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April 14, 1981 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-04-14

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OPINION

Page 4

Tuesday, April 14, 1981

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

I'll stay with

Wond

Vol. XCI, No. 158

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

They were serving my favorite lunch at
West Quad last Thursday - grilled cheese
sandwiches. (I have rather plebeian tastes).
As I grabbed a tray and some steelware, the
food server asked me the big question.
"White or wheat?" she grilled me cheesily.
"White," I answered. My tastes may be
plebeian but I don't like Roman Meal.

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

Additions to the hit list

CONGRATULATIONS are due to
three House Democratic leaders
and one senator for earning spots on
the NCPAC political hit list. The
National Conservative Political Action
Committee announced yesterday that
it will launch a $1 million campaign to
defeat the four liberals in the next elec-
tion.
NCPAC Chairman John Dolan said
yesterday that his group will spend $1
million in TV ads attacking the four as
Capitol Hill big spendors. Dolan said
his group's efforts are "a campaign to
help President Reagan pass his
economic recovery program through
Congress."
NCPAC announced it will spend
$450,000 in Texas in hopes of defeating
Rep. Jim Wright, the House majority

leader; $400,000 in Maryland to defeat
Sen. Paul Sarbanes; $100,000 to defeat
Rep. Jim Jones of Oklahoma; and
$50,000 to defeat Rep. Dan
Rostenkowski, who has just presented
his own plan to cut the federal budget.
The NCPAC conservatives often tout
the principle of free representative
elections as one of the many virtues
that "make America great." Yet, they
hope to stifle Congressional debate
over the policies they endorse by
eliminating the opponents by
manipulating elections in faraway
Congressional districts. Flooding the
airwaves of a target area with
manipulative commercials financed
by outside interests, while perhaps
politically efficacious, hardly seems
compatable with truly free elections.

Witticisms
By Howard Witt

from their counter and were staring at me.
"Look at how he's running through his
lunch," one of them snickered.
AND THEN I turned to page 5. Right above
the movie ad for Inside Moves, I saw what the
food servers were laughing about. "White
bread may cause diarrhea," the story read. I
swallowed the last of my sandwich.
It seems that some researchers at the
Veterans Administration Medical Center in
Minneapolis have concluded that most people
have trouble absorbing all-purpose wheat
flour, the kind used to make ordinary white
bread.
"What it means is that when the average
person eats a slice of bread, a fair proportion of
it is never absorbed in the small bowel and goes
down into the large intestine and can be con-
verted into gas or into the stuff that con-
ceivably causes diarrhea," Dr. Michael
Levitt, one of the researchers, said in an in-
terview.
THAT'S JUST GREAT, Dr. Levitt. For 21
years I've been eating Wonder Bread, trying
to build a strong body twelve ways, and now
you come along.
Since the early '70s, the scientists have been
trying to give us diarrhea, telling us to eat
high fiber foods because they aid in digestion
and loosen the intestines. Some of us turned to
Bran Chex. My doctor prescribed cardboard
boxes - "Some corrugation each day keeps
the doctor away," he told me.
Now the scientists are warning us against

The Michigan Daily
er Bre ad'
the dreaded malady, telling us that low fiber-
foods (there can't be anything lower in fiber
than Wonder Bread)\ will grease our inner
workings excessively. They've got us comib%:
and, uh, going.
WHAT'S NEXT, DR. Levitt? You'y
already warned us about the dangers of hot'
dogs (they're made from the filthiest parts-df
the pigs) and apple pies (too many preset
vatives). Are you going to announce that w.
can't eat baseballs, either?
I think you and your kind actually rig yabn
experiments just to torment the America.
public. I mean, take that alleged link betwee
coffee and cancer. You put Joe DiMagg1i4,.
Edith Hamilton, and Robert Young in a lat'
and have them force-feed scalding java to a
dozen rats and of course you're going to end
up with some very sick rodents.
I can see it now: You've already woun-6
ded the king of American breads; now you're
poised to attack the entire bread industry.
"Lifting hundred pound cases of Butternut.
found to cause hernias," the headlines will
read. "Consumption of 50 Pepperidge Farm
dinner rolls smeared with butter linked to
obesity," you will announce.
Well, damn you, I'll not abandon a friend as
faithful as Wonder Bread so easily. In fact,
I'm going to run right out and get some.
This, alas, is the final Witticisms for the
1980-81 school year. Howard might be
back in the fall. Then again, he might not.

