THE MICHIGAN REVIEW
Volume 19, Number 4
The Campus Affairs Journal of the University of Michigan
MSA Gives Unprecedented Sum to Affirmative Action 102 BY MICHAEL AUSTIN BRAD SPRECHER
VERY STUDENT AT the University of Michigan donates $5.69 to the Michigan Student Assembly (MSA) each full term, or $2.85 each half term. With a student body of about 35,000, the MSA brings in approximately a half million dollars annually; $200,000 of which is allocated to student groups regardless of political affiliation through the Budget Priorities Committee. The MSA also has a discretionary fund that is used for various events throughout the year, such as the Guster concert to encourage voter registration, and more recently, “Affirmative Action 102”, a program organized by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action By Any Means
Necessary (BAMN) and the MSA Peace and Justice Commission. “Affirmative Action 102” is a “week of education and action” from October 15th to 19 th that will feature workshops, speeches, and debates on Affirmative Action. Headlining the events will be appearances by the Reverend Jesse Jackson and former member of the California Board of Regents Ward Connerly. Two members from the Center for Individual Rights (CIR), also known as the plaintiffs in the current admissions lawsuits with the University, comprise the entire list of antiAffirmative Action speakers with Mr. Connerly. Several MSA members questioned the political balance of the speaker list at the October 6 th meeting, a valid issue considering the current list of speakers. Besides Rev. Jackson, there are number of
prominent Affirmative Action proponents. According to a list of speakers found on the BAMN website (http:// www.bamn.com), author Jonathan Kozol “has been one of the nation’s leading experts on the impact of racism and poverty on minority and other disadvantaged children in America’s urban public schools.” Also speaking will be Dr. Walter Allen and Dr. Danny Solorzano from the University of California at Los Angeles; both are also scheduled to testify as expert witnesses in the University of Michigan Law School admissions lawsuit. In fact, six of the ten speakers listed are testifying as expert witnesses for the student intervenor defendants in the Law School lawsuit. Additionally, Bill Kidder, UCLA Law School Student, described as a “researcher
See MSA on Page 7
Choose or Lose Lost
BY GINA FRATERNALI
The North Campus Media Union turned into the forefront of the Presidential race when MTV’s Choose or Lose taped its town hall forum with Vice President Al Gore. It was an open Commentary discussion with the presidential candidate, allowing students the chance to fire hard-hitting questions that concern all young adults. At least that is what was supposed to come across on camera. What they failed to show was the two days worth of interviews to carefully compose cross-section of the student body. Of course, it looked more like an after school special, or an episode of the Mickey Mouse Club, minus Jennifer Love-Hewitt.
The students arrived with two prepared questions for the Vice President and a traumatic story as to why they should be allowed to ask their question. The average student had no chance of making it on TV; they would not create drama or sympathy on camera. When the day of taping came, the questions and speakers were set in stone. Vice-President Gore had plenty of time to script his answers so he would sound prepared once the cameras rolled. However, what he didn’t expect was the fifty or so Students for Bush rallying just outside the studio. As it turned out, the protests by Bush supporters were not as large as expected,
October 11, 2000
Genocide Awareness Project Brings Abortion Debate to Life BY MIKE VEESER DUSTIN LEE
It is probably safe to assume that a majority of Ann Arbor’s residents are socially liberal, and as such, support legalized abortion. On Monday and Tuesday, September 25 th and 26th, a group of idealists News Analysis from the Center for BioEthical Reform (“the Center”) visited this comfortable little town and challenged this pro-abortion consensus with a traveling visual display called the Genocide Awareness Project (“the Project”) set up on the Diag. Thousands of Ann Arborites were confronted with stark and graphic images of the effects of abortion. Picture after picture showed the small, but recognizably human bodies. No doubt the issue of abortion is controversial enough, but the display adds a new twist to the debate by portraying in images what pro-life activists have been saying and writing for years: the abortion situation in the United States has significant features in common with various episodes of genocide and ethnic violence from the past. Gregg Cunningham of the Center claims that “educators invariably use shocking imagery to teach about genocide and we insist on the right to do the same.” And not only does the display use the “shocking imagery” to educate people about the realities of abortion and genocide, but it also draws what it argues to be a clear correlation between the two. The display does this by juxtaposing pictures of aborted babies with images of the Nazi Holocaust, the Rwandan
J. Pratt / Review
Albert Gore addresses the crowd.
How a lifelong Democrat joined the vast right-wing conspiracy and found inner peace . . . Michigan Review style.
See GAP on Page 8
See CHOOSE on Page 9 First three copies free, additional copies 50 cents.
www.michiganreview.com Letters to the Editor
From Suite One
Suite One examines the injustice of professors having others do the dirty work of shoving their liberalism down our throats in class.
After a summer of peace, the Chink in the Armor is back, and boy is he pissed. And the who knew anyone other than Jim knew Latin?
Another Face-Off, one that doesnt involve Star Wars or Transformers and is actually relavant to us students.
More from El Señor Guípe
El Señor Guípe searches for gainful employment, after realizing that writing a column for us is not considered gainful employment.
THE MICHIGAN REVIEW SERPENTS TOOTH
THE MICHIGAN REVIEW
Top 10 Reasons For Voting Green: 10. Irrational fear of spontaneously exploding cars. 9. Gore insufficiently dull and geeky. 8. It's not just a presidential election, it's a referendum on America's favorite color. 7. The complexities of today's issues were finally rendered clear to you in Rage Against the Machine's "Testify" music video. 6. Voting Reform is so 90's. 5. You decide that those global corporations have got in your way for the last time. 4. To prove that your vote doesn't actually matter after all. 3. You find Ralph Nader cute in a "boringas-watching-paint-dry" way. 2. Income cap will finally cause parents to stop bothering you about how much more your brother the doctor makes. 1. Liberal guilt insufficiently assuaged by voting Democratic.
mall in Los Angeles last week. Where's Pee Wee Herman when you really need him?
Ralph Nader was thrown off the University of Massachusetts Boston campus last Tuesday when he showed up with a ticket to watch the Bush-Gore debate, despite having a ticket. Nader protested, but backed off when threatened with arrest. Oh come on, Ralph, don't tell me you're afraid of getting arrested. If you are, then your supporters won't think you're cool anymore.
Vice President Gore almost cancelled his visit to North Campus two weeks ago when he realized at the last minute that the Media Union was a building, rather than a labor organization that was going to endorse him.
At a recent MSA meeting, Jessica Curtin remarked to a Review staff that "I don't talk to people from the Review." What's the matter Jessica, afraid you'll like it?
Last week, NASA announced that "2001 Mars Odyssey" would be the name of the next Mars mission. This beat out the public favorite, "2001 Big Waste of Money." In a related story, NASA also announced “2001 Odyssey Search” will be the name of the following mission.
It was reported that at least three puppies, and as much as 60 birds and hamsters died in a pet store fire at a strip Cooper’s Official Fire Marshal Report By West Quad 5th Michigan Fire Marshal Cooper “Backdraft” Holoweski On False alarm was reported. Found to be drill.
October 11, 2000
The Campus Affairs Journal of the University of Michigan “’Over
James Y. Yeh Editor-in-Chief
A recent poll indicates that 2 out of every 3 American parents wants schools to teach more sex ed to their kids. Serpents speculates that this is because these soldiers of the sexual revolution can't bear the thought of teaching their own 12 year old daughters about blowjobs and the pros and cons of spitting or swallowing.
Scientists are worried over the discovery that the hole in the Ozone is the largest ever. They believe the cause to be all the hot air generated by the Al Gore campaign. As we were reminded by the incredibly hard-hitting MTV forum with Gore's intro, Al Gore has smoked marijuana, the most convincing evidence to date that smoking pot does not make you cool.
The next National Day of Action is going to be held on October 26th. Playstation 2 is being released on October 26th as well. Coincidence? Serpent's Tooth thinks this is just a sinister plot to make sure all the Review staffers go to class instead of playing video games all day.
James Justin Wilson
A recent study from the University of Western Ontario found that people with bigger and wider heads tend to be more intelligent. Obviously, the researchers have never ever seen a St. Patrick's Day parade, otherwise they would've gotten a real understanding of the true intelligence of fat-headed people.
During last month’s visit to New York City for the UN Millennium summit, Fidel Castro actually spoke at the Riverside Church. Maybe he realized that he’s getting old and that all communists will go to hell, but maybe he has other ideas. Below are passages from the newly censored “Holy Bible for the Cuban People.: “Honor thy mother and father, unless of course, they’re plotting against the government, in which case thou must report them to the secret police.” ”Saul has killed his thousands, and Fidel his tens of thousands” “Blessed are the meek, for they won’t overthrow the government.” ”The wages of treason is death.” ”’Vengeance is mine,’ said the Great Leader, ‘I shall repay.’”
