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November 13, 1979 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-11-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

1,'age 4-Tuesday, November 13,"1979-The Michigan Daily
b et4 4
NieyYaso4dtra r
A o.4XX ,N .5
Edte NinetyanYearsyoftdtoial FeiE


WASHINGTOKennedy conrnts

By Anrold Sawislak


News Phone: 764-0552

ersity of Michigan

Stop consumer rip-offs,
in mortlcian industry

T HERE IS A BILL currently pend-
ing on the floor of the House of
Representatives that seeks to shackle
the Federal Trade Commission from
4egulating conspmer rip-offs. This
amendment would prevent the FTC
from regulating the morticians in-
'dustry, one industry that ranks lower
ethan used car dealers on a scale of
-honesty and integrity.
Nationwide rip-offs of consumers by
morticians has been documented, in-
jestigated, and has led to a rule now
pending in Congress that would keep
,,funeral homes' unsavory practices in
!check. Under the pending rules, mor-
n ticians would be required to give a
price list, to list all mark-ups, and to
give all price information . over the
telephone if they advertise. This long-
overdue bill would also prohibit
funeral homes from embalming
without permission, and prohibit them
from supplying costly and unnecessary
caskets when the deceased is
But while this bill is still pending,
several knee-jerk anti-regulators have
invoked the tired old banner of states
rights and have offered their own
amendment to tie the FTC's hands.
The bill to prohibit the commission
from regulating morticians is a direct
attempt to head off the consumer
protection bill desperately needed in
the shamefully frauduent funeral
business. But the reactionary piece of
legislation now introduced would

"leave it to the' states," to regulate
morticians and the states have already
shown their inadequacy at controlling
the business of burial.
Only three states have comprehen-
sive laws protecting con-
sumers-Florida, Texas, and Arizona.
A few others have put non-morticians
on their states' morticians boards to
protect against consumer fraud. But
only by enacting a sweeping federal
law protecting consumers from mor-'
tician fraud can the rights of the con-
sumer be guaranteed. And only by
granting the FTC the power to enforce
against mortician rip-offs can
funeral home customers be assured of
a fair deal.
The current bill to tie the FTC's han-
ds in mortician regulation must be
defeated. The consumer's right to
protection must not be subjegated to a
reactionary cry against federal
regulation. All members of the House
must be strongly encouraged not to
forget the rights of consumers in the
current thrust towards government
deregulation. Congress members who
are still wavering, like Ann Arbor's
own Rep. Carl Pursell, must be
cautioned that the popular catch-
phrase of "getting the government out
of our lives" is only a thinly-disguised
attempt by big business and industry
to secure a free hand in continuing
their systematic consumer fraud.
The bill currently pending must be
defeated because the consumer deser-
ves better.

the first questions that arose
when it became clear that Sen.
Edward Kennedy was going to
run for president was: "How is he
going to handle Chappaquid-
dick?" ,
The answer appears to be
"head on." The reason may be
"to get it over with."
In recent interviews, Kennedy
has been confronted bluntly with
questions about the 1969 accident
in which a young woman cam-
paign worker drowned when his
car went off a bridge on Chap-
paquiddick island.
Kennedy (1) did not change his
account of how the accident hap-
pened, (2) described his own
behavior in failing to report it un-
tilthe next day as s"irresonsible,"
and (3) said "I am a very dif-
ferent person than prior to that
Kennedy said in some ways the
accident was more traumatic to
him than the assassination of his
brothers John and Robert
because those were things that
happened beyond his control and
Chappaquiddick "was a circum-
stance for which I did have a
To thosehwho claim there is
more to the Chappaquiddick
story the theories are as varied
and extreme as any that have at-
tached themselves to the JFK
assassination, Kennedy replies
that his version "happens to be


USED 1.0 SEJusr

polls say."
Gold said both Mayor John
Lindsay of New York, Gov. Bren-
dan Byrne of New Jersey and
Sen. Charles Percy of Illinois
used the mea culpa approach
successfully in seeking second
After 10 years, Kennedy almost
surely wishes the questions about
Chappaquiddick would end. But
he knows better. If he is going to
run for president, he is going to
hear them and give answers. If
he tries to cut off the questions,
they will only become more
frequent and hostile.
But in the absence of new in-
formation about the episode,.botb,
the questions and answers even-
tually will cease to be news. Some
people will continue to ask them
hoping to catch Kennedy in an in-'
consistency or make him angry,
but many will lose interest.
That may not happen in the
1980 campaign. But while Ken
nedy obviously is trying to win
the Democratic presidential
nomination this time, his
presidential possibilities would
be far from ended if he lost td
So getting Chappaquiddick out
of the way could be an early in-~
vestment in a 1984 presidential
Washington Window is ,a
regular column of United
Press International.


