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January 10, 1973 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1973-01-10

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

4V £fmir an ati
Eighty-two years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

The Bullshit Party's success story revealed

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.I

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.

LSA reform: ,A first step

AFTER MONTHS of plodding along and
paying lip service to academic re-
form, the literary college faculty has
finally taken a step in the right direc-
tion. It passed a proposal Monday that
would allow students to earn up to 60
hours of course credit by passing special
The faculty should be applauded for
taking the action, but should be chas-
tised for wasting four months in bringing
the motion to a vote. Delays such as this
only heighten feelings that the faculty
is not really interested in undergraduate
Luckily, the LSA faculty will have a
chance at its next monthly meeting to
improve its track record when it con-
siders a number of matters near and dear
to the hearts of all students-including
new grading systems.
THE COMMITTEE on the Underclass
Experience (CUE), after an exhaus-
tive three year study, has outlined some
well-documented recommendations that
every student should study carefully.
Among its major suggestions, are:
--Distribution and foreign languages
requirements no longer be required for
a degree;
--All "E" grades be eliminated in all
graded courses by not recording on a
student's transcript any courses not sat-
isfactorily completed;
-"Pass/No Record" grading be estab-
lished in all 100 and 200 level courses as

well as in any other deemed introduc-
tory; and,
-Students be allowed to take all their
courses during the first two years on a
"Pass/No Record" basis.,
As one student commented, "These
are proposals that should have been es-
tablished ten years ago but probably
won't be implemented for another ten
JT TOOK the faculty four months to act
on a relatively simple motion-credit-
by-examination-the first major innova-
tion since the establishment of the
Bachelor of General Studies degree in
1969. It may therefore take the faculty
many years to act on such a widesweep-
ing set of recommendations as the CUE
study proposes.
But this shouldn't be the case.
The CUE study cites dozens of studies,
surveys, reports, and other research in
support of the committee's recommenda-
tions. Even LSA Dean Frank Rhodes
thinks it is a "very extensive and well put
together study." There is no reason for
this study to sit on a shelf somewhere
gathering dust.
THE LSA FACULTY should give the re-
port highest priority and hopefully
implement some if not all of its recom-
mendations by September.
Associate Managing Editor

IT WAS a year ago that the idea of the
Bullshit Party first came into my mind.
I had recently been elected to LSA Student
Government on the Action Mandate ticket,
in a hard-fought contest that had seen 11
candidates vie for 10 seats.
Following this, I had a rather rough intro-
duction to student government, as the meet-
ings usually degenerated into a shouting
match between Bob Black and Bill Ja-
cobs. Needless to say, I was bummed out,
especially when I took into account the
fact that student governments around here
have no power.
Jacobs and Black would argue for hours
over the most petty of points while Frank
Rhodes and friends were running LSA as
they pleased. Following from this, I de-
cided not to take student government ser-
iously, both in order to maintain my sanity
and because it wasn't worth it in the first
place. I also decided that I would run
for SGC in the next election on a satirical
platform that would expose student gov-
ernment for the farce that it is.
As every major candidate for student gov-
ernment at that time was running on a.
party, I decided that the logical name for
mine. would be the Bullshit Party, as stu-
dent government is bullshit and bullshit
would be what I would, offer.
THE FIRST PERSONS to whom I reveal-
ed my campaign plans to were my fellow
Action Mandate members of LSA Student.
Government. It was the habit of the Action
Mandate to adjourn to a local bar after
meetings, and it was in this drunken at-
mosphere that the Bullshit Party was first
The initial reaction to my ideas was gen-
erally unfavorable. While most of the Man-
daters found the Bullshit Party campaign
hilarious, they felt that not only would I
make a fool of myself, but even worse, that
I would get creamed, for no previous satir-
ical candidate had been elected to Student
Government Council. As for my offer to any
of them to run on the Bullshit Party ticket,
only one took it up, and then quickly chang-
ed his mind.
By the time the next election rolled
around, in March, I had myself become hes-
itant about running. For lack of money,
running mates, and especially time, I de-.
cided not to. Besides, I reasoned, I still
had half my term left on LSA Student
Government, and the meetings would sure-
ly be calmer after the election, as the
terms of both Black and Jacobs would be
Nixo n a