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The Michigan Review is the independent, student-run journal of conservative and libertarian opinion at the University of Michigan. We neither solicit nor accept monetary donations from the U–M. Contributions to the Michigan Review are taxdeductible under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Review is not affiliated with any political party or university political group. Unsigned editorials represent the opinion of the editorial board. Ergo, they are unequivocally correct and just. Signed articles, letters, and cartoons represent the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of the Review. The Serpent’s Tooth shall represent the opinion of individual anonymous contributors to the Review, and should not necessarily be taken as representative of the Review’s editorial stance. The opinions presented in this publication are not necessarily those of the advertisers or of the University of Michigan. We welcome letters, articles, and comments about the journal. Ok, you may have noticed a slight mistake on our cover last week. And while we made several noticable copy mistakes last year, the last issue was NOT our fault. This time, it was the printer’s fault. All the errors that you saw, we corrected those, but the printer didn’t print the proper version. Next time, we think we should send them the proper version tied to a brick and thrown through their window. Please address all advertising, subscription inquiries, and donations to Publisher c/o the Michigan Review. Editorial and Business Offices: The Michigan Review 911 N. University Avenue, Suite One Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1265 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.michiganreview.com Tel. (734) 647-8438 • Fax (734) 936–2505 Copyright © 2000 The Michigan Review, Inc. All rights reserved. The Michigan Review is a member of the Collegiate Network.
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October 11, 2000
THE MICHIGAN REVIEW LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Why the Diversity Argument Will Fail The Michigan Review has withheld the author's name at her request. The author prepared the following explanation: "I am concerned that my beliefs about the legal merit of the diversity argument may result in repercussions at my place of employment here in the Ann Arbor area. (This despite the past weekend's wonderful Law School symposium marking the 10th anniversary of the Davis, Markert, Nickerson Lecture on Academic and Intellectual Freedom) I regret the circumstances that have led to this being an anonymous submission." The author is a graduate of the University. She characterizes herself as a "moderate but longtime Democrat." Readers may write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HE U NIVERSITY OF M ICHIGAN , defendant in two discrimination lawsuits, argues that its admissions practices are justified because of a “compelling governmental interest.” The courts accept this rationale (and only a few others) when permitting racial discrimination. In support of this alleged interest, the University offers 1999 and 1998 studies from psychology professor Patricia Gurin and former Princeton and Harvard Presidents William G. Bowen and Derek Bok (The Shape of the River: Long –Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions, 1998). Diversity, these and other scholars claim, helps ensure graduates better able to function in society. The argument is thus: the mere presence of more students of color translates to a better education. Current University policy, in the form of artificially inflated admissions Selection Index points for African Americans and other minorities, is designed to satisfy this interest. That “education” should include preparation for good citizenship is reasonable and laudable. The Gurin report’s statistical analyses do argue well that a Caucasian University student will have a superior education because her/his classmates are African American. But whether an African American student will have a superior education because her/his classmates are Caucasian is less clear. For example, Table M2 from the report, titled “Learning Outcomes… for AfricanAmerican Students,” found a statistically significant negative correlation between “Amount of interaction with Whites” and “Graduate School Intentions.” (The full report is available at http:// www.umich.edu/~urel/admissions/legal/ expert/gurintoc.html.) Unanswered by the Gurin report is to what extent Caucasian students (and
society) benefit because of diversity on campus. Is this benefit sizable compared to the arguably inferior education rejected Caucasian applicants will receive? These are difficult and perhaps unfair questions to ask of social science. But then social scientists are coming to hard, fast conclusions related to these questions. As the courts strive to balance interests, answers must be forthcoming. The diversity argument also ignores the successes of radically non-diverse institutions such as all-women and allAfrican-American colleges. In a statement on diversity on April 14, 1997, the American Association of Universities wrote that “students encounter and learn from others who have backgrounds and characteristics very different from their own.” Yet, while surely the background and characteristics of young men are different from those of young women, Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Wellesley exist on the premise that co-education tends to inhibit the education of women. Do all-women colleges shortchange their
this theory, segregation injures AfricanAmericans because African-Americans, when left on their own, cannot achieve. To my way of thinking, that conclusion is the result of a jurisprudence based upon a theory of African-American inferiority.” The insistence by Bowen, Bok, Gurin and others that educational diversity is per se benevolent demands qualification. Lastly, if Brown v. Board of Education is any indicator, the courts will ignore the statistical analyses purporting to support a compelling governmental interest. According to Philip Elman, Assistant to the Solicitor General during Brown, “states used psychological and sociological evidence to try to prove that racial segregation in classrooms was ‘better for both races,’ that it provided educational benefits, prevented racial conflict and generally promoted mutual tolerance and acceptability.” Elman notes the Supreme Court completely ignored these arguments. (See Elman’s May 13, 1999 letter to the New York Times.) The University is also arguing that discrimination on the basis of
“What does the diversity argument say about historically African-American institutions? Are they inferior because they are less diverse than the University of Michigan?” students compared to co-educational institutions? Many studies argue persuasively to the contrary. Likewise, what does the diversity argument say about historically African-American institutions such as Howard and Morehouse? Are they inferior because they are (by far) less diverse than the University of Michigan? Graduates of Howard, Morehouse, and other historically African-American colleges and universities should be surveyed and the results presented alongside the African American student analyses of the Gurin and other reports before concluding that diverse campuses are superior to non-diverse campuses. Justice Clarence Thomas has been perhaps deservedly pilloried for many of his court opinions. Nonetheless, he appears to have some insight into the diversity argument. In Missouri v. Jenkins, 515 U.S. 70 (1995), a desegregation funding case, he wrote that “ ‘Racial isolation’ itself is not a harm; only state enforced segregation is. After all, if separation itself is a harm, and if integration therefore is the only way that African-Americans can receive a proper education, then there must be something inferior about African-Americans. Under
race is better for both races. The only difference between the University’s arguments and those Elman cites is that the University is seeking discrimination against Caucasians. Presumably the diversity argument will resoundingly fail the “compelling governmental interest” test. The University will then need to consider (1) other legal arguments to makes its case; and (2) legally permissible ways to change the admissions process so that it simultaneously addresses the effects of the African-American holocaust. The law allows discrimination on the basis of race when it is intended to remediate the effects of past discrimination. In part the many students of color and organizations who have joined the University in defending its affirmative action admissions argue that, indeed, the University has discriminated in the recent past (for example, with legacy admissions), and its current policy should remain to remediate this. However, the university will not take this stand, because it fears it will mean, if it wins, that the university will be liable to African-Americans for this discrimination. How important is the presence of
African-American students on campus (for whatever reason, be it diversity or remedying the effects of past oppression)? Surely it is important enough for the university to risk liability. For it not to adopt this argument and use, instead, another argument that is bound to fail in the courts is disappointing. That the university denies it has ever discriminated against African-Americans is feckless. That instead it maintains diversity is inherently good is the stuff of white liberal cowardice and racism (though fraught with good intentions). And never mind that the university already risks liability to the Caucasian plaintiffs and past Caucasian applicants who were denied admission if it loses. The courts will permit a university some leeway in its admissions. For example, life experience may count in lieu of race. Of course many African-American (and other) applicants have backgrounds translating to achievement despite adverse circumstances. Based on the higher rate of poverty among African-Americans, one can reasonably predict that their experiences may often demonstrate superior motivation and ability to thrive under difficult conditions. This should indeed count for something. In July, the University of Georgia’s argument that diversity serves a “compelling governmental interest” was rejected at the District Court level. This happened despite the well-documented fact that the University of Georgia refused admission to African-Americans until 1961. U.S. District Judge Avant Edenfield wrote that, “To base racial preferences upon an amorphous, unquantifiable and temporarily unlimited goal is to engage in naked racial balancing.” As of October 5, this very relevant lawsuit had not yet earned even a mention at the University’s website on the admissions lawsuits. The evidence pointing to the University’s defeat in the courts is sizable. Despite this, President Bollinger and others remain publicly sanguine. Are they dissembling in the hope of, say, stalling and raising consciousness (about, for example, how strongly some desire a race-blind society)? History may indeed prove this effort to be an important and valuable contribution to the debate on race. But at some point, the University will have to respond to some difficult issues concerning the diversity argument. Simultaneously, the university must consider methods which are legal and far more likely to succeed in addressing the historic oppression of African-Americans and other minorities.
