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Ann Arbor, Michigan



Fraternity brothers displaced after fire Four students sent to UMHS after SAE incident early Saturday morning


Art and Design senior Darius Shelton and LSA freshman Capr’Nara Kendall auction off a date with LSA sophomore Leslie Morgan at the Sister 2 Sister masquerade charity date auction in the Union Ballroom on Saturday.

Daily Staff Reporter


Former basketball captain discusses business growth David Merritt has created fashion line and social initiatives By AMRUTHA SIVAKUMAR Deputy Magazine Editor

Two statues representing the University’s desire for academic and athletic excellence adorn

both sides of the Michigan Union’s main entrance. However, University alum David Merritt, former co-captain of the Michigan basketball team, wants to show students that it’s possible to bridge the gap between the two. Merritt visited the University Friday to offer entrepreneurial students advice on how to go about building their ventures

and start-ups. Though he was hesitant to call himself an expert in entrepreneurship, Merritt turned his experiences and mistakes in the classroom and on the court into tools students can learn from. The talk was hosted by the Center for Entrepreneurship as a part of its Entrepreneurship Hour series, in conjunction with the Michigan Engineering Com-


mon Reading Experience. Titled “Doing Well and Doing Good,” the discussion focused on doing business while making a social impact. Originally from Detroit, Merritt earned an academic scholarship to the University and enrolled with the hope that he would be able to play on the men’s basketball team. See BUSINESS, Page 3A

A fire broke out at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house early Saturday morning, sending four people to the hospital. According to a release, the Ann Arbor Fire Department responded to a structure fire at 1408 Washtenaw Ave. at 5:37 a.m. The address provided in the report corresponds to the location of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Four fraternity brothers were released from the hospital after precautionary visits for possible smoke inhalation, according to Business sophomore Brett Mizzi, SAE president. Upon arrival, fire crews found a fire in a coat closet. First responders rescued 20 residents from the building, including the four taken by ambulance. Crews were able to control the blaze within 20 minutes, keeping it

contained to the front area of the building. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. The fraternity house suffered smoke damage on all floors and fire damage to approximately one half of the square footage on the first floor, AAFD Battalion Chief Steven Lowe said. Mizzi said the University helped fraternity brothers affected by the fire find alternate housing in hotels while the house is being repaired. However, many of the brothers have relocated to Varsity Management apartments on a monthly lease. “They’re all taken care of,” Mizzi said. Fire and police agencies from Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township, Pittsfield Township, Superior Township and University Police assisted, and no firefighters were injured. Sigma Alpha Epsilon is no longer recognized by the University after allegations of hazing led to the fraternity’s expulsion from the Interfraternity Council in 2011. In November, two males were stabbed near the house during an altercation, resulting in minor injuries.



Transfers to ‘U’ contend with new challenges

City council to consider new smoking restrictions

Gathering of students and administrators discusses academic rigor and support

New ordinance will reinforce, expand existing regulations

By KRISTEN FEDOR Daily Staff Reporter

Change is never easy, but the goal is to make it a little less hard. Students and administrators engaged in an open dialogue at the Commission on Transfer Student Resources’ first Transfer Student Symposium Saturday in the Michigan Union. The day included testimonials from a panel of transfer students and collaborative development of possible plans for the future. The commission presented data from a survey it conducted, sent out to about 3,000 transfer students, which brought to light

areas of concern. The data showed that transfer students struggle most with the academic transition, regarding properly transferring credits and understanding the difficulty of the classes they signed up for. Of the 19 percent of transfer students who responded to the survey, the top challenges cited were time management and the rigor of University classes. At the discussion, the participants also expressed concern with the short length of orientation for transfer students. LSA senior Tyler Mesman, chair of the Commission on Transfer Student Resources, said the overload of information in a few hours is often overwhelming. Toward the end of the symposium, attendants were asked to write down goals on index cards. The goals of administrators and students mainly dealt with easing this academic tranSee TRANSFERS, Page 3A



Daily Staff Reporter

Members of the Leim Irish Dance Club perform at their annual event Dance of the Celts on Friday.

Irish dancing club puts on event to keep culture alive Student group performs annual Dance of the Celts By BRIE WINNEGA Daily Staff Reporter

The Léim Irish Dance group put on its annual performance Friday night at

the Mendelssohn Theatre in front of a crowd of friends, family and other students. The group was founded in 2000 as a platform for experienced Irish dancers to foster their love for the dance and to spread their passion to other students who wished to learn it. Léim hosts one major performance every year and is involved in other

small-scale events, including a performance on the Diag to promote Irish traditions on St. Patrick’s Day. This year’s show, titled “Dance of the Celts,” featured two acts with seven dances each. Engineering senior Marcus Deloney, executive producer of Léim, said the group See DANCING, Page 3A

Smokers in Ann Arbor may soon find their cigarette breaks a little bit more tedious. A recently proposed ordinance in the Ann Arbor City Council would ban smoking near bus stops and city building entrances — a move that public health advocates say would cut down on instances of second hand smoke and protect non-smokers. The new ordinance reinforces and expands on an existing ordinance in Washtenaw County that prohibits smoking near building entrances, ventilation systems and windows. However, under the county See SMOKING, Page 3A

Hawkeye Heartbreak Lack of inside presence, poor shooting doom Wolverines in Iowa


HI: 14 LO: -2

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Vol. CXXIV, No. 64 ©2014 The Michigan Daily

NEWS......................... 2A SUDOKU.....................2A OPINION.....................4A

CL ASSIFIEDS...............6A A R T S . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7A S P O R T S M O N DAY. . . . . . . . . .1 B


2A — Monday, February 10, 2014

MONDAY: This Week in History

TUESDAY: Professor Profiles

WEDNESDAY: In Other Ivory Towers

THURSDAY: Alumni Profiles

Students call for meal plan changes Twenty-four years ago this week (Feb. 16, 1990)

In opposition to a proposed increase in residence hall rates of 8 percent, or $100 per housing resident, members of the Housing Policy Committee revealed their proposal for alternate budgeting situations that would avoid the increase. Several of HPC’s suggestions included replacing dorm staffers with student workers and closing the Student Activities Building. HPC member David Faye told the Daily that the group’s opposition to the increase stemmed mainly from the view that it was unnecessary.

Led by several members of the Michigan Student Assembly, a petition drive was launched to reform the University’s meal plan options. The meal plans at the time were set by meals per week, and petitioners wanted to change that to one set number for the year. LSA freshman Rob Rielly, a Michigan Student Assembly member and one of the leaders of the push, said the current meal plans were unfair to students. “Right now, you get 13 meals a week, two meals a day and if you don’t eat one of those meals you lose it,” Rielly said. “What we’re pushing for is spreading those


It was an accident.

WHERE: University Hospital WHEN: Friday at about 1:40 a.m. WHAT: A visitor who had already been asked to leave was found in the building by hospital security, University Police reported.

WHERE: Lot SC-16 WHEN: Thursday at about 8 a.m. WHAT: A service vehicle suffered minor damages, University Police reported. The incident was classified as accidental.

Letting more Digging yourself a hole than the cold in WHERE: Couzens Residence Hall WHEN: Thursday at about 1:50 p.m. WHAT: A snow shovel was reported missing, University Police reported. The shovel in question was later identified as having been recovered.

meals out. You get 400 meals for the year, and you can budget your meals however you want.” Ten years ago this week (Feb. 13, 2004) Jennifer Gratz, a plaintiff in the 2003 Supreme Court case against the University’s affirmative admission policies, spoke at the University amid a large-scale protest. Gratz was hosted on campus by the University’s chapter of the College Republicans, who had asked her to talk about her experience and perspective during the court case and as one of the organizers for a statewide ban on affirmative action. — SHOHAM GEVA

WHERE: 305 W. Liberty St. WHEN: Friday at 3:25 a.m. WHAT: An exterior window on the property was discovered broken, University police reported. One potential person of interest in the case has been identified.

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Snyder leadership lecture WHAT: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will speak about leadership practices. WHO: Campus Information Centers WHEN: Today at 6:30 p.m. WHERE: Blau Auditorium, Ross School of Business

International student discussion WHAT: Personnel will facilitate discussions among attendees about common concerns for international students. WHO: Counseling and Psychological Services WHEN: Today from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. WHERE: CAPS Office, Michigan Union

420 Maynard St. Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1327 PETER SHAHIN KIRBY VOIGTMAN

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EDITORIAL STAFF Katie Burke Managing Editor Jennifer Calfas Managing News Editor

SENIOR NEWS EDITORS: Ian Dillingham, Sam Gringlas, Will Greenberg, Rachel Premack and Stephanie Shenouda ASSISTANT NEWS EDITORS: Allana Akhtar, Yardain Amron, Hillary Crawford, Amia Davis, Shoham Geva, Amabel Karoub, Thomas McBrien, Emilie Plesset, Max Radwin and Michael Sugerman


LSA students Danni Xia and Ben Casaceli model local designs at the Shei Fashion show at the League Saturday.


Repeat offender

FRIDAY: Photos of the Week



Forty years ago this week (Feb. 14, 1974)

The Michigan Daily —

Chamber music concert WHAT: A combined student, faculty and staff chamber group will play three pieces. WHO: School of Music, Theatre & Dance WHEN: Today at 8 p.m. WHERE: Stamps Auditorium, Walgreen Drama Center CORRECTIONS A Feb. 7 article “Students brainstorm changes for Trotter” misstated Angela Abiodun’s name. It appeared as Angela Abiola in the original version of the article. In addition the same article misstated that MESA is a student organization. l Please report any error in the Daily to



On Saturday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department would extend several new rights to gay couples, Reuters reported. Added rights include spousal privilege and eligibility for more federal benefits.