The food server giggled. "You know white
bread causes ... "Then she stopped herself.
"CAUSES WHAT?" I asked, somewhat
concerned. The West Quad food service
workers are usually pretty good about war-
ning you of potentially dangerous foods, like
"City Chicken" or "French Dips."
"Oh, nothing," she grinned. "Just be sure
to get lots of napkins."
I was a little puzzled, but I went to sit down
and eat, my Daily tucked under my arm. So
here I was munching my delectable white
bread grilled cheese sandwiches and glancing
at my Daily when I noticed that the food ser-
ver and several co-workers had walked out

Hippo stew for women, too

1I4EV'E RIGUI1 STOP 11AEM~
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L AST SATURDAY ' the all-male
Explorers Club dined on fried
catfish nuggets, lion loaf, mountain
bear meatballs, yak patties, jellyfish,
moose mousse, and hippo stew. But by
next year, women can officially join
the club, take their place at the feast,
and gorge themselves on hippo stew as
well. Sunday the club, after 76 years,
finally voted to admit women.
The Explorers have definitely forged
into new territoryby admitting women
to their ranks. They have attempted
the-feat before,v but have never suc-
ceeded. As a result of this daring,
outlandish adventure, some members

of the board of directors predicted that
the club could lose up to 300 members.
Those casualties, however, should
prove insignificant to a club whose
members pride themselves on the
ability to explore new territory and
face new challenges. If those lily-
livered cowards can't live up to the
challenge of admitting women, then
good riddance to them.
Certainly women, such as astronaut
Kathryn Sullivan, who has flown
higher than any other woman, or
Sylvia Earle, who has dived deeper
than any man or woman, deserve a
spot in the elite club.

1/ 9 Arl f

LL1 L.

The loss of a friend

T HOSE OF US who work each
day in the Student Publications
Building suffered a painful loss last
weekend with the passing of Karl
Diener, administrative assistant in
our business office.
Karl, who was 70, had been
recuperating from a heart attack he
suffered several weeks ago. He was
planning to retire this summer, after
12 years of supervising business
operations for the Daily, the
Michiganensian, and the Gargoyle.
Students come and go through the
doors at 420 Maynard Street, but Karl
was always an enduring fixture, a

grandfather with a sharp memory to
come and visit years after you had left
the University.
Whether you wanted help with a tax
return or a refund from the Coke
machine, Karl was more than happy to
help. And we will always smile when
we recall Karl's quavering voice
relating stories of his rich past in
Reading, Pennsylvania.
For nearly a year we had been
eagerly planning a grand retirement
party for Karl this summer. We are
saddened that such a party will never
come to pass.

,Reagan
The Reagan administration's plan to save
hundreds of millions of dollars by sharply cut-
ting back public subsidies for passenger rail
service may end up costing taxpayers even
more than the savings.
To all appearances, the administration's
rational for lopping off 30 percent of Amtrak's
federal subsidy - which Amtrak President
Alan Boyd says will end all Amtrak service
outside the Boston-New York-Washington
Corridor - has failed to take into account the
many "hidden" costs of ending rail service.
As Amtrak's senior director for corporate
relations, Fletcher Prouty, explains it: "It's
like running a 200-room hotel that's losing
money and closing 20 of the rooms. You might
save a little money. But you still have to pay
for heating, upkeep, a desk clerk ... Well,
that's the problem. We have certain financial
obligations we have to take care of if Reagan
forces us to close everything down outside of
the corridor."
A recent Amtrak working paper reveals
that the rail service's irreducible costs in-
clude: $130 million in capital commitments;
$200 million for labor protection payments;
and $25 million for shutdown costs and
preserving and storing equipment. This $355
million in costs is already greater than the
$240 million that the administration would
like to shave off Amtrak's $853 million request
for 1982.
Prouty and other Amtrak officials question
why this money can't be spent for operating
Amtrak, rather than paying the costs of
closing it down.
Amtrak's President Boyd maintains that
the $240 million difference between Amtrak's
and Reagan's budget proposals will cost the
nation 90 percent of its passenger train stops,
97 percent of its route miles, 50 percent of its
ridership and 60 percent - or over $320
million - in revenues.
Critics of the cuts also point out that Am-
trak's entire 1982 budget request would be
spent in only 180 days by the military's pet
rail system for nuclear missiles - the MX -
which consumes $4.5 million daily in research
and development costs, though it hasn't been
built yet or approved by Congress.
Another cost of the Amtrak cuts, more
deeply hidden but equally significant, is the
petroleum that will be used to fuel other for-