THE MICHIGAN REVIEW EDITORIALS
October 11, 2000
FROM SUITE ONE Social Activists Invade Lectures; Professorial Intimidation a Factor
ISTORICALLY, THE GOAL of any professor has always been to assist students in finding their own answers. Rote memorization is not enough; the student must be taught how to think and reason on his own. But what happens when professors start propagating their own ideas at the expense of their students’? The “educational” programs in totalitarian regimes like Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union were great at telling students what to think—the results were only too catastrophic. Could such a thing happen in this country? Could a person or group use the professor’s podium to preach the stale and intolerant dogmas of irresponsible extremist groups? Unfortunately, many professors at the U-M offer up their podiums to just about any group or person wishing to get the attention of the student body. Just days before this issue went to print, one hapless student found himself the victim of just such a horrific “mind-rape” in Dr. Sidney Fine’s otherwise most enlightening History 466 class, American History 1900-1932. At the scheduled class time, Dr. Fine approached the microphone and ordered the students to “give their full attention to what these two women have to say.” “These two women” were nefarious BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) agents, and their five minute rant was anything but educational or enlightening. They tried to rally the class to “actively participate” in the upcoming Defend Affirmative Action, Day of Action. They explained that all who opposed affirmative action were trying to “resegregate
Students beware, your ideas and opinions may only be heard if they are in strict agreement with the dogmas of these groups like BAMN, and they will be drowned out otherwise. higher education,” and they needed our help to prevent this. Furthermore, they tried to claim that all U-M students were “defendants” in the two lawsuits currently being made against the U-M, and that it was thus their responsibility to help defeat these suits. Dr. Fine’s class was not the only one to be taken over by BAMN that day, and other groups besides BAMN routinely use the same method when trying to spread their ideas. But, like BAMN, they are committing the same dastardly “mind rape.” Imagine, students take out their notebooks, and prepare to sit through a lecture that costs them thousands of dollars to attend. Suddenly, they find themselves trapped in a crowded lecture hall being forced to listen to ideas they strongly object to, and all the while being told by their professor to sit still and listen. Like a T.R. and his “bully pulpit,” drawing on the authority of the professor in an environment where the students can’t complain or even vocally object, these groups are leaving students with no choice but to hear them out. Being forced to do something against your will, especially something like listening to blatant lies (resegregation?) and intolerant dogma (by ANY means necessary?), is unacceptable. These groups are literally holding students down and forcing them to listen—the term “mind rape” is thus very appropriate—and the professors are willing accomplices in this institutionalized brainwashing. Clearly something has to be done. Professors are generally careful not to let too many of their personal feelings and beliefs creep into their lectures, as they feel it is oppressive to the students and makes it uncomfortable for them to express their own opinions. Yet, they are more than willing to let someone else do the dirty work, by telling their classes to listen attentively while minions of some political pressure group or extremist fringe faction (e.g. BAMN) expound concepts the professors may agree with. Why is this happening? Why has the administration let the professors treat their students in this manner, especially when they are paying out of their nose to come here? The answer is, that these little events are given a nod of approval by a leftist administration too self-involved with its own lawsuits and holy Jihad against the forces of moderation and tolerance to care even one bit about how uncomfortable the student body is becoming. With the administration backing such “mind rapes,” it seems likely they will continue indefinitely. Students beware, your ideas and opinions may only be heard if they are in strict agreement with the dogmas of these groups like BAMN, and they will be drowned out otherwise. The hypocrisy is stunning, yet clearly lost on these misled sixties leftovers. They claim the “established order” oppresses them, their friends, minorities, women, and people overseas. They claim the “order” listens only to its own opinions, and works only for its own goals, unwilling to compromise with “tolerant” activist groups like them. Yet, like the pigs in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” these groups now perfectly mimic the ways and means they protest oh so loudly against. MR
G.A.P. Confirmed SFLs Dominance in the Campus Abortion Debate n anti-choice terrorist group.” That was how one pro-choice student described the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, the group which puts on the Genocide Awareness Project on college campuses throughout North America, in an e-mail the day before G.A.P. even debuted at U of M on Sept. 25th. Without having even seen the display or knowing an iota about the people who were behind it, this student had already labeled the upcoming G.A.P. display as unworthy to be heard. Why? The prochoice groups and their allies would later try to come up with a variety of so-called
Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, or in favor of SFL’s bringing G.A.P. to campus or not, one thing all can agree on is that G.A.P. sparked enormous debate here at U of M. reasons, such as that it was too “insensitive” and too graphic, it blocked student access to the Diag, and yes, that it was even racist and sexist (despite the fact that ironically the G.A.P. participants were about 10 times as more diverse than the handful of pro-choice fanatics who came out to spew hate in their face). But the real reason as to why the handful of pro-choice crazies opposed G.A.P. was that they feared its power to change the minds of students, and the fact is their fear was well placed because it has. The Genocide Awareness Project was invited to come to U of M by Students for Life. SFL is very proud of the fact that it approached the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform about G.A.P. and that the situation was not reversed. SFL brought G.A.P. to campus as part of its on going effort to convert the campus from a culture of death, which supports abortion, euthanasia, assisted-suicide, and the death penalty, to a culture which respects life in all its stages of development, from womb to tomb. In bringing G.A.P. to campus SFL had three main goals: 1) to save the lives of the unborn, 2) to educate students through a visual, yet very logical, comparison of why abortion is in fact a form of genocide, and 3) to help those women who may have experienced an abortion to come to terms with what happened and to begin the healing process. Whether you are pro-life or prochoice, or in favor of SFL’s bringing G.A.P. to campus or not, one thing all can agree on is that G.A.P. sparked enormous debate here at U of M. It caused everyone to re-examine his or her beliefs in light of the visual evidence and intellectual argument that G.A.P. displayed for all to see on the Diag for two extraordinary days. SFL deems the Genocide Awareness Project a huge success. The fact that SFL could bring G.A.P. here with very little opposition reaffirms the fact that over the past year SFL has dominated the abortion issue on campus. We have been one of the most active groups on campus, as evidenced by last year’s Tombstones for the Unborn event, candlelight vigil on the Diag, public video showings, our participation in the March for Life in Washington, D.C. for the first time ever, bringing a national pro-life speaker to campus, and the list goes on. Meanwhile the pro-choice groups on campus have done nothing. It was no surprise then that only a handful of pro-choice fanatics with their signs and their idiotic chanting showed up to oppose G.A.P. Their silly, childish antics simply reinforced the notion in most students’ minds that if nothing else the pro-choice student groups were the ones that were desperate, not SFL. We weren’t reacting to them, they were reacting to us. SFL is on the offensive here on campus; they are on the defensive and have been for quite some time. This year SFL has an eleven-member leadership team, which is thoroughly dedicated to changing the culture. We have nearly 50 active members (and growing) whom are enthusiastic and motivated to achieve our goals, hence the fact that nearly 20 SFL members actively participated behind the barricades of the G.A.P. display. SFL knows that it is far from winning the war for students’ minds and hearts on campus and that it must continue to challenge the culture of death and fight new prochoice attitudes, most recently in regards to the legalization of RU-486, the so-called abortion pill. But we also know that the culture is changing and that with educational events such as G.A.P. we have the pro-choice groups on campus scrambling in desperation because they now know that they are indeed losing.MR Guest Editorial submitted by Andrew Shirvell President of Students for Life
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October 11, 2000
THE MICHIGAN REVIEW COLUMNS
A CHINK IN THE ARMOR
With Our Backs to the Wall
FEW WEEKS ago, it was reported United States to be Belgium. America is that actor Alec Baldwin promised already our paradise. Sure, for some issues to leave the United States and live we can leave, like abortion. If we wanted to abroad if George W. Bush was live in a country where elected president. Director abortion is illegal, then sure, Robert Altman had also some of us can always move made a similar statement to the Republic of Ireland if earlier. Heaven forbid that we really feel that passionately a tyrannical despot like about it. If liberals want to live George W. Bush become in a society where citizens do president! Although Alec not have the right to bear arms Baldwin later said that the or citizens that believe that rumor was false, it got me they have the right to bear thinking: where would arms, they can go to Canada, Charlton Heston go if Gore James Y. Yeh or almost any other nation on were elected president? (My earth, for that matter. America best bet, to death row.) is ALREADY the most gunWhere would other conservatives like Tom friendly nation on earth. But, instead of Selleck, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce leaving the country and leaving us lawWillis, and Mel Gibson go if Gore were abiding gun owners in peace, they want to elected? Hell, where would I go, besides to make us criminals instead of hauling their the nearest gun shop with my life savings? own asses across the border. Everyone is We as conservatives already have our backs to the wall. We simply have no place to go if we want to live in an America as envisioned as by the Founding Fathers. From what I can tell, liberals in this country have been trying to make the United States more and more like Canada and other socialist nations. They want to help the government subjugate it’s citizens by taking away their guns, they want universal health care, they want bilingual education, they want looser moral values, etc. Well, why go through all the trouble of changing this country into another Canada complaining about the high cost of when they can just go up north and move prescription drugs in America. Everyone is to Canada? Daniel Baldwin figured it out, complaining how Canada has such a great instead of being selfish and ruining America universal health care system. Newflash, for everyone in the name of liberalism, he folks, there are a lot of Canadians that think moved to Canada. Now why can’t