Rep. Dingell answers misleading criticism

To the Daily:

I am writing in response to Mary Sweeters’s viewpoint last week criticizing me for not taking appropriate action on environmental concerns (Hold Dingell accountable, 11/02/2007), parts of which were misleading.

One of these misleading statements was the assertion that I have “opposed strong increases” to fuel economy standards. I am a co-sponsor of H.R. 2927, the Hill-Terry bill, which would increase current fuel-economy standards by 40 percent while also protecting American jobs and creating incentives for new breakthrough fuel-efficient technology.

Unlike my critics, I do not see fuel economy as the only issue we must deal with to meet my goal of reducing carbon emissions by 60 to 80 percent by 2050. I support raising Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards as part of a multi-pronged approach that includes my proposal to create a fee on carbon to deal with the question of consumption. And I intend to finalize work on a comprehensive, economy-wide cap-and-trade program and other measures to control greenhouse gas emissions. For those of you who would like a closer look at this work, please go to my website

Congress is working to limit the effects of climate change and will continue to build on the progress we’ve already made toward that end. This summer we passed a bill to remove 10.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, an amount equal to five times the annual emissions of all cars and trucks on the road in America today.

I take seriously my role in fighting global warming and intend to produce the climate change legislation our country needs and deserves, but I will do it responsibly and not haphazardly in order to avoid creating unintended consequences.

Rep. John Dingell

The letter writer is Ann Arbor’s representative in the U.S. House of Representatives and chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Hart needs to grow up and play nice

To the Daily:

As a University alum, I was embarrassed by the egotistical comments by Wolverine running back Mike Hart following the game against Michigan State on Saturday. Did he actually laugh when his team was down by 10 points? I doubt it. I think Coach Lloyd Carr would probably kick him in the butt to get his attention if he was laughing.

Mike, don’t you know how to win with class? The problem is, sometime soon you will be a loser again. I wonder how you’ll feel then. Haven’t you heard what goes around, comes around? Or is your grandiosity getting in the way of your clear thinking?

Paul Wieckowski


Gravel is right: Legalize marijuana

To the Daily:

As a retired Michigan police officer, I heartily agree with former Alaska senator Mike Gravel’s thoughts on ending the prohibition of marijuana (Gravel: Loosen drug laws, 10/29/2007). During my 18 years of service, I was sent to zero calls caused by marijuana use. As is the case with any mind-altering, intoxicating drug, using marijuana is a poor choice. However, prohibiting marijuana is also reducing our public safety by wasting resources.

We are losing focus on drunk drivers and child predators while we pursue non-violent smokers.

Howard J. Wooldridge

The letter writer is an education specialist at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Washington, D.C.

Non-smokers have freedoms as well

To the Daily:

I would like to respond to Nick Touran’s recent letter on proposed smoking bans (Smoking ban would trample on freedoms, 11/05/2007). When people speak against indoor smoking bans, they usually have two arguments: the loss of freedom and loss of business.

When considering the economic impact of a ban, I suggest looking at the results in California and Washington, states where business in bars fell only slightly after implementation of the ban, with many restaurants’ revenues actually increasing.

On the loss of freedom, let us consider some other freedoms. First, there is the freedom to work in a safe, healthy environment. This was the reasoning behind the ban of smoking in office and government buildings, and it should apply to all workers. Numerous studies have shown substantial health benefits to bartenders in the United Kingdom since its nationwide smoking ban. In my own experience as a saxophone player with asthma, Washington’s 2005 indoor smoking ban made an incredible difference in my ability to perform on the job.

Second, let us consider the rights of non-smokers. I agree with Touran that people have the right to smoke; however, people also have the right to not smoke. When someone smokes indoors, everyone in the vicinity is forced to smoke too. Many bars and restaurants are not designed to adequately partition smoking and non-smoking sections, and retrofits to accommodate such segregation could be prohibitively expensive or altogether impossible.

In the end, this issue is not about an “Orwellian law” or protecting smokers from themselves. It is about the right of those who work and relax in bars to not have a deadly carcinogen literally forced down their throats.

Brian Lassiter

Engineering graduate student

Copyright laws must protect artists’ work

To the Daily:

Robert Soave argued yesterday in his column that file sharing is not illegal because music is not something that can be owned (I do not own these words, 11/06/2007). He explained that “The tangible disc that you buy from a store can be owned, but the information on it cannot.” To him, copyrighting thoughts or sounds leads us down the terrifying path of copyrighting information.

Central to Soave’s argument is the belief that music itself is simply information and thus should not be owned. However, he forgets that when you listen to an album you are not just listening to information, you are listening to a specific recording.

When I buy a Beatles CD, I am not paying just to hear music, I’m paying to hear the Beatles perform it. I am also paying to hear all of the technical work that has been done by the recording engineers. In short, I am not paying to hear sounds and information, I am paying to hear a product that the musicians, recording engineers and songwriters worked to produce. And they deserve to be paid for it.

The truly pressing issue that Soave’s article brings up is recognizing the increasingly digitalized world we live in. Listeners can download music right onto their computer without every going to a record shop. But whether you get the recording from a vinyl record, CD or from your computer, it is the same music. We need copyright laws to protect art. Copyright laws insure that artists get paid for their hard work.

Taylor Stanton

School of Music sophomore

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