up. But I also became determined in my
mind to run for SGC on the Bullshit Party
in the next election in November, regard-
less of the consequences.
Apparently some people outside of the
Action Mandate were aware of my ambi-
tions to run for SGC. At the beginning of
the fall term, SGC member David Smith
offered me a spot on the GROUP ticket
for SGC in November. "Are you going to
run on GROUP?", he had asked, "or are
you going to lose?"
AS FOR the campaign, my first action
was to register the Bullshit Party as a stu-
dent organization, listing myself as Em-
peror and fellow Action Mandate member
Steve Vagnozzi as King. Vagnozzi accepted
the position reluctantly so that the Bull-

dent' News would be started, or that the
first issue would contain a list of student
organizations. For several days after its
publication, I was flooded by phone calls
from people wondering just what the Bull-
shit Party was. Among these callers were
some Daily reporters, to whom I gave my
basic platform, which in turn was printed
in the Today column.
It constituted my first publicity break-
through, by giving my campaign wide ex-
posure before it was even started.
As the groundwork for the campaign had
already been laid, not too much work was
really required on the platform or leaflet,
only some slight updating. Most of the stu-
dent politicians that I knew advised me
that at least 100 leaflets would be needed
in order to adequately cover the campus,
but I had only 500 printed up, at a cost of
$4.25, my sole campaign expense.
The areas that I leafletted most frequent-
ly were the UGLI and the Fishbowl, as they
offered the largest possible crowds. Less
frequently hit were dorms, classrooms, lec-
ture halls, and telephone poles.
My third source of publicity, aside from
leaflets and the Daily, was bathroom graf-
fiti. If anyone cares to know who wrote
"Vote for Bullshit-Hornstein for SGC" on
bathrooms walls in the UGLI and else-
where, I was the one.
Not only did I feel that a bathroom was
extremely appropriate for a Bullshit Party
campaign, but the location of the grafitti
gave me a captive audience as well. It's
slick maneuvers like that which can at-
tract votes which would otherwise not have
been cast.
WITH REGARDS TO my platform itself,
my three promises - to set up a Student
Dope Co-op, move meetings to bars, and not
to resign - were originally conceived as a
joke. I even stated in the platform that all
promises would be irrelevant in the event
of my election. It was only during the last
week of the campaign that, after consider-
ing the wild possibilities that they created,
I decided to actually try to carry them out
if I were elected. The results have proven
to me just how important it is to stick to
your principles.
One major obstacle I faced was that of
getting my party label on the ballot. The
Election Code requires that a party contain
at least two candidates, a rule that had not
been enforced in the previous election. After
my half-hearted attempts to find a run-
ning mate proved unsuccessful, I could
only hope that the violation would be over-

lodked. Unfortunately, this was not the
Nevertheless. my attempt to get my
party on the ballot at the candidates' meet-
ing was prominently featured in the f i r s t
Daily story on the election, and in a sym-
pnthetic light at that. The Central Student
'J.diciary, however, was not so sympathetic,
and I lost my anpeal of the case.
The last hirdle before the election was
the Daily interview. Most candidates seem
to prize Daily endorsements, since prac-
tically the only candidates found "unaccept-
able" who have gone on to win have been
conservatives. As a result, many candidates
who fail to get Daily endorsements write
in to comolain about this omission in the
most vehement way.
While no previous satirical candidate has
received an endorsement, I decided to take
a different tack. Were I to be found "un-
accentable," I would flaunt the designa-
tion by writing it on my leaflets. On the
other hand, I would ignore any endorse-
I decided to approach the interview with
a strategy of confusion, figuring that it
would at least be entertaining and might
even result in my getting endorsed.
AT THE INTERVIEW, I was confronted
by about seven or eight Daily staff mem-
bers of assorted rank. Only two or three
of them actually asked any questions. The
rest were anparently there to observe what
kind of weirdo would run on the Bullshit
I did my best to be confusing by answer-
ing the questions in as flippant and evasive
a manner as possible. What finally seemed
to impress my questioners, however, was
my knowledge of the names of the Regents
and University Vice-Presidents. It was ap-
pnrently this trivial knowledge that con-
vinced The Daily I was "acceptable."
It wasn't until two days after the election
was over that I found out I had won. My
i-itial resnonse was to get wrecked. Later
I considered the consequences. Apparently
I had been correct in figuring that a lot
of people were disgusted with SGC, and
woild vote for a satirical candidate as a
Well, I figlred, I would make their votes
well worth it by using my year on SGC
as a chance to wreak havoc. As anyone
who has been following SGC knows by now,
I have already begun this project.
But that's another story for another time.
David Hornstein is emperor of the Bull-
shi/ Party and a Student Government
Council member-at-large.