The Michigan hockey team gave Penn State its first-ever Big Ten win on Saturday. The Wolverines lost 4-0 and saw junior forward Alex Guptill suffer a right shoulder injury. >> FOR MORE, SEE SPORTSMONDAY


Sage Kotsenburg, a 20 year old representing the United States in men’s slopestyle, won the first gold medal of the 2014 Winter Olympics Saturday. Saturday’s event marked the first slopestyle has been offered at the Olympics.

Megan McDonald and Daniel Wang Editorial Page Editors

SENIOR EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS: Aarica Marsh and Victoria Noble ASSISTANT EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS: Michael Schramm and Nivedita Karki

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Managing Sports Editors

SENIOR SPORTS EDITORS: Max Cohen, Alexa Dettelbach, Rajat Khare, Jeremy Summitt and Daniel Wasserman ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITORS: Lev Facher, Daniel Feldman, Simon Kaufman, Erin Lennon, Jake Lourim and Jason Rubinstein

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SENIOR PHOTO EDITORS: Patrick Barron and Ruby Wallau ASSISTANT PHOTO EDITORS: Allison Farrand, Tracy Ko, Terra Molengraff and Nicholas Williams

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SENIOR DESIGN EDITORS: Amy Mackens and Alicia Kovalcheck

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BUSINESS STAFF Amal Muzaffar Digital Accounts Manager Doug Solomon University Accounts Manager Leah Louis-Prescott Classified Manager Lexi Derasmo Local Accounts Manager Hillary Wang National Accounts Manager Ellen Wolbert and Sophie Greenbaum Production Managers Nolan Loh Special Projects Coordinator Nana Kikuchi Finance Manager Olivia Jones Layout Manager The Michigan Daily (ISSN 0745-967) is published Monday through Friday during the fall and winter terms by students at the University of Michigan. One copy is available free of charge to all readers. Additional copies may be picked up at the Daily’s office for $2. Subscriptions for fall term, starting in September, via U.S. mail are $110. Winter term (January through April) is $115, yearlong (September through April) is $195. University affiliates are subject to a reduced subscription rate. On-campus subscriptions for fall term are $35. Subscriptions must be prepaid. The Michigan Daily is a member of The Associated Press and The Associated Collegiate Press.

Next step uncertain in Woody Allen assault allegations Director’s adopted daughter first leveled accusations in 1992 NEW YORK (AP) — A week bracketed by op-ed letters of accusation and denial of child molestation left little clarity and scant hope for resolution in a bitter saga that has haunted Woody Allen and the Farrow family for more than two decades. The back-and-forth between Allen and his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, breathed new fire into a long dormant scandal, but what happens next is uncertain, with the possibility of legal recourse and continued scrutiny in the weeks and months ahead. Farrow, in her most detailed account yet, alleged in an open letter published Feb. 1 by The New York Times that Allen “sexually assaulted” her when she was 7 years old at the Farrows’ Connecticut home, renewing a charge against the movie director

that was first leveled in 1992. Allen responded in a letter posted online Friday night by the Times that insisted “of course I did not molest Dylan.” He instead claimed the young Dylan had been coerced and misled by her mother, Mia Farrow. The two acrimoniously separated after Farrow discovered Allen was having an affair with her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, who was 19 or 21 at the time. (Her date of birth is uncertain.) “I loved (Dylan) and hope one day she will grasp how she has been cheated out of having a loving father and exploited by a mother more interested in her own festering anger than her daughter’s well-being,” said Allen, who married Previn in 1997 and has two adopted daughters with her. Mia Farrow has yet to comment on Allen’s letter. Representatives for Farrow didn’t respond to messages left Friday night and Saturday. Allen ended his letter by declaring it would be his “final

word on this entire matter.” But the rampant debate sparked by Dylan Farrow’s accusation will likely continue to stir questions over the alleged molestation, how claims of sexual assault are publicly weighed, and the legacy of Allen’s acclaimed work as a filmmaker. Filing criminal charges would be difficult for Farrow. In Connecticut, Farrow had until age 20 to file charges. (She is now 28, married and living in Florida.) In 2002, Connecticut extended the cutoff to age 48, but that only covers crimes since the change. Exceptions can be made for the most serious sexual crimes. Connecticut state prosecutor Frank Maco, who investigated the charges in 1993 but is now retired, has said he believes the statute of limitations ran out on the case years ago. Farrow could file a civil suit against Allen. Though a suit would offer the opportunity to retry the case in civil court, it would insure a drawn-out, very public battle that would be taxing for all involved. The history of the case is clouded by a 1993 investigation that was full of contradictions. Allen wasn’t charged and a team of child abuse specialists from the Yale-New Haven Hospital brought in by prosecutors concluded Dylan had not been molested. But Maco claimed there was “probable cause” for charging him. In the custody battle, Judge Elliott Wilk concluded Allen’s behavior with Dylan was “grossly inappropriate and that measures must be taken to protect her.” A disciplinary panel found that Maco may have prejudiced the custody battle by making an accusation without formal charges. Maco challenged Allen’s statement in the op-ed that he “very willingly” took a lie-detector test. He said that Allen refused a request to take a polygraph from the Connecticut state police during the investigation and that the test he took was administered privately. Maco said that he was “incensed” at Allen’s letter, which said that the district attorney had been “champing at the bit to prosecute a celebrity case.”


Pro-European Union activists stand in front of a barricade of their tent camp to protect it, in downtown Kiev, Ukraine on Saturday.

Protesters experience upset after months of non-violence Anti-government protesters build large tent camp in Kiev square KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Thousands of people angered by months of anti-government protests in the Ukrainian capital converged on one of the protesters’ barricades Saturday, but retreated after meeting sizeable resistance. Although the confrontation ended without violence, it underlined the tensions that persist as the protests slog through a third month with no sign of concession from either side. The anti-government protesters have set up an extensive tent camp on downtown Kiev’s main square and occupy three nearby buildings, including the city hall, that they use for operations centers, sleeping quarters and even an improvised library. They have also built extensive barricades of earth, bags of ice and refuse on the fringes of the area. About 2,000 people streamed

toward the barricade near city hall at midday, blocking traffic on the capital’s main avenue and placing tires in the roadway. Igor Polishchuk, one of the men placing the tires, said the crowd intended to show its peaceful opposition to the protests that have pushed the country into a political crisis and complained that police had done little against the protesters. “It’s a critical mass in there, without control,” he said. “The authorities aren’t anywhere inside.” Protesters from the antigovernment side stood atop the three-meter (10-foot) barricade and members of the protest camp’s self-defense marshaled, many of them carrying metal shields and protecting their heads with cycling or hockey headgear. After about two hours, the protesters’ opponents pulled back, with the self-defense volunteers following, banging their shields with rods in an eerie imitation of the technique used by the country’s feared riot police. After riot police violently dispersed two of the early protest rallies, crowds swelled — sometimes exceeding 100,000 people — and the protest issues

expanded to denunciation of police brutality and calls for the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych. The protests began in late November after Yanukovych backed away from an agreement to deepen ties with the European Union and pursue closer relations with Russia. A wide swath of Ukrainian society resents Russia’s long dominance or influence on Ukraine and avidly supports integration with the EU as a way to bolster democracy and human rights. Many of the demonstrators who challenged the protesters’ barricade on Saturday wore St. George’s ribbons, a traditional Russian military emblem. Yanukovych’s strongest support is in the Russian-speaking eastern part of the country. Yanukovych met Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday on the sidelines of the opening day of the Sochi Olympics. No details of the meeting were made public. After Yanukovych shelved the EU deal, Russia agreed to a $15 billion financial aid package to Ukraine; his opponents fear that was a prelude to joining a trade bloc that Moscow is leading as a counterweight to the EU.


The Michigan Daily —

BUSINESS From Page 1A After two consecutive years of trying and failing to secure a spot on the team, he made it onto the squad as a walk-on and continued to serve as its co-captain until his graduation, leaving the University with a bachelor’s degree in sports management. After his basketball career ended, Merritt said he discovered his passion for education and fashion and decided to start a social venture that would be the confluence between the two. Merit, his charity-focused fashion brand, currently donates 20 percent of all proceeds to help fund college scholarships for students in Detroit. As the talk progressed, Merritt shared his experiences and coupled them with sports metaphors such as “your defense is your best offense.” For instance, Merritt said his initial defensive approach toward his idea and his lack of trust of others did not allow him to gain perspective and insight from others. However, when he began opening up his idea to more perspectives, Merritt said he learned that his venture needed a greater focus.

