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October 06, 1978 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1978-10-06

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Page 4-Friday, October 6, 1978-The Michigan daily

Eighty-Nine Years of Editorial Freedom
Vol. LIX, No. 26 News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

NA SAsearches for

extra terrestrial


A slave is a slave is a

slave i*s a slave

0 0 0

L AST MARCH the Regents decided
to send letter to those
corporations in their portfolio which
have South African operations, The
purpose of the correspondence was to
ascertain each corporation's reason
for being in South Africa and how they
justify their contribution to the racist
regime in power there.
South Africa, of course, is one of the
few countries, Rhodesia is another,
where racism not only exists under
white sheets or red-lining, but where it
is institutionalized; a country where
the legal, economic and social systems
are based on segregation and
The responses from the 47
corporations in which the University
has investments and which operate in
South Africa, were not surprising.
Corporations are not in the business of
being moral: they are judged on their
ability to produce profits. They told the
Regents in glorified terms how much
they were doing for blacks and non-
whites in their South African factories
or banks. The large majority of
corporations strongly support the
Sullivan principles.
The six Sullivan principles, written
by a General Motors Corp. board
member of the same name who
happens to be a man of the, cloth,
support desegregating company
facilities and giving equal pay for
etual work. They are a smoke screen
created to appease a stockholder's
The American companies operating
ii South Africa all said they were an
effective tool of change in that country.
With that they said they would not

leave South Africa. It is fine that
American corporations are being
progressive in their own factories. It is
fine that they have desegregated.
eating and working areas. It is fine
that blacks and whites make the same
wage for the same work at American
factories there. However rosy a
picture they paint of their.operations in
South Africa, the fact still remains -
that black or non-white person is still a
slave. Albeit well paid but a, slave
We asked the Regents to sell all
investments in corporations with South
African operations. They didn't.
Instead they adopted a plan to make
sure these corporations were each
doing their best to alleviate
discrimination and segregation in their
operations. At least they did
something. But what no~W? Will the
Regents rest on their laurels believing
their duty is done? That indeed would
be unfortunate.
The Regent's method of dealing with
apartheid in South Africa is sugar-
coated racism. The continued presence
of these corporations in South Africa.
merely serves to prolong the existence
of apartheid, regardless of how fairly
they treat their black and non-white
The University must now join with
other colleges and institutions to
challenge institutionalized racism in
South Africa. The Regents must all cut
ties the Univesity has to the racist
regime controlling South Africa. It is a
simple choice. The majority of South
Africans will determine their future.
The Regents can decide whether to be
a help or, a hindrance in that self-

By Art Levine
Is somebody out there trying to tell us
The National Aeronautics and Space Ad-
ministration (NASA) thinks so. The agency
wants American taxpayers to spend $14
million over the next seven year trying to pick
up alien broadcast signals because they
belive there's a. good chance intelligent life
exists in outer space.
But Congress doesn't agree, and NASA is
facing the possibility that funds for the new
program will be cut.
ADVOCATES OF the Search for Ex-
traterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program
are undaunted. Last month they again made
their case before a House Science subcommit-
tee. NASA's budget request for $2 million to
start the program was approved by Congress
last year, but this year appropriations com-
mitteesin both houses cut the funds. Sen.
William Proxmire (D-Wis.) even singled out
the program for his "Golden Fleece Award."
Now NASA officials are showing the kind of
plucky determination that landed a man on
the moon. They won't give up. They still have
supporters in Congress and the scientific
community, including celebrity astronomer
Dr. Carl Sagan.
Since the 1960's, Russian and American
scientists have made several attempts to pick
up signals from civilizations in outer space.
But, alas, they haven't heard anything yet.
Are those outer space beings merely shy,
afraid to say "howdy" to the planet Earth?
Probably not, says NASA. In one of its
publications, the agency notes, "Other
civilizations, too, could be searching for in-
telligent companions." The scientists say
previous listening attempts have failed
because our radio telescopes were beamed on
too narrow a spectrum of stars and frequen-
cies. The SETI program would be an all-sky,
all-signals search using existing and new
expressed preliminary support after the
hearings, Sen. Proxmire isn't impressed.
And, as chairman of the appropriations sub-
committee that has jurisdiction over NASA
funds, his views carry a good deal of weight.
"There is no urgency to fund this effort in
fiscal 1979 or fiscal 2079, for that matter," he,
says. "It should be postponed until right after
the federal budget is balanced and income
and Social Security taxes are reduced to
There's no proof anyone's out there, he con-
Even if we do pick up a signal, he says, it
could have been sent millions of years ago
from a long-dead civilization.
"What do we do if we get it," asks one
Capitol Hill aide, "send a mailgram?"
NASA PROPONENTS are tired of such
wisecracks. They emphasized to the commit-
tee that the project would lead to advances in
radio astronomy. But they also say it needs to
be launched now because growing interferen-
ce form our own communictions systems will
make sensitive detection of signals difficult in
a few years.
At the hearings, Dr. Noel Hinners, NASA's
associte administrator for space science,
conceded, "The chance of success is very