Emperor Hornstein
shit Party could have two officers and be
approved by SGC. He abdicated almost the
moment that it was approved.
On the statement of goals and purpose,
which I included with the SGC election
registration form, I described the Bullshit
Party as "a loose collection of plotters and
plodders who occasionally meet in assorted
local bars", with the general purpose being
that of disrupting SGC meetings. While the
Bullshit Party was registered for reasons
of insecurity, so as to give me an exclusive
patent on the name on this campus, this
action paid me some unexpected dividends.
I did not expect that the Michigan Stu-


Postill's soft drug policy


r IOUGH THE results of last Novem-
ber's elections were generally de-
pressing, the outcome of at least one lo-
cal race offered the residents of Washte-
naw County a genuinely significant
change in government.
That contest was for the office of
sheriff where Democrat Fred Postill de-
feated incumbent Douglas Harvey and
Harold Owings. Under Harvey law en-
forcement in the county could be char-
acterized as an interesting combination
of corruption, reaction and an almost
total lack of professionalism.
Harvey himself was criticized by the
prosecutor's office for his improper use
Today's staff:
News: Pat Bauer, Robert Burakoff, David
Burhenn, Ted Evanoff, Tammy Ja-
cobs, Deborah Pastoria, Eugene Rob-
Editorial Page: Peter LaFreniere, Ted Stein
Arts Page: Gloria Jane Smith
Photo Technician: Karen Kasmauski
Editorial Staff
PAT BAUER.. Associate Managing Editor
LINDSAY CHANEY .d............EFitorial Director
MARK DILLEN.................. . Magazine Editor
LINDA DREEBEN......... Associate Managing Editor
TAMMY JACOBS.... .............. Managing Editor
ARTHUR LERNER ............. Editorial Director
ROBERT SOHREINER ......... ;....Editorial Director
GLORIA JANE SMITH ..................Arts Editor
ED ' SUROV'ELL.......................Books Editor

of stolen property, and the conduct of
the department in handling a number of
student demonstrations made the sheriff
a veritable legend in his own time in the
Ann Arbor student community.
POSTILL, on the other hand, campaign-
ed for office on a generally liberal
platform. He promised an end to the en-
forcement of "soft" drug laws and indi-
cated a willingness to work with the ele-
ments of the community Harvey had so
successfully alienated.
Monday, Postill took the first step to-
ward implementing these changes. In a
directive to his department, he put the
crime of possession of marijuana on a
level with penny-ante poker.
Stating that marijuana posed no
threat to society, Postill pledged to de-
vote the energies of his department to
combatting serious crime.
THE NEW sheriff is certainly to be ap-
plauded for his actions, which hope-
fully mark only the beginning of his
program of reform.
During the last campaign a number of
radical critics chided Postill for what
they described as his opportunism. Once
he took office, they charged, all of the
promises that he made to attract stu-
dent votes would be forgotten.
It would appear, even at this early
date, that Postill is committeed to genu-
ine change in law enforcement-change
that for the most part is long overdue.


73:o Kicking around the press


TO AMERICAN President, start-
ing with George Washington,
has even been totally friendly with
the press, but it is probably safe
to say that President Nixon has
been one of the least friendly.
President Nixon's antagonism to-
ward the press goes way back to
the 1940s when he was a rising
young congressman, carrying the
torch against communism and Al-
ger Hiss. Later, as a United States
senator and vice president under
President Eisenhower, he contin-
ued in a strained relationship with
the media.
During campaign periods, when
he was seeking office, those rela-
tions became particularly strained.
And on one occasion, in 1962, when
he was defeated in a race for the
governorship of Califofnia,he lost
his cool publicly by blurting out
to the press, "Well, you won't
haveRichard Nixon to kick around
any more.,,
So it was no surprise to journal-
ists, at least, that when President
Nixon moved into the White House
in 1969, the relations between gov-
ernment and the press would con-
tinue to be strained.
THE SIGNAL for the frontal at-
tack by President Nixon on the
press came later, in 1969 in Vice
President Agnew's now famous at-
tack on the networks, the news
magazines and two of the nation's
best newspapers, The New York
Times and the Washington Post.
President Nixon's hostility towards
the press also became apparent in
bvnassing the traditional presiden-
tial press conferences. And t h e
White House itself - and many if
not most of its executive agencies
- put up a curtain to try to dry
un any news leaks which might
be critical of the administration.
During the last presidential cam-
paien, one White House aide after,
another publicly criticized t h e
news media - and especially the
ones Vice President Agnew h a d
singled out - as being biased, as
favoring the candidacy of Demo-
,cratio presidential candidate
George McGovern. But that White
House assault was stopped when
the press eagerly trounced on Sen-
ator McGovern for removing Sen-
ator Tom Eagleton from the ticket.
Since President Nixon's land-
slide re-election, there have been
occasional forays by White House
aides against the press, but none
until now of the vehemence of
Vice President Agnew.

