Cable, BTN too trivial for Daily edit page

To the Daily:

I was horrified to read Patrick Zabawa’s column about students’ inability to watch the Big Ten Network on Comcast cable (The one cable company, 11/09/2007). I was horrified to see that a medium as influential as a newspaper’s editorial page is being used to discuss something as trivial as television. What about the social justice issues that plague the nation and the world? What about the discrimination of people of color, women, the poor, the LGBT community, immigrants, etc.? What about the corruption of the criminal justice system, violence against women and environmental issues?

Yes, it is disappointing that you can’t watch all Michigan football games on TV, but there are more important issues in the world to worry about. It is just television after all, and the number of pieces and letters the Daily has printed about this is ridiculous.

Amber Hassinger

School of Social Work

Tsunamis not caused by global warming

To the Daily:

In his viewpoint Thursday, Neil Sardana incorrectly linked the 2004 tsunami with global warming (Activism and survival in our times, 11/08/2007). Tsunamis are typically caused by an undersea earthquake that causes a wave to radiate outward, rising as it approaches land. There is no evidence that supports a link between the geological activity that would cause a tsunami and global warming.

Making such an obviously false claim hurts the global warming argument and damages Sardana’s defense of student activism. How can students be truly active if we don’t even know the facts?

Bryan VanDuinen

Engineering freshman

Campus safety comes with looser gun laws

To the Daily:

In response to Monday’s article about the University chapter of the College Libertarians raffling off a gun voucher (To push gun rights, group offers a gun voucher, 11/12/2007), increasing safety still has one simple and reasonable solution: allowing citizens to carry handguns.

When Florida passed its concealed handgun law in 1987, the first state to enact this specific type of legislation in the country, opponents claimed that it would cause frequent gun battles over every small public dispute. However, years later, it has become clear that these predictions were false: Violent crime rates in Florida have fallen significantly.

Forty other states also give citizens a “right to carry,” with 36 states having “shall issue” laws like Florida, which necessitate that if applicants meet certain, agreed upon guidelines, they must be issued a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Not a single state that has passed a concealed weapons law has voted to repeal it.

Of the states that allow concealed weapons, currently Utah is the only state that permits concealed weapons on campuses. As we have come to expect, opponents of this extension claimed that students and teachers would engage in gunfights over classroom discussions. And as it turns out, these claims did not come true.

In 2006, Virginia legislators considered passing a law that would have permitted the same extension as Utah. Unfortunately, the law failed. When a student went on a shooting rampage at Virginia Tech University earlier this year, he chained the doors of the building shut with the full knowledge that the only guns in this building were his own. One can’t help but wonder what would have happened if law-abiding citizens, licensed by the state to carry firearms for self-defense, had been able to fire back.

Jon Regal

Alum

Free speech needs vigilant protection

To the Daily:

I was pleased to see the Daily’s article Monday on the lecture by the president of the American Civil Liberties Union, Nadine Strossen, on freedom of speech (ACLU president: Defend the offensive, 11/12/2007). The point cannot be made too strongly that maintaining America’s core freedoms requires constant vigilance.

The story Strossen told in her lecture was one of a struggle for First Amendment rights with every presidential administration. It was also one that has been fought on stages as prestigious as the floors of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and as mundane as the chambers of the Michigan Student Assembly.

I was especially inspired by Strossen’s attention to precedent-setting First Amendment cases that originated here at the University. As we continue to discuss relevant issues on campus like speech codes and artistic freedom, I would encourage my peers to keep in mind the rich legal and cultural context in which our decisions take place.

Join me in pledging to act as strong advocates for civil liberties wherever they are at risk.

Peri Weisberg

Public Policy junior

The letter writer is chair of the University’s undergraduate chapter of the ACLUM

Bring ‘YouTube’ democracy to the air

To the Daily:

I am writing in response to Imran Syed’s column last week, (The liberal revenge, 11/07/2007). I have no problem with conservative anchors being pushed off cable – to a point. Conservatives have had the stage for eight years and now the tables have turned. The people have decided; the liberal revenge, as it were.

Just “as the majority of Americans have not transformed suddenly into foot soldiers for the neo-con cause,” the majority will not become polarizing and prejudiced. Syed asks, “Why is it that we cannot have a network with differing viewpoints and true disagreement? Isn’t that the most logical extension of American democracy to the airwaves?” Indeed, true democracy would be YouTube viewers regularly challenging anchors and other viewers on TV. I call it YouTube Democracy.

The CNN/YouTube Debates are working better than the mockery of a presidential debate we are usually treated to. My point is this: Let the people do the thinking via YouTube dialogue and debate and then have the media and government act on it. The best thing about YouTube is that it would create a dynamic between those in power and those not in power – between the Washington politician, the YouTube citizen and the media czar.

Michael Kozlowski

LSA senior

Wolverine fans impress in Madison

To the Daily:

On Saturday, my school, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, had the pleasure of hosting Michigan fans for our last home football game of the season. Even though Michigan lost, I was impressed by the attitudes of the team’s supporters. Michigan had the greatest number of fans at our stadium out of all the teams I have seen play there. Michigan fans are energetic, good sports and overall classy people. I know Camp Randall isn’t always the friendliest environment for visitors, but I hope you will continue come back in years to come.

Allison Goldthorpe

University of Wisconsin sophomore

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