all liberals their health care system is absolutely figure that out? Why can’t his big brother terrible. Just two months ago, when I was Alec figure that out and just go live in back working for a big bad evil Canada, a country with everything he wants pharmaceutical company, I read an editorial already instead of fighting for them here written by a doctor from Vancouver (I and pissing a lot of conservatives off? Why forgot his name and I can’t access the link can’t that self righteous, hypocritical bitch because it was part of the company’s intranet Rosie O’Donnell take her bully pulpit of a system) saying that he thinks it’s almost show, her bratty kids and their armed guards perverse that Americans hold Canadian up to Canada? I’m willing to bet she could health care in such high regard. While never still do K-Mart commercials in Canada, saying that the state of American health care although their K-Marts probably don’t sell was perfect as it is, I remember him saying as many guns as American K-Marts do. from experience that he knew of at least a Why can‘t Martin Sheen just go live in a hundred people sentenced to a grueling country whose army doesn’t have a School death because they couldn’t get the vital of the Americas or where the militarization heart surgery they needed because they were of space is simply not an issue? He could told to wait for too long. He also pointed avoid a lot of jail time but less airtime if he out that one of the reasons why Canada’s simply moved away. drugs are much cheaper was because of the Well, liberals may just say, well why lower standard of living and the weakness don’t you conservatives just go away then? of the Canadian dollar when compared to Well, we would, except we have nowhere the American dollar, and that if people to go! That, and we want the United States wanted really cheap prescription drugs, they to be the United States. We don’t want the should check out Southeast Asia. So to all
those people bitching about us not having universal healthcare, go move to Canada instead of screwing all of us over. They already HAVE universal health care. If you think you can wait six weeks for an appendectomy, then go north, but personally, I’ll take my chances here. Besides, when heads of state like King Hussein or the Shah of Iran need cancer treatment, there’s a reason why they come here instead of Canada. Would you like to live in a gun-free community? Well, I hear Toronto and Ottawa are both gun-free. Want bilingual education? Hey, everything in Canada is required by law to be in both English and French. Don’t speak English and don’t ever have any intention to learn how? Well, I don’t know how Canada deals with it, but I’m sure they’re more willing and able to deal with it than we are. Do you want to live in a welfare state? Then Canada is just
Why can‘t Martin Sheen just go live in a country whose army doesn’t have a School of the Americas or where the militarization of space is simply not an issue? He could avoid a lot of jail time but less airtime if he simply moved away. the place for you. What’s that? You don’t believe in the domination of the two party system? Then check out Canada and its parliamentary system. In Canada, Ralph Nader may actually stand a snowball’s chance in hell of getting into an elective office. Do you think Bill Clinton did nothing wrong in having sexual encounters with an intern who’s barely older than his own daughter in the Oval Office? Then move to France, where Mitterand not only had a mistress, but a child by that mistress, both of whom showed up at his funeral with his wife and kids. Feel like burning a flag? Go ahead, go burn a Canadian flag. It’s not like anyone’s ever died for it in its 35 year existence. Do you think beauty pageants exploit women? Then you’ll love Canada, which hasn’t had an official Miss Canada
pageant since 1991, thanks to feminist and economic pressures. Do you think Diag preachers are hatemongers? Then go to Canada, where they’ve actually arrested these guys. (As one of my professors, who’s Canadian, reluctantly admitted, “we Canadians don’t care about civil liberties as much as Americans.”) And finally, for those of you that think we should switch to metric, in Canada, petrol is in liters, not gallons, and your weight is in kilos, not pounds. With all that said, it should be clear by now that as a conservative, I don’t like Canada. Wait, I shouldn’t use “don’t like.” Hmm, oh, I got it, as a conservative, I abhor Canada. And to you liberals, I abhor you. I think you people are ruining America for everyone, not just for conservatives. I’m sure liberals feel the same way about us conservatives. But unlike liberals, we can’t pack our bags and leave for a gun-friendly, English speaking, two party paradise that doesn’t use the metric system. So to the liberals out there dissatisfied with great country of ours as it is, do us a favor: take your pick of socialist nations all over the world, be it Canada, Great Britain or France, and move there. Canada would probably even welcome you, seeing that they’re the 2nd largest nation on earth in terms of land but they only have around thirty million people. Stay in this socialist paradise of yours and be content, and don’t come back here. Do it soon, while you still have a choice, for should I ever become president, I’ll see to it that you liberals do leave, at gunpoint, if necessary. MR
THE MICHIGAN REVIEW COLUMNS
October 11, 2000
Clarifying Fuzzy Math Whats Really Happening with Taxes
E WANTED ME to be shocked and outraged, but I laughed. Those numbers, he repeated the numbers over and over again with only slight juxtapositions, had no effect. I looked to the man at the other podium to clarify it, set down the truth, but he was no help, simply r e p e a t i n g something about “fuzzy math.” Thus went the first of this e l e c t i o n’s presidential debates. Matthew The numbers that Al Gore was Franczak trying so very hard to use to tap into the class-envy of me and ever other American watching was that around half of George W. Bush’s tax cut would go to the wealthiest 1% of the population. Indeed, it sounds bad and moreover it’s most likely true since Governor Bush did nothing to deny it, rather citing some tangential counter statistics his advisers had prepared and railing against Gore’s “fuzzy math.” Gore probably calculated that may Americans would be angered by this, many Americans would think this is unfair, and many Americans would vote for him because of it. In other words, Gore calculated that many Americans have absolutely no idea how their own tax system works. The fact that lets the air out of this charge is not one of those obscure or codes or conditions that those handling large sums of money hire many an accountant to find, but rather the simple basis of how tax rates are calculated. The federal income tax is progressives, which means the percent of your income you pay goes up as your income does, as opposed to a flat tax, where everybody is taxed the same percent. Thus, under a flat tax, the amount paid is equal to income times tax rate, while the amount paid under a progressive tax is equal to initial tax rate times income times the progressive factor of the tax, which is dependent upon income. To make this more concrete, let’s compare a 10% flat rate and with 9% progressive rate with a progressive change of 1% per every $10,000 a person makes. If a person makes $10,000, they pay $1000 under either system. Next, consider a person who makes $110,000 a year, under the flat tax, they pay $11,000 in taxes, but under the
progressive tax they pay over twice as much, $22,200. Next, let’s consider the case of an individual who rakes in $510,000, paying $51,100 under the fat tax, but an amazing $306,000 under the progressive tax, over half his income. Finally, consider the lucky individual who makes $910,000. Under the flat tax, he has to hand over only $91,000, but under the described progressive tax, he loses every last penny of the nearly one million dollars he made. Of course the USA’s progressive taxes are implemented by increments rather than a direct relationship, with the highest increment being 39.8%, but the effect of progressive taxation on how much each income turns over to the government is still evident. Thus, Al Gore’s charge looses a little impact when one considers that under a progressive system, the richest elements pay a huge proportion of the taxes. In our imaginary taxation system, one person making $910,000 pays as much taxes as 910 people making $10,000. In the USA in 1998, individuals making over $200,000 a year accounted for only 1.65% of the tax payers, yet paid 39.85%, an “about” away from half, of the taxes according to IRS data. So it would seem that the favoritism for the rich Gore implies disappears when a close look is taken at the numbers. Why do the rich deserve a tax break? Simple, they pay the taxes. In fact, the Bush plan is expected to actually raise the amount of the tax burden that falls upon the $200,000+ group slightly. Although the top tax rate will be cut from 39.6% to 33%, their incomes will be responsible for 40.9% of the taxes paid compared with the current estimate of 39.1%, a system which is accomplished by giving proportionally larger tax cuts to all the lower brackets. While we are at it, it makes perfect sense to put another Gore attack into perspective. Gore says that Bush’s tax cut plan offers nothing for about 20 million Americans. Of course he forgets to mention that these are about 20 million Americans who DON’T pay income taxes, and thus won’t be affected by income tax cuts. Of course, the federal government takes its chunk out in Social Security and Medicare taxes, but those are entitlements, which the taxpayer (in theory more so than in practice) gets back as their Social Security and Medicare benefits after retirement. Of course, these poor, overtaxed individuals that Gore criticizes Bush for neglecting will be happy to also pay more as Medicare is
expanded to cover prescription drugs. Gore’s tax plan, however, is quite a different beast. Strangely enough, Al Gore plans to cut $500 billion in income taxes for the middle class without even cutting a single tax rate. Gore’s tax cuts come in the form of new deductions for certain behaviors. Thus, someone who spends their money in the manner Al Gore thinks they should stands to save a great deal, whereas a person who thinks their money is better invested elsewhere doesn’t benefit from Gore’s plan. This is a new variation of an old trick which has already caused the exponential expansion of federal control over state and local governments. In these cases, the federal government will give a grant to the other government or institution, but only if that government agrees to abide by a set of federal codes. Similarly, the deductions Gore offers are contingent upon behaviors on the part of the individual. In fact, you need to have children to capitalize on most of Gore’s tax cuts, as they involve college and day care.
So if you have kids in daycare, are saving for or paying for their college, buy your own health insurance, are a stay home parent, need to care for your sick grandma, and have an energy efficient house, car, and refrigerator, you stand to benefit greatly from Al Gore’s tax plan, and if you don’t fit Mr. Gore’s model American mold, tough luck. So as you weigh your choices this November, do a little research. It may be tedious, boring, and even downright disgusting, but it’s better that leaving yourself at the mercy of the selective information that the campaigns decide to let out. Remember: The numbers never lie, just the politicians. MR (Note: Although I was able to decipher Bush’s tax plan, for which Math 116 is an appropriate prereq, I only got a 5/6 on Gore’s Just for Kid’s Quiz. I didn’t know what Tipper’s real first name was. Bush’s Youth Zone is much better, actually having some educational content about the electoral process formatted as a baseball analogy.)
Graph of the Progressive and Flat tax examples. Essentially, if you plan on becoming filthy rich, youre screwed.
