The Journal of Campus Affairs at the University of Michigan www.michiganreview.com
Abortion Debate Hits Home in Ann Arbor BY ANNA DICKEY ‘09
National policy is beginning to favor pro-choice policies on abortion with the arrival of a new administration. Three days after the inauguration, Obama signed an executive order reversing a ban on providing federal funds to international groups that counsel on or perform abortions. If reintroduced and passed through Congress, Obama has promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act. The act would dramatically reduce limits on abortion and make it the policy of the United States, “that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or to terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.” Despite the controversy surrounding abortion and the passion of those on both sides of the issue, abortion is not a topic frequently discussed on campus. Yet, according to the state of Michigan’s website there were 438 abortions reported in Ann Arbor in 2007. The number of abortions for the state totaled 24,000 with 51 percent of these abortions being done on women under 24 years of age. Over the past two decades, the number of abortions performed in Michigan has dramatically declined. In 1987, 47,814 abortions were reported, while in 1997 the number was 28,386. Students at U-M on both sides are responding to the recent change in policy. Along with Students for Choice/VOX (SFC), there are six other student groups that are “choice friendly,” according to the SFC website. SFC itself has approximately 30 active members. Junior Gabby Butterfield, publicity chair for the Students for Choice/VOX, said that her group is extremely active in advocacy of pro-choice developments, and are overall very well received by other U-M students. “I don’t think we’ve had any [student] opposition,” Butterfield said. “We put on a lot of pro-choice events on campus…we recently petitioned in Angell Hall for President Obama, and most people we encountered were pro-choice.” On the other side of the issue, Students for Life of Michigan President David Denyer said that his group is recently one of the most active student associations within UM. It has grown drastically over the past year, summing to about 500 students on the e-mail list, with approximately 30 students at each weekly meeting. However, he reports that they are not as well received by the rest of the U-M campus. “We’ve had to re-put up flyers every time because people rip them down. That shows that there is a lot of passion. We come up against a lot of that,” he stated. SFC’s Butterfield also acknowledged that pro-life students would have difficulty voicing their views on campus, partially because of the liberal population placing them “on the defensive.” SFL’s Denyer said that those who are in opposi
ABORTION Continued on PAGE 6
February 9, 2009
at the U
BY JULIANNE NOWICKI ‘11
The combination of a state ballot initiative to expand embryonic stem cell research, and potentially relaxed regulations by the Obama administration could significantly affect the way scientific research is done at U-M – but not without some objections. Since the passage of Proposal 2, a ballot initiative that loosens restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, the practice has begun to play a highly publicized role at the University of Michigan. President Mary Sue Coleman and other University openly lobbied for the initiative, hoping to draw in more research dollars to U-M’s cutting edge science center. Michigan labs create a number of embryos for fertility-related purposes, but the cells are never fully used and are often discarded unless used for research. In addition, the cells are often donated by patients undergoing fertility treatment. Dr. Sean Morrison, Director of the Center for Stem Cell Biology at U-M, defended the University’s work, citing the need for Michigan to pioneer research in the field of stem cell research. “Our work on adult stem cells will continue,” he said. “Our goal is to be one of the top universities in the
world in terms of research on both adult and embryonic stem cells.” According to Dr. Gary Smith, Director of the Assisted Reproductive Technologies Laboratory at U-M, there are numerous labs in Ann Arbor that receive federal and state funding for embryonic stem cell research. He argued that the most important distinction is to understand that no new embryonic stem cell lines currently receive federal funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “For clarity, there are numerous labs on campus performing NIH-sponsored research on stem cells,” he said. “There are also many labs supported for research with federal funds to study the function of the ‘President-approved Lines.’” The “President-approved lines” Dr. Smith referred to, consist of 22 stem cell lines which were created on, or before August 9, 2001, and are the last stem cell lines receiving funding before the Bush administration banned further funding of new lines. Researchers argue that these stem cell lines are of limited use, because PROP 2 Continued on PAGE 6
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Editorial Board Jane Coaston Editor-in-Chief
. . . A Bite of News
Nathan Stano Executive Editor
Bail Out Forms... Review Style
Adam Pascarella Managing Editor Eun Lee Graphic Design Editor Jonathan Slemrod Editor-at-Large Julianne Nowicki Eden Stiffman Nathan Torreano Assistant Editors Business Staff Karen Boore Publisher Jonathan Slemrod Anna Malecke Associate Publishers Michael O’Brien Editor Emeritus Staff Writers & Photographers
(in alphabetical order)
Anna Dickey, Austyn Foster, Valiant Lowitz, Evgeny Magidenko, Alissa Ng, Alexandria Sanborn, Shanda Shooter, Katie Singer, Eden Stiffman, Sreya Vempatti
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911 N. University, Suite One Ann Arbor, MI 48109 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 University. Contributions to The Michigan Review are tax-deductible under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code. The Michigan Review is not affiliated with any political party or any 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 expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the advertisers or the University of Michigan. Copyright © 2007, The Michigan Review, Inc. All rights reserved. The Michigan Review is a member of the Collegiate Network.
Letter from the Editor In the film Rocky IV (one of the great films of our time), Rocky’s brother-in-law Paulie confronts the Soviet official in charge of Rocky’s fight with Ivan Drago, Nicoli Koloff. As Koloff blames the American government for the world’s ills, Paulie decides to chime in: Nicoli Koloff: It’s all lies and false propaganda to support this antagonistic and violent government. Paulie: Whoa. Violent? Hey, we don’t keep our people behind a wall with machine guns. Nicoli Koloff: Who are you? Paulie: Who am I? I’m the unsilent majority, bigmouth. Call the Michigan Review the “unsilent majority”. Over the past twenty-six years, we’ve uncovered “speech codes” that violated basic freedoms, incidences of racism that didn’t actually occur, and University policies that curtailed student rights. The Michigan Review has maintained a critical and necessary voice on the campus of the University—that’s why you read, and that’s why we write. In this issue, we continue our tradition of making people uncomfortable. On our front page, Julianne Nowicki (’11) tackles the usage of stem-cells in medical research at the University, and Anna Dickey (‘09) examines the quandary of abortion in Ann Arbor from both sides. Jonathan Slemrod (’10) analyzes and critiques the first test of the new administration—the federal
stimulus package. Be sure to also check out Nathan Stano (’11)’s column on how massive federal spending will do little to improve the current economic outlook. Zachary Divozzo (’10) takes a look at the Obama administration’s approach to environmental issues -of particular importance as the President puts pressure on the auto industry to improve their emissions standards. Alissa Ng (’10) has the story on changing relations between the United States and China, the subject of a talk from one of the University’s top experts. Also on campus, Sreya Vempatti (’12) inspects the new “living community” at East Quad. Never let it be said, however, that the Review doesn’t know how to relax. Nathan Stano (’11) has a review of the book The Church and the Market, and we have a graphic interpretation of the communities of Ann Arbor, from the frat boys on Washtenaw to the hip kids on East Ann. As always, you can find all of the stories from this issue on our website www.michiganreview. com . I hope that you enjoy this issue. And if you don’t, then take the time to email or write us. Part of being critical is being willing to be critiqued. Best, Jane D. Coaston Editor-in-Chief
An Editorial Page for Those Who are Interested in How the Other Side Thinks
Diplomacy and Iran