DANCING From Page 1A aims to keep people interested in the Irish culture. One of the dances Deloney choreographed included the song “What Does the Fox Say?” by Ylvis, during which performers wore animal masks. “We try to combine traditional music with modern music, so within our show you’ll find some completely old-school Irish dance steps mixed in with some fun steps,” Deloney said. Engineering junior Emma Backman, dance director at Léim, said the group does not incorporate hip-hop, ballet or any other styles, but instead

SMOKING From Page 1A ordinance, only the county’s health department has the power to enforce the law. Under the newly proposed city ordinance, the Ann Arbor Police Department would enforce it as well. While the current ordinance enforces a $50 fine for anyone caught smoking in a smokefree area, councilmembers are working on language for the law that makes it clear that law enforcement must first ask the smoker to move in the form of a verbal warning before giving any citation. The Council voted last week to postpone any vote on the matter for another month. Councilmember Chuck Warpehoski (D–Ward 5), the sponsor of the ordinance, said one of his reasons for calling to postpone the vote was to ensure clarity in the ordinance’s intent. “We’re not trying to rack up a lot of ticket revenue; we’re trying to create smoke-free areas,” Warpehoski said. “If somebody’s

“What has really done good for me is having the desire to learn from people, to not know it all,” he said. “You need to learn from people who have been where you are trying to go.” He additionally challenged the students in the audience to question “Why?” as they go on to develop their ventures. Merritt presented a video, which displayed a series of statistics regarding education, one of which was that every 26 seconds a student drops out of high school. He cited this fact as his inspiration for working toward entrepreneurship and social change. Taking his vision further, Merritt began his own education program, FATE, to help academically develop a selected cohort of students in Detroit. During the lecture, Paul Saginaw, owner of Zingerman’s Deli and one of Merritt’s mentors through the process, came out and spoke of Merritt’s accomplishments. He said he chose to become Merritt’s mentor since he admires character over talent or other accolades. “I think he lives his life with a lot of life, love and gratitude and he started a business in what I believe is a very pure way,” Saginaw said. “(It was) not to maximize his profits but to give a better life to people who are often left behind.”

develops Irish steps to fit popular songs for the audience’s enjoyment. “Usually I come up with a vision and then work from my vision to pick a song, listen to the music, and think of things that I’ve seen before in competitions and what looks good on stage,” Backman said. Additionally, Deloney said song choice often dictates the performers’ outfits, which include traditional Irish garb. “We by no means wear the thousand-dollar competition dresses, but we have traditional Irish skirts,” Deloney said. Deloney added that Léim is not competitive like many other Irish dance groups. “Most of the people in Léim have never Irish danced before,

smoking and we tell them to put it out or move and they do that, that’s what we want. We don’t want to go around handing out tickets for this. We just want clean air.” The law would also allow the city administrator to declare some areas of Ann Arbor parks to be smoke-free zones. This matter created some confusion, Warpehoksi said. He emphasized that the ordinance would not ban smoking in all Ann Arbor parks. Councilmember Jane Lumm (I–Ward 2) said she does not want to see smoking outlawed in all Ann Arbor parks and hopes City Council will retain the power to decide on that issue. “I’m not comfortable with simply granting authority to the administrator to decide on the parks,” Lumm said. “I think it should be a Council decision.” Lumm added that the law may have the potential to harm citizens’ rights. “If someone wants to just sit on a park bench or walk through the park (with a cigarette), are we going to ban that?” Lumm said. “We all want a healthy, smoke-

TRANSFERS From Page 1A sition for transfers. Haley Gire, recruitment and admissions manager at the School of Education, said it is important for administrators have to support transfer students beyond orientation. For her goal, she suggested instituting a strong student ambassador program for transfers as a way to keep communication open with administrators. “We need better communication with students before they get here, and also a network for them once they’re here,” she said. Business sophomore Sarah Beatty wrote down a similar goal. She said that Transfer Connections — a student mentor program that places a group of LSA transfer students with a mentor — is a useful program, but is only open to LSA students. Beatty said expanding this plan to other schools in the University would be helpful to a business student such as herself. Mesman said Saturday’s symposium was important for fostering future collaboration between students and

myself included,” he said. “I had no Irish dance experience prior to college, and I’ve been dancing now for four years.” LSA freshman Katie Loftus said she has not danced since before high school but decided to get involved when she saw Léim on campus. “I’m lucky because I did it before, so that kind of came back quickly,” Loftus said. “But for other people who have never done it before, it’s amazing that they can pick it up as quickly as they did.” One of the hosts between acts was University alum Maura Villhauer, who said she was a member of Léim during her junior and senior years and misses being part of the group. “I just love that they called me

free environment, but I just want to make sure we’re doing it right and not going overboard.” Lumm said she believes the police “have more important things to do” than enforce smoking laws, and suggested focusing on areas where there are problems rather than broadly enforcing the law. She added that the postponement was necessary due to a lack of clarity and input from the Parks Advisory Committee, the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority and the business community. However, she said she would most likely support the final draft of the ordinance. In addition to the bars and restaurants that have become a smoke-free standard, Atlanta, Georgia is among other cities that have already chosen to implement stricter guidelines for public smoking. According to CBS News, since mid-2013, city-owned parks and public beaches, college campuses and other outdoor venues have been under a smoking ban, because of the danger second-hand smoke is thought to pose, especially to children.







administrators. “That student-administrator contact doesn’t happen as much as it should,” he said. “The goal was really to get that feedback from students and get administrators to realize that the policies they enact have real effects on real people.” Gire said the symposium was a valuable experience for an administrator to connect directly with the students. “It was eye-opening, especially for the administrators in the room, to hear the realities of what could happen and what does happen for these students,” she said. “It was one of the most thought-provoking discussions I’ve seen with administrators and students together.” Gire added that the control of the students in the presentation provided for the most honest communication. “They gave us all of these talking points without administrators directing what the talking points should be,” she said. Mesman said open, casual discussion was a major success for the symposium. “People brought a lot of honesty and weren’t afraid to call out areas and criticize different areas of the administration.”

back,” Villhauer said. “The fact that we can continue those ties and the friendships is just fantastic.” Kinesiology sophomore Mackenzie Kaiser said she had never been to an Irish dance performance before, but Léim’s dancing exceeded her expectations. “Their feet move so fast,” Kaiser said. “I like how they integrated songs that were nontraditional from what I would think of as Irish music.” Near the end of the evening, Deloney was one of the members who were invited to the stage to be honored in a senior sendoff. “All in all, I’m really happy with how the group’s going and I’m happy to be passing it off the way that I left it,” he said.

Monday, February 10, 2014 — 3A

Rain to come to California after long drought Winter weather comes after long season of dryness SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Californians accustomed to complaining about the slightest change in the weather welcomed a robust weekend storm that soaked the northern half of the drought-stricken state Saturday even as rain and snow brought the threat of avalanches, flooding and rock slides. In Willits, one of 17 rural communities that California’s Department of Public Health recently described as dangerously low on water, City Councilman Bruce Burton said he was cheered seeing the water levels in a local reservoir and his backyard pond creeping up and small streams flowing again. The city in the heart of redwood country usually sees about 50 inches of rain a year and was expected to get about 4 inches by Sunday. “It’s guarded optimism. We are a long ways from where we need to be, but we have to start with some sort of a raindrop,” Burton said. The storm that moved in Thursday, powered by a warm, moisture-packed system from the Pacific Ocean known as a Pineapple Express, dropped more than 11 inches of rain on Marin County’s Mt. Tamalpais and on the Sonoma County town of Guerneville by late Saturday afternoon, National Weather Service forecaster Bob Benjamin said. Meanwhile, San Francisco, San Jose and other urban areas recorded 1 to 3 inches of rain. With areas north of San Francisco forecast to see anoth-

er few inches by Sunday, the downpour, while ample enough to flood roadways and prompt warnings that parched streams could be deluged to the point of overflowing, by itself will not solve the state’s drought worries, National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Strudley said. “The yearly rainfall around here, depending on where you were, was less than 10 percent of normal,” he said. “The additions from this last series of storms and the totals are taking a dent out of it, but it is not a significant dent.” The storm deposited a foot of snow for Lake Tahoe ski resorts that have relied on manmade snow for much of the season, and elevations above 7,500 feet were expected to get another foot or two by Sunday, said Holly Osborne, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Sacramento. The additions, which followed some brief periods of snow in the last week, already have improved the outlook for the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which provides about a third of California’s water supply. When state surveyors last checked on Jan. 30, the snowpack was at 12 percent of normal for this time of winter. By Saturday, it was at 17 percent of normal. “At least we are getting something versus nothing,” Osborne said. While the fresh snow delighted skiers and resort operators, the Sierra Avalanche Center warned Saturday that the danger of avalanches, both natural and human-triggered, was high in a wide swath of the central Sierra Nevada because wind had blown new snow onto weak layers of existing ice and rock.


4A — Monday, February 10, 2014

The Michigan Daily —

Cards on the table Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan since 1890. 420 Maynard St. Ann Arbor, MI 48109 PETER SHAHIN EDITOR IN CHIEF



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.


A good first step Snyder’s budget plan increases funding, but leaves green energy behind


ichigan Gov. Rick Snyder recently unveiled his plan for the state’s 2014-2015 budget. His recommendations include a 6.1-percent increase in higher education funding, the allocation of $120 million to the state’s Rainy Day Fund, and $120 million toward covering extra Medicaid costs. Snyder’s plan also calls for retroactive tax relief, a $322-million increase in K-12 school funding and $97 million toward environmental protection and the improvement of water quality. While it is good that Snyder’s latest budget focuses on health, human services and education, the recent surplus money and Rainy Day Fund should be used to invest in renewable energy. Snyder’s budget increases higher education funding. By tying these funds to limits on tuition increases, Snyder provides incentives for colleges to keep education affordable. Thirty percent of Snyder’s proposed budget focuses on education, including support for both universities and K-12 schools. Currently, the funding formula for higher education links funding to performance, which has proven ineffective. In the case of Wayne State University, performance-based funding has failed to cover the needs of all students and has forced the university to raise tuition in lieu of receiving the funds. In addition to increasing funding to higher education, Snyder should review existing institutions and their effectiveness. It is important that Michigan’s workforce receive the attention it needs, especially in terms of liability and health obligations. The budget suggests prefunding the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System, reducing unfunded liability from $46 billion down to $31 billion. Though this year’s budget will not eliminate unfunded liability entirely, Snyder has assured the state that progress is being made. Medicaid expansion is also being addressed under the new budget with a call for a $12.3-billion allocation for health care. This money will be dispersed to 2.2 million Michigan residents. Funding the health of Michigan residents is crucial to ensuring the productivity of Michigan’s economy. In light of his failing Sierra Club rating, Snyder has proposed environmental and

energy investments; however, he could make an even greater commitment to green energy. Rather than maintaining a stagnant Rainy Day Fund, Snyder could further his development of renewable energy by weaning Michigan off harmful fossil fuels. In Snyder’s State of the State address, he pushed for more discussion on green energy, but only a small portion of his budget will go toward this area. Snyder should put more money into the development of wind turbines, solar energy and other sources instead of housing it in the Rainy Day Fund. In respect to his budget proposal, Snyder has worked to appease both parties of the state government, despite it being an election year. While his Republican colleagues argues that this Rainy Day Fund is a result of over-taxation and that much of the money should be returned to taxpayers, Snyder is opposed to tax cuts. He has instead proposed increasing motor fuel taxes from 19 to 33 cents per gallon, enabling a $728-million raise in the 2014-2015 fiscal year. He plans to maintain or raise tax standards in an effort to further improve health, education and human services, and he should be commended for it. For the most part, Snyder’s new budget plan emphasizes what is important to Michigan residents. Unfortunately, Snyder still has a reputation of cutting spending from education. If he is reelected, Snyder’s future budget plans need to continue to allocate funding for higher education and health, while pushing the envelope in renewable energy.

