How to handle protesters
I am baffled by the fact that some people still can’t understand why retaliation against Afghanistan is necessary. It seems as though these neo-hippie war protesters are so busy spouting rhetoric that they refuse to listen to reason. For this very reason, I have a simple eight-step program that may help these naive (yet well-intentioned) souls understand that sometimes force is an appropriate response.
1) Approach protester who is urging “peace” and saying there should be “no retaliation.”
2) Engage in brief conversation; ask if retaliation in the form of U.S. military force is appropriate.
3) When he/she says “No,” ask, “Why not?”
4) Wait until he/she says something to the effect of “Because that would just cause more innocent deaths, which would be awful, and we should not cause more violence.”
5) When he/she is in mid-sentence, punch him/her in the face as hard as you can.
6) When he/she gets back up to punch you, point out that it would be a mistake and contrary to his/her values to strike you, because that would “be awful” and he/she “should not cause more violence.”
7) Wait until he/she agrees that he/she has pledged not to commit additional violence. This is, of course, the only course of action consistent with his/her statement in step four.
8) Punch him/her in the face again, harder this time. Repeat steps five through eight until they understand that sometimes it is necessary to punch back.
I will be the first to admit that I wish this type of action wasn’t necessary. However, maybe this simple exercise will help our local protesters understand that although U.S. military action is a grave prospect, the alternative is much worse.
Some pollution inevitable, for now
I am a chemical engineer. If you’ll forgo the oft-implied oxymoron of a ChE caring about the environment, I’d like to respond to the person asking me to sign the ECOPLEDGE. I will not. I agree with what the PIRGs are trying to accomplish in every sense of the word. I disagree with their methods.
The one-two punch of lobbying for strict pollution standards and urging the brightest of our university students to not work for major corporations is counterproductive. Example: power plants. I think it is necessary to reduce CO2 emissions from power plants, but how is that accomplished?
Many that I talk to seem to have the idea that there is a huge “CO2 dial” directly connected to a “Greed Indicator” that companies can manipulate at will. People demand electricity. Every carbon atom properly burned turns into a molecule of CO2. There is no way around this chemistry. More energy equals more CO2. The ideal solution is alternate energy sources, but the public will not pay higher prices yet.
The practical solution is to be more efficient. These are serious problems that need the best and brightest minds to figure out how to solve. A couple years ago, there was a technological advance, improving the efficiency of natural gas power plants by 5 percent. This may sound trivial and easy, but a quick study of thermodynamics shows that it is not. I am behind reducing pollution 100 percent, but I am not behind sucking the lifeblood out of those entities from which we demand it.
Kyle S. Allen
Tenant Resource Center offers valuable services
Your editorial regarding the Associated Students of Madison and the Tenant Resource Center is only half right. ASM's campaign for tenants' rights is indeed a great way to raise awareness of the housing problems that exist for students and to increase student activism on those issues. But you fail to recognize the valuable services the TRC provides. Since the first ASM campaign for tenants' rights several years ago, the TRC and ASM have worked closely together to bring important information to students both on and off campus.
ASM’s funding of the TRC enables us to serve students who, in increasing numbers, live further and further away from campus–and we do it year-round. Our permanent staff people have the experience with and knowledge of the law to help create the written materials, such as our Student Renters' Guide, that are distributed on campus and at residence hall presentations.
ASM's campaign for tenants’ rights and the year round services of the TRC are not duplicative. We collaborate to make the most of what each of us has to offer. If you want to know how to get your landlord to make repairs, the TRC can provide the legal information to help solve that problem. If you want to work with other students to bring attention to the poor practices of landlords, join ASM's campaign. The TRC and the ASM campaigns serve different purposes that complement each other well.
TRC Program Director
ASM and TRC work well together
In their zeal to be the smartest and truest student organization, The Badger Herald attacked the Associated Students of Madison and the Tenant Resource Center, demonstrating a sad lack of information about both of these valuable services.
First, the Herald called ASM’s Tenant Rights Campaign “a good first step” when ASM has run this campaign in numerous previous years, always with a lot of support from the TRC, which maintains a decades-old file of landlord evaluations.
The Herald staff may be too young to remember and too cocky to ask around, but the old “Student Tenant Union” on Lake Street (which referred its tough tenant questions to the TRC) served far fewer students and provided a tiny fraction of the information students get from the TRC, which is on the isthmus just a mile off State Street.
But if the Herald finds it such a chore to walk or bike ten blocks to where so many students live (and too rushed to learn that the TRC takes letters and e-mail questions, too), then you should know that the TRC applied for a State Street office for your further convenience.
The TRC received their funding with a referendum that had
overwhelming campus-wide support. Students who stop by the TRC know they are getting a deal. They are rewarded by learning their rights, choosing better landlords, getting things fixed and getting their deposits back or doubled.
Each week hundreds of students stream to TRC to learn their tenant rights and get the best and cheapest legal information anywhere.