Government should stop protecting people from themselves. Although marijuana use may increase if it were legalized, the government would be able to regulate it in the same way it regulates legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco. Placing an age restriction on its sale would help regulate use among teenagers and would increase government revenue. Legalizing marijuana would increase revenue both through taxes and the decreased cost of enforcing current laws and prosecuting marijuana possession. Currently, arrests for marijuana account for over half of drug related arrests in the United States. By legalizing marijuana, the judicial system would have fewer cases increasing efficiency and decreasing spending. For many, the short term effects of marijuana use are similar to the physical and psychological effects of alcohol consumption. Slowed reaction time is most common and it’s understandable that this would create more hazards on the road, endangering the lives of innocent citizens. However, this could be dealt with in the same way as driving under the influence of alcohol is. Although there is currently no breathalyzer test to determine if a driver is under the influence of marijuana, legalization would no doubt lead to more opportunities for research and perhaps a method of testing could be established. The long term health effects of marijuana use have been shown to be no greater than the effects of tobacco and alcohol use. Additionally, marijuana is no more physically addictive than alcohol or tobacco, perhaps even less so. Abuse of any drug will have damaging effects on a person’s health and to claim that marijuana usage is overall more negative than tobacco or alcohol is incorrect. Although a marijuana cigarette has more tar than a filtered tobacco cigarette, users of marijuana generally do not smoke as much as users of tobacco. The potential added healthcare costs from marijuana smokers are thus no greater than the burden created by alcohol and tobacco users. Moreover, prohibition has not eliminated marijuana use. The so called “War on Drugs” has failed with respect to marijuana, as it is the most widely used illegal drug. The misconceptions about marijuana as a “gateway drug” are found by many to be false and this leads users to ignore the other valid warnings given in anti-drug classes and advertisements. If marijuana were legalized, the public would be able to make more informed decisions about its use since scare tactics would be replaced by real facts. Currently, citizens are forced to go underground to buy marijuana, which leads to more violent crime. Additionally, the unregulated drug trade also leads to products that could be laced with more harmful additives. If marijuana was legalized, the government would be able to regulate the production of marijuana which would lead to a safer, more natural product for consumers. The costs of keeping marijuana illegal are far greater than the costs of legalizing it. Through regulation and education, public and government interests can be kept intact while protecting the freedom of marijuana users. The criminalization of marijuana deserves a second look. MR
XU PHOTO JOSEPH
On February 8, 2009, three decades subsequent to the Iran Hostage Crisis, the Mehr news agency reported that Iran’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Mohammad Soleymani, said that Iran was constructing four satellites. This news followed the recent launch of the Omid telecommunication satellite, Iran’s first satellite, which has spurred much alarm over possible military motives. Throughout the past eight years, U.S.-Iranian relations have worsened. In November 2004, Iran agreed to halt production of enriched uranium in exchange for improved trade and political relations, but soon reversed that decision, claiming that the enriched uranium was to be used for electricity. Enriched uranium can be used in nuclear power plants, but in higher concentrations it can also be utilized to manufacture nuclear weapons. The 2005 election of the anti-Semitic and anti-American President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad transformed diplomacy between Iran and the West into near impossibility. Various events in the Middle East have further added to the diplomatic ire between the United States and Iran. The United States has spited Iran for funding the terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as anti-American forces in Iraq. Iran has spited the United States for its support of Israel, its intervention in Middle Eastern affairs, and its demands to end uranium enrichment. Former President Bush pressured Iran to cease its nuclear program, threatening pressure and isolation, to no avail. A few years ago Iran had barely over 100 centrifuges for uranium enrichment. Now they have over 5,000 along with impending satellite launches. Although Iran continues to claim that their uranium enrichment is only for peaceful purposes, there is tension because the size of their nuclear program is now legitimately large enough to be employed in nuclear weapons manufacturing. The inauguration of President Obama not only beckons in a new era of American politics, but perhaps, a new era in U.S.-Iran relations. On February 7, Vice President Biden delivered a major foreign policy address at an international security conference in Munich to a group of world leaders. Biden was conciliatory in his speech, stressing Obama’s policy of direct diplomacy with Iran. He stated that the United States was willing to talk to Iran, and to treat them as equals, but only if Iran does the same stating, “Continue down your current course and there will be pressure and isolation; abandon the illicit nuclear program and your support for terrorism and there will be meaningful incentives.” Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani spoke at this conference prior to Biden. He stated that the U.S. had much to apologize for before Tehran would be willing to talk cordially. Tehran, according to him, needs a good existing starting point, especially since Tehran has only heard of America’s willingness to negotiate through the media. However, Larijani also said that now is a “golden opportunity for the United States,” and that the US needs to switch “to a chess game instead of a boxing match.” So what does Iran expect to get out of talks? First of all, they expect Obama to apologize for past mistakes, by Bush and by America in the past. Then, they would like the United States to formally recognize their nuclear program. Also, by talking with the US, Iran would gain validation as the major player in affairs in the Middle East, especially affairs regarding Israel. And what does the US expect? For Iran to dissemble and abandon their nuclear program, recognize Israel as a legitimate state, and to cease funding terrorism. Many have a problem with direct diplomacy, believing Iran to be unwavering on its agenda. Even if this is true, there is nothing inherently harmful resulting from talking. The US simply needs to be cautious with the negotiations, and cleverly engage in Larijani’s chess game. The danger with direct diplomacy and compromise is allowing Iran to have a limited nuclear program other countries may expect the same. This is why the US must incist on its demand that Iran must abandon its nuclear program. It is unlikely that Iran will fully concede to the demands of the US. However, if the US continues to set preconditions and talk strongly, Iran will continue to build its nuclear program, isolating Iran further and further, until war becomes imminent. In this downward spiral, a catastrophic war might be possibile. We would be wise to follow the advice Theodore Roosevelt, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” MR
PAGE 4 P.
Death Before Dishonour!
Ear to the Ground
Faculty Denied Benefit
BY NATHAN STANO ‘11
by Eden stiffman ‘12
Within the first months of the Obama Administration, we have seen the Democrats build the monolith of waste they call “stimulus,” which amounts to a $1.37 trillion dollar or more social spending program, when interest is included. For a party that has criticized the previous administration for the costs of the five-year war in Iraq, the Democrats have set themselves up to spend double the cost of that war in the first few months of their power. Does the stimulus bill have stimulus in it? No, flatly no. No increase in government nathan spending, nor any decrease in taxes without destano crease in spending will ever bring real long term stimulus to the economy, period. The spending in this bill is particularly egregious. Funding for STD research, $500k dog parks, assorted pork, and funding for the Democrat’s favorite special interest groups far outweighs the “stimulus” part of the bill, referring to the spending on tax cuts and “infrastructure” amounting to only 10% to 15% of the spending in the bill. But can the spending on infrastructure and in tax cuts pass the test? No. Having the federal government pay for improvements isn’t going to help. Let’s face it, road construction is a waste of money, not because we don’t need roads, but because the process of constructing roads, bridges and the like is raucously inefficient. How often do you drive in construction areas only to see no one there? Or only a few people working? Too many. In Michigan we know this all too well. This is because workers see this as an incentive to keep working to keep their jobs, despite the high cost and length of these projects. The fight to stop the bailout isn’t just about wasting this generation’s money. This debt will last for a long time, and might affect my children, or grandchildren. Paying this debt will take away from their standard of living in the form of increased taxation. That means they will work more than the current worker for less money. And where does it all go? To pay the men we borrowed from, in the Gulf States, China, Japan, and Taiwan. How do we expect to solve a crisis caused by money being too easy to get by making money easier to get? That’s like trying to cure your cold by hanging around with sick people. What we need is for government to step back and realize it, not the market, caused this problem. A loosening of government control and regulation will bring prosperity. Even Lenin knew this, and if you don’t Google NEP. If it worked for the Soviet Union, it should be right up Ann Arbor’s/Mary Sue’s/Nancy Pelosi’s/ Barney Frank’s collective, or collectivist, alley. History has proven time and again that the free market is the best way to provide prosperity and freedom to a nation. Yet, why do all politicians seem to be calling for more and more government? Why do economists do the same? They believe that you are a child in need of guidance. Your education, intelligence, even your individuality are fodder for their ideas of an ideal society. And that’s what the stimulus is about, social engineering. It’s about remolding society in the ideals of a few, and the creation of classes of people dependent on the government for everything, and thus unable to cross that government. Is it every statists view? Perhaps not, but it’s good to provide a little dystopia to counteract the utopian visions of some. As Patrick Henry famously said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” It cannot be stressed enough that it was a free market, low government spending and low taxes that brought us to prosperity. If we refuse to return to that which has brought us success, what can we expect to gain in the future? I’d rather live in an unequal rich country than an unequal poor one. MR