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS Barry Belmont, Jacob Karafa, Nivedita Karki, Jordyn Kay, Kellie Halushka, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Victoria Noble, Michael Schramm, Matthew Seligman, Paul Sherman, Allison Raeck, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe


Power of five

The scene is familiar, even if you haven’t seen the film. It’s the first day of class and a professor pronounces: “Look to your left. Now look to your right. At the end of this class, only two of you will be left.” The sentiments behind such statements (supposedly characteristic of rigorous law school training) waft in and out of most classrooms and they lodge deep in our minds: “Am I good enough? Is my seatmate smarter than me? What if I don’t make it?” What lies behind that intimidating phrase might be “rigor and challenge.” But it is also competition and anxiety. These things breed what we also find in that half-remembered, half-imagined film scene: people one-upping each other and cheating on friendship in an atmosphere of general nastiness. I have better ambitions for my classroom and my campus, and I suspect that you do too. How about this phrase instead: “Look to your left. Now look to your right. If any one of us is not here (and not thriving) at the end of this class, it will be our collective failure.” That’s a very different attitude. It emphasizes not competition, but responsibility. The University, at its best, is a responsible community of teachers and learners. Our ideal should be that we look out for one another, that we take collective responsibility for every single one of our members. That is an ideal that always lies in the distance. Because we’re busy. We already have our friends. Because this kind of care takes work. Because some of us — many of us — are shy, nervous and fearful of rejection. As I walk across campus, I try to make eye contact and smile. Too often, no one looks up. I say “hello.” Silence, or surprise. It’s all a little awkward, isn’t it? And I’m no better. Too often, it’s easier for me to look at the ground as well, or to stare straight ahead into nothingness because I’m so very lost in my music or my thoughts. I think we can do better. We should aspire to do so. I’ve been thinking lately about “paying it forward” in the form of “drive-through generosity,” in which people in fast-food lines pay for the food of the car — or the person — behind them. There was, for example, that moment in Manitoba when 228 consecutive cars paid it forward at a Tim Hortons drive-through. Along with some friends and colleagues, I’ve been wondering what it would look like for us

to venture something similar at the University. Those thoughts have been echoed by a generous donor — an LSA alum — interested in driving positive change on campus. He encouraged us to take a chance, and he supported us in doing so. Today, Feb. 10, marks the first day of a project sponsored by LSA, #powerof5, which aims to explore the possibility that a group of individuals can build a movement to effect change in our campus environment. The #powerof5 project begins with 1,000 students in five large classes in psychology, anthropology, sociology and philosophy. Each will receive the means — one $5 bill and five cards encouraging acts of kindness. Five smiles, five hellos, five handshakes, five high-fives, five thank yous. It could be that someone buys your meal or your coffee this week. Or does something else — out of the clear blue — that makes your day. That person might be shy, nervous and fearful of rejection, and so he or she will hand you a #powerof5 card, which will ask you to pay it forward, to extend a simple social gesture to a fellow human being. It could be a smile, a few words, a greeting. Better, though, will be for the two of you to talk, if only for a moment. Nothing permanent. No lasting obligation other than to receive kindnesses and to continue to pay them forward to someone else. The power of five: Five classes. Five dollars. Five acts. Five passings of a little blue #powerof5 card. It could get exponential. It could get viral — and not online, but in the real world where we live with one another. We could, collectively, take a crack — during the coldest and snowiest season on campus — at creating a thick, pervasive atmosphere of warmth at the University. Why not? And why not take the conversation online too, by using the hashtag #powerof5 to share your stories and experiences, or submit them to our Tumblr? The next time you are in class and look to your left and to your right, think of yourself not in competition, but in support. You are a responsible member of a community that extends kindness to all its members. So you pay it forward, five times and then five times after that. And then let’s see what happens. Philip J. Deloria is a Carroll SmithRosenberg Collegiate Professor of History and American Culture and the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education.


couple of weeks ago, before I sent in my last article, I texted my mom and asked if she thought publishing what I had written was a good idea. She responded: “I don’t think that you should share personal information that can be used SOPHIA against you. You USOW don’t want to do something that 10 years down the line you’ll deeply regret.” Translation: This will come up when people search your name on Google. At first, I shrugged her off. But I found her plea coming back to me in quiet, in-between times. Before bed and on the frigid walk to class I would wonder to myself: What if she is right? What if telling my story will make me unhireable, unlovable and unstable in the eyes of people whose respect and trust I’ll eventually need? I worried that instead of the transparent future I hoped for, being an adult meant more secret-keeping. More feeling ashamed. More lying and saying again and again that everything was all right so insurance costs stay down and my future boss will give me a promotion instead of, say, Jerry — my cubicle-mate, an avid Limp Bizkit fan and father of three. If I followed my mom’s advice, it would mean buckling to the standards of whomever she was afraid of. I’d publish nothing inflammatory. I’d hold onto my cards and show them only to those who promised not to tell the graduate school admissions board or the CEO of PepsiCo what I should have been too scared to tell all of you. But now it’s too late. After I published the article I was contacted by one of my friends, a brilliant student with high cheekbones and cat eyes, who had also struggled


with an eating disorder. She said she appreciated the article and that she wished she could write about her own experiences. When I encouraged her to do so, however, she replied no, never. She said that she had only talked about her disease with two people other than me. One, an ex-boyfriend, told her she was “disgusting.” The other, a coworker who she thought was a close friend, told their boss, who (in a Philadelphia-esque display of bigotry) fired her for being “mentally unfit” to work for his company. Mentally unfit? Disgusting? My friend is anything but. She’s the kind of whip-smart, intimidatingly beautiful woman who I hope will someday survey my manuscript/audit/equation and say, “This is shit. Get out of my office.” I look up to her, and to hear her be so unequivocally humiliated and demonized for a disease she has the strength to even admit to, let alone fight, was unimaginable to me. Perhaps the negative responses she received mirror the fact that eating disorders are seen as benchmarks for shallow, irreversible female weaknesses. Take, for instance, the case of John Prescott, former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. In the spring of 2008 he admitted publicly to having struggled with bulimia since the 1980s. He said he had kept quiet about his disease “out of shame … or embarrassment … just because it’s such a strange thing for someone like me to confess to. People normally associate (eating disorders) with young women — anorexic girls, models trying to keep their weight down, or women in stressful situations, like Princess Diana.” Prescott was praised for the bravery of his admission. It was one thing for a woman to be immature and vain enough

to binge and purge — but an important politician? That was something. Medical professionals and charity groups heralded Prescott’s confession as a step forward in terms of eating disorder awareness, despite the fact that Prescott said he felt like a “right twerp” while sitting in a doctor’s waiting room in which he was the only man. Nobody questioned his past leadership as Deputy Prime Minister because of his disease. Nobody branded him as “mentally unfit.” Nobody asked him to leave. It’s my friend and I who are the disgusting ones. No matter how hard we work and how smart, compassionate and driven we may be, we are the ones who must hide deep under layers of hurt and shame, never forgetting our failure. Take that promotion, Jer, you deserve it. You’re a real adult and we’re just broken toys — wind-up monkeys who don’t flip or do tricks, but instead just stand and shake. We’re teddy bears with only one button eye. We’re Barbies made out of lead. You gettin’ this, Jer? We don’t wake up every morning and think happy thoughts. We’ve done destructive things. Must we always live in fear of the omnipresent “they” that likes steaks blood-rare and employees well done? Can they not handle the Internet addictions or ugly birthmarks that come in the package of imperfect creation? Should we just be content with our silence? I, for one, am tired of swallowing that big, ugly pill: the one that makes us believe that no woman who struggles, or has ever struggled, with depression, anxiety or any type of eating disorder has the power to accomplish anything meaningful.

Should we just be content with our silence?