October 11, 2000
THE MICHIGAN REVIEW CAMPUS AFFAIRS
MSA Continued from Page 1 on the impact of race, ethnicity and gender on the LSAT for Testing for Public”, is a member of the defense team for the lawsuit. Even with the obvious pro-Affirmative Action slant of “Affirmative Action 102”, MSA has give the program strong support, despite a Michigan Daily poll last year that showed student opinion of Affirmative Action policies split almost evenly. At their September 26th meeting, MSA passed a resolution in support of “Affirmative Action 102” and the October 19th National Day of Action. The resolution included allocating $11,785 of its $13,000 (approximate) committee discretionary budget to help alleviate some expenses for the program. At both the September 26th and the October 3rd meeting, various MSA members pleaded with the rest of the assembly exercise fiscal responsibility and not spend the majority of the discretionary budget on one event. In fact, a motion was made at the September 26th meeting to cut the budget in the resolution, but the amendment failed by a vote of 9 for, 13 against, and 3 abstentions. The original resolution, with full budget then passed 17 for, 3 against, and 4 abstentions. The items funded in the resolution break down as follows: $390 for Angell Hall Auditoriums; $210 for Mason Hall Classrooms; $105 for microphone rental; $200 for refreshments; $100 for programs; $3,000 each for Rev. Jackson and Mr. Connerly (each would receive $1,000 each for travel, plus a $5,000 honorarium for Jackson and $9,000 for Connerly); $1,491.20 for 5,000 11” x 17” two color posters; 1,718.75 for 25,000 4” x 5” flyers; and $1570.80 for a one-day full page advertisement in the Michigan Daily. Incidentally, all the printing except for the legal document compilation is being done by Kolossos Copies, which is also Jessica Curtin’s current place of employment. In addition, Kolossos charges 5 cents per side, that calculates to $625 for the 25,000 flyers, not the quoted $1,718. As a reference, the budget for two semesters worth of MSA elections is currently set at $4,350. Nevertheless, the resolution was passed, and MSA would have to survive for the rest of the year with less than $2,000 in the committee discretionary fund. Or so it would seem. During the October 6th MSA meeting Jessica Curtin, Peace and Justice Commission Co-chair, motioned to amend the resolution from the previous week. Rev. Jackson is apparently willing to appear for free, and would not have any travel expenses since he will be in Detroit earlier in the week. Also, the Young America’s Foundation agreed to foot all of Ward Connerly’s expenses. This understandably freed up a large chunk of the “Affirmative Action
Ward Connerly bowing his head while being berated by BAMN three years ago.
102” budget. Accordingly, Curtin wanted to reappropriate the moneys previously allocated towards Rev. Jackson and Mr. Connerly to help pay for other speakers. MSA members against the amendment argued that moving the money amounted to a shell game. That is, money that was not needed from MSA the previous week was now being considered necessary. During the ensuing debate, LSA representative Matt Nolan made a motion to amend the amendment and return the $6,000 to the committee discretionary fund. This motion failed 12 to 13 with 1 abstention. Looking for a compromise Vice President Jim Secreto
moved to allocate $3,000 for speakers and $3,000 for discretionary, which failed to the count of 9 to 18 with 1 abstention. Curtin’s original unaltered amendment was then voted on, and the vote 14 for and 12 against was short of the two-thirds majority required to alter a previously passed resolution. The $6,000 presumably returns to the committee discretionary fund, since it will not be used for the reasons requested in the original resolution’s budget. The reason for Nolan’s amendment was somewhat unclear, since it would have had the same effect as failing the original amendment. This leaves MSA’s committee discretionary fund with an additional $6,000, giving them a total that is still less than previous years but much more adequate than the low figure they were faced with at the beginning of the meeting, although the where this money ultimately goes remains to be seen. MR Write us at letters@MichiganReview.com
Complete Budget for “Affirmative Action 102” Venue and Set-up *Angell Hall Auditoriums: *Mason Hall Classrooms: *Floor and Table Microphones: *Refreshments: *Programs: Speakers *Jesse Jackson (MSA: $3,000) Honorarium - $5,000 Travel Expenses - $1,000
$390.00 210.00 105.00 200.00 100.00
Equipment and Supplies Legal Documents Compilation 5,000 copies, 50 pp. Signs for Rally 2,000 quantity Chalk 10 buckets
*Ward Connerly (MSA: $3,000) Honorarium - $9,000 Travel Expenses - $1,000
Diag Rental and Sound System Portable Sound System for March Walkie Talkies for March Platform/Stage/Podium for Rally
Other Speakers (12) $500 honorarium and $1,000 travel
Videographer $100/hr. at 40 hrs.
Buses from Detroit to Ann Arbor for high school student participants Lunch for High School Students Advertising and Publicity *Posters (11” x 17”, 2 colors) 5,000 quantity
*Flyers with Full Itinerary 25,000 quantity, 4” x 5”, double sided
Buttons 10,000 quantity
Banner *Full Page Daily Adverstisement One Day Bus Signs
Subtotals Venue Guest Speakers Advertisement and Publicity Equipment and Supplies Grand Total MSA Funding Subtotals Venue and Set-up Jesse Jackson Ward Connerly Advertising MSA Funding Total
85.00 106.00 118.00 100.00 4,000.00
1,295.00 34,600.00 8,245.75 9,388.30 $53.239.05
1,005.00 3,000.00 3,000.00 4780.75 $11,785.74
THE MICHIGAN REVIEW CAMPUS AFFAIRS
GAP Continued from Page 1 massacres, and enslaved and lynched American blacks. One panel featured a picture of emaciated victims of the Holocaust lying in rows with the caption “The Final Solution.” Immediately to the right was a picture of two lynched blacks hanging from a tree. Its caption read “Separate but Equal.” The final picture on the panel showed the severed head of an aborted fetus. The caption reads “ProChoice.” T h e C e n t e r ’s point, obviously enough, is that soothing, low-key words can be used to cloak grim realities. Another panel had a picture of a monkey, apparently the subject of a cruel experiment, with its head immobilized by a vise-like mechanism. To the right was an aborted baby’s head impaled on a surgical tool. If animal cruelty is unacceptable, asks the display by implication, why is abortion acceptable? A third panel showed a picture of a live, healthy baby between two pictures of aborted fetuses. According to Fletcher Armstrong, of Nashville, Tennessee and Director of the Center’s Southeast Region, the baby in the middle picture “was born to a woman who decided not to have an abortion because of the Project’s display in Knoxville, Tennessee.” It can be no surprise that abortion opponents see a common element of violence and brutality in abortion and in genocide. But beyond that, abortion and genocide have “conceptual similarities,” according to the Center’s literature.
Just what does the Center mean by “conceptual similarities?” Armstrong explains that “perpetrators of genocide always redefine personhood to exclude the intended victims.” He goes on to illustrate this with two examples: the Nazis “said that Jews and East Europeans were not really human, so it was okay to kill them. In this country, slavers said African-Americans were not really human, so it was okay to enslave, brutalize, and kill them.” Similarly, according to the Center’s literature, “unborn children have gotten in the way of ‘women’s liberation’ so society says (unborn children) a r e subhuman to justify taking their lives.” In other words, society has normalized the semantics of the political Left, and has therefore rationalized a seemingly well prepared argument— unborn fetuses (although at times, viable) do not possess certain unalienable rights given their attachment and dependency on the pregnant mother. However, it is this very notion that the Project attempts to debunk. Gregg Cunningham goes on to note that “those who murdered Jews and blacks . . . denied the personhood of their victims just as vehemently as practitioners of abortion deny the personhood of the unborn.” What the Project suggests with its photographs and their correlation to cultural genocide, is that what the critics call property of mother, is actually human life. And what better way, asks the Center, than to display photographs of cultural genocide and aborted fetuses adjacent to one another? To those critics who deplore the Center’s methods—confronting viewers with intense, visceral images of abortion and other atrocities—Armstrong has this
to say: “Most Americans are nominally prochoice with respect to first trimester abortion because they do not understand who the baby really is, and what abortion does to the baby. To change their attitudes, and ultimately their behaviors, we have to use pictures to teach these two facts.”
October 11, 2000 ho, this right-wing bull sh*t has got to go.” A more responsible critic was Wayne Parks, who described himself as a supporter of Students for Choice and was standing holding a sign protesting the display. “These people are trying to limit choice and coerce women into making an
Regardless of one’s stance on the issue, the Project forced people to think about abortions in a critical manner.