Many colleges and universities, both private and public institutions, across the United States offer tuition benefits for children of their staff and faculty. The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is not one of those establishments, but U-M’s campuses in Dearborn and Flint do offer this benefit. The current scholarship programs at U-M Dearborn and Flint cover 50% of tuition for undergraduates. According to the Benefits Committee of the Faculty and Staff Senate of the U-M-Dearborn, the scholarship was established to “help the University with employee retention,…aid in attracting qualeden ity candidates to the Dearborn Campus, and…boost enrollstiffman ment by encouraging staff to enroll their dependents here at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.” In the 2005-2006 school year, the Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty (CESF) encouraged U-M to extend the dependent tuition scholarship program at the Dearborn campus to all U-M campuses, yet nothing has changed. As of now, dependents of Dearborn employees can receive the scholarship exclusively at the Dearborn campus and dependents of Flint employees can only use their scholarships on the Flint campus. The Office of the Provost’s response to the CESF’s report listed numerous excuses as to why it is not necessary for the Ann Arbor campus to provide such benefits. They claimed that it would not be equitable as the University can be very selective and does not have trouble meeting enrollment numbers. They also argued that “discounted tuition rate policies are, in effect, extra compensation to the employees who can avail themselves of it, and it is compensation that is based on a factor unrelated to merit and performance.” Despite these compelling arguments, this benefit should be extended to all U-M campuses. While U-M Ann Arbor has had no trouble drawing in prestigious faculty, this would help to increase faculty retention and help to maintain a diverse group of employees. Losing faculty is expensive. It costs precious time and money to train staff and when competing institutions present them with a better offer, all that effort is lost. This added benefit would show the University’s appreciation for employees and would be a greater incentive to stay. Generally, public universities pay less than private universities, even those that offer some form of dependent tuition scholarship such as Johns Hopkins University, George Washington University, and Washington University in St. Louis. U-M should look to the University of Maryland as an example; this public institution offers a full tuition reimbursement for dependents of employees. U-M in Ann Arbor does offer to pay 75% of the cost of four credits per semester for full-time faculty if it relates to or will in some way benefit the position they hold at U-M. There are other qualifications for the faculty as well. They must successfully complete the course for credit, and receive, “a grade of ‘B’ or better for graduate level courses and a grade of ‘C’ or better for all other courses,” according to U-M’s standard practice guide. While this does show appreciation for employees, few choose to take advantage of the offer. A dependent tuition scholarship program, while significantly more costly to the university, would certainly be used much more. If there were similar requirements for the employee dependents, the compensation would in effect only be granted for academic performance. In our depressed economy, the current costs to attend U-M are making it extremely difficult for families to afford tuition. Even with the “tuition freeze” that Governor Jennifer Granholm urged public schools to establish in her recent State of the State address, the large expense of university tuition no doubt prevents many people from enrolling. MR
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Controversial Obama Associate Bill Ayers Visits Campus
Campus IMAGE HTTP://WWW.GARDENNYU.WORDPRESS.COM/
BY CHRISTINE HWANG ‘10
The room in Hatcher Graduate Library was filled on January 26 as Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn began to speak. Recently, Ayers’ relationship with then-candidate Barack Obama was a point of controversy during the 2008 presidential campaign. Both Ayers and Dohrn were a part of the Ann Arbor activism of the 1960s, Ayers co-founding the radical antiwar group Weather Underground in 1969. Few students were in the room, far outnumbered by the middle-aged alumni of the University of Michigan. Their alumni status was apparent through conversations overheard of them speaking wistfully of, as one audience member stated, “those good old days.” “I thought he was very classy in keeping quiet during the election,” an alum said of the controversy Obama had due to his association with Ayers. “People would just look at him and think he’s some radical from Michigan.” He smiled as he spoke of the activism at Michigan around the time that Ayers graduated, in 1968. Ayers began his talk with acknowledgment of two events in the past week: what would be Martin Luther King’s eightieth birthday and the inauguration of Barack Obama.
He described the election of Obama as “a real blow to white supremacy.” “This is the only president in history who would be comfortable knocking on the door…of a single mother…in Chicago,” Ayers said of Obama. Ayers challenged the audience to think about America’s role in the world. Many problems, he said, were due to framing questions wrong. The “War on Terror” was an example of this, he said, and commended the BBC for calling it “the so-called War on Terror.” “We have a responsibility to be political and get political,” Ayers said, commenting on where real change comes from. Dohrn spoke of a speech by Martin Luther King that “challenged the veil that white Americans, mostly northerners, really, could not see.” Dohrn said that King had, concerning the Vietnam War, “insisted to look at who was going and fighting” and quoted King saying that “my country is the greatest prevaler of violence in the world today.” Dohrn believes that statement is still true. On the topic of Dohrn and Ayers’ newest book Race Course, which examines racism and white supremacy, Dohrn said that white supremacy still exists in America
today through its prison system, which is “more than one half Hispanic or black” and “two different courts” exist, one for minorities and one for whites. Like Ayers, Dohrn emphasized individual action. “Stop being spectators of the blogs,” she said. “The challenge is not really the new president’s, the challenge is ours.” One of the first questions from the audience was one that many were interested in. “You said on September 11 that you condemn all acts of terrorism. Do you condemn all your acts of terrorism?” Ayers replied that “our view is that we, individually, and in terms of the organization, were not terrorists, and are not terrorists…We, the Weather Underground, were in a radical moment.” Dohrn said that “being asked to apologize to take a stand in which no one was killed is still the wrong question.” The unfilled silence after that was that members of the Weather Underground did, in fact, die due to accidents with explosives and there were situations in which people could have died. Ayers said that he did not defend what he did, but he understood why he did it. The audience exploded AYERS Continued on PAGE 6
U.S.-China Relations Uncertain Under Obama: Lieberthal Speaks BY ALISSA NG ‘10
The talk given by Professor Kenneth G. Lieberthal as part of the 42nd William K. McInally Memorial lecture series at the Ross Business School on January 27 was both surprising and unsettling. Titled “U.S-China Relations in the Obama Administration: Continuities and Changes,” the talk was one regarding the uncertain relationship between the leaders of two of the most powerful countries in the world today. Lieberthal, a University professor and currently visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution at Washington D.C., served as a special assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and was the National Security Council’s Senior Director for Asia during the Clinton administration.