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small, but the rewards of success would be
very great."
Even signals picked up from a dead
civilization could be valuable, the program's
advocates claim. They liken potential
messages from outer space to the books of
Greek civilization. "Does Sen. Proxmire
suggest we throw out all books written by
those who are now dead?" asks a NASA
rejoinder issued earlier this year..
Among the more fascinating documents in
the proponents' research arsenal is a Library
of Congress study, "The Possibility of In-
telligent Life Elsewhere in the Universe."
The 1975 study, revised last year, includes
results of scientific surveys, but also includes
poetry, science fiction and fanciful drawings
of outer-space creatures.
THE STUDY EXTOLLS the potential
benefits of celestial messages but warns:
"We should necessarily have to be cautious in
accepting any advice initially, but in the long
run, the possibilities are titillating."
It worries that the alien beings might try to
fool us by "transmitting messages that ap-
pear beneficient, while their intentions were
The report also outlines future directions

inter-stellar communiction might take, as
well as possible drawbacks. Mere radio
commuiniction doesn't hold much promise,
the study says. We'd have to wait at least
48,000 years for an answer from some distant
star to a signal sent in 1974. "There may be no
one left on Earth to receive their answer, and
all would have been in vain."
IDEALLY, THE BEST method to com
municate would be to send astronauts in
spacecraft, says the study. There's one hitch,
though. The occupants might not survive-the
journey, which could take thousands of years.
One solution would be to develop a vehicle
that travels up to the speed of light to slow
down aging. Or hibernation or suspended
animation could be used.
All that's still far in the future, however.
For now, NASA is asking funding for what it
believes is a modest, sensible, low-cost
But indications are that if somebody out
there is trying to contact, Congress, most
members aren't listening.
Art Levine is a contributing editor of the
Washington Monthly magazine. He wrote
this article for Pacific News Service.

Let DC."
ST PEOPLE would think that
it's not fair that within the United*
States there is an enclave of almost
700,000 people who have only a
semblance of self-government, no
representation at all in the U.S. Senate,
and only a non-voting representative in
the House.
Yet this is the way residents of
Washington D.C. have lived. Until ten
years ago, the entire city was
controlled by a Congress that the
residents could not even vote for. And,
after a struggle that lasted nearly a
generation, Congress finally approved
an amendment to give full voting
representation, complete with two
Senators, to District residents.
On the surface, the amendment
would seem a good bet to become part
of the Constitution, even before the
troubled Equal Rights Amendment
(ERA) would. After all, it seems to be.
a clear cut issue of simple fairness to
give the right of representation to a
group with a larger population than
anumber of states.
Yet the amendment. is already
running into problems. Opponents
claim that it would be unconstitutional
to give representation to an area which