J. Pratt / Review
SFL members stand their ground
J. Pratt / Review
To no ones surprise, the Diag was brimming with protestors Armstrong adds, “people would never try to teach about the Holocaust without pictures.” What about the motivations of ordinary volunteers at the Project? Robert Stewart, an African-American from New Jersey, acknowledged the obvious—that slavery and abortion were not identical phenomena—but added “I feel that the comparison of slavery to abortion is good because both victims defined as nonpersons. Abortion also victimizes lots of black children.” Suzie Smith traveled with her mother from Columbus, Ohio on Monday morning. She believes “that women are victimized by abortion” and while “it seems right at the time, after going through with it, there’s a lifetime of emotional and physical problems.” Another volunteer, Jane Bullington, emphasized that, “of the one and a half million abortions a year (in the United States), less than two percent of abortions are for serious health problems, rape, or incest.” Adam Dandy, a first-year student, heard the commotion and protesters at the display while in class in Mason Hall and came to investigate. When he realized what was going on, he ran to Michigan Book and Supply, bought poster board, and made a sign reading “Choose Life.” Dandy found the Project’s display “graphic but valid— doesn’t let them forget what their choice is.” There were, of course, protesters present chanting slogans such as “Racist bigots, shut it down,” and “Hey, hey, ho,
uninformed choice. They believe that if you’re not pro-life then you’re proabortion.” When asked about the Project’s comparison between genocide and abortion, Parks replied that the “Jews had no choice about dying.” But what about the argument that the baby is denied the choice to live? “The baby is still attached to the mother, the mother is feeding it nutrients and her oxygen. It should be her choice whether to have an abortion.” Regardless of one’s stance on the issue, the Project forced people to think about abortions in a critical manner. Rory Diamond, former Chairman of the University of Michigan College Republicans, said that the Project was a “terrifically polemical way of forcing students to deal with the issue of abortion.” Indeed it was. From the protestors’ signs reading “Keep Your Laws Off My Body” to the Project’s mantra of “Different Motives, Different Methods, SAME RESULTS,” the end-result of the two day, abortion rights / wrongs extravaganza was an intentionally healthy debate sparked by both intellect and shock. The scene on the Diag may not have been pretty, and the screaming back and forth between the Project’s volunteers and the protesters may have disturbed quite a few uninterested persons, but the reality of the abortion hit the University of Michigan campus with a force few expected—except, of course, the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform and the Genocide Awareness Project. MR
October 11, 2000
CHOOSE Continued from Page 9 during a commercial break, when Gore would take random questions from the audience, an aide mentioned how Gore was worried and a little upset about the protests outside. But, once taping resumed the open discussion ended and it was back to the charade. When the show aired on MTV, it did
THE MICHIGAN REVIEW NATIONAL AFFAIRS surprises that arose, since everything was planned. There weren’t any unexpected turn of events, no straightforward answers given, and no opposition to Gore’s opinion. MTV did not deliver on its promise of getting to the issues that are the most important to young adults. Instead, it probably made most students who are actually interested in politics and registered to vote tune out after being offended by the condescending answers that were pre-
As far as Choose or Lose goes, it definitely lost. Students were scammed into skipping a day of classes to serve as a colorful background for an hour-long infomercial. not seem to be a candid discussion of pressing topics, but instead a boring exchange between rehearsed questions and answers. It was obvious that the students questions were picked ahead of time to make Gore appear both knowledgeable and “hip.” After two minutes of personalizing the situation some softball issue like the legalization of marijuana worked their way in as if legalizing marijuana is one of the most plaguing troubles facing America today. Even though some real issues were brought up, like education, racial profiling, and social security, the general impression was that college students today do not care about the economic and social future of America. Overall, the show could be summed up in one word—boring. Imagine that, Al Gore boring? Go figure… Maybe it was not interesting because of the lack of
rehearsed and answered with a third grade vocabulary. An alternative for students who really wanted to make an educated choice for President was the first presidential debate. It featured Vice President Al Gore and Governor George W. Bush facing real political issues and answering unknown questions. These two candidates provided real entertainment, as they battled it out to get the last word and their point across to voters. When both were shown in a split screen, it was amusing to see the facial expressions of each as the other answered the question. With Bush’s “fuzzy math” and Gore’s “Can I just say one more thing Jim…” you could see that there was nothing holding either of these two back. Some of the key issues that created controversy were the RU-486 abortion pill,
educational vouchers, and of course the future of social security. The candidates’ answers seemed to follow party lines, and each response created a chance for the other to spin off a rebuttal. It was nice to see an open exchange on pertinent issues, unlike that seen on MTV. If a question was asked where a jab could be taken on the opponent’s policy, it was taken. The only difference was that Gore did it with arrogance while Bush had a more playful look upon him. Overall, Bush won on personality while Gore may have edged out as the winner because of all of his past experience. However, it has
Page 9 been a proven fact that voters chose based on looks and personality just as much as on political platforms. As far as Choose or Lose goes, it definitely lost. Students were scammed into skipping a day of classes to serve as a colorful background for an hour-long infomercial. Their time, and everyone else’s, could have been better-spent watching paint dry. After all, that’s probably Gore’s favorite pastime when he’s not inventing stuff. MR
J. Pratt / Review
Bush supporters protest the sham of a town hall meeting
The Value of Shock: An Anecdote BY DAN HONIG
S I STROLLED through the Diag a few weeks ago I was confronted, like many of you, by the disturbing images of the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP). I was shocked. “What purpose could this serve?” I wondered. “Regardless of one’s stand on abortion, people will react to this exhibition emotionally; this will stimulate reaction, but no thought. This is no way to promote civilized discussion.” But a simple encounter later that day led to the realization of how incorrect my emotional reaction was, and how valuable shock can be. That evening I was over at a friend’s place, and she began to bemoan the Diag display. “Can you believe that!” she exclaimed. I sympathized. She continued: “I mean, to compare the
killing of millions in the holocaust to abortion! They’re two totally different kinds of people.” I couldn’t help but chuckle. “What - why are you laughing?” she responded. “I think that’s kind of their point — to get you to see fetuses as people.” “Well, they didn’t prove anything to me. I already thought of fetuses as people.” I was surprised; “Oh, you’re pro-life then?” I asked quizzically. “Well, no…” came the reply. And a discussion of the issue and the full ramifications of my friend’s revelation ensued. Despite being an intelligent, rational, compassionate human being much like all of you, my friend had failed to incorporate fully people into her political consciousness her belief that fetuses were people. Why is this, you might ask? Perhaps it’s for the same reason most people do most things:
Because it was the easiest path for her. As a liberal at this primarily liberal university, it was easier for her to ignore this belief, to push it to the bottom and continue living her existence within the social norm, than to deal with the reality of the situation. Historically there are countless instances where shocking images have forced society to reevaluate its beliefs and basic institutions. The in-your-face rhetoric of Muhammad Ali and the images of Martin Luther King’s death helped lead to integration and widespread valuation of African Americans as people with equal rights. The images of American boys dying gruesomely on foreign soil helped shock the country into grassroots anti-war movement. Images of an American peacekeeper being dragged naked through the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993 led directly to public reevaluation of America’s role in the international
peacekeeping sphere. A shocking image can have powerful repercussions. Nobody likes being shocked. This simple truth is virtually impossible to deny. However, this does not necessarily mean that shock is bad, or cannot serve a purpose. It is all too easy to avoid thinking about things that disturb us. Shock forces an individual to confront issues that they would rather avoid. The value of shock is not in the moment of incidence, where the emotion occurs, but rather when the emotion fades away and the issue remains, through the thought promoted and the discussion engendered. Shock is the antidote to complacency, and let’s face it: we all need to be shaken out of our complacency at least once in a while. If not that, what is college for? MR
THE MICHIGAN REVIEW NATIONAL AFFAIRS
October 11, 2000
Oil, Bush, and A Guy Named Al BY RYAN SERRA
T’S THE END of October and autumn is in the air. The leaves on the trees are turning colors, the Michigan sky has turned that familiar battleship gray, and, once again, the all too familiar quad-annual tradition of the presidential rat race is in full swing. For months, we have had the pleasure of amusing ourselves over the folly that has unfolded as the respective candidates have whored themselves to the American populous regarding this topic or that. Among the issues on the platform are the old favorites, such as education and welfare, as well as a few newcomers. Of paramount interest among these, however, the recent spike in oil prices has the country worried about a potential crisis in energy production, and the major players in a fervor over what to do about it. Midway through August, the union of Oil Producing and Exporting Countries (OPEC) unanimously elected to reduce oil production in an effort to inflate profits and strengthen their hand in the global economic power struggle. Lamentably, there is nothing that anyone can do to curb the profound effects on the national, and world economy as virtually the entire civilized world is heavily reliant on this invaluable commodity. According to the most recent estimates, the combined resources of this organization provide roughly 40% of the world’s crude oils, and, more importantly, control in excess of 75% of the world’s accessible oil reserves. Their inherent market share gives them the capacity to profoundly influence the supply of oil around the globe. As a result of OPEC’s tightened grip on the oil market, the price per barrel of crude has soared from less than $20 per barrel ten months ago to a going rate of well in excess of $30 a barrel. Naturally, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that an increase in price of over 50% in this short period of time will inherently lead to an overall higher cost of living for the average American. From heating the west wing of the villa, to gassing up the SUV, to building more petroleum based power plants to energize the eight appliances we all have plugged into each socket, America will eventually have to tighten its belt, but not today. Why work for a better tomorrow when you can have fun now and bury your head in the sand at the end of the day, hoping that tomorrow never comes? Instead of worrying about the impending permanent global shortage of petroleum, the general sentiment among Americans seems to be “what’s the guv’ment gonna do about making it cheaper to fill up the Excursion?” This is where the presidential