Lieberthal notes that there are difficulties that need to be addressed, mainly the global economic recession and climate change. Since China is not President Obama’s top priority, this may mean that relations may not transition as smoothly as the change in American government. President Obama has inherited the daunting domestic and international challenges that the Bush legacy has left behind, but despite widespread dislike for the Bush administration, Lieberthal acknowledges that George Bush did a “fairly good job in maintaining good relations with China.” He said that President Hu Jintao is “one of the few who is sorry to see Bush go”. During the Bush administration, the U.S was very favorable towards China, protecting it against attack
from conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats. A more Democratic Congress may also present problems in forging stable relations. Bush’s refusal to sign the Kyoto protocol and China’s high carbon dioxide emissions assured that both countries were on the same page, but Obama’s pro-environmentalist stance may cause concern for the Chinese. While the President does want to continue the strategy of engaging China pragmatically, Lieberthal alleges he will face some serious problems such as moving forward on issues like climate change.“The U.S is a global leader on climate change and we must have China and India with us on this issue,” Lieberthal acknowledges. LIEBERTHAL Continued on PAGE 6
Stimulus Analysis: Partisanship Here to Stay
News & Continuations
BY JONATHAN SLEMROD ‘10
President Obama’s vision of a “postpartisan” country is gasping for air after a contentious debate over a more than $800 billion stimulus package has reinforced party politics in Washington. The package, coined the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, failed to attract even a single Republican vote in the House of Representatives, despite extensive outreach efforts by Obama, which included closed door meetings with top Congressional Republicans. Republicans blasted what they deemed “wasteful” spending provisions in the $819 billion bill, signaling out funds to renovate the National Mall in Washington D.C., construct bike paths, and to purchase $200 million worth of contraceptives. They criticized the nearly $275 billion of tax relief in the bill, pushing their own alternative which makes a litany of tax cuts permanent and also lowers income tax brackets for the middle and lower-class. But above all, they blasted the House Democratic leadership, drawing a wedge between the President’s call for bipartisanship and what they say is the real process on Capitol Hill, one which they say left them out. Obama’s call for compromise “has been completely ignored by House Democrats who would use a time of nationABORTION Continued from FRONT PAGE
tion virulently misunderstand pro-life justification. The debate is misplaced, he said; where pro-choice activists are fighting for the right to choose to end their pregnancy, they should be giving justification as to why the fetus is not a life that should be subject to the protection of the constitution. “This is not a religious issue,” he stated. PROP 2 Continued from FRONT PAGE
they are contaminated with animal proteins and do not model human diseases. “There is no federal funding for the derivation of new embryonic stem cell lines,” Smith added. But there is still a debate over embryonic-based research on campus, with student groups both supporting and opposing the controversial practice. Zachary Stangebye, vice president of Students for Life, said that the University should not engage in embryonic stem cell research, even after the passage of Proposal 2. “Ideally, we would like them to cease the research by arriving at an understanding of the violation of human dignity this type of research perpetuates, but we would be entirely satisfied if they ceased performing AYERS Continued from PAGE 5
in applause as he finished his answer with “I do not think we were terrorists.” Referring to a photo Ayers took for one of his books, another audience member asked “Why did you trample on the American Flag?” Ayers replied, “I don’t hate America.” He expressed mixed feelings about that photograph and said that the reason he took it was his belief that the American flag can symbolize many things, not just a single LIEBERTHAL Continued from PAGE 6
Economically, while China wants to see the U.S move ahead and maintain the value of the dollar, Beijing is “rightly nervous” as China is holding a large amount of American debt. Furthermore, “the U.S has kept the China market strong by fending off protectionist measures from [Capitol] Hill,” Lieberthal says. He adds that Obama is hardly protectionist, but the pressures of a troubled economy may call for action to protect American jobs.
al economic crisis to fund their big government priorities under the guise of stimulating the economy,” said Congressman Mike Pence, a high-ranking Republican. Across the hill, Moderate Republican Senators huddled with the Democratic Majority in their bid to reach the necessary sixty votes. A compromise was reached late Saturday night, with the total cost coming to $827 billion over 778 pages. Although the price tag is similar to its House counterpart, spending cuts were made in a variety of areas to satisfy the Republicans; namely Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine. The result is a package slanted much more towards tax relief; nearly forty percent. One major victory for the Obama victory is the inclusion of the “Making Work Pay” tax credit, a major component of his economic platform. Beyond the small group of moderates, few, if any Republicans are expected to cross the aisle to vote for the stimulus package in the Senate. The President’s old foe, Senator John McCain, appeared on a weekend talk show, calling the package “generational theft.” By all accounts, some version of the stimulus package will be signed by the President in coming weeks. Another near certainty: partisan politics are sticking around. If the debate over the stimulus package is any indication, Republicans in Congress will be loyal opposition for Obama’s agenda, particularly in the House where a new leadership team has pushed the party further to the right. Eric Cantor, a Republican from Virignia
recently elected the party position of Whip, managed to not lose a single Republican vote against the stimulus, and even found eleven Democrats to oppose it. Yet Cantor’s prowess as a leader will only take Republicans so far. The sheer size of the number of Democrats in both chambers of Congress – 255 in the House and 59 in the Senate – put the prospects for Democratic victories on major issues a certain. Democrats in the Senate need only find two or three moderate Republicans to advance bills, a task which they have had little problem doing in recent years. In the House, Republican influence will be watered down due to changes in the body’s rules which limit the tools the minority had historically used to change or object to legislation. In a speech to the National Press Club in late January, Mitch McConnell, leader of the Senate Republicans, criticized Democrats for refusing to work with the Bush Administration on Social Security. “Every single one of them turned his or her back, reflexively choosing politics over governing - and the nation lost out on an opportunity to fix a crucial program in desperate need of reform.” Minutes later, he pledged to work with the President, saying that “many of his ambitions show real potential for bipartisan cooperation.” McConnell’s quick change in tone speaks lengths about politics today: be partisan when you are in power, and be more partisan when you are out of power. Obama has his work cut out for him. MR
“It’s a question of when does life begin, not choice. It is defining life itself. We’re trying to help people understand that this is the real argument.” Students for Life is trying to gain the cooperation of UHS, Denyer said, to make more resources available to patients who decide against terminating their pregnancies. He explained that another misconception about the “pro-life movement” is that its advocates are not
concerned about the needs and health concerns of the women involved. “We’re working hard with Arbor Vitae (a women’s crisis pregnancy center located on State Street), and their job is to get resources out to pregnant women. We are trying to help women, not deprive them.” MR
it solely because it was controversial.” Stangebye said that while he hopes President Obama will not overturn Bush administration executive orders prohibiting funding of new lines of embryos for research purposes, he would not be surprised if the administration does so. Stangebye said Students for Life believes the practice is “immoral.” But Students for Life is far from the only ideological position reflected on campus when it comes to the stem cell debate, The Student Society for Stem Cell Research (SSSCR) has advocated for more research, seeing their efforts politically vindicated – at least for the foreseeable future – on the state and national level. “There is no public funding at the university right now (federal or state) for newly developed embryonic stem cell lines,” said Landon Krantz, president of SSSCR. Krantz said that embryonic research is needed because only those cells – opposed to cells derived from
adults or organs – can yield medically usable outputs. “Adult stem cells are a bit more limited in their potential than embryonic stem cells, but researchers will and should be using every tool at their disposal to discover these well-needed cures and treatments,” Krantz asserted. SSSCR has partnered with the University in some matters, having sponsored a lecture featuring Dr. Smith. He emphasized the fact that while embryonic stem cell research is a public sector, it is supported under private funding, keeping it through private investors and philanthropists. “Embryonic stem cell research violates the dignity of human life,” said Jeffrey Brown, a member of Students for Life. “When a researcher destroys a human embryo to obtain embryonic stem cells, that researcher is destroying a member of his or her own species.” MR
thing like patriotism. Dohrn had not supported this action and had walked out of the photo shoot. Ayers joked that “I blame her” for not forcing Ayers to walk out with her. The most comical question of the night was “You two have been married for a long time. How do you make it work?” “I could say that Bill makes me laugh after all these years,” said Dohrn. “Like standing on that flag?” asked Ayers. “No, that’s stupid,” retorted Dohrn, bluntly.
One of the last questions of the evening was about extremism. “How far is too far?” asked a member of the audience. “We have to act, but then we have to doubt,” said Ayers. “If you don’t doubt then you become narcissistic,” said Ayers. Ayers admitted that Weather Underground initially got too caught up in its own goals, creating more extraneous issues than should have occurred. MR
A new administration will produce new tensions. Time lags in assembling a new Cabinet and policy changes are only some of the sources of uncertainty as the close ties between Hu and Bush are disrupted and replaced with one of ambiguity. “The coming year is very important in determining where the U.S government is headed,” Lieberthal observes. Despite the good bilateral relationship between both countries at the moment, neither side trusts each other’s long-term intentions. The Chinese will naturally try to marginalize the U.S in Asia by asserting dominance in a region that is
seen as their “backyard”. The U.S, on the other hand, has begun preparing for the China threat, but so have the Chinese. “I think frankly, the next four years will likely prove crucial in moving the relationship towards a normal big relationship [where] both nations either exist cooperatively or [be set] strongly on a path to mutual antagonism.” Lieberthal sums it up: “To minimize damage to each other, we need deep, consistent, realistic and strategic economic dialogue without seriously upsetting the apple cart.” MR
Hope and Change for the Environment?