Lave a vote
is not a state. Others have vowed not to
consider anX more changes in the
Constitution until ERA has been
The underlying opposition, however,
runs more along political lines than
valid constitutional ones. The residents
of the District are overwhelmingly
black, and Democratic. Many southern
conservatives and Republicans feel it
would be foolish of them to vote to add
to their political opposition. And
legislatures in some rural states object
to the fact that the District would be
opposed to rural state's interests.
So far, only one state, New Jersey,
has ratified the amendment. Michigan,
with) its bipartisan support for the
amendment, is expected to be one of
the next to approve the measure.
Surveys have shown, though, that it is
going to be a close fight for final
ratification. ,
If this country is truly a democracy,
then it is of grave importance that
every citizen have voting
representation in Congress. If indeed
political interests keep almost 700,000
people from being fairly represented in
Congress, then maybe it is time to take
a whole new look at our system of


7 T - -- - - - - - -


to the Daily

misplaced logic
To the Daily:
Your editorial, published September
23rd, claims that "in a nation where
abortions are legal it seems neither fair
nor logical not to make funds available
to women who otherwise could not af-
ford to pay for an abortion."
The appeal to logic is wholly
misplaced. Surely the Daily would not
maintain that "in a nation where
distribution of racial hate literature is
legal, it seems neither fair nor logical
not to make funds available to bigots
who otherwise could not afford to
publish and circulate their opinions."
The suggestion that society is bound to
sponsor that which it may not con-
stitutionally forlbid is a sophomoric non
sequitur unworthy of the editorial page
of the student daily of a great univer-
Furthermore, your sense of "fair-
ness" is curiously one-sided. I find
abortion-and particulary "convenien-
ce" abortions-morally abhorrent. You
may not share my moral convictions.
Many people for whom I have the
greatest personal respect and ad-
miration do not. But should you not, in

supposed "review" of the Sunday jazz
festival concert, specifically, the per-
formance of Chico Freeman and
Hubert Laws. Mr. Laws is considered
by most people, including national jazz
critics, and the jazz public, as our finest
contemporary flute player. It seems
like your critic, R.J. Smith, did not
have thecommon courtesy of listening
to his performance, after R.J. was just
blown away by Chico and his colorful
bunch of so-called musicians. Mr.
Smith devoted a column and a half to
Chico Freeman and a measly three
paragraphs to Hubert Laws.
It strikes me that all a performer has'
to do to receive a favorable review from
the Daily is to perform in the avant
garde style of jazz. My opinion of Mr.
Freeman's performance was that it
was fair at the best. The first number
was almost unlistenable while the other
two numbers were progressively bet-
ter. It seems that it doesn't matter how
well you play your chosen instrument,
but how fast which impresses some
listeners. How can your critic even
mention the flue gimmickery of Chico
after hearing Hubert (which I assume
he did) play such a difficult instrument
to its fullest potential?
Unless my hearing was damaged by

ivo comment
The following was written by H. L. Mencken in
1928 in an essay about Henry Grady's New South.
"On those dark moments when I fear that
the Republic has trotted before those weary
eyes every carnival act in its repertoire, I
cheer myself with the thought that someday
we will have a president from the deserts of
the Deep South. . . The president's brother, a
prime specimen of Boobus Collumnus
Rubericus will . . . gather his loutish
companions on the porch of the White House to
swill beer from the bottle and snigger over
whispered barnyard jokes about the darkies.
The president's counsin, Laverne, will travel
the haleluyah circuit as one of Mrs.
MacPerson's soldiers in Christ, praying for
the conversion of some northern sodom's most
satanic pornographer as she waves his
work-well thumbed-for all the yokels to
gasp at . . . The president's daughter will
record these events with her box camera ...
The incumbent himself, cleansed of his
bumpkin ways of some of Grady's New South
hucksters, will hve a charm comparable to
that of the leading undertaker of Dothan,

Iiie £ idn~i~an 1 i1Qi


Managing Editors

Arts Editors


NIGHTI DITORIlI' S: .ieffFranik, uGary Kicinski. Geoff ILarcomn.

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