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June 02, 2008 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2008-06-02

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Monday June 2, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

EJbe MRidiigan Baiyj
Edited and managed by students at
; the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect the officialpositionof the Daily's editorial board. Allother
signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Save the lakes
Feds should help fund cleanup efforts
Three environmental dangers are terrorizing the
Midwest's beloved Great Lakes. A report released
last week by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes
Coalition, outlined climate change, pollution and invasive
species as the most pressing dangers facing the lakes. The
report also predicted that if these issues are not addressed,
water levels could fall by three feet and biological dead
zones, areas devoid of fish and plant life, could increase as
well. These consequences have to be avoided.


Foreign logic

In a May 15 speech to Israel's
parliament, the Knesset, President
George W. Bush likened politi-
cians who wish to sit down and
talk with "terrorists and radicals"
to Nazi appeasers. Though not
explicitly mentioned, the target of
his comments was clearly Demo-
cratic presidential candidate
Barack Obama, who has support-
ed opening communication with
both Iranian president Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad and the leaders of
Since when did dialogue with
one's political enemies acquire
such a negative connotation? Is
it not the responsibility of every
sensible politician to seek peaceful
resolutions to precarious political
Republicans will say that such
communication is a sign of weak-
ness, and a threat to national
security. Better to bomb them all
and ask questions later to reduce
everything to the blissful simplic-
ity of "You're either with us or
against us."
Some Republicans have already
tried hard to portray Obama as
less American by referencing his
middle name, insinuating that he
is secretly a Muslim.

Calling Obama's stance on
national security weak could not
be less true; among the three presi-
dential contenders, he has offered
the most pragmatic approach to
foreign policy. He isn't willing
to spend 100 years in Iraq or to
"nuke" Iran, but he has also never
suggested giving in to the ever-
present terrorist threat or wanting
to persuade Osama bin Laden to
become a Gandhian either.
What he has done is encour-
age communication with leaders
who, for better or worse, have a lot
of leverage in certain parts of the
Muslim world. This is absolutely
critical since most of the world sees
the United States as an unwelcome
invader thanks to the Bush admin-
istration. Restoring the country's
reputationis crucialsothat, should
the need arise, U.S. military force
can be seen as reasonable action
rather than bullying.
It is important to have a dia-
logue, even with leaders like
Ahmadinejad who have made irre-
sponsible and blatantly anti-Semit-
ic comments, such as expressing a
desire to wipe Israel off the map
and calling the Holocaust a myth.
The proper way to handle these
people is to challenge their com-

ments the same way Columbia
University President Lee Bollinger
challenged Ahmadinejad last year.
These challenges expose their
stupidity to the rest of the world.
Not listening to them or reporting
their point of view just produces
feelings of undeserved sympathy.
Unfortunately, the Demo-
crats are too busy fighting among
themselves to engage leaders
like Ahmadinejad in reasonable
debate. Hillary Clinton - who
calls for nuking Iran in her quest
to appear like a strong leader and
claims to be ready to answer the
phone at 3 a.m. - is certainly not
Hawkish Republicans are
getting away with cheap fear-
mongering and unjustifiably char-
acterizing Obama's inexperience
as an insurmountable handicap. In
the coming months, Republicans
will only step up these attacks. It
is the Democrats' misfortune that
they are left watching this as they
struggle among themselves, possi-
bly snatching defeat from the jaws
of victory.
Anindya Bhadra is a Rackham
student and a member of the
Daily's editorial board.




The coalition's report, which
represents more than 100 advo-
cacy groups, is requesting $20
billion in funding from the fed-
eral government to deal with
these issues. The funds would
go towards preventing pollu-
tion, adopting water quality
control indicators and updating
the Great Lakes' aging sewer
treatment technology. The
report also calls for toxic areas
to be cleaned up by 2015 and
for all ocean-going vessels to be
banned from the lakes in order
to stop invasive species from
The U.S. Senate will begin
debate next week about global
warming legislation, debate that
may end up generating funding
for efforts to restore the Great
Lakes. The federal govern-
ment should fund the cleanup
efforts immediately. In grant-
ing such funding, everyone has
something to gain; many states
outside the Great Lakes region
also benefit from a healthy
lakes system. The U.S. Fish

and Wildlife Service estimates
that the lakes sustain the liveli-
hoods of 10 percent of the U.S.
But it's important to clarify
that federal funding shouldn't
equate to a federally controlled
cleanup effort. The eight states
bordering the lakes are the ones
that should create solutions and
man regional repair efforts, as
is being attempted right now
with the Great Lakes Compact.
Emphasizing regional control
prevents cleanup from getting
bogged down in federal bureau-
The country cannot allow any
of its most appealing natural
environments to be destroyed.
Federal funding is needed to
restore the Great Lakes eco-
systems and maintain them for
future generations of lake lovers
who depend on them. The pos-
sibility of losing the Great Lakes
should be a haunting projection
of the future for the residents of
the Midwest - one that must be
avoided at all cost.

Banning the banned


The Michigan legislature has
moved to pass a bill that would
effectively ban partial-birth abor-
tion. It has already passed in the
state Senate and is moving to the
House of Representatives. Of
course, there is already a similar
ban at the federal level. So I have
to wonder: Why are Michigan's
politicians working so hard to ban
something that is already illegal?
The federal ban outlaws par-
tial-birth abortion in all cases
except when the mother's health
is threatened. The Michigan
bill, in an effort to be even more
restrictive, aims to outlaw all par-
tial-birth abortions except in life
or death situations. It stipulates
that the physician is the one who
determines if abortion is permis-
At first glance, this discrep-
ancy might not seem like much of
a problem and could constitute a
difference big enough to make a
new law worthwhile. But this new

provision takes away the woman's
righttochoose and leaves the final
decision up to the doctor.
This fundamentalflaw in Mich-
igan's bill is its main problem, and
the likely reason Gov. Jennifer
Granholm will veto it. Effectively,
the state legislature has worked
hard to pass a bill that practically
mirrors the federal ban already in
place, except for the one aspect
that will likely kill it. Either way,
it's wasting its time.
Isn't there something else
that my state government should
be doing instead of essentially
rewriting a bill that already
exists? Maybe my representa-
tives' time would be better spent
creating a bill that isn't destined
to fail.
Since creating legislation that
actually has a chance of passing
clearly wasn't a priority in this
case, I have to wonder: Are some
of Michigan's representatives
simply trying to win the vote of

the religious right in an election
year? With this bill, representa-
tives have the advantage of look-
ing like they are trying very hard
without having to worry about
accomplishing much.
Simply put, there are more
important things to worry about.
Perhaps the fact that our state
now has the highest unemploy-
ment rate in the country has not
yet reached the ears of our state
senators. And I don't think any of
us have forgotten that last year
our state almost went bankrupt.
Have these monetary issues been
worked out already? Doubtful.
I'd be far more impressed with
my government if it worked on
these more pressing concerns
rather than redundant and flashy
vote-getting legislation that in
reality gets us nowhere.
Elise Baun is an LSA
senior and a member of the
Daily's editorial board.



Read more up-to-date opinion at michigandaily.com/thepodium

Editorial Board Members: Elise Baun, Anindya Bhadra, Harun Buljina, Robert Soave

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