Student Organizations Face Funding Process
BY ALEXANDRIA SANBORN ‘11
BY ZACK DIVOZZO ‘11
tists to greatly exaggerate global warming trends in the pursuit of research funding. Michaels admitted that humans were, in fact (based on observed data) causing global warming, but also said that the effects are nowhere near what they have been hyped to be. “Scientists don’t like to admit that they’re wrong,” Michaels said, “...[and] they’re all scared of this,” he said as he pointed to a graph showing that the observed warming trends from recent years are slated to be (after 2009) even lower than the very lowest predictions by previously trusted computer models. In regards to the cap-and-trade program, Michaels not only said that it would have huge implications to the coal industry, but that it “wouldn’t stop any warming.” According to his data, the earth’s temperature has been rising at a constant rate for centuries, and any efforts to stop carbon dioxide emissions would have very minimal effects on this time-tested trend. In response to a question regarding President Obama’s goal to lower carbon dioxide emissions eighty percent by 2050, Michaels sarcastically said, “I’d like to see how he’s going to do it.” In addition to the controversial cap-and-trade program, the Obama administration also has plans to “help create five million new jobs by strategically investing...$150 billion over the next ten years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future.” The administration hopes that these efforts, among others, will help to end the United States’ “addiction” to foreign oil. While the idea sounds refreshing, especially for economically ravaged areas like Detroit, critics worry that the large-scale effort may be a waste of taxpayer money. In a recent interview with the L.A. Times, Donald Boudreaux, Chairman of the Economics Department at George Mason University, said that it would be better to let the market decide what energy products it wants to buy. Said Boudreaux, “The history of government picking winners in the U.S. is not that grand.” MR
Obama on Car Emissions
“Let me be clear: Our goal is not to further burden an already struggling industry. It is to help America’s automakers prepare for the future. It will be the policy of my administration to reverse our dependence on foreign oil while building a new energy economy that will create millions of jobs.The federal government must work with, not against, states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” President Barack Obama (January 26, 2009) IMAGE HTTP://WWW.OBAMARAMA.ORG/
News & Continuations
With President Obama’s inauguration merely three weeks in the past, millions of Americans are looking for substantive “change” in areas of national consequence. One of the more prominent issues is the environment, an area in which Obama has made a multitude of promises. The most controversial of these new plans is the administration’s desire for a cap-and-trade program to deal with carbon emissions. Essentially, this is a system where businesses are charged for their carbon dioxide outputs. What makes the Obama Administration’s program unique, however, is that it is done through an auction. Therefore, theoretically all companies will be dealing with the same cap. If they purchase too many credits and exceed the cap, they will be forced to purchase carbon credits from other companies who do not use their allotted amount. The Obama Administration believes that the program will provide the necessary incentive to invest in cleaner production, giving businesses a clear choice: fewer carbon dioxide emissions or massive offset costs. According to Obama, the money to purchase permits will be put into the research and development of energy-efficient technologies. With higher production costs due to power plants having to purchase permits to operate comes higher energy prices for the consumer. President Obama has been quoted as saying that the plan will potentially bankrupt coal companies, causing energy prices to “skyrocket” and tumult of the American public. Regardless of the cost, however, the Obama administration - according to the official website - believes that “the energy challenges our country faces are severe and have gone unaddressed for far too long,” a point that Patrick Michaels, a well-respected research professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, strongly contends. In his recent talk at U-M titled “Global Warming: Inconvenient Facts,” Michaels spoke of a “climate of extremes” that has invaded politics and forced scien-
As the winter semester progresses, many student organizations are filling out forms and attending meetings, in hopes that their organization will receive funds this year from the Michigan Student Assembly. About 300 organizations are expected to apply for funding this year. Anika Awa-Williams, Program Manager/Advisor of MSA said that “the number of student groups that apply every year increases.” In 2007, MSA allocated $332,557 for student organizations. “Distribution of funds depends on the need of the organization,” says Jordan Salins, Budget Priorities Committee Chair. There is no typical amount awarded to an organization,; in the past funding has ranged from $5-$3500. There are three different time periods, or cycles when organizations can submit their paperwork to receive funding. So far, the first cycle has been completed and just over 100 forms were received. Though funds are limited, an organization does not have a better chance of receiving funds if it applies during an earlier cycle. “Most typically get something, they just have to demonstrate financial need and the scope of what they are funding has to reach out to many individuals and a considerable portion of the community,” says Salins. There are two committee from which an organization can request funding. One is the Budget Planning Committee (BPC). They are considered the committee for general funding. Also, there is the Community Service Commission (CSC), which funds community service organizations and projects. An organization can request funding from both. However, Gabriel Thurin, Senior Advisor of Youth Hope Organization reports the process of filling out the application can be lengthy. “But it’s understandable, since they’re giving out money, they need to be picky.” Thurin found that filling out the application can sometimes be confusing and in the past the availability of times to meet with MSA for assistance in the process was hard to fit into his schedule. In addition, “the deadlines were very strict and if you happened to be busy and missed a deadline, it ruined your chances of receiving funding during that cycle,” says Thurin. Also, Thurin said that the stipulations MSA enforces on funding are sometimes strict. “When we hold events, the main thing we need funds for is food and MSA does not fund food.” Other overarching student organizations, including LSA Student Government that provide funding for student groups appear to be equally reticent to provide monies for certain groups. Lauren Bennett, President of Students for Life was also contacted. Though LSA-SG explicitly states in their application that they provide funding for room rental in U-M buildings for events in Angell Hall, SFL has yet to receive these funds. “This is frustrating, and they (the University) charge a lot ($150) to use for an event.” But, like MSA they are more willing to fund groups that need the funding. In addition, the process of receiving funds can be difficult. MSA does not simply provide funds, but rather, the organization must pay their expenses first and MSA reimburses later. Thurin notes that this can sometimes be difficult for new organizations that may not have a large start-up fund. But, “it is always helpful to get extra funds for your organization,” says Thurin. “Sometimes when we end up not receiving grants from other organizations, we know we can get at least some funding from MSA.” MR
Arts & Culture
Ann Arbor’s Multiple Personalities From Northwood IV to Fletcher Hall, students live in every corner of campus. Each region has its own attitude, dress, and choice of activities. The Michigan Review presents a guide to the city. BY ANNA DICKEY ‘09
Central Campus: Probably the most entertaining area, filled with the most diverse range of Ann Arborites, students, employees, and visitors. The museums and auditoriums that reside within this area bring many culturally affluent, scarf swinging, cigarette dragging individuals from all walks of life that are in search of cultural enrichment. LSA students in North Face and down winter coats slog through the frozen tundra (at least at this time of the year) with bulging backpacks to their various classes, some of which take place in the Burton Tower that loudly clangs the time (accurate or not). The GSI population frequently hold their office hours in the multitudes of coffee shops, from the quiet Café Ambrosia adjacent to Nickel’s Arcade (speedy internet, good coffee) to the consistently chaotic Espresso Royale on South University Ave.
The University of Michigan Campus C
The Diag: The heart of Central Campus. No matter what season, there loiters a group of colorful individuals who don multiple piercings, tattoos, black balloon pants, bandanas, “free hugs” signs, and the occasional guitar. Jugglers have also been sighted among them. Whether they’re students, native Ann Arborites, or just a group of friends who conveniently cluster within Central Campus, they’re easy to find. Another facet of the Diag population: the freshmen. Aglow with collegiate freedom and dorm food, many freshmen find the Diag a lovely playground for homework (during the warmer seasons). And of course, the infamous researcher, christened into infamy with his own Facebook fan page, dutifully equipped with his washboard, thimbles, and harmonica, festively serenades the gawking foreign students and eye rolling natives. Occasionally a gregarious and musically inclinced student joins him.
