But you should
t of Ann Arbor. definitely check out a few of the
is Shatila Bak- closer, lesser-known options.
enue that serves I'm admittedly a little biased con-
stries, cakes, cof- sidering I grew up less than a mile
wn brand of ice from Dragonmead Microbrewery in
e, you can simply Warren, but it offers everything that
to Lebanese food Wolverine State does, but way better.
ng served in Ann You think Wolverine State is located
gy paid off for my in an obscure, out of the way location
orn, as I enjoyed off campus on West Stadium? Drag-
onmead raises
you an unmarked
Before another "worst- building in an
industrial com-
semester-ever," burst plex adjacent to
an expressway
the Ann Arbor service drive.
bubble for the first You think Wol-
verine State's
time. double-digit in-
house taps are
nice? This week's
menu at Dragon-
o discussing the mead offers 45 of its own brews on
ll spare you the draft, each as delicious as the last
leave with you If you're not up to going to War-
endations. Fortu- ren, there is also Bastone Brewery.
ven fewer reasons A solid brewery by itself, Bastone
visit the city now is located in downtown Royal Oak,
Center Connector within walking distance of a num-
shuttle service to ber of other bars and restaurants in
Royal Oak and, after only a five min-
ated, the Detroit ute drive, Ferndale, probably the two
emains a world- "trendiest" places outside Detroit
h paintings from and Ann Arbor in Metro Detroit.
er, Monet, van Classes are only just beginning,
Other things to and despite your best-intentioned
ws Bar BQ is the efforts to "get ahead," we both
u'll find (South- know what's inevitable. So why not
elcome) and Cliff make "syllabus week" an extension
pricey, kills the of winter break, and check out some
:. of what Metro Detroit has to offer?

The new bill protects financial donors to
issue ads by allowing them to do so without
revealing their identities. Although issue ads
don't specifically endorse a specific political
candidate or proposal, the issue ads are overtly
political. Theyusually attack a specific official's
policy and can contain a line that tells viewers
to proactively take a stance on the issue by vot-
ing, calling political officials, etc. The ads have
been highly successful in the past and some
have even been labeled attack ads.
The new law requires these ads to reveal the
political group funding the ad, but it doesn't
require identification of financial donors. This
allows political groups to fund biased ads that
may be damaging or factually-questionable
without public repercussions. Groups that place
robocalls and issue ads will be required to pro-
vide an "authorized by" disclaimer, but those
statements won't give any information about
donors or support groups.
Thenewlaw willnowdouble campaigndona-
tionlimits, from $3,400 to $6,800 for candidates
for statewide office, from $1,000 to $2,000 for
candidates for state Senate, and to $1,000 from
$500 for candidates for the state House. The
limitswill increase slowlyovertime. Inthe 2010
gubernatorial race 99.992 percent of Michigan
residents did not reach the limit for campaign
donations. This will only allow more affluent
Michigan residents to have a more powerful say
in Michigan's gubernatorial race.
This legislation also solidifies the non-
disclosure laws that ensure the anonymity of
donors to political issue ads. Unable to discern
which individuals or what political groups may

be paying thousands to push an agenda, voters
participate in government without knowing
which issues are promoted by special interests
with a history of controversies with transpar-
ency, including the New Energy to Reinvent
and Diversify Fund, Snyder should be aiming
to improve Lansing's transparency rather than
further restricting public access to information.
This new law is a complete turnaround from
Snyder's platform position in2010,whenhe pub-
lished an administrative report, which argued
that the anonymity of political donors harmed
Michigan voters. The publication argued that
the combination of large political contributions
and anonymous donorscreated a "perfect storm
where citizens become disenfranchised with
politics ... unable to follow who istryingto influ-
ence policy and for what reasons."
The expanded funding cap furthers the
movement towards monetizing governmental
policy by increasing access to the wealthiest
of individuals. It promotes support for special
interest groups and encourages a system where
the most affluent citizens are able to heav-
ily influence government policy and elections.
Since the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court
case, corporations and wealthy individuals
have been able to donate ludicrous amounts of
money in support or opposition of a candidate
under their first amendment right. This creates
a system in which candidates are focused on
appealing to who may make the largest dbna-
tions instead offocusingonthe people. Snyder's
new law only further propels this trend toward
buying officials, alienating the people from the
democratic process.

or's breweries as
uy - Arbor Brew-

- Alexander Hermann can be
reached at aherm@umich.edu.

Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, James Brennan, Rima Fadlallah, Eric
Ferguson, Nivedita Karki, Jordyn Kay, Jesse Klein, Kellie Halushka, Aarica Marsh,
Megan McDonald, Victoria Noble, Michael Schramm, Matthew Seligman,
Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
Writing our conclusion

A wolf in sheep's clothing
Boom! Crash! 6 a.m.You wake up in your dorm the post-1967 occupation. Many individuals have
room to loud explosions up and down the hall- grown up during that time period facing check-
way. Youhave no idea what's going on, and natu- points, poverty and near-constant war without
rally begin to panic. As you rush to the front door, ever having been alive duringthe pre-1967 wars.
you notice a large flyer has been slipped under- It is grossly unfair and one-sided, however, to
neath. It reads: highlight Israeli acts of war that have affected
#MOCKROCKETFIRE. The explosions Palestinians while completely ignoring Pales-
you've heard are not real and are not dangerous. tinian acts of war that have affected Israelis.
They have been set up to raise awareness about Both Palestinian supporters and, I hope, objec-
what life is like under the threat of thousands of tive observers would be absolutely correct to
rockets being fired into Israel on a regular basis. condemn the hypothetical demonstration men-
Later, you receive an e-mail from a member tioned at the beginning of this piece; likewise, I
of the group responsible for the fake explosions, call on the University community to similarly
listing a host of statistics and describing a one- condemn the demonstration carried out by the
sided, hero-versus-villain battle in the Middle Students Allied for Freedom and Equality.
East: 12,000 rockets and mortar shells fired into Hate needs to be called out whenever it is
heavily populated urban centers in recent years, present. Is the Students Allied for Freedom and
suicide bombers blowing up public buses and Equality a hate group, despite their euphemistic
shoppingmalls,kidnappings, bombers from Gaza name, or did they simply gotoo far in this demon-
using children as human shields toavoid counter- stration? Let's look at their actions. This group is
attacks and more. willing to distort a conflictcompletely in order to
Understandably, groups with ties to the Pal- create the perception that the only Jewish state
estinian people and, more generally, fair-minded in the entire world is the sole villain in a conflict
people would consider this demonstration to that is, at a minimum, over 65 years old and has
be disingenuous and unfair at best, and hateful been subject to countless wars, nearly perpetual
propaganda at worst. The demonstration and violence,under constantthreatofattack and sub-
subsequent communications depict one side as ject to its neighbors continuing cry for its anni-
evil warmongers while the other side is simply hilation. Do Palestinian refugees face hardships?
the victim. Absolutely. But, one might ask, how was this
A group called Students Allied for Freedom conflict chosen among others? If SAFE cares so
and Equality - a euphemistic name that would much about refugees worldwide, where are the
make George Orwell proud - sent outmock evic- demonstrations for the 2 million refugees from
tion notices to hundreds of University students Syria or the more than 300,000 people displaced
living in dorms and emailed just about every in Darfur between January and May 2013 alone?
mailing list they could find to cite statistics on I absolutely do not claim that Israel has been
the demolition of housing in the West Bank by an innocent bystander in this conflict and do not
Israeli forces. They provide the count of demoli- make claims that one side is "more innocent" or
tions since 1967 as well as inflammatory econom- "more guilty" than another in aggregate. Given
ic "reasons" for them, compare Israel to the era the endless cycle of violence and retaliation, it's
of apartheid in South Africa, and depict Israelis easy for both sides to claim that their actions are
as war criminals. All this, while conveniently only responses to injustices imposed upon them
neglecting to mention the hundreds of suicide bythe other side. What I do claim is thatorgani-
bombers and thousands of rockets fired into zations seeking to depict this decades-long con-
Israel by Palestinians over the same time period, flict as one-sided, with one hero and one villain,
as well as the recurring attacks on Israel's UN- are disingenuous at best, and at worst, purveyors
defined borders in 1948, 1957 and again in 1967 of hate-filled propaganda. We are privileged to
leading up to the current occupation. They call live in a country where everyone - including the
the forced evictions "war crimes" while ignor- members of SAFE - has a right to free, speech.
ing that Palestinian targeting of civilian popula- However, we also have a rightto call these groups
tion centers for rocket fire and use of children as out for what they truly are: a hateful wolf hiding
human shields by those firing the rockets have behind a sheep's name.