— Sophia Usow can be reached at

The truth behind the ACA

t seemed as if Christmas came a little late for Republicans last week when a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Affordable Care Act would result in a reduction of approximately 2.5 million PATRICK jobs by 2024. MAILLET Every notable Republican made their way in front of a camera and declared yet another victory against the evils of the ACA. Unfortunately, the report’s findings appear to be a little different than the GOP would have liked. The day after the report was released, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf cleared up some questions at the House Budget Committee hearing. While Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R–Wis.) had cited the report by saying the ACA “will push 2.3 million people out of the workforce,” Elmendorf stated that the reduction in jobs would be a result of people choosing to work fewer hours, and that the report actually suggests that the ACA will reduce unemployment. In our current system, people are working more hours and sometimes multiple jobs in an effort to pay for health insurance. Instead of having to work multiple jobs to pay off a health insurance plan that doesn’t cover preexisting conditions or even certain emergency treatments, the ACA will allow people to spend more time focusing on excelling in their career instead of stagnating and working multiple, low-paying jobs with little upward mobility. In fact, these people are now more likely to afford an education or even save up to open a small business — the true engine of the American economy. Now, the GOP is changing its position on the report and essentially adopting the stance that the

ACA will make people lazy. Sen. Roy Blunt (R–Mo.), a man who is ironically against the legalization of marijuana, stated on Fox News on Sunday that he fears that the bill “discourages” people from working and that this will inevitably hinder the economy. Blunt and fellow Republicans also point to the expansion of Medicaid as evidence that people will abuse the system and feel encouraged to remain impoverished. Elmendorf responded to these misinterpretations by stating that the new health care law “spurs employment and would reduce unemployment over the next few years.” With regards to the accusation about the expansion of Medicaid, page 124 of the CBO report estimates that the ACA will “boost overall demand for goods and services over the next few years because the people who will benefit from the expansion of Medicaid and from access to the exchange subsidies are predominantly in lower-income households and thus are likely to spend a considerable fraction of their additional resources on goods and services.” Translation for all of us who struggled through Econ 101: The people who are most likely to spend money will be the people who now have more money to spend, thus spurring the economy and creating more jobs. The report concludes that the ACA will boost the demand for labor within the next few years. A successful economy is one with plentiful social mobility and a workforce in which people perform jobs that are specialized to fit their personal skill set. Our current healthcare system forces people to stay where they are economically and essentially rewards stagnation. The ACA will lift the burden of

healthcare coverage from potential students, entrepreneurs and small business owners, allowing people to align themselves with the jobs that they are best fit to perform. Medical bills are the number-one cause for bankruptcy in the United States. Employees know this and refuse to leave their jobs in order to remain insured. Other Americans work two or even three jobs to ensure that their children will have the care they need if tragedy strikes. Lifting the financial burden from these people’s lives will give them the opportunity to pursue goals they would otherwise be unable to work toward. Instead of working 60 hours a week at a fast food restaurant, a single mother will be able to work 40 hours a week, spend more time with her children and maybe even take night classes to earn that degree she never could have imagined before. On a less idealistic level: With more expendable income, that single mother will now be able to afford to buy a car, or perhaps a new appliance for her home. Regardless of how she spends that money, it will most likely be pumped back into the economy and thus create more jobs. Call it laziness. Call it whatever you will, but the ACA will allow people to finally stop paying into a failing and inefficient healthcare system. The ACA inevitably has its flaws and as its rollout continues, more obstacles will arise. Instead of trying to repeal the law another 42 times, why not work together to iron out the introduction of this massive overhaul. Let’s stop glorifying every potential setback to the ACA and focus on making a more efficient healthcare system.

The ACA will allow people to finally stop paying into a failing and inefficient healthcare system.

— Patrick Maillet can be reached at

The Michigan Daily —


Monday, February 10, 2014 — 5A

Muslim Brotherhood accused of staging attacks, street rallies


Teen shot at Detroit dance club A 16-year-old boy was shot in the thigh outside a suburban Detroit dance club for teens. WDIV-TV and WXYZ-TV report that the shooting took place shortly after midnight Sunday in the parking lot of the Aft\er Dark Teen Club in Canton Township, west of Detroit. The victim was arguing with a group of teenagers when someone pulled a gun and shot him. He was taken to an area hospital. His name and condition were not released. No arrests have been made. WXYZ-TV reports that the club holds parties for youth 19 years and younger.


Power gradually restored after massive ice storms The number of customers without power in Pennsylvania has fallen to about 65,000 after peaking at 849,000 in the state following a midweek snow and ice storm. Utility crews have been gradually restoring power since the Wednesday storm knocked down trees and snapped power lines primarily in the Philadelphia area. The latest outages Sunday morning include more than 29,000 customers in hard-hit Chester County, or about 14 percent of customers who get their electricity from PECO, the dominant power utility in the state. Montgomery County had about 14,000 customers without electricity, while Bucks County had nearly 12,000. Maryland officials reported nearly 500 customers still without power as of 9:30 a.m., up from about 300 just a few hours earlier.


Ambulance hijacked with man inside sleeping Authorities say an Albuquerque ambulance worker catching some sleep in the back of his vehicle woke up to find himself the victim of a carjacking. Police have arrested a man and a woman accused of driving off in the ambulance around 3 a.m. Saturday while it was parked outside Lovelace Medical Center in downtown Albuquerque. Police spokesman Elder Guevara says the employee was asleep in the vehicle’s rear but was able to jump out when the ambulance slowed near an intersection. Officers then pursued the ambulance as it headed eastbound, and then westbound, on Interstate 40. The ambulance finally came to a rest on I-40, over Tramway, after authorities used spikes to deflate the ambulance’s tires.


S.A. president’s son tied to fatal car crash in early Feb. A son of South Africa’s president is being investigated in a case of culpable homicide, or negligent killing, after his luxury car collided with a minibus taxi on Feb. 1, killing one woman, South African media reported Sunday. President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane, was driving a Porsche when the accident happened in Sandton, an affluent area of Johannesburg, South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper reported. Duduzane Zuma, a businessman, could face charges, said The Sunday Independent. Brig. Neville Malila, a provincial police spokesman, said one person died and two were injured in a road accident on Feb. 1, but he declined to reveal the names of the drivers, pending an investigation. —Compiled from Daily wire reports

al-Qaida-inspired group presently claims responsibility for attacks


Voters stand in line to vote in Zurich, Switzerland on Sunday. Swiss voters were being asked to decide on a proposal to cap immigration to the Alpine republic, a long-standing demand of Switzerland’s most powerful party SVP.

Voters narrowly approve Swiss immigration limits New policy may have negative implications for Swiss-EU relations GENEVA (AP) — Voters in Switzerland narrowly backed a proposal to limit immigration Sunday, in a blow for the government after it had warned that the measure could harm the Swiss economy and relations with the European Union. The decision follows a successful last-minute campaign by nationalist groups that stoked fears of overpopulation and rising numbers of Muslims in the Alpine nation. Opinion polls before the vote put opponents of the plan in the lead, but as ballot day neared the gap began to close. Swiss public television SRF reported that some 50.3 percent of voters eventually backed the

proposal to introduce quotas for all types of immigrants. About 49.7 percent voted against it, a difference of fewer than 30,000 votes. Support was particularly strong in rural areas, while cities such as Basel, Geneva and Zurich rejected the proposal. “This has far-reaching consequences for Switzerland...and our relations with the European Union,” Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said after the vote. “It’s a shift away from the current system of free movement of people.” Although Switzerland isn’t a member of the EU it enjoys close ties to the 28-nation bloc. Bern has painstakingly negotiated a series of bilateral agreements with Brussels, including one that allowed most of the EU’s 500 million citizens to live and work in Switzerland with little formality. Swiss citizens, in turn, could do the same in the European Union. Under Swiss law the government now has to renegotiate its

treaty on the free movement of people, though it is still unclear what kind of caps will be placed on immigration, and when. Switzerland already introduced quotas for immigrants from eight central and eastern European nations two years ago. The latest decision is likely to have much more far-reaching consequences though, as hundreds of thousands of welleducated foreigners from Germany, France, Italy and other EU countries work in Switzerland. Ahead of Sunday’s referendum business groups warned that many of the 80,000 people who moved to Switzerland last year are vital for the country’s economy, and curtailing immigration further could cost Swiss citizens’ jobs too. The Swiss Bankers Association expressed disappointment at the vote. “We urgently need to hold constructive talks with the EU to explain our position,” it said.

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian authorities on Sunday accused the ousted president’s Muslim Brotherhood of forming a “military wing” to stage attacks on security forces in a southern province, as months-long street rallies by the group’s supporters wane but low-level violence steadily rises. Such a development would cast yet another shadow over an already wavering security situation in the Arab world’s most populous country, plagued by a series of bombings and suicide attacks since the army overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in a popularly backed coup last July. The Brotherhood has always denied violence and accuses authorities of orchestrating attacks to justify a crackdown that has only intensified since the interim government labeled it a terrorist organization. An al-Qaida-inspired group based in the eastern Sinai Peninsula has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks over the past months. However, the government’s Sunday accusation comes amid what analysts perceive as a spreading insurgency by previously unknown, smaller groups, who use weapons like Molotov cocktails and home-made grenades to attack security forces. They say the groups were founded by pro-Morsi supporters who are frustrated by the decline in demonstrations and a continuous heavy-handed security crackdown.

The alleged armed branch evoked by the Interior Ministry Sunday was described as being based in the city of Beni Suef, some 115 km (71 miles) south of Cairo. Ministry spokesman Hani Abdel-Latif named 12 people he said belonged to the alleged Brotherhood-led unit. In a televised statement, AbdelLatif said the group ran surveillance, hunted down security forces, and provided shelter for militants. The ministry accused the men of killing five policemen and plotting more attacks. Abdel-Latif’s statement was followed by footage of a man who identified himself as part of a group that killed five policemen in attacks from motorcycles last month. He said he was the son of a Brotherhood leader and had received weapons training. The smaller, previously unknown groups authorities believe to be disgruntled Brotherhood supporters are staging acts of vandalism such as burning police vehicles or attacking troop barracks, claiming responsibility for the attacks on social networking sites and online Jihadi forums. These groups reject the Brotherhood’s official policy of staging only peaceful demonstrations. Meanwhile, security forces have been arresting the administrators of Facebook pages accused of inciting attacks against police. “The people in these movements are likely from among those who refuse the coup,” said Magdy Qorqor, a spokesman for the main Brotherhood-led alliance, referring to Morsi’s ouster. The escalation by security forces comes nearly two months ahead of presidential elections following Morsi’s July overthrow, after millions took to the streets demanding his resignation.