By Mark Schapiro

ms of transportation that will have to be sub-
stituted for train travel. In Congressional
testimony, the administration has asserted
that the reduction of rail service will force
people to rely on more cost efficient modes of
transportation, such as buses and airplanes.
But passenger trains remain the most
energy-efficient form of transportation. An
18-car passenger train, pulled by two
locomotives, yields 450 passenger-miles-per-
gallon (PMG) of fuel. This compares to 250
pmg for inter-city buses; between 36 pmg and
62 pmg for passenger jets; and 20 pmg to 40
pmg for passenger cars. A Congressional
Budget Office report in 1979 estimated that
Amtrak had the potential for saving 873,000
barrels of oil per day by 1984 by attracting
people away from more inefficient modes of
transportation - a savings over 10 years
equivalent to the amount of crude oil
produced by the U.S. in 1975.
Also, the argument that private sector air
transport is more cost efficient than sub-
sidized rail service fails to account for the
fact that the airline industry itself is heavily
subsidized through the Federal Aviation Ad-
ministration, whose budget is nearly four
times that of Amtrak.
In drawing up the proposed cuts, Office of
Management and the Budget Director David
Stockman declared that he hopes to bring
Amtrak closer to its 1971 Congressional man-
date to. operate as a "profit-making cor-
poration." The administration contends that
as it is presently operated, Amtrak does not
provide nearly enough benefits in service for
the cost of its subsidy.
But some of Amtrak's most prominent sup-
porters - including Congressman James
Florio (D-NJ), whose House Subcommittee
on Commerce, Transportation and Tourism
will hold hearings on Amtrak's authorization
- maintain that passenger trains provide an
important public service and should not be
expected to make a profit.
A General Accounting Office report
released last year stated: "We do not believe
that Amtrak is, in a practical sense, a private,
for-profit corporation as was originally plan-

cuts halt A mtrak

I

ned by Congress in the Rail Passenger Ser-
vices Act." The GAO claims that Amtrak
should not be judged according to standards
set for private business, and recommends
that the federal government erase Amtrak's
debt to the Treasury.
Bruce Gwinn, counsel for Florio's sub-
committee, comments, "It's totally
unrealistic to expect that Amtrak could ever
cover costs out of revenue. No passenger rail
service in the world does that. All passenger
rail systems worldwide are subsidized."
The highly efficient train systems in
Europe are all government-owned, Gwinn
added, and cover only 30 to 50 percent of their
costs through revenues. Japan's popular rail
service costs the government more than five
times as much as Amtrak's annual budget.
Amtrak now covers 44 percent of its operating
costs through revenues; Reagan's budget
analysts would like to increase that con-
tribution to 80 percent by 1985 - a figure
which Boyd contends is impossible.
In April, Gwinn's subcommittee will hear a
compromise proposal that would grant Am-
trak $790 million in federal subsidies - less
than Amtrak's request and more than the
administration's. According to Gwinn, in=
stead of losing train service in the western
three-quarters of the nation, this proposal
would result in the elimination of only four
long-distance routes - those between
Washington D.C. and Chicago, Washington
D.C. and Cincinnati, Chicago and Texas, and
Seattle and Salt Lake City.
Ironically, according to the Department of
,Transportation's own figures, as the price of
gas has tripled over the last five years, and as
Amtrak's on-time record has risen to an all
time high of 90 percent, travel on some train
lines has increased up to 1,000 percent, and on
the system nationwide from 20 percent to 30
percent. Reservations during the holidays
and the summer are often booked weeks in
advance. Some 280 new train cars, costing
$300 million, have recently been delivered to
Amtrak to meet this increased demand.
Mark Schapiro is a correspondent for
the Pacific News Service, for which hew
wrote this article.

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Daily neglected Take Back the Night'

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To the Daily:
We found the cursory coverage
of the "Take Back the Night"
march and rally Friday, April 10,
to be highly unprofessional jour-
nalism. Relegating the story to
page seven and devoting to it only

groups, University groups, the
Ann Arbor police, and others to
meet bi-monthly to share
strategies concerning rape
prevention. 3. Factual reporting
of rapes and publication of rape
sites. 4. Establishment of a men's

the-next day, April 11. The Daily
also neglected to report this.
Furthermore, the article did
not reflect the flavor of the event
nor adequately acknowledge the
concerted effort put out by the
following organizations: The

thank these groups for the in
spiring rally and march. We
would hope that in the future the'
Daily will give proper coverage.
to important local events such as
this.
-Isabel Bradburn

UkU.L~~' I

a

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