Around this time last year, will be packing u
I thought I'd be ready. I ing in to places oft
thought I'd be ready to paintmaybebrigh
close the books, may be cleaner, wi
bid farewell to we left behind.
the corners of Many of us exi
this place we between the fre
made our own money and the h
and move on. I time. Our part-tim
thought I'd be jobs may not have
ready for a new in Ann Arbor, and
city and the next look forward to th
phase. Now, I ARA port ourselves an
can feel myself MOROSI pursue our interes
holding tight- four years, we have
ly on to every at the office 40+1
piece of college did have the freed
that I can. For many of us seniors, time if we chose to
May won't mark goodbye forever. night treks to the
We'll keep in touch with friends and fee shops, where
we'll come back to Ann Arbor. But procrastination
the inescapable truth is that in four with friends
months, the meaning of this place seemed like a
will change. Though some will stay, better idea than
many will not, forcing the last four studying for
years we spent together into a time that exam. Some
capsule that can be revisited but not nights we'd
relived. While I still find excitement ditch the books
in looking forward, the impending altogether and
end of college is making it increas- choose trivia at
ingly difficult to imagine reaching Charley's, kara-
the end of this chapter. oke at Lep or a
over the last four years, many of shark bowl at
us have lived in beat-up, off-campus Rick's. Pretty soot
houses with a group of our closest ing real full-time j
friends. Through that experience, the days when d
along with the laughs, we learned nights was accepta
a lot about how people operate. We The past four
learned to take pride in calling a fairly predictable
house a home, no matter how much tracks were set, on
paint was chipping from the walls or We chose the pe
what you imagined tobe soaked into ourselves with. V
the carpet. Before long, many of us this place like the1

I i
o, v
n v

boxes and mov- Despite the pressure to succeed in
.r own. While the our competitive environment, our
ra andthe carpets world here becamefamiliarand
11 miss the homes comfortable. We parted ways for the
summers, knowing we always had
'rienced the pull the fall. Most of us have never been
dom of having here before - at a crossroad where
edom of having we can't look a year - let alone four
,minimum wage - ahead and know exactly where
otten us very far we'll be. We can look at it as scary
imagine all of us and really exciting. I've come to real-
day we can sup- ize it's OK to view it as both.
have money to I assume that all of us can look
. But for the past back over the past few years and see
't had to show up the things we wish we would have
ours a week. We done - the decisions we wish we
:m to work over- had made, as well as the oneswe did
which meant late make, but wish we hadn't. To some
ibraries and cof- degree, speculation of the paths we
ometimes a little chose is inevitable. More reveal-
ing though, is
to look back and
remember the
I can feel myself things we did
do - the choices
holding tightly onto we made that led
us to some of the
every piece of college most important
people in our
that I can. lives, or taught
us some of the
most important
lessons. And the
we'll all be work- best part is, it isn't over. Graduating
bs. Lest we forget seniors - we have one semester left
nking on week- to do our best to make up for any
le. lost time along the way. All good
rears have been things must come to an end, but we
Our academic aren't there quite yet. Let's give this
weekends filled. chapter a good ending.

eople to surround
We came to know
back of our hands.

- Sara Morosi can be reached
at smorosi@umich.edu.

... the South Pole this morning is 6 below.
That means places like Chicago, Detroit ...
are colder than the South Pole.
- Meteorologist Tom Kines at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania
in an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday Jan. 7.

alsobeenlabeled war crimes.
Reasonable observers of the conflict do not
deny Palestinian suffering and hardship during

Jonathan Hershaff is a PhD candidate
in the Department of Economics.



A: I

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