Same-sex couples to receive new legal rights and protections Federal decision will allow spouses to not testify against one another in court WASHINGTON (AP) — In an assertion of same-sex marriage rights, Attorney General Eric Holder is applying a landmark Supreme Court ruling to the Justice Department, announcing Saturday that same-sex spouses cannot be compelled to testify against each other, should be eligible to file for bankruptcy jointly and are entitled to the same rights and privileges as federal prison inmates in opposite-sex marriages. The Justice Department runs a number of benefits programs, and Holder says same-sex couples will qualify for them. They include the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and benefits to surviving spouses of public safety officers who suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries in the line of duty. “In every courthouse, in every proceeding and in every place where a member of the Department of Justice stands on behalf of the United States, they will strive to ensure that same-sex marriages receive the same privileges, protections and rights as opposite-sex marriages under federal law,” Holder said in prepared remarks to the Human Rights Campaign in New York. The advocacy group works on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights. Just as in the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, the stakes in the current generation over same-sex marriage rights “could not be higher,” said Holder. “The Justice Department’s role in confronting discrimination must be as aggressive today as it was in Robert Kennedy’s time,” Holder said of the attorney general who played a lead-

ership role in advancing civil rights. Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said Holder’s “landmark announcement will change the lives of countless committed gay and lesbian couples for the better. While the immediate effect of these policy decisions is that all married gay couples will be treated equally under the law, the long-term effects are more profound. Today, our nation moves closer toward its ideals of equality and fairness for all.” Holder’s speech was criticized by the conservative National Organization for Marriage. “This is just the latest in a series of moves by the Obama administration, and in particular the Department of Justice, to undermine the authority and sovereignty of the states to make their own determinations regulating the institution of marriage,” said Brian Brown, the group’s president.


In this photo released by an official website of the Iranian Supreme Leader’s Office, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei makes a speech to military members in Tehran, Iran on Thursday.

Iran to provide information on its nuclear program to U.N. Agreement indicates new sentiment in political leadership VIENNA (AP) — In a significant move, Iran agreed Sunday to provide additional information sought by the U.N. nuclear agency in its long-stalled probe of suspicions that Tehran may

have worked on nuclear weapons. Iran insists it never worked — or wanted — such arms, and the U.N’.s International Atomic Energy Agency was pushing ahead with its investigation with expectations that Tehran would continue to assert that all of its activities it is ready to reveal were meant for peaceful nuclear use.

Still, the IAEA’s announcement that Tehran was ready to “provide information and explanations” for experiments in a type of detonator that the agency says could be used to trigger a nuclear explosion appeared to be the latest indication that Iran’s new political leadership is seeking to ease tensions over its nuclear program.


6A — Monday, February 10, 2014

The Michigan Daily —

Scientists discover 800,000-year-old footprints in England Find indicates widespread human activity outside Africa LONDON (AP) — They were a British family on a day out — almost a million years ago. Archaeologists announced Friday that they have discovered human footprints in England that are between 800,000 and 1 million years old — the most ancient found outside Africa, and the earliest evidence of human life in northern Europe. A team from the British Museum, London’s Natural History Museum and Queen Mary college at the University of London uncovered imprints from up to five individuals in ancient estuary mud at Happisburgh on the country’s eastern coast. British Museum archaeologist Nick Ashton said the discovery — recounted in detail in the journal PLOS ONE — was “a tangible link to our earliest human relatives.” Preserved in layers of silt and sand for hundreds of millennia

before being exposed by the tide last year, the prints give a vivid glimpse of some of our most ancient ancestors. They were left by a group, including at least two children and one adult male. They could have been be a family foraging on the banks of a river scientists think may be the ancient Thames, beside grasslands where bison, mammoth, hippos and rhinoceros roamed. University of Southampton archaeology professor Clive Gamble, who was not involved in the project, said the discovery was “tremendously significant.” “It’s just so tangible,” he said. “This is the closest we’ve got to seeing the people. “When I heard about it, it was like hearing the first line of (William Blake’s hymn) ‘Jerusalem’ — ‘And did those feet, in ancient time, walk upon England’s mountains green?’ Well, they walked upon its muddy estuary.” The researchers said the humans who left the footprints may have been related to Homo antecessor, or “pioneer man,” whose fossilized remains have

been found in Spain. That species died out about 800,000 years ago. Ashton said the footprints are between 800,000 — “as a conservative estimate” — and 1 million years old, at least 100,000 years older than scientists’ earlier estimate of the first human habitation in Britain. That’s significant because 700,000 years ago, Britain had a warm, Mediterraneanstyle climate. The earlier period was much colder, similar to modern-day Scandinavia. Natural History Museum archaeologist Chris Stringer said that 800,000 or 900,000 years ago Britain was “the edge of the inhabited world.” “This makes us rethink our feelings about the capacity of these early people, that they were coping with conditions somewhat colder than the present day,” he said. “Maybe they had cultural adaptations to the cold we hadn’t even thought were possible 900,000 years ago. Did they wear clothing? Did they make shelters, windbreaks and so on? Could they have the use of fire that far back?” he asked.

Hungarian Jewish group to boycott Holocaust memorials Members say they will not participate in government sponsored events BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities said Sunday it will boycott all government events commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust in Hungary unless the government cancels some of the planned memorials. The dispute stems from historical and ideological differences between the federation and

Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government about the yearlong series of remembrances centered on the 1944 deportation of more than 430,000 Hungarian Jews to Nazi death camps. “The known plans do not take into account the arguments or the sensitivity of the victims of the horrors of the Holocaust,” the group said, adding that there had been “no substantive progress on the government side in the dispute over the Hungarian Holocaust Memorial Year.” The federation voted 76-2 in favor of the boycott, with three abstentions. Mazsihisz, the federation’s Hungarian acronym, wants the

government to abandon plans to build a memorial of Nazi Germany’s 1944 invasion of Hungary and a project dedicated to the child victims of the Holocaust. The “House of Fates” memorial is being built at a Budapest railway station from which Jews were deported to Nazi death camps. The memorial honoring children will include an exhibit and education center, and Mazsihisz said it has been sidelined from the project, whose “historical approach remains unknown” to the federation’s experts. Mazsihisz fears both memorials will downplay the role of Hungary and Hungarians in the Holocaust.

Classifieds RELEASE DATE– Monday, February 10, 2014

Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle DOWN 1 Wrestling surfaces 2 Workout woe 3 Stay afloat in place 4 Pajamaed mogul, familiarly 5 Zodiac’s Twins 6 Martini garnishes 7 Store in a folder 8 Ice cream brand 9 TiVo button 10 Multitalented Rita 11 Basic lessons 12 Big oaf 13 Not as much 18 “Figured it out!” 19 Unmoving 24 Creep (along) 25 Source of inspiration 26 Rice dish 27 Vintage violin 29 Throat dangler 30 Tween heartthrob Efron 31 “Life on Mars?” singer 32 Online party notice 33 Desert retreats 38 Conduit for tears

39 Slippery swimmer 40 Oscar winner Arkin 42 Arcade pioneer 45 Out of the sun 46 Region of influence 47 Cuts for a sandwich 51 Commonly injured knee ligament, for short

52 Deadly snakes 53 Genuine 54 A single time 55 List finisher: Abbr. 56 No __ traffic 58 Travelers’ stops 59 Future D.A.’s hurdle 61 “The Voice” network 62 Gambling letters


Civilian evacuation continues in wartorn central Syrian city Government forces gain upper hand as rebels restricted to small neighborhoods BEIRUT (AP) — Hundreds of civilians were evacuated Sunday from the besieged Syrian city of Homs, braving gunmen spraying bullets and lobbing mortar shells to flee as part of a rare three-day truce to relieve a choking blockade. Dozens were wounded as they fled. The cease-fire came as Syrian officials arrived in Switzerland for a new round of talks with opposition activists-in-exile to try to negotiate an end to Syria’s three-year conflict. More than 600 people were evacuated from Homs on Sunday, said Governor Talal Barrazi. The operation was part of a U.N.-mediated truce that began Friday between the government of President Bashar Assad and armed rebels to allow thousands of women, children and elderly men to leave opposition-held parts of the city, and to permit the entry of food and supplies. Forces loyal to Assad have blockaded rebel-held parts of Homs for over a year, causing widespread hunger and suffering.

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diers, Red Crescent workers in red jump suits and U.N. workers in blue protective vests gathered around the buses. Some evacuees were to be hosted in government-run shelters, others were going to join relatives in safer areas, while still others said they did not know where they were going. Khaled Erksoussi of the Syrian Red Crescent, which is assisting the operation, told the AP that the agency hoped to evacuate as many civilians as possible before the truce expires Monday. On Saturday, gunmen opened fire on civilians, leaving aid workers wounded and two trucks damaged, Erksoussi said, speaking by telephone from Damascus. Despite the violence, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, said in a statement that the truce showed “that even in the darkest of nights it is possible to offer a glimmer of hope to people in desperate need of assistance.” The Homs cease-fire was arranged by U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi, who urged the warring sides to aid the estimated 2,500 civilians trapped in the ancient, rebel-held quarters known as Old Homs, to build trust during the first face-to-face meetings of government officials and opposition figures in Switzerland last month.


