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October 14, 1980 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-10-14

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OPINION'

M~~6 I~T~L~I6e~JT

Page 4

Tuesday, October 14, 1980

The Michigan Daily

9

11 3iIJigan ai1
Edited/and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCI, No. 35

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Tiscliand mental health

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T HEY FEED them, they take them
to the toilet, and they make sure
they have enough sleep. That's all they-
can afford to do. Adds one official:
"Recreation is out the window."
"They" are not animals in the
Detroit Zoo. "They" are 10,000
children and adults in Michigan's 23
mental health facilities-facilities
which are becoming extremely
stressful and dangerous as state men-'
tal health budgets are being slashed.
One out of every seven jobs in the
state's mental health institutions has
been eliminated since June, and the ef-
fects of those medical and supervisory
staff reductions are now beginning to
surface. Aggressive acts by residents
against other residents have increased
from 758 in April to 976 in July; injuries at
some hospitals have doubled; com-
plaints by residents that their rights
were violated because of insufficient
care or treatment rose from 627 in Apr-
il to 822 in July.
And those are only the reported in-
cidents; officials estimate hundreds
more go unreported.
Patient-staff ratios now range from
1-16 or 1-20 in the daytime up to 1-32 on
night shifts-ratios double what they
have been in the past.
These health and safety problems
are the result of only a small reduc-
tion (less than one percent) of the men-
tal health budget. It doesn't take much
imagination to picture what would oc-
cur if that budget were slashed by 40,
5Q,60, or more percent.
t precisely such drastic cuts can
be expected if voters approve ballot

Proposal D-the Tisch plan-in about
three weeks. "If Tisch passes, we're
anticipating being blown out of the
water," said Dr. Frank Ochberg,
director of the Department of Mental
Health.
Of course, warning our readers
about the perils of the Tisch proposal is
actually preaching to the converted:
Practically every voter in any way
connected with the University realizes
the devastation Tisch will wreak upon
higher education in the state, as well as
upon all public services. 'he quick-fix
Proposal D would roll back property
taxes to 1978 levels, slash them in half,
and require the state to reimburse in-
dividual localities for the lost
revenues. That reimbursement would
require a 60 percent cut in all state
services. The University, to even at-
tempt to maintain its quality in the
face of such drastic cuts, would
probably have to seek a tripling of
tuition rates-that is, if two-thirds of
the state's voters would approve such a
tuition hike (the Tisch plan requires
such an impossibly, high voter ap-
proval figure for any increases in taxes
or fees).
Because most of us in the University
community have been converted, we
must now try to convince others across
the state. A recent poll shows the
Tisch plan would likely be approved if
the election were held now.
It will be no easy fight. To an unem-
ployed autoworker, a 50 percent tax
cut sounds pretty good-especially if
he or she has no relatives in mental
hospitals.

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Holy U IEFI
A brieflook at childhood

-, - I

As Halloween approaches and I begin my.
search for a really good Green Hornet or
Spiderman costume at K-Mart, I am remin-
ded of Halloweens past-and those damned
orange boxes.
If you went to most any religious school-or
even some public schools-as a child, you
know which orange boxes I mean: UNICEF
boxes. (It stands for United Nations Irrational

Witticisms
By Howard Witt

Rights for the Right, too

T ELEVISION EVANGELIST
Jerry Falwell has much of the,
country up in arms over his conser-
vative rhetoric in general, and his
political group, Moral Majority, in par-
ticular. The new religious-political
group has been making quick progress
in gaining widespread support, in-
eluding that of some who have never
voted before.
In response to the growing respect
Falwell and his followers are earning
in political circles, some opponents
have charged that the Moral Majority
has instituted " an unconstitutional
religious test for candidate approval.
Falwell has, in fact, publicized
political candidates' stances on
'moral issues."
r\

But Falwell~s band, like any other
special interest group, clearly has
every right to make it known how well
political aspirants measure up to its
religious ideals-even if those ideals
aredrawn from religious sources. The
Constitution's "religious test" clause
clearly refers to a state-imposed
religion requirement, and not to the
platform of a private organization.
However loathsome the
evangelicals' litany of Bible-waving
ethical beliefs may be, the First
Amendment protects their right to
make them heard and to wield influen-
ce when possible, just like the rest of
us.
May God only let them fail.
1/
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Childrens Emergency Fund, or something
like that.) You were to take the box on your
trick-or-treat rounds trying to collect change
for starving children in the Third World. (On
the North Shore of Chicago, we didn't know,
where the Third World was, so we collected
for Skokie, Ill.) We dared not come back to
our religious mentors without a full box of'
coins, lest we be condemned to a week
making fingerpaintings of the lamp that bur-
ned for eight days.
OF COURSE, IT'S one of, the lessons of
childhood that filling, a UNICEF boxand
filling a trick-or-treat bag are mutually ex-
clusive propositions. It was enough trouble
coaxing a stale Maryjane from some of my
neighbors, let alone a dime.
So I opted for the sensible strategy. While
my parents were busy outside protecting the
house from eggs, shaving cream, and assor-
ted Halloween projectiles, I emptied into my
orange box most of the dimes my mother had
set aside to give to other young missionaries.
I then trotted off happily to fill my bag with
sugary sweets, hoping I wouldn't get stuck