North Campus: Here reside the engineers, the musicians, probably some medical students, and more engineers. People work on this side of campus. They work hard. They sleep in the libraries in the brief intermittent hours of long work sessions fueled by steaming meaty morsels from Panda Express. Not to say that other students on campus don’t work just as hard (but don’t tell the engineers), but these accomplished individuals assemble in hoards outnumbering parties at Pike to do thermodynamic problem sets and watch Battlestar Gallactica. Is this an opportunity to good-naturedly mock the hard working engineers of the University of Michigan? Absolutely. These geeks know how to churn out code like the Amish create unpasturized butter in the spring. In all honesty, North Campus is the area where many of the influential minds of America’s future thrive and propel into greater enrichment. But it’s still dorky.
South Campus: With athletic facilities aplenty, those driving down State Street on this side of campus will spot many fit, hurried characters scurrying across the street to and fro from a training, a class, or a workout. Very, very tall women will be seen, possibly members of one of the varsity teams. As opposed to the North Campus garb of casual Michigan football shirts, and Central Campus North Face ensembles, South Campus dons more sweatpants, sweatbands, Nikes, and varsity letters than the M Den could ever dream. On the nights of scheduled hockey games at Yost arena, God help those who enter here. Traffic, Ann Arbor pedestrians, inebriation, and low visibility. It feels like rush hour in Tokyo. It’s almost as bad as the South University Ave. Espresso Royale from 12 pm - 12:10. Almost.
Kerrytown: Here are the townies, the cultural eclectics, who thrive in the organic-ness of the weekly farmers market, yet aren’t about to start any yeomen subsistence farming within their 1/4 acre plot of land on the west side. It’s entirely possible to live here and never leave. Hit up some co-ops, wander down to the Huron River. Here is a fun game: ask a Kerrytown resident where Greenwood intersets with Packard. Chances are, you’ll get one confused kid. MR
A IMAGE HTTP://WWW.ANNARBOR.ORG/
Watch Out for the Resume Police BY BRITTANI KAGAN ‘12
Many of our applications to the University of Michigan probably looked the same. High SAT scores, high GPAs, leaders of NHS, the school band, math club, award recipients… Feel free to fill in the blank with your own “unique” accomplishments. We vowed that in college we would only focus on what we actually like to do, not what we suffered through in high school to put on our college applications in the name of consistency. Unfortunately, we came here only to realize that the pool has gotten even more competitive. To our surprise, college is not just about parties and late classes, but about resume-building. There exists a system that we are all intrinsically tied to. This system deters students from taking a path less traveled and strips them of the resources to do so. Instead of spending time on one specific passion, students must focus on filling resumes with formulaic accomplishments. Interviews have become few and far between, leaving the one-page person we present on paper to say it all. Students are forced to generalize, providing a shallow assessment of their potential. No one cares if you’ve spent the last four months developing a screenplay. No one cares if you’ve written ten songs. No one realizes that the very qualities that distinguish you from others have nothing to do with your resume. As students at a top university, we feel the pressure to conform to certain expectations in order to impress employers. These expectations have become commonplace among the most competitive students, leaving little room to stand out and little time to explore unique passions. The process inadvertently masks an individual’s unique abilities instead of highlighting them. There are only a handful of organizations on campus that require real time and effort. Many people that sign away their uniqnames to email lists,
attend monthly meetings, and make some phone calls are dubbed with impressive titles in impressively named clubs. They apply for internships and jobs using words like “commitment,” “leadership,” and “responsibility” when they really mean “waste of time,” “bull****,” and “…to put on my resume, of course.” To our own dismay, involvement in these “wastes of time” has forced us into a process of elimination. We come to learn what we don’t like instead of spending time on what we know we like. The blame, however, lies in the system that demands we follow the specified path toward success. The institutions that control this success fail to reward anything more than the most obvious of achievements. The system has constructed a limited means to success and has proved even more detrimental in such an economic crisis. We do not need more carbon-copied white-collar professionals. We need originality. The change must begin with students. Why not do a little bit of soul-searching? We can find out what excites us and cut out those mindless activities that waste our time. We are too young to take part in activities that leave us dissatisfied and bored. At the same time, we are old enough to evaluate our strengths, our goals, and pursue them unapologetically. The system has created a generation of joiners, not innovators. We must diverge from the structure that restrains us and create a new one. When we free ourselves from conforming to routine expectations, we can whole-heartedly pursue our dreams and gain recognition for our determination. We could redefine the standard of success and happiness. The goal should remain the same – to cultivate success. However, we must encourage a more individualized means to that success that will facilitate the Kerouacs and Einsteins of Generation Y. MR
Talking Through “The Wire”
Arts & Culture
HBO Hit Series Comes to Campus
PHOTO CHRISTINE HWANG / MR STAFF
BY CHRISTINE HWANG ‘10
On January 29, an enthusiastic audience packed an auditorium to hear from two of The Wire’s actors: Clark Johnson and Sonja Sohn. This audience, filled with both students and professors, sat for more than an hour, eagerly asking tough questions about the social
and political implications of the show, atypical of the celebrity gossip that one expects in a forum with television stars. During the five seasons it ran on HBO, The Wire never won a major award, but another type of critical acclaim: intellectual acclaim, the kind that inspired the University’s “Black Urban Life on The Wire” symposium and academics to attend this keynote event and ask questions of the actors to learn from them. In the words of Johnson, “You don’t see them having intellectual seminars with shows like…Beverly Hills 90210.” The audience wanted to learn from the actors what the actors had to learn, acting on set in inner city Baltimore. One audience member, from Baltimore, asked, “What was your relationship with my hometown, the city?” “It wasn’t like New York City where you could just walk out and do whatever at night,” answered Sohn. Sohn admitted that she still didn’t quite understand the city yet, but at the same time related it to her own childhood. “It was hard for me especially the first season when we were in the low-rises, because that was a neighborhood that I grew up in. It was so hard to play a cop, and then see people that I would have been friends with twenty years ago.” Johnson described the city as “the character of Baltimore.” “We’re there and a part of it,” he said. The show being truly “a part of it” was half of its appeal. The actors, writers, and producers of the show investigate, the real Baltimore, not just a dreary set with a door that opened up to sunny Hollywood. “All the actors really did a lot of investigative journalism really on their own. Omar, he really got into it,”
WIRE Continued on PAGE 11
U-M Announces New Living-Learning Community BY SREYA VEMPATTI ‘12
The University recently announced the establishment of its tenth and newest living-learning community, the Global Scholars Program. The pilot program will begin in Fall ‘09 and be housed in East Quad. According to the University’s official website, “The Global Scholars Program is an academically supported living-learning community that provides sophomore, junior, and senior University of Michigan students the opportunity to engage with both U.S. and international students on campus and around the world.” The main goals of the program are to “enhance communication between US and international students on campus and abroad, improve study abroad at U-M and provide intercultural exchange,” said Jennifer Yim, the director of the program. Marjorie Horton, the assistant dean of the College of LSA, added that the program will focus on “the interconnectedness of people and cultures and provide an informed world view of global issues and problems.” She also explained that intergroup dialogue skills would be emphasized, besides helping students learn new languages. Horton said that planning for the program began in 2005, though on the U-M campus and many others across the country, faculty conversations about the importance of preparing students for an increasingly global society began much earlier. They planned to accomplish this in part by providing more international experiences, including courses with relatively brief yet integrated travel periods for students. Yim explained that during the first year, one of the main courses in the program will include the current course UC 122 “Intergroup Dialogues”, which will be
taught by the Intergroup Relations faculty. This course will help enrolled US and international students carry out dialogues with each other to facilitate greater understanding of each other’s respective cultures. Later on, different dialogue courses pertaining to gender, race and ethnicity will be added. Another class that will be offered is UC 170 “Global Understanding”. “Interaction will first be between US and international students on campus and then between the students here and those on other campuses around the world”, said Yim. For this pilot program, U-M is collaborating with the University of British Columbia in Canada and Seoul National University in South Korea. When asked how the curriculum for such a broad based program was developed, Horton explained, “The initial curricular model was developed by an early planning committee that included several faculty from LSA and the School of Information, students and senior staff in the College of LSA and University Housing. In future years of the program, new courses will be added from the existing courses here at UM and will also be developed in support of the Global Scholars Program objectives. The curriculum will be shaped by the faculty director and faculty advisory committee, in consultation with students in the program and with other campus experts on different aspects of multiculturalism, globalism, and world affairs.” Yim said that even though the deadline has passed, they are still accepting applications for the fall term. It is estimated that the initial class will comprise 44 students, half domestic and half international students. MR