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Dozens of people were wounded when they came under fire as they waited at an agreed-upon evacuation point in the rebelheld neighborhood of al-Qarabis, according to three activists based in Homs, who spoke to The Associated Press by Skype. Despite the gunfire and exploding mortar shells, hundreds of women, children and elderly men ran toward a group of Red Crescent workers waiting less than a mile (kilometer) away, said an activist who gave his name as Samer al-Homsy. The Syrian activists said the gunfire came from a government-held neighborhood. The Syrian news agency SANA also reported that civilians came under fire, but blamed “terrorists,” the government term for rebels. At least four busloads of civilians were shipped out, according to footage broadcast on the Lebanese television station al-Mayadeen. Wide-eyed children, their prominent cheekbones suggestive of malnutrition, tumbled out of a bus, assisted by aid workers. “Our life was a disaster, we had no food, no water,” one distressed woman said. “There was nothing, my children are all sick. They were thirsty,” she said, standing with a group of exhausted-looking children as khaki-clad Syrian sol-

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ACROSS 1 Class with numbers 5 One making a coffee run, say 10 Spot to shop 14 Lot measurement 15 Skip over, in speech 16 Reed to which an orchestra tunes 17 Bil Keane comic strip 20 Briny 21 Buzzing homes 22 Tree houses? 23 Journalist Sawyer 25 Chess pieces 26 Chess piece 28 Bygone Honda CR-V rival 34 Teacher’s Apple 35 Expansive 36 Gardner of Hollywood 37 Strip of latticework 38 Low card 40 “It’s Your Space” rental company 41 Gobbled up 42 “The Clan of the Cave Bear” author Jean 43 Diet label word 44 Flier’s upgrade 48 Fruity quenchers 49 It may be doffed 50 Backup strategy 52 Like an enthusiastic crowd 55 Guiding principle 57 Sub sandwich dressing item 60 Sondheim song, and a hint to the ends of 17-, 28and 44-Across 63 Wear a hole in the carpet 64 Dance studio rail 65 Actress Fey 66 Winter transport 67 Prints and threads, to detectives 68 __ in Show: dog prize


Syrian men help survivors out of a destroyed building after a Syrian forces warplane’s attack in Aleppo, Syria, Saturday.

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10A — Monday, February 10, 2014


Kevin Hart talks ‘About Last Night’ Hart and Regina Hall discuss mature roles in upcoming film Daily Arts Writer

A contemporary spin on the 1986 film of the same name — which was adapted from the 1974 play “Sexual Perversion in Chicago” by David Mamet — “About Last Night,” follows two couples in Los Angeles as they explore the ups and downs of being in a committed relationship. This relatable romp in the world of dating arrives just in time for Valentine’s Day. The Daily recently sat down with two of its stars: Kevin Hart, fresh off his hit movie “Ride Along,” plays the role of Bernie (originally Jim Belushi), a womanizing, sex-crazed player, and Regina Hall, of last year’s popular sequel “The Best Man Holiday,” plays Joan, (originally Elizabeth Perkins) Bernie’s lover who wants more than just physical benefits from their interaction. “I think this movie does a good job showing relationships in two ways with Danny (Michael Ealy, who starred with Hart in 2012’s “Think Like a Man”) and Debbie (Joy Bryant of TV’s “Parenthood”), and then with Bernie and Joan,” Hart said. “You’re looking at two completely different perspectives on a relationship. They’re all eventually going to the same place, which is a place of love, but how they get there is so different and so complex.” While Hall has previous experience reviving a classic (2005’s “The Honeymooners”), this is the first re-make for Hart, who described that taking on this character marks a paramount entry into new creative territory for him, too. “(This movie) gave me a chance to be a grown man on camera” Hart said. “It’s the first time you get to see me interact with a woman and have levels of emotion from anger to passion. This is an adult role for me and a chance to be seen in a different light. That’s what you want is to always challenge yourself and grow as an actor.” Hall weighed in on what it was like playing opposite of Hart as he


95-year-old captures Detroit through the ages B




explored a “leading man” character. “It’s like I popped Kevin’s acting cherry,” she said. “I think we saw a different side of Kevin Hart. A lot more vulnerability and a serious side of Kevin’s acting that’s going to launch a whole new set of opportunities in terms of what people know that (he) can do.” Hart went on to describe how this role not only gave him a chance to play a dynamic character, but the film’s R-rating gave him the opportunity to be a real, uncensored guy. “It’s fun. You get to be filthy and cuss, and it’s okay,” Hart said. “It’s like somebody taking off the leash for a change. Not to say that all rated-R movies are better than PG movies because PG movies definitely serve a huge purpose. But when you make an adult comedy, you want to be different and edgy, so people walk out entertained but at the same time be able to relate to a real point of view and perspective on what the problems are that couples go through.” Hall re-emphasized the authenticity that comes with this “freedom of speech” in movies. “Well, when men are alone you already clearly talk R-rated,” she said. Hart agrees, but he argues that women are no different. “I heard Regina talkin’ about some guy’s dick the other day, and I don’t remember what she said, but it was something R-rated,” Hart said. “I just said a prayer (for him),” Hall joked. While Hart and Hall agreed that Leslye Headland wrote a

great script, they firmly asserted their right to improvise with the material. “The words on the page were there, but you can’t use me and not allow me to improv,” Hart said. “That’s cheating yourself of what I do. With anything you do, it’s very easy to be funny. As hard as people may think that is, being funny is not that hard.” Hall cut Hart off, and she inserted the fact that it’s easy to be funny — when you’re a gifted comedian. “Okay, that’s coming from Kevin Hart,” she said. “That’s like God saying, ‘Doing a miracle … (is easy).’” “I’m saying you can write funny,” Hart said. “In other words, you have funny writers who can write (dialogue), and an actor’s job is to deliver. So, you look at Robert DeNiro who isn’t necessarily a comedian, but you can’t tell me in ‘Meet the Fockers’ that Robert DeNiro wasn’t hilarious. Achieving what’s on the page is one thing, but we wanted to make sure our characters were grounded, (by using improv) because the more real they are the easier it is to relate to them.” “About Last Night” promises a very real depiction of the complications of love — a heavy combination of drama and comedy. Discussing the fate of the couples, Hall spoke on the notion of a token “predictable” ending. “(‘About Last Night’) is still a romantic comedy,” she said. “I’m a girl. I still go to see my happy ending. Shit, I’m broken-up in real life. I can go home and see that when it don’t work out. I’ve mastered that scene.”

The Michigan Daily —

ill Rauhauser was 15 years old when he bought his first camera for 49 cents — saved from his earnings from working at a small grocery store in Detroit, in the 1930s. Little did he know at the time, he would PAIGE continue PFLEGER taking photos for the next 80 years, his craft evolving from a hobby to a gratif ying and successful career that is archived through film. Rauhauser’s story begins in 1918 in the heart of Detroit. He attended Cooley High School on the northwest side of the city, then earned his bachelor’s in architectural engineering from University of Detroit. He worked in that field for about 15 years while pursuing photography on the side. In 1947, Rauhauser went on a business trip to New York City and visited the Museum of Modern Art. He was particularly struck by an exhibit of photos by Henri Cartier-Bresson, and purchased a book about the photographer that included the quote: “Photography isn’t a hobby. It is the art of seeing.” At the time, photography wasn’t a popular art form, but Rauhauser managed to connect with other photographers through camera clubs. It was there that he met the chair of the photography department at College for Creative Studies, and was offered a job teaching the history of photography as a night class. “I knew right then and there that I needed to quit my job and I went to teach photography,” Rauhauser said. “I became completely immersed in Detroit’s art world.”

Rauhauser credits his wife with his sudden and drastic career move. Doris, a kindergarten teacher in Detroit, understood her husband’s love for photography and supported him throughout their 60 years of marriage, even if he was late to dinner because he was combing the city streets in search of the next great photo. “We met when I was 20 and she was 17,” Rauhauser said. “I went iceskating, and she skated up to me and asked if we could hold hands and skate around the rink. We did, and we were together ever since.” Rauhauser taught three days a week, and continued on for many years, teaching at Wayne State University and the University of Michigan. The rest of his time was spent walking the streets of Detroit and taking photos of people going about their every day lives. “Most of the work I did, people didn’t notice me at all,” Rauhauser said. “I kept a low profile and was shooting with a small camera. It was very exciting to track down and hunt for those moments of real significance in people’s lives. I didn’t pose anyone at all. I wanted to have them unknown, doing their thing, but they could still produce images that were significant to show life in Detroit.” His favorite photo is exemplary of his practice — a black and white photo of a soldier sitting on a bench in front of the Detroit River. To the right is a woman that he is kissing, and to the left is another girl “just waiting her turn,” as Rauhauser said. “It turned out to be an interesting event.” The photo was placed into the 1955 City of Man exhibit at the MoMA and has been in New York ever since. The product of this style of street photography resulted in a mass of photos spanning from the ‘40s until present day, displaying Detroiters at their best

and their worst with the back drop of a city decaying behind them. The change over time is part of what draws people to Rauhauser’s work, and may be the reason he was just chosen as the sixth winner of the Kresge Eminent Artist award — an award given to an artist that contributes to the cultural community and shows dedication for the city of Detroit and its residents. And if anyone knows Detroiters, it’s Rauhauser, a man who has been studying them his entire life. “I kept taking photos until I had to stop,” he said. “But I used to spend the whole day walking from morning until night, stopping for a cup of coffee and then starting out again.”

