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January 31, 1981 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-01-31

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OPINION
Saturday, January 31, 1981

Page 4

The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Vol. XCI, No. 104 Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Cease the assaults on aid

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IN FEWER THAN two weeks in
office, the Reagan administration
has already posed itself as a menace to
students. On Wednesday, Secretary of
Education T.H. Bell said the new ad-
ministration plans to make deep cuts
into federal grant and loan programs
for college students. For some of the
thousands of students who attend the
University with some form of federal
financial assistance, this news could
mean the end of an education.
Bell also said the administration
would put more emphasis on aid to
students attending private schools and
colleges in the future. This is more bad
news for Universtiy students.
Many students who attend this
university and others like it all across
the country are able to do so only with
the help of federal grants and loans. If
the Reagan administration follows
through on Wednesday's promises to
significantly reduce financial

assistance programs, those students
may have no other source to turn to.
The Department of Education will
have effectively ended their
educations.
Education is not a part of gover-
nment fat and over-indulgence; it is
not a frill. Education is a basic foun-
dation for a productive society. The
Reagan administration must not allow
economic barriers to block the way to
an education for those who wish, to
learn. And that is precisely what Bell is
proposing.
In its frenzy to cut, reduce, slice, and
eliminate government programs, the
administration mustebe careful not to
lose control of the axe. The ad-
ministration must be able to differen-
tiate between fundamentally
necessary programs-like student
aid-and the legitimate waste and
overextension of government-and
must also know when and when not to
use the axe.

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A good theory under fire

O UR FAVORITE foil, the nation-
wide group of politically-minded
evengelical Christians that calls itself
Moral Majority, has announced new
plans directed toward making,
America safe for theocracy. The direc-
t o of the group's Michigan chapter,
Rev. David Wood, says he wants to
push state legislation that would force
the public schools to teach the Biblical
doctrine of Creation along with the
theory of evolution - a theory almost
universally accepted in the scientific
world.
On a national scale, Moral Majority
is proceeding along the tried and true
path established in last fall's political
campaign. Rev. Jerry Falwell and his
band of merry men are increasingly
unhappy over what they see as un-
toward decadence on America's
:a television screens, and they have
mounted a campaign to protect our
modest sensibilities from the ravages
of Charlie's Angels and Policewoman
by threatening the sponsors of
titillating or violent shows-with con-
sumer boycotts. There is even talk in
the "Majority's" national headquar-
h ters of buying a network of their own.
While the objectives of the Michigan
chapter may be less grandiose than
those of its national overseer, they are

hardly less objectionable. The
Creationists' effort is predicated on the
claim that since evolution is called a
theory rather than a fact, the scientific
community must have serious doubts
about.its veracity. Educated Moral
Majoritarians certainly must know:
they are twisting scientific nomen-
clature for their own insidious ends.
A theory, in science, is the best ex-
planation for a given set of observed
facts. Scientists steer clear of
proclaiming themselves absolutely
right; occasionally a theory has been
revised or even radically changed by
new discoveries. At the moment,
though, evolution does explain what we
know of life better than any other
theory. To compel teachers of biology
to spread nebulous religious belief
would be akin to forcing professors of
medicine to expound on evil spirits.'
They would no longer be teachers of
science.
Religion has often been a tool of
knowledge in human history; the
forerunner of the University itself was
a Catholic institution. That makes it
seem all the more unfortunate that
religion's most influential and best-
publicized efforts today should include
attempts to smother secular education
with religious dogma. Science should
be left to scientists.

The recent deal between Chrysler and the
United Auto Workers to freeze wages and
eliminate cost-of-living adjustments has
wounded the position of organized labor. The
smell of blood is attracting sharks.
The agreement, which UAW members
reluctantly accepted under the joint pressure
of the federal Chrysler loan guarantee board
on the one hand and the threat of losing their
jobs on the other, sets a dangerous precedent.
It lends currency to the once discredited
notion that the value of a worker's labor is
negotiable in the same way that the price of
an object or a piece of land is.
CHRYSLER WORKERS have agreed to
forego two wage increases to which they were
already entitled in the UAW contract due fo'
expire in September, 1982. In addition, they
surrendered two cost-of-living adjustments of"
$1.15 each. The combined effect will be a net
hourly wage three dollars lower in Septem-
ber, 1982 than it would have been under the
original contract. That's $120 per week or
$6,240 per year-a hefty pay cut for anyone
and more so for members of the blue-collar
middle class.
When a businessman cuts a price or takes a
loss, the effects rarely reach into his home.
But when a worker loses pay, it comes off the
dinner table, out of the children's college
tuition, or out of the savings bank. Any
neoconservative who thinks auto workers
spend their summers in Winnebagos ought to
check the size of Michigan's unemployment