race comes into play. History has proven innumerable times that people vote their pocket books. If there’s food on the table and a job to go to every day, the president must be doing a good job. While there is absolutely no foundation for such logic in reality, congruence with popular belief is what wins elections. To that effect, the candidate who can promise the most bang for their buck is the one who is likely to win. After all, as adherents of capitalism, Americans hold much greater allegiance to dead presidents than they do towards the living
entitled “The Better Friend,” “Vice President Al Gore has pulled a rabbit out of the hat by getting President Clinton to withdraw oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves in hopes of dampening oil prices—a strategy that Gore himself opposed just a few months back.” The quick fix is here. Miracles will never cease. It is just so amazing how Gore can have so much influence over Clinton such that he would be able to persuade him to make such an historic decision as dipping into the oil reserves. This is especially so considering all Clinton has done in the last
In typical liberal fashion, the Gore team whipped out the old smoke and mirrors for another dog and pony show in a valiant effort to humor the populous. ones. In terms of getting elected, the one who has the most to lose, as well as the most to gain from this whole ordeal is the champion of the DNC, Al Gore. As the sitting veep, he represents the establishment, which still bears the brunt of the responsibility for the well being of the nation, regardless of cause. Still, this is a double-edged sword. Gore managed to take the lion’s share of the credit for the unparalleled economic prosperity which the country has seen while he was in office—an aftereffect of the so-called “dark era” of Reaganomics. At the time, unemployment was at an all time low, the stock market was exploding as most of the indexes saw remarkable gains, and, of great concern, the price of gas was actually dropping after reaching record highs around the country. Analysts attribute this apparent show of fiscal savvy, more than anything, to the incredible swing in momentum which he received shortly after the convention in Los Angeles. On the flip side of the guilty by association clause of human nature, this second attack on the free flow of oil by OPEC in as many months sent shock waves cascading through every facet of our socioeconomic infrastructure. In a single blow, they managed to constrict the lifeblood of American industry. Now the once benevolent administration has become complacent, failing in its duties to protect the well being of the people. In typical liberal fashion, the Gore team whipped out the old smoke and mirrors for another dog and pony show in a valiant effort to humor the populous. As the Los Angeles Times reported in its October 1, 2000 edition in their article
year has been to try to get his right hand man elected president. In actuality, what the author really meant to say was that he managed to get President Clinton to withdraw oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves in hopes of raising his poll ratings. In a recent press conference, Gore justified this action claiming that the withdrawal is nothing more than a loan whereby the extracted petroleum will be returned, in full, by the end of next year. Considering that the last time we have called upon the National Petroleum Reserve was in 1991 during the Gulf War, one has to question just how dire our situation is. Since then, there have been dozens of attempts by OPEC to implement similar actions. Each one of them, however, has failed as a result of undermining business tactics by one of their constituents seeking greater profit in cornering the market through volume exports at lower prices. In actuality, this is no different, except that it happens to be in the middle of a presidential election. Part two of Gore’s plan entails increasing oil production within the United States so as to reduce our reliance on foreign countries. After all, OPEC can’t cut us off if we don’t buy anything from them. This sounds great, of course, until one examines the feasibility of this plan. When asked to comment on this ploy to curb rising oil costs, George W. Bush, a man who knows oil, pointed out that, given the huge volume of oil consumed in this country every day, the infusion given by the NPR would make an insignificant impact on the rising oil prices. Likewise, the domestic oil producing facilities already in place are currently functioning at 95% efficiency. Considering that this rate of
production is quite difficult to sustain, improving upon it in a quantity that would appreciably affect the current demand would be next to impossible. Furthermore, the cost of finding new deposits of petroleum in accessible locations and then erecting installations to harvest is far greater than the now inflated price of oil. Instead, he presented a more aggressive approach to solving this problem. Bush boasts a much more cavalier attitude towards solving the issue of reduced production in the Middle East. While he concedes that reduced supplies of oil will make heating and other such bill more expensive this winter, he does support the idea of subsidizing low-income families in the coming months so that they are able to cope with the change more easily. Furthermore, he feels that it is the administration’s responsibility to remind our “friends in the Middle East” of who sent their troops there ten years ago to save them from the Iraqi oppressors. He suggested that this ought to give Washington the diplomatic ammunition to call for higher output. As for the future, Bush calls for a movement away from fossil fuels as an energy source, and promises to aid in the development of alternatives. Ultimately, which strategy will be victorious? It all depends on blind luck. If the price of petroleum products declines over the next month, then Gore will point to all of his magnificent programs claiming that he has magically caused all of America’s problems to go away. Paramount among these, of course, will be his brilliant suggestion to dip into the National Petroleum Reserves; a plan which he firmly opposed but a few short months prior and which single-handedly proves that strength of character is irrelevant to the voting public. However, should Gore’s little scheme go awry, Bush would be hailed as the new leadership this country needs to rebuild its strength in foreign policy once again and to lead us into the future. Indeed, the lesser of these two evils will be decided by the one who can more efficiently dodge this rather large and obtrusive bullet. MR
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October 11, 2000
THE MICHIGAN REVIEW FACE-OFF
The Great Napster Debate BY M. SCOTT SCHWARTZ HE FAMOUS 19TH century preacher Dwight L. Moody uttered one of the greatest sayings the world has ever heard: “Character is what you are in the dark.” When nobody’s looking, when it couldn’t possibly matter, when there’s no way anyone will ever find out, that’s when your true nature shows. Napster, for all its faults, has something positive going for it — it is a wonderful measure of character. Here we have a computer program that allows us to instantaneously call up nearly any piece of music ever published… how convenient! Not only are we saved the chore of driving to the record store, neither must we suffer that most contemptible of duties, paying for our music, any longer! Wonderful, isn’t it? Creators create, consumers consume. It’s about time that vile financial system known as capitalism fell. Let us simply take what we want! Why pay when we can steal? Make no mistake — it is stealing. Downloading music against the wishes of the artist or producer is breaking the law. From that, judging one’s character is a simple matter. “But M. Scott, you’ve got it all wrong!” you may be thinking. “It’s not really stealing. I’m just making a copy of Puff Mama’s song – I’m not taking it away from anyone else. It’s not hurting anybody, so how can it be illegal?” Pull out your copy of the Constitution, brush off the dust, and turn to Article 1, Section 8. Congress can, it says, it says, “… promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries …” This led to copyright law, which gives artists the exclusive rights to their music from the moment of its creation until, generally, 70 years after the artist dies. Whether you respect copyright law is irrelevant. What matters is that you know you are breaking the law. “But M,” you continue, “CD sales are up across the nation! I personally buy a lot of the songs that I get from Napster. How can Napster be bad if it’s helping the record industry?” True, according to official statistics, compact disc sales are up 16% nationally. But did you know that in areas around colleges and universities, sales are actually down 4%? That’s a huge reversal, in an area that usually sees high demand for music. Maybe you buy CDs based on what you hear on Napster, but for most college students Napster has the opposite effect. Besides, unless you go out and purchase every song you download, you’re still stealing. “Yo, M. Scotty, beam this up: my ‘breaking the law’ be costin’ the suits nothin’. I listens to the shiznit, sure, but man I don’t like it enough to lay down the green! So it don’t count as stealing ‘cuz no one be losing no profit, right? Ya dig it?” Yes sir, I think I “be digging it.” The problem is, there are no in-betweens here. If you listen to the music, you do enjoy it to some extent. So now, in all fairness to the artist, you should make a choice. Buy it or delete it. In the end, knowing of the illegality of downloading copyrighted MP3s will do little to change anyone’s mind about it. And while the penalties for copyright infringement are harsh – up to 5 years in jail, up to $250,000 in fines, and possible statutory damages of up to $150,000 per song – most people have too few songs in their collection to worry about being prosecuted. So what it all comes down to is your own values. Is it right to steal? Or, put another way: how would you feel if you worked for years to establish yourself as a popular musician, spending untold fortunes on recording equipment, training, marketing, plus thousands of man hours on perfecting your craft, only to have your work ripped off by a pimply-faced teen? MP3s, and the music-sharing services that let them flourish, are stunning technological achievements, and potentially invaluable tools for the promotion of capitalism and an increased atmosphere of creative thinking and competition. But as it stands now, Napster is nothing more than an accessory to theft. MR For more info, check out www.stopnapster.com.
“Make no mistake — it is stealing. Downloading music against the wishes of the artist or producer is breaking the law.”