is begining anew. The target is
television, President Nixon's chief
whipping post.
The evidence came in a recent
speech by Clay Whitehead, t h e
White House's ranking adviser in
the field of broadcasting.
In an address, Whitehead d i s-
closed that the White House h a s
drafted new legislation that would
hold individual television stations
accountable, at the risk of losing
their licenses, for the content of
all network material they broad-
cast, including news, entertainment
programs and commercials.
He condemned what he called
"ideological plugola" in network
news reporting and said local sta-
tions would have to bear respon-
sibility for such matter carried
over their facilities.
He said, "Station managers and
network officials who fail to act
to correct imbalance or consistent
bias in the networks - or who ac-
quiesce by silence - can only be
considered participants, to be held
fully accountable at license renew-
al time."
"Who else but management can
or should correct so-called pro-
fessionals who confuse sensation-
alism with sense and who dispense
elitist gossip in the guise of news
THE DRAFT legislation, propos-
ed by Whitehead, would extend the
license period to five years from
the present three years and would
put the burden of proof upon the
challenger in any case where a
license renewal was challenged be-
fore the Federal Communications
Provisions of the draft legislation
also would effectively supplant two
policies governing broadcast license
renewals at present. One is the
so-called fairness doctrine which
requires broadcasters to give equal
time to all sides of controversial
issues, especially in political elec-
tions. The new guidelines, under
the new legislation, would elimin-
ate the set of program categories
and percentages by which the com-
mission currently judges responses
to community needs. These include
religious programming, education
and public affairs.
Under the Communications Act,
which giverns the operation of the
Federal Communications Commis-
sion, there are no provisions for
regulation of the networks, except
through the individual stations own-
ed and operated by the networks,
and through the local stations af-

would find it even more difficult to
uproot station owners regardless
of the merit of their complaints.
THE PROPOSED legislation ap-
pears to be nothing more than a
bribe to win over support of local
station owners to permit the Nixon
administration to exercise control
over network programming. The
bait is the promise of eased licenses
procedures, which certainly a r e
important to station owners.
There's no need for additional
legislation governing the broad-
casting industry. There may be
too much already. The FCC has
the authority to police the n e t-
works through its power over local
stations at renewal time. In the
final analysis, when license renew-
al time comes around every three
years, it is the local station's total
product which is evaluated, in-
cluding that of the networks. And
the commission can act at that
As one who has worked in the
business for many years, both at
the network level and in local

stations, I would hate to see the
local stations exercise total con-
trol over the network product.
Networks are not infallible. They
make mistakes, mostly human er-
But the news product put out by
networks is eminently better than
that provided by local stations, if
only because the networks have
vastly greater financial and hur
man resources at their command.
One can't generalize about some
six hundred commercial TV sta-
tions. Many of them do an excellent
job. But the sense of public re-
snonsibility exhibited by many of
them when they were given an ad-
ditional half hour by the networks
for local programming left much
to be desired. Instead of providing
us with programs focusing on com-
munity needs, we received more
game shows and talk shows and
tired old movie re-runs.
White House to further restrict
the broadcast industry is nothing
more than driving another wedge

into the freedom of the press guar-
anteed by the First Amendment.
At the moment there are a dozen
or more newsmen in jail or facing
jail for refusing to disclose the
sources of their news. The Nixan
admi* stration was the first in
American history to try to prevent
the news media from publishing
an important document in the so-
called Pentagon Papers. The White
House has even barred a Washing-
ton Post reporter from covering its
social engagements, apparently as
a reprisal for the Post's relentless
pursuit of the Watergate affair.
The proposed legislation aimed
at the broadcasting industry would
be a disservice to all of us - the
news media and the consumers of
the news media alike.
This vrticle is excerpted from
journalisnm Prof. - Ben Yablonky's
weekly radio commentary, "The
Press and World Affairs", broad-
cast over WUOM and thirty other









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