Rauhauser has a collection of thousands of unseen photos. Though his age sometimes prevents him from pursuing such a rigorous shooting schedule, Rauhauser still takes photos, adding onto a library of about eight to ten thousand images that have yet to be printed. He keeps very busy, planning upcoming gallery shows, going to dinner or the opera, spending time with old students and visiting his hometown of Detroit. Though the elm-tree lined city of his youth looks little like the city that stands today, Rauhauser is still optimistic that Detroit will rise again, as its city motto suggests. “You can see a change taking place,” he said. “You can see it happen.” Pfelger can see a change taking place. To help out, e-mail


Why cherish disgraceful artists? By KAREN YUAN Daily Arts Writer

When Alaric Hunt wrote for his novel’s bio that he was “currently serving a life sentence,” he wasn’t being figurative. Hunt wrote his prize-winning novel, “Cuts Through Bone,” while imprisoned for starting a fire that killed a woman. The novel, which won a mysterywriting contest in January, also landed Hunt a publishing contract and a $10,000 advance. Rather than follow the adage of “write what you know,” Hunt wrote a private-eye story aided by information gleaned from “Law & Order” episodes. Hunt is able to earn money from his book sales, which leads to this much-debated question: Should a criminal be allowed to profit from his writing? In this case, the art isn’t the artist — the novel’s content is not about Hunt’s past crimes. However, news of Hunt’s prize has distressed the family of his victim, Joyce Austin. In an interview with The New York Times, Joyce’s mother stated, “Knowing this creates a lot of emotions I don’t want to deal with.” How separately should we view an artist and their work? The dilemma of Hunt and his novel echoes the controversy surrounding another author, Orson Scott Card. Though

his books, which include the bestselling “Ender’s Game,” are wildly successful and widely loved, Card himself has proven to be both homophobic and racist in multiple interviews. These personal views aren’t ref lected within “Ender’s Game,” but regardless, we read his books with the shadow of his beliefs cast over them. The allegations of Woody Allen’s sexual abuse of his adopted daughter are the most recent and well-known of these controversies. Allen, unlike Hunt, hasn’t been punished for his alleged actions, but they’re also actions — much more than Card’s opinions or bigoted words. It feels painfully different.

How should we respond to an artist’s disrepute? Woody Allen has won multiple Oscars and directed movies such as “Blue Jasmine” (2013), “Midnight in Paris” (2011) and “Manhattan” (1979). People love these movies. On Rotten Tomatoes, “Blue Jasmine” is rated at 91 percent, “Midnight in Paris”

at 93 percent and “Manhattan” at 98 percent. The Guardian has named him the most recognizable director in the history of film. It’s always difficult to reconcile a beloved piece of work with an artist’s unsavory past. Our own ethics get called into question: If the prize judges knew Hunt’s background while reviewing his work, who’s to say someone else may have been selected as winner? But how do we respond to an artist’s disrepute? Do we boycott his works by not buying them? Not watching or reading them at all? Actively ensuring others avoid his works? There aren’t clear guidelines for us, the duped audience. However we do respond, it must recognize not only Allen, who has had a platform to speak to us for more than 50 years, but also Dylan Farrow, who has only reached out this month about the alleged abuse. In Dylan Farrow’s open letter to the New York Times, she writes what we all need to read: “Imagine your seven-yearold daughter being led into an attic by Woody Allen. Imagine she spends a lifetime stricken with nausea at the mention of his name. Imagine a world that celebrates her tormenter. Are you imagining that? Now, what’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?”




8A — Monday, February 10, 2014


The Michigan Daily —



“Say something about the cane!”

‘Monuments Men’ lacks worthy script Romione vs. Harmony:


Ello, mate?

Clooney’s latest film struggles with plot By CONRAD FOREMAN Daily Arts Writer

A star-studded cast that includes co-writer and director George Clooney (“Batman & Robin”) coming together for C+ a movie set in the middle The of World War Monuments II? Sounds like the recipe Men for a prime Rave 20 and November Quality 16 release, ready for a healthy Columbia run at award shows over the next few months. Alas, these are not the features of such a film; instead we have “The Monuments Men,” which hit theaters this weekend. The Monuments Men (a nickname they give themselves) are tasked with retrieving art Hitler stole during his conquest of Europe — a daunting task for a bunch of old farts with no military experience. George Clooney directs with an artsy form that features a lot of close-ups. It works well enough, but his screenwriting is a different story. He and partner Grant Heslov (“The Ides of March”) skip intimate character development and go

straight for long-winded, heartfelt speeches, followed by splitting the group off into side stories that dangerously encroach on the territories of sitcoms and soap operas. Jean Dujarin (“The Artist”) is French; Bill Murray (“Ghostbusters”) is a smartass; Bob Balaban (“Close Encounters of the Third Kind”) is short and feisty; John Goodman (“The Big Lebowski”) is hard to fig ure out. Obviously George Clooney’s the suave one, and Matt Damon (“Dogma”) speaks dorky French and is kind of a good husband. That’s about as deep as it gets. Not that there aren’t attempts to humanize the art hunters. It’s just that Damon’s relationship with Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”) puzzles more than it intrig ues, and Murray’s shower scene, scored by his wife and daughter singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” would elicit much more emotion if we knew his character better. There are high notes of course: Hugh Bonneville (“Downtown Abbey”) offers some heart as he pursues both his dignity and Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child, but his story is short-lived. And although the laughs are few, they are genuine — the loudest coming during a scene with Murray and Balaban sharing a cigarette with a German soldier. The film also takes an unoriginal and discomforting approach to its portrayal of

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Hitler — that is, they show his face for only a moment, otherwise framing him facing away from the camera or in deep shadows. While this illustrates the important note that no one man can be solely responsible for the atrocious actions of many, I’m partial to the idea that Hitler should be shown as the little shit that he was (i.e. “Inglourious Basterds”), not as some phantom or abstraction. “The Monuments Men,” like our founding fathers, suffers for its patriotism. The story pushes the United States as the noble protector of all the world’s culture. And Uncle Sam’s grip gets tighter and tighter as the film goes on, culminating with a race between our heroes and the Russians, an overt preamble to the Cold War. Another major violation problem is that the plot largely ignores the exploits of actual soldiers in the war. While the recovery and restoration of the greatest art in the world is surely an admirable pursuit, the voice of the film seems unaware of the incredible scope of the destruction of the war. There are almost no combat scenes; the war is simply a backdrop to the greater purpose of the protagonists. “The Monuments Men” ultimately fails because its entertainment value is mild, and in the end it can’t help but feel like a bunch of old, artistic yuppies explaining why they’re the real heroes of W WII.

Why do we even care? By REBECCA GODWIN Daily Arts Writer

J. K. Rowling made waves recently with the shocking revelation that she believes she had made a mistake in her sevenbook “Harry Potter” series by having main characters Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley get married. In hindsight, she believed that Hermione should have ended up with none other than the Boy Who Lived, Harry Potter. Naturally, the fandom erupted. The fans who believed in the canonical pairing were outraged that Rowling would say such things about their beloved Romione. Others, who shipped, which is the internet’s way of saying supported, Harmony (Harry and Hermione), claimed superiority over the Romione shippers, claiming they always knew whom the true pairing should have been. My reaction was a bit more subdued; it consisted only of a shrug of the shoulders and a “Meh? Who cares?” My reaction, or lack thereof, was not caused by apathy toward the “Harry Potter” series. I love Harry Potter and everything about the Wizarding World. I have read each of the books several times and I will defend them to anyone who claims the books lack quality. So why am I so unconcerned with Rowling destroying Romione? Because it doesn’t matter. These relationships were never a central part of the story,

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and if they never existed or if they changed, the story would remain unaffected. Rowling was not trying to write a young adult romance series; if people want such trivial exploits, they can go read the likes of “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games,” both of which have a sickening level of relationship drama. “Harry Potter” was always a series that tackled issues much bigger than who was dating whom. The series introduced many young readers to the ideas of death and loss for the first time, while learning important lessons about courage and friendship along the way. If fans start getting hung up over inconsequential details like the status of Romione, these bigger lessons will be lost. Besides, the relationships were never that believable to begin with. I never really bought into the whole Romione relationship. There was never anything in the stories that made me believe the pair had longevity. Though, I did believe it more than the whole Harry and Ginny relationship, which was just a mess. And to be fair — I believe it more than Harmony. The only couple I actually ever believed were meant to be together was Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. Their relationship was grounded in love and caring toward each other, and the fact that Mr. Weasley calls Mrs. Weasley “Mollywobbles” is almost too cute for me to handle. The Remus and Tonks relationship I believed, but only

minimally, as it always felt a bit forced. We never saw enough of James and Lily for me to make an accurate opinion of their relationship, and the Dursleys only worked because of their mutual hatred of anything magical. But again I ask, does it really matter? Does anything that Rowling said after the conclusion of the series actually matter? It’s not as though her saying Dumbledore is gay changed the fact he was one badass wizard whose sassiness was phenomenal. Nor does saying that Romione never should have existed change the fact that they do exist and will continue to exist forever. Rowling can say that Harmony should have been the true couple but there’s nothing she can do about it — unless she goes back and rewrites the whole series, which seems a bit excessive to me.

Here’s to hoping Snermione comes true. So Romione fans rejoice because your pairing will forever remain the OTP (one true pairing) and Harmony will only ever be wishful thinking, like Snarry (Snape and Harry), Drarry (Draco and Harry), and Snermione (Snape and Hermione).