the way it was."
There really is nothing new in
any of this. It is essentially the
same response Kennedy has been
making to questions about the
accident for some years.
There appears to be in the Ken-
nedy answers what political con-
sultant Hank Parkinson calls the
"a calculated repentance

In the newsletter "Cam-
paigning Reports," Parkinson
quotes former political operative
Victor Gold as saying when a can-
didate's opponent "confesses the
errors of his ways and throws
himself on the mercy of the court
of public opinion, anything can
happen, regardless of what the

Respons1b1lity and vision for


'No reorm inout
A O FTER MONTHS or tryin ' 1 jjj White relations.
personate reformists, the true First, he reco
identity of the reigning South African trade unions alre
government was clearly uncovered country, thus givi
last week when it once again acted like engage in collec
past administrations in that country. major omission o
In simple words, Prime Minister P.W. cession is that m
FBotha. repeated the age-old white do not have the
supremacist line that blacks will never unions. He did not
have equal voting rights. His other camo
In a meeting with members of the was a new willing
government-created Colored Represen- question of intern
tative Council, a group of non-whites, the white rulers
Botha warned them that reforms were and severely pu
very possible but equality- was out of married to some
the question. race. Botha sim
Such a blanket denial of the blacks' marriage may be
civil rights does not surprise many op- pens so often ti
posing the country's apartheid system. should perhaps be
Just as the Vorster government Yet these refor
displayed so often, the goal of equality battle for black ec
for blacks has little support among the majority rule in S
white ruling class. What it does demon- any reforms ever
strate, however, is the unquestionable the ruler of the c
meaninglessness in some of the refor- statement sayin
ms proposed and mentioned by the never have equal
Botha administration. It just shows
Since he took over, the new leader of haven't changed n
South Africa has tried to project an - as some had ho
image of a reformer fighting off more continually suspi
conservative elements in his party and government hav
among the elitist whites. To give solid again.
proof, he has raised a number of This governmen
heretofore taboo subjects in black- mitted to reform.
r. r" $'.44 . r."_r.. r.".{"

Afr ica..
gniz d the six black
eady operating in the
ng them the liberty to
tive bargaining. One
of that apparent con-
iost black employees
right to join trade
t establish that right.
uflaged "concession"
gness to consider the
marriage. For years,
have fired workers
nished many caught
one from the opposite
ply said that inter-
e unsacred, but hap-
;hat laws against it
ms mean little in the
quality, and eventual
outh Africa. How can
mean anything when
ountry issues a firm
ig that blacks will
voting rights?
that things really
much in South Africa
oped - but that those
icious of the Botha
e been proven right
nt is not really com-

The contradictions within Tom Hayden's
speech at Hill Auditorium can tell us much
about the choices ahead for concerned and
politically active Ameficans.
Hayden covered a lot of ground in his
presentation: philosophy, American History
and the legacy of democracy, economics,
community organizing and political power.
In the final analysis, however, the
mechanism for gaining power over economic
decisiwns overshadowed all else. Hayden's
fundamental challenge to his audience was to
participate, starting now, in an effort to gain
power over corporate decision-making. This
can be done, incrementally, by developing and
tying together community organizing efforts
aimed at gaining a better shake for each of
numerous : constituencies, with the goal of
having these groups represented on corporate
boards, and eventual control.
Implicit in this emphasis is a downgrading
of what shold be the central task of
Americans today; the struggle among us all
to decode what kind of society and nation we
want to create.
AMERICANS ARE not likely to engage in
the intensely difficult struggle for control
without a common vision of what our country
can and should become, based on a new moral
order and sense of purpose. If some power is
gained without such a vision, we will be
unable to use it much differently from those
currently in power: The values and goals of
the groups pushing for power will not have .
changed, and the conception , of what
America can be will not have developed.
Local community struggles over common
organizing issues don't require such a vision,
and neither do they normally contribute to its
development. The struggle for a larger share
of the economic and social pie, particularly in
this time and country, is not the same as the
struggle for a new society.
Americans, even those furthest from
power, hold the values of a society where
mass consumption and waste have been
promoted as economic necessities and the
barometer of progress. There is,.however, a
growing sense that our material wealth was
bought at a high price: loss of a sense of per-
sonal and national purpose, the seceding of
responsibility away from individuals,
families, and communities to distant