BY RABEH SOOFI HE MP3 BUG has bitten America. From the cheap shots that Lars Ulrich took at Napster on the MTV awards, to the never-ending Senate hearings on "sharing" music files, and of course, the day when hell froze over and a Review editor denounced the use of MP3s, it is obvious that these little 5-meg files have become crux of America’s technological-ethical dilemma. So people accept that we are in a technological revolution. But what good is coming to that conclusion if one falls short of accepting all the changes that come with that revolution? The mp3-haters of the world have recycled arguments since the first beta release of WinAmp. Would you walk into Best Buy and steal a CD? Isn’t it just like theft? You’re not paying for that Wyclef Jean song, are you, if you download it? But unlike these computerusers, the RIAA, the Recording Industry Association of America, seems to care more about the royalties they are not making rather than how moral file-sharing is. So they try to bully you into believing that since the music is "free," then it must be tantamount to stealing – robbing artists like N*Sync from the pennies they earn on each CD that sells. I would like to suggest that this argument is not only silly, but completely fallacious. Let me tell you, MP3s are not "free" by any means. Consider for example, the means to which MP3s are downloaded. Since I caught wind of the word "Napster," my wallet has taken a serious beating. $20 a month bought me the connection to Download.com’s website, where my clicking on one of their banners earned them a few cents. But soon I had more songs than I knew what to do with, so Western Digital made $120 off me when I bought a bigger hard drive. And, of course, who can stand to download at 3 megs a second? Add another $50 a month for cable modem services from MediaOne. Now what about playing all those songs in my car? I forked over another $150 to Hewlett Packard for a CD-RW and another $100 for countless 10-packs of blank CDs, 3 of which don’t work in each pack. So when all was said and done, I had finally burned my first CD. But did it stop there? Of course not. Bigger and better is the American way! Add another $50 for Turtle Montego’s killer sound card and another $100 for surround sound speakers and a subwoofer capable of leveling a small Michigan town. All these things make money for people. I spent more money "making" 4 CDs or putting my entire CD collection on my hard drive than just buying CDs from Tower. I am paying for every single one of those songs—only not to Columbia, Arista, or Virgin records. So just because the recording music industry isn’t making money does not at all mean that somebody isn’t making money somewhere along the mp3-process. It is like carrier pigeon-trainers saying that telephones shouldn’t be legal because the carrier-pigeon-training industry would go out of business if they were. The truth is we are in a complete revolution that will change the way people think, act, do business, and most importantly, make money. Rather than crying around about the evils of Napster and file sharing, the groups represented by the RIAA must be creative enough to find new strategies to deal with new technological advances. Not every milestone has been good for every business or association – typewriters, vinyl albums, and Beta VCRs have all gone the way of the carrier pigeon. If the music industry intends to keep its pockets well lined, then it must either innovate or vegetate.MR
“... the Recording Industry Association of America, seems to care more about the royalties they are not making rather than how moral file-sharing is.”
What do you think? Sound off and let us know by emailing us at email@example.com. Agree, disagree, or do you just want to clarify the techical aspects of Napster? Email us anyway!
BY MATTHEW FRANCZAK
THE MICHIGAN REVIEW LIVING CULTURE
MP3s: the Final Thought
HE FLAW OF the arguments for and against Napster on legal and moral bases is that the overlook the most important reason why people use Napster, convenience. The majority of people using Napster to acquire copyrighted music probably do not even understand the complexities of intellectual property concerns, and the rest simply do not care. The fact of the matter is that MP3 compression has rendered the CD audio format practically obsolete and Napster has provided a quick and easy way to acquire these files which involves much less effort, let alone funds, than buying the actual CD.
available. Also, when used on a computer, CDs require the use of a CD drive to read from the CD, whereas MP3s can be used from any type of data storage. This is much more convenient for computer users, since most computers only have one CD drive, which prohibits listening to music and using a program that utilizes a CD-ROM at the same time. Additionally, the ability of MP3’s to be read from any data format
For a well-connected individual, tracking down a song could take hours, and for the uninitiated, it was next to impossible.
The temptation to say that CDs —a relatively young technology in the minds of the public— could not possibly be obsolete prevents many from seeing the many ways in which the CD audio format is inferior. First, a typical CD has the capacity to hold 74 minutes of audio or 650 MB of data. MP3 compression typically compresses one minute of music into 0.96 MB at CD audio quality. Thus, the same CD that can store 74 minutes of music in CD audio format is capable of storing 677 minutes of music in MP3 format. Furthermore, most albums do not even approach filling the full 74 minutes
makes them capable of being used with much more durable media than the CD, which is highly vulnerable to scratches, dust, and light damage. The only aspect in which CD audio still holds an advantage over MP3 is in portable players. Both the common MP3 players, which use flash memory, and audio CD players are small and light, but portable audio CD players are also inexpensive and can be changed in the field, rather than forcing the user to return to a computer while MP3 players, however, are invulnerable to skip. However, the advantages of the audio CD player are eroding as MP3 players become
me. You see, most careers, especially those that offer large salaries necessary for indulging in various types of sin, require lots of commitment. Whenever inquiring about such careers, I constantly hear such unacceptable terms as “Forty hour work week,” “Your duties include…,” and “No walking around the office naked.” I don’t know about you, but any workplace that doesn’t want to see the good Señor’s bodacious bod is no place for me, or for you either. Seriously though, I’ve never been able to finalize a career decision. Why, you ask? Well, the reason is simple: I don’t
hat are you going to do when you grow up?” Chances are, you’ve been asked this question dozens of times. Ever since you stopped feeding from your mother’s breasts people have been bothering you with this question, trying to discover your hopes and dreams for the future. In order to appease these idiots, you would shoot back some typical answer, El Señor such as “I want to Guípe be a junkie when I grow up.” But in reality, the vast majority of you had no clue what you actually wanted to do when you would finally be forced to do such horrible things as pay your own rent, buy your own prostitutes, etc. And it’s probably also true that a small minority of you reading this column today still have absolutely no future plans or prospects whatsoever. If you fit this description, fear not, for you are not alone. That’s right, you have a “soul brother” in El Señor Guípe himself! Choosing a career is always difficult, but it is especially difficult for someone like
progressively less expensive and gain higher capacity and capability use interchangeable memory units, such as data CDs. Having established that the CD audio format is obsolete compared to the MP3, the only possible reason remaining to prefer CDs to MP3s is convenience, a category in which MP3s once again defeat CDs. A while back, MP3s were confined to the realm of “warez,” which meant to acquire
any song, one needed to navigate a maze of passwords and dead links to gain access to FTP servers that may or may not have what you are looking for, and are almost always full. For a well-connected individual, tracking down a song could take hours, and for the uninitiated, it was next to impossible. This required the hassle of driving to the music store, tracking down the CD you want, waiting in line, and laying down $15. However, the creation of Napster and its subsequent clones enabled the peer-to-peer connection of a large number of individuals. They could locate the desired file by searching the
October 11, 2000
contents of the database of MP3s in each persons directories which are submitted to Napster when a user logs on. With a reasonable Internet connection this made finding and downloading songs quicker and easier, not to mention cheaper, than the wait in line at the store. What, one may ask, can the record companies do to avoid this? Lowering prices is a good first step, as many may be more willing to comply with intellectual property law if the cost of doing so is reduced. Second, the industry should do a better job embracing the sales of songs in MP3 format over the Internet so they can match the convenience appeal of Napster and related services. Finally, the return of quality liner notes and album covers would do much to move CDs by offering something that cannot be acquired online. Today’s liner notes are often no more than a small sheet of glossy paper detailing who wrote and preformed what on the CD. The inclusion of lyrics, art, and photos can make the liner notes an important part of the album, as illustrated by the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour’s album. Ultimately, the music industry must realize that piracy will always prosper when it is easier than legitimacy. MR
Guípe For Hire!
Hear His Madcap Employment Schemes!
make it around the world on one night without dying of a heart attack? Secondly, how does he pay the elves? Do they make all those toys for free? Is the North Pole some kind of utopian socialist society?” Mom: “……..Your father and I are liars. There’s no Santa Claus. Now eat your candy.” It was a great day of empowerment for me. Anyway, back to the topic at hand. So there she was, sitting on the bed naked. I walked over to her and put my….oh, wait a minute, wrong column. The point is, I hate work. I’ve never
“I want to be a junkie when I grow up!” like to work. Most people too easily accept the evil Protestant work ethic beaten into them by their parents: that if you work hard and live right, you will be happy, healthy, wealthy, and wise. Ever since I was six years old, I knew that this was a load of crap. Incidentally, that’s also the age when I figured out that Santa Claus didn’t exist. The conversation went something like this: Me When I was Six Years Old: “Mom, is there a Santa Claus?” Mom: “Yes.” Me: “Cut the crap, Mom. First of all, do you really think a man that size could
been the type of person who’s felt good about earning their money. Frankly, I think that’s the stupidest think I’ve ever heard. Moreover, it’s not fair that I should be asked to work for my money, seeing as in a past life I was obviously a member of the aristocracy. Shit, I must have killed a lot of peasants to deserve all this. Anyway, realizing that graduation is looming in the near future, I’ve started thinking about what kinds of careers would be tolerable. And since world domination is more of a long term goal, I’ve narrowed my options down to the following: 1. Grad school: I suppose if all else
fails, I could simply defer my student loans, as well as the real world, for another year or so while I pursue an additional piece of paper with my name on it. Of course, this would require me to make an attempt to do well in my classes this year (something that reeks of effort). Of course, most liberal arts majors who go to grad school end up in the wonderful world of academia. The only problem is, I hate academia. It requires way too much thinking for a salary lower than that given to unionized workers who’ve never even graduated from high school. 2. Script writer: Okay, how about this, I’ll spend ten hours a week writing scripts for various television shows and so forth, and you pay me $500,000 a year. I can work from 2pm to 4pm every day! Well, except for weekends of course. 3. Get a real job: I don’t even want to talk about this one. 4. Work as a concubine for a beautiful millionaire heiress: I’ll let you use your imagination. Enough said. It’s Sunday afternoon, which means it’s time to hit the hay. See you next issue. Elves make toys for free, I mean really. MR