BY NATHAN STANO ‘11
Many people have defended the free market by means of efficiency, productivity, or morality but it has been so demonized by so many groups that many, especially religious people seeking more equitable society, have come to the statist point of view. Thomas Woods attempts to justify the free market for Catholics by way of Catholic teaching and papal encyclical in his book, The Church and the Market. Woods begins with the Catholic tenant of the individual as the center of both the quest for salvation and as a center of perception, as well as the free will that is given to all men by the divine. This is also important to many schools of free market thought, as a free market is based on private property and individual entrepreneurship. The Catholic Church has repeatedly rebuffed socialism and communism, especially during the reign of Popes Pius XI and XII. Pius XI in the encyclical Quadragesimo Anno (1931) condemns communism and totalitarian socialism, and the social conditions that foster them as an attack on the individual dignity of the human person. Pope Pius also stated, “economics and moral science employs each its own principals in its own sphere.” His Holiness concedes that he is not an economist, and that economic principals often fall outside of the ecclesiastical field of view. The first papal encyclical, or letter by the pope to the bishops or the faithful concerning an aspect of Catholic doctrine, that addressed the social position of the Catholic Church, was Rerum Novarum (1891). The encyclical made strong denunciations of communism and unrestricted capitalism, but affirmed the right of workers to unionize and the right of private property, which lead Pope Leo XIII to question socialism as well. Pope Leo also had qualms with defining economics for the faithful, “If I were to pronounce on any single matter of a prevailing economic problem, I should be interfering with the freedom of men to work out their own affairs.” Woods puts forth the Austrian School theory of economics as the best compliment to Catholic theology in terms of free market philosophy. The Austrian School speaks nothing of the efficiency of capitalism, and thus avoids the potential minefield of the Church’s rejection of “economism” or the subjugation of the human person for “efficiency”. The Austrian School supports capitalism on the grounds of individual liberty and private property. It also sees itself as the only school of economic thought that is based on reason, rather than demagogy or mathematical jargon. The Church maintains that faith and reason together constitute one path to truth and salvation, and Woods uses the idea of reason to connect current Church teachings to the renaissance doctors of the Church and Austrian economic theory. In fact, Woods briefly attributes the origins of the Austrian School to the study of human action and social organization to monks at the University of Salamanca, who were students of St. Thomas Aquinas, who attempted to connect the rationality of ancient philosophers like Aristotle to Catholic doctrine. Woods notes that the late Pope John Paul II, CHURCH Continued on PAGE 11
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It’s Valentine’s Day. Who the Hell Cares? BY JANE COASTON ‘09
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There are a multitude of reasons why Valentine’s Day is the Least Valuable Holiday. Though intended to be a celebration of love and devotion (or something), it largely results in depression and weight gain. And then depression from the weight gain. Let’s run down the top five ways in which Valentine’s Day sucks: 1.) The Weather: Seriously, who can think about love when the outdoors resemble a Soviet armament plant? The snow is black, the trees are gray, and I want to stay in bed. February is a month best spent doing anything other than being outside. Or around people. There’s a reason it’s the shortest month; any longer and we’d have to institute martial law. 2.) The Gifts: Here’s a question: has anyone ever gotten anything even remotely enjoyable for Valentine’s Day? Anyone? If you’re the owner of a Sri Lankan sweatshop that produces ugly teddy bears, than this is your day. Otherwise, you spend your day avoiding bad chocolate and regrettable flower decisions (and here’s another thing: why doesn’t someone make a box of chocolates with only chocolates normal people like? Mint is usually good. Chocolate-covered nuts? Nice choice. Everything else? Not so much). 3.) The Singleness: Some members of the Review staff have significant others. Woo. Others have been single since Ulysses S.
Grant was in office. There are no winners. If you’re single, it’s like getting punched in the face all day. Since you’re unattached (and, uh, friends-with-benefits don’t give each other gifts), you’re constantly on guard. Every person who wishes you “Happy Valentine’s Day” risks ending up like Mr. Orange in Reservoir Dogs (Sparknotes version: it isn’t pretty). If you’re in a relationship, it’s almost more difficult. You have to get your girlfriend or boyfriend something (it’s the law). But your options are kind of disgusting. And if you don’t get your significant other a gift, no matter what they said earlier (“no, you don’t have to get me anything, really!”), they’re pissed. 4.) The Movies: Oh, the movies. Somewhere, out there, some poor man is going to be dragged to some terrible romantic comedy. He’s going to shell out $45 (two tickets, popcorn, and candy—and there will be a candy purchase) to see annoying women be annoying and then men be annoying but then stop being annoying long enough to fall in love with the annoying women they were annoyed by. This will take up a valuable 2 hours of his life that could have been spent doing something else. Like cleaning his bathroom. Or making toast. And then after the movie, his girlfriend will go on about how good it was, and he will have to agree (because, once again, it’s the law). The worst part? There’s no way in hell he could get her to go see anything he would want to see. Something about “Transformers 2 not being a real movie” or whatever. 5.) The Stupidity: The worst part about Valentine’s Day is that everyone has to celebrate. If it were like Arbor Day, we could all just move on with our lives. But no. We’ve been “celebrating” this stupid holiday since we got Valentines on our desks in grade school (and
had to spend, like, four hours making them the night before because our mothers had some weird thing about “authentic Valentines”. Or maybe that was just me. I digress). Did we agree to this? Of course not. We’re not stupid. We all know that Valentine’s Day is just a way of filling up the time between New Years and Saint Patrick’s Day. Just because some priest wanted to marry soldiers apparently means we all have to suffer. Someone has to keep Hallmark solvent this fiscal year, and apparently, it’s us. So this Valentine’s Day, I’m keeping to my normal routine. I will (probably) get out of bed, I will go to work, and then I will go out. Because Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year, and there’s one means of celebration I do truly enjoy: whiskey. MR
ILLUSTRATION EUN LEE / MRSTAFF
02.09.2009 4.1.08 WIRE Continued from PAGE 9
CHURCH Continued from PAGE 9
in his encyclical Centesimus Annus, was perhaps the most understanding of economic mechanisms of any pope in the 20th century, likely because of his life in Communist controlled Poland. Woods is optimistic that the “logic of the market and the logic of morality” can be combined in the hearts and minds of Catholics and in official Vatican policy. “Economics does not contain all the answers to life, nor does it claim to…[because
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A member of the audience asked about the reception of the show in Baltimore. The actors agreed that the citizens of Baltimore loved them, but the fact that they were “shooting in the ‘hood” created issues. The Wire depicted drugs, police brutality, racism, and crime in written out scenes in the very setting where these depictions were reality. Sohn remembers having to explain to people that what they were shooting was a set and that it was not reality. But reality is exactly what caused so many to pour into the show and meticulously analyze each episode. Johnson said of the show that in order to really get into it, “you have to invest in it.” It isn’t a show that you can just pick up. It’s a show you have to really think about and then, like many in the audience, you get sucked in. MR
of the Austrian principals that conjoin with Catholic teachings] This is, stated simply, why so many orthodox Catholics can be found on the side of private property, sound money and the free market.” MR
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Sohn said of a fellow actor. She talked about how he went on the streets and picked up the accent and language. “Everyone really kept to the essence to make it stay true.” Many of the actors had experienced difficult times in their own lives. At one point in his life due to unfortunate, yet comical incidences that resulted in him leaving Eastern Michigan University, Johnson scraped gum off the bottoms of desks at the Hatcher Graduate Library for a living. Johnson joked about trying to find an acting job as a young African-American male. “Can’t play the drug dealer, can’t kiss the white girl,” he mocked casters, “Now you gotta play the white star’s cool black best friend.” David Simon, the show’s creator and producer, told Sohn when the first main actor in the show was killed off that “there’s no hope in the ghetto. If there’s a sign of hope it’s got to go.” Sohn said that, looking back, she thought Simon was talking about the message the show was trying to convey, but at the time she remembered thinking, “We’re actors. Even if some of us were African-American and come from where they [the show’s characters] came from, we studied and became actors.” Sohn remembers saying to Simon, “If there were no hope, half the cast wouldn’t be here.”