By Fred Miller
bureaucracies, the worship of experts and
technology, the unending pursuit of distrac-
tion, the waste and destruction of natural
Now, when even the extent of our material
wealth is in some jeopardy, we cannot be con-
tent to raise the narrower issues of economic
inequality. We have the opportunity to put
forward a new conception of our society,
drawing on the best of our historical roots,
and projecting something new in the world.
HAYDEN TOUCHED on some ideas which
certainly must be part of a new and
revolutionary American outlook. He
suggested that we must change the meaning
of the basic religious notion of the dominion of
humanity over the world from dominance to
caretaking and responsibility. He called con-
servation the necessary new religion. These
ideas hint at the depth of the changes in
Western thinking needed in these times.
However, these concepts were passed over
lightly in his speech, instead of challenging
the audience as did his appeal for struggle
toward economic power: If put forward
seriously; these ideas have grave im-
plications which far transcend the struggles
for short term economic gain'and small lieces
of political power. The questions they raise,
but which were left unsaid, are legion: What
values and ideas must Americans adopt to be
capable of using power to create a new
society with a new relationship with the
natural world? How must these ideas be ap-
plies in our personal lives, in our personal
resources, in restructuring our communities,
reviving our families? What notions do we
need of the functions of cities, the role of
agriculture, the goals of education, the goods
which should be produced and those which
should not?
Those of us who work with the National
Organization for an American Revolution,
and its affiliated groups in Detroit and Ann
Arbor, believe these are the essential
questions to be addressed now by those intent
on changing power relations in American
society. These and similar basic issues must
be raised before as well as during the struggle

for political and economic power. The
creativity of the American people must be
fully engaged in answering such questions if
we are to become truly self-governing in our
complex age.
This can only be done by challenging the
American people (ourselves included) to
change essential habits and long-standing
values. Those values and habits have been
key to developing material prosperity in the
past through a consumer-oriented society.
They are deeply-engrained, and stand stead-
fastly in the way of the new possibilities open
in this era.
LEADERSHIP IS necessary to move i a
new direction-the kind of leadership which
draws on the spirit of American democracy to
spur the creation of a people deeply engaged
in the most wide-ranging political debate. The
relationship of a mass society to its mostly
male leaders has left the concept of leader-
ship narrow and negative. The next decade
will be a time for redefining leadership, and
creating forms needed for revolutionary
There is now a yearning on the part of many
Americans for leadership in making a basic
transition. When such leadership has not bden
forthcoming in the political sphere, they'have
turned in other directions, religious and
mystical, to find it, or succumb to a growing
It is certainly true that a new social order,
with citizenry truly engaged in creating and
controlling it, cannot be built without a
struggle for political and economic power. It
is just as certain, however, that a struggle for
political and economic power carried on with
a thousand parochial demands and no granid
vision of what our nation must and can
become will eventually disintegrate, leaving
more cynicism and despair.
The 1960's were a period of rebellion and
protest, breaking down an illusory consensus
and opening up every facet of our life to
question. The 1970's, calming and yet
disquiet have given us a chance to consider
the gravity of the myriad crises we face. The
1980's are likely again to be a period of ac-
tivism, but what road this activism takes is
still open to our decision.
Fred Miller is a member of the National
Organization for an American Revolu-

Letters to

To the Daily:
"Hi! We're the Greensboro
Police Department. We're the
ones who planned and executed
the murder of five Workers
Viewpoint Organization mem-
bers. Here's how we did it.
"First we invited the wvo to
hold a demonstration against the
Ku Klux Klan in our city.
Knowing how much they like to
cooperate with the government,
we knew that they would accept
our invitation.

would come out of it smelling like
roses. As a matter of fact, the
whole incident was very helpful
for police department morale.
"We told everybody afterward
that we had stayed away (hiding
around the corner) because if you
ignore these Commie radicals
they usually go away.
"Why did we do it? Because we
hate blacks and Communists but
we love silly old rednecks in
white hoods and nightgowns run-
ning around and causing

medical study a very critical
training need is being met. I can
assure you that the students of
the health sciences do appreciate
them. Yes, a degree of desen-
sitization is necessary to ap-
proach the cadaver for dissec-
tion. It is the way in which we
partially psychologically shield
ourselves to allow us to pursue
medical learning, and later,
research and treatment. Stories
of inappropriate behavior in
gross anatomy dissection

approached me with what she
considered to be a great idea for a
Halloween feature article:
Though her timing was slightly
off, this year she "succeeded". I
sincerely hope that as this
woman matures, her sensitivity
and awareness of editorial
propriety grow with her. I and
other members of the health
professions hope that the public
will try to understand this
editorial ineptitude and continue
to extend to us the privilege of


r,& ~1 Y\~ U UiIMUL~ILI

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