By Daniel Berger
porations have already cut their workers'
pay, Chrysler is by far the biggest and most
significant corporation to do so. The auto in-
dustry is central to the economy and the UAW
to the American labor movement; a splash
here will make waves elsewhere.
FORD AND GENERAL Motors have
demanded similar pay concessions from the
UAW. Company spokesmen said that Chrysler
will be in the position of a foreign auto
manufacturer, gaining a competitive edge of
$200 per car from the lowered cost of labor.
The two companies contend that their
precarious finances- entitle them to th'e same
kind of negotiating privilages that Chrysler
has stumbled into. They could not be expected
to do otherwise: Tough times are all around,
,and a taboo has been broken.
A worker's labor, however, is his only
commodity. He is dangerously vulnerable to
unemployment; that vulnerability opens him
to exploitation. Steinbeck's Okies come
grimly to mind, accepting work for a dollar a
day-then fifty cents, then twenty-five, twen-
ty, and ten, less than enough to eat with. They
had to, because armies of their starving
fellows waited at the gates of the California
orchards, willing to take work at any price.
"Any price" tended to mean five cents less
than yesterday.
American labor, through struggle, has suc-
cessfully laid claim to part of the American
dream. The whole country has benfitted from
the labor peace.,that resulted; we need not

sharks?
witness an ugly reality-so commo*
elsewhere and once prevalent here-of haves
and have-nots going for each other's throats.
BUT LABOR cannot be expected to stand
still while its bitterly-fought-for gains are at-
tacked by employers and inflation. Ford and
General Motors can't possibly remain blind to
the terrible risk they run. Detroit hosted some
of the bloodiest labor disputes ever in the
Thirties and Forties.
Most of the corporations that have already
cut their employees' wage levels avoided thi@
emotional issue by striking at the cost-of-
living adjustments instead of the hourly wage
itself. But when double-digit inflation pinches,
workers will yelp.
In the free marketplace, enployers cannot
be expected to voluntarily resist such a cost-
cutting opportunity. What stands in the wayof
other ailing corporations serving as industry
innovators in the hot new field of wage-
slashing? Of their healthier rivals following
suit? Of workers being forced to accept wages
lowered again and again or face factory
closings?'
Legislation must be passed to limit the
amount, the frequency, and the type of any
wage concessions demanded of organized
labor. Such a solution will naturally be un-
popular with an administration committed to
deregulation of all sorts. But no other means
will stem the tide-except bloody labor
struggle, which we'd all like to avoid.
Daniel Berger is a graduate student ing
the communications department.
According to Dr. Thomas Mur-
phy, a PCB expert of DePaul
University, a person gets a
greater dose by eating one
meal of fish than by drinking
5,000 gallons of water. And the
most popular game fish are the
most contaminated. The EPA
estimates that nearly all of the
popular sport fish over seve
pounds have PCB levels over th
Food and Drug 'Administration's
safety standard of 5 parts-per-
million (ppm).
High PCB concentrations in the
fish have caused problems for the
commercial fisheries on Lake
Michigan for most of the decade,
completely wiping it out in some
years. The Food and Drug agen-
cy's possible plans to lower ti4
gn cover half acceptable levels of PCBs in fish
sold commercially could further
ple if we see snag the nets of fishermen for
" ~_: some time to come.

lines.
While Firestone, Armour, and

other cor-

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DESCRPTION OF IRAN
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WAUKEGAN, Ill. - Every
day, charter fishing boats drone
out from this self-proclaimed
"coho fishing capital of the
world" in 'search of trout and
coho salmon.
Dozens of children and adults
sit placidly along the breakwater
angling for perch. It is a scene
typical of the many smallaharbor
towns along the Lake Michigan
shore.
Nowhere is there a hint that
this is the most severely con-
taminated harbor in the United
States - possibly even the world.
WAUKEGAN HARBOR and a
nearby waterway are con-
taminated with an estimated 2
million pounds of polychlorinated
biphenyls (PCBs), a highly toxic
industrial compound believed to
be both carcinogenic and
mutanogenic. It is estimated that
there is 10 times as much of the
compound in the Waukegan area
as in all of Lake Michigan com-
bined.
Although nearby Outboard
Marine Corporation, the maker
of Johnson and Evinrude out-
board engines, admits the
responsibility for the discharge,
it is unlikely the mess will be
cleaned up soon. Court cases
surrounding the discharge con-
tinue to proliferate wildly.
JUST NORTH OF Outboard
Marine's engine casting plant on
the harbor's edge, a ditch runs its
short 2,500-foot-course into Lake
Michigan. Regarded as a
navigable waterway by the

The world
capital of
and PCBs
By Paul Choitz

OTHER SUITS and counter-
suits were filed, and, now there
are signs that an out-of-court set-
tlement may be pending.
No matter who wins, the cost
and scale of the clean up will be
staggering. Costs range from $5
million to $30 million. And since
dredging could stir sediments
- and PCBs - it is feared such
an action could result in even
greater contamination of the
lake.
The dredged mud would also be
considered a hazardous waste,
requiring disposal in an approved
site. Only'two sites are presently
large enough to handle the
thousands of semi-trailer
loads-in Georgia and Arizona.
Meanwhile, life around the
harbor goes on.
The Waukegan municipal

"No Trespassing" sig
of 007.
"WE DO TELL peo

little kids floating in there, said
the lifeguard. "We ask them to
get outar they might get a rash or
something." Farther north along
the beach, the waters of the north
ditch flow unrestricted into the
lake, without fence or warning.
"I was surprised that there
were no signs posted near those
outfalls, to not walk in the water
or play around there," said
Kramer. His environmental
group would also like to see a
clean up of the harbor first, and a
decision on responsibility later.
"all you have to do is take a
stick and poke it in the mud (in
the north ditch) and watch what
comes out - it's like striking
oil."

Allen believes infants and
women tended to be the most sen-
sitive to the chemicals, and he
believes that any level of PCBs in
pregnant or lactating women -is
not safe.
Charter boat captains in
Waukegan - who keep thei
$75,000 rigs moving with the lure
of a good fighting fish - say bad
publicity is probably more of a
problem than health. "We're not
sure it's a health problem
because, quite frankly, we don't
know how many of the fish end up
in the garbage can and how many
end up on the dinner table," said
one of 35 licensed captains in the
harhnr "Mv isonts are it

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