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Compare & Contrast
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The State of the State
It’s been two and a half years since the reelection of Jennifer Granholm to the Governor’s Mansion. In 2006, Editor-at-Large Jonathan Slemrod examined her election and the challenges she faced. In 2009, Slemrod sees how far (or not) she’s come.
November 14, 2006
February 8, 2009 BY JONATHAN SLEMROD ‘10
BY JONATHAN SLEMROD ‘10
Dick DeVos was right about one thing in his unsuccessful campaign for governor: Michigan has some serious economic woes. Its 7.1 percent unemployment rate and tens of thousands of “lost” jobs has made Michigan the “lame duck” state when it comes to the economy. While one cannot hold a politician such as governor solely responsible for the failing state of an economy, it is important to examine the policies that Governor Jennifer Granholm endorses, and determine whether or not they are designed to maximize growth or are simply vote-getting ploys which only sound good. Granholm’s media-savvy, populist rhetoric about the failing state of our economy is defined by her placing blame on other blame on the economic effects of Bush-era legislation, NAFTA, and the outsourcing of those ‘greedy’ corporations. Politicans like to do two things: brag about past accomplishments, and brag about what their current initiatives are accomplishing. Granholm is no exception. But the truth about her record on the economy is nothing groundbreaking, nor does it require a degree in economics. While Granholm has taken a multitude of positive steps, she has also instituted quite a few illogical initiatives which discourage business growth and Michigan’s economic climate in general. Granholm’s “21st Century Jobs Plan” consists mainly of diverting private sector jobs to the public sector. According to her website, the Jobs Plan allots over $1.1 billion to road and bridge construction work, major renovation and construction projects at state universities, and sewer repair projects. This sounds eerily similar to FDR’s New Deal, which helped to provide relief for the 24.9 percent (www.bls.gov) unemployment rate at the time by establishing a multitude of government agencies in the public works sector. But the question remains whether Michigan’s economy can afford to transfer this valuable labor from the competitive private market to the often mismanaged public sector - and whether or not the proposed work would in fact be taken care of by the private sector at all. Perhaps the most chilling area of Granholm’s plan for the future is the 21st Century Jobs Fund, which sets aside enormous amount of money and tax breaks to corporations which the state determines will help push Michigan’s economy “forward.” This plan will invest the tax dollars of Michigan citizens in research and venture capital, and “ensure that small businesses have greater access to capital.” This corporate welfare initiative has garnered opposition from several organizations, including the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Michigan-based think tank which specializes in fiscal policy. As Gary R. Wolfram remarked “One might ask why giving billions of dollars in citizens’ taxes to a government bureaucracy to disburse to the politically connected will turn out better than what citizens’ would have accomplished risking their own money?” If the Granholm plan is going to invest massive amounts of money into venture capital, it should be immediately reconsidered and revised. Venture capitalism is by and large one of the most profitable sectors in the market, and most profitable areas are guaranteed to be discovered without government help. It is simply a waste of tax dollars, and corporate welfare (also knows as wealthfare) creates the possibility for wasteful government spending, which would be an unnecessary burden on the already wounded economy. Instead of thrusting government into the practice of subsidizing businesses, Granholm should encourage a build-up of our infrastructure which helps to boost the free-market system. Because of low wages, overseas labor is a major obstacle to Michigan’s efforts to create jobs. What can our governor do to help Michigan workers seem more attractive to prospective employers? For one thing, Granholm must continue to encourage the build-up of our infrastructure, which in the long term will make Michigan labor more productive per dollar. Workers need to appear more attractive and efficient to employers by developing abilities not strictly confined to the auto industry. Granholm can help usher in this economic diversity by securing funding for education, while maintaining educational fiscal responsibility to alleviate the burden to Michigan’s taxpayers. Jennifer Granholm, fresh off her gubernatorial victory against Dick DeVos has secured herself four more years in Lansing. But she has several important decisions to make. Will she continue down her path of questionable government “plans” which give away corporate welfare to state-chosen businesses which discourage growth, or will she focus her attention on promoting Michigan’s infrastructure in order to raise the value of our labor? One thing is clear after her lackluster first four years in office: Michiganders want a change. Only time will tell if she is up to the task of leading us down that path. MR
Flying in the face of a staggeringly high unemployment rate, failing auto industry, and massive budget deficit, Governor Jennifer Granholm delivered her annual “State of the State” speech, an uninspiring summation of her time as Governor and a call for more of the same anti-market policies that have gotten us where we are. Granholm used her fourteen page speech to pay lip service to government reform, saying succinctly “This is no time for special interests or pet projects. It’s a time that demands relentless focus and discipline.” And to her credit, the Governor’s speech is remarkably focused on how she can keep throwing at her benefactors. She wants to put Michigan citizens to work through something called the “Michigan Energy Corps,” which will apparently weatherize 100,000 homes and 10,000 buildings for energy efficiency. She lauds the Michigan Film Incentive, which gives taxpayer-funded subsidies to multinational (and profitable) film studios to make their movies in our state, and in turn, create short-term jobs. She also applauded the expansion of three wind turbines in our state, in the name of “alternative energy jobs.”
She then turns around and promises to sharply restrict the production of coal-fired power plants, a decision that will kill thousands of jobs and increase the costs of heating our homes and driving to work. Her speech called on auto insurers to freeze rate increases for a twelve month period, and, should they refuse, for the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation to “to use every administrative tool at its disposal to assure fair and affordable rates for Michigan consumers.” Granholm is eerily complicit in the use of force to intrude in private business, and freezing insurance rates is merely a distraction from the problems that the Governor has enabled. Governor Charlie Crist of Florida has single handedly driven State Farm Insurance out of his state because of stringent prince controls on homeowner insurance. No amount of fact-picking and grandstanding can salvage Governor Granholm’s time in Lansing. Again and again, she has shown her willingness to transform our state from a market economy into a political economy, where politicians allocate money instead of the free market. Michigan citizens aren’t being fooled with an unemployment rate around 10.6 percent. Granholm’s economic strategy has focused way too closely on industry-specific investment rather than across-the-board reforms that would make our state thrive. This model not only relies on the false belief that politicians can allocate resources efficiently, but is a gateway to the special interest and lobbyist-driven politics that we could all live without. Credit is due to the Governor for saving taxpayers “some $60 million” over the past three years by “installing energy saving light bulbs.” No doubt such a paltry saving was offset by the massive tax hike that the Governor lobbied so hard for in Lansing (and got) just over a year ago. Granholm is on the right road when she recommends eliminating earmarks, funding for state fairs, and wasteful Departments. Another smart move would be for the Governor to cut her own job. Michigan desperately needs a leader that will confront our problems without trampling on the system which has brought our nation growth and prosperity. Change couldn’t come sooner. MR
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