with an-ugh-apple, or something else good
for me.a
My mother never said anything to me about
her vanishing change, but my religious school
teacher once asked me how I had managed to
collect a box full of dimes exclusively-no
nickels, quarters, or pennies.
I REALLY WAS a resourceful child. I
solved my Valentine's Day dilemma almost
as easily as my Halloween problem. In my
grammar school, valentines were required
reading-everyone had to give them, and
everyone was supposed to get them.
Days before February 14, we would fashion
heart-shaped valentine receptacles out of
vanilla folders that were attached to the front
of our desks. On the appointed day, everyone
scurried around dropping valentines into the
folders and then compared how many they
got. I was never very popular, and without a
little help, my folder was always rather thin.
So, being the ingenious child that I was, I
created a special valentine subsidy for
myself-on February 13, I composed 50 of the
most salacious valentines a third-grader ever
compiled. The next day, while the most
popular boy in the class boasted about all the
"You are cutes" and "I like yous"' he
received, I turned some heads with "Meet me
under the jungle gym" and "I just go wild
watching you play dodge-ball."
I'M KIND OF on a childhood kick recently,
trying to see how many bits of trivia I can
pluck from the obscurity of my childhood.
Did you ever see a "Clutch Cargo" cartoon?
For the benefit of those who haven't, just pic-
ture a crudely scrawled drawing of a face
with actual human lips moving where the car-
toon mouth should be. It was perhaps the first
attempt at an anatomically correct cartoon
ever recorded. Thank God the idea died. With
today's prime time TV shows being tran-
slated into cartoons for the Saturday mor-

ning set, imagine what might be done with a
cartoon version of "Charlie's Angels."
What about Batman? Everyone remembers
that camp '60s hero. There was the Batcave,
where a special Batcomputer was set up for
every episode to analyze just about anything
Or those infamous utility belts, which always
happened to have just the right gadget
available to stop a buffalo stampede or
escape from a giant sno-cone vat.
AND IF YOU think naming the Seven
Dwarfs is difficult (they're Dopey, Sleepy,
Sneezy, Doc, Wretch, Sleazy, and Burnout,
in case you're wracking your brain), just try
to name every villain against whom Bat-
man ever fought. You're bound to forget
Clock King (played by Victor Buono, tho
same actor who played King Tut).
What's really fun is touwatch a Batman
episode today, as an adult. You'll pick. up
some fairly intriguing double entendres that
you probably missed as a child. (Remember
when Robin exciaimed, "Holy Pudenda,
Batman!"?)
Was there someone in your school who
could turn his or her eyelids inside out? Oh,
how I used to envy people with that skill-you
just knew anybody who could do that would
someday rule the world. Of course, they could
never wear contact lenses. 0
And then there was that most unique of
toys, "SixFinger," or something along those
lines. This was a pink (supposedly flesh-
colored), plastic, finger-size dart gun inspired
by a spy weapon used in "The Man from
UNCLE," I think. You held it in your palm
and used it to annoy your mother while she
was cooking dinner.
Or to extort dimes for your orange UNICEF
box.
Howard Witt is the co-editor of The
Daily's Opinion page. His column appears
every Tuesday.

A new air pollution-indoors

SAN FRANCISCO - Indoor air
pollution, especially in new
energy-efficient homes and of-
fices, is making many Americans
sick and posing a health hazard to
countless others.
The hazard is growing more
serious with the growing use of
man-made building materials,
some of which emit harmful
vapors, and with energy conser-
vation measures that reduce
ventilation.
"BUILDINGS today-new
buildings in particular-are
causing people to get sick," said
Assemblyman Floyd Mori,
chairman of a joint legislative
subcommittee holding hearings
on the subject in California this
fall.
"Most of us spend most of our
lives indoors," he said. "Indoor
air pollution is one of the major
problems we will face in the
future."
The problem has become
something of a headache itself for
citizens who have discovered that
no official agency is in charge
and no standards exist.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL
Protection Agency is responsible
for outdoor air quality. The
National Institute for Oc-
cupational Safety and Health and
the OeenatnnalSafty nd

By Rasa Gustaitus

Most involve formaldehyde in
construction materials, such as
particle board and indoor
plywood, and in urea for-
maldehyde foam insulation.
Other contaminants include
nitrogen oxide and carbon
monoxide, which have been found
in the air of some offices and
homes at higher concentrations
than what is permissible by the
Clean Air Act for the outdoors.
FORMALDEHYDE vapors
leak into the air when the tem-
perature rises and they combine.
with other contaminants into a
mix that can cause headaches,
respiratory irritations, watery
eyes, skin irritations, nausea,
diarrhea and heart problems.
On September 29, Priscilla
Ouchida of Sacramento testified
before a California legislative
subcommittee about the way her
new home has turned into a
sickening nightmare.
Her husband, an engineer, took
care to include all possible
energy-conserving features in the
house, including weather strip-
ping, ceiling and wall insulation
and double-glass windows. Win-
dow space was reduced and
cahinet snace exnanded.

symptoms get worse.
"It's like being allergic to my
house," said Mrs. Quchida.
WHEN /SHE heard about
troubles others were having with
formaldehyde vapors, she
arranged to have the air in her
.home tested. Formaldehyde was
leaking from cabinets and
flooring, which were constructed
of particle board.
"We really don't know what to
do," she said. "We want to have
children but we're afraid; we've.
heard of birth defects. And we
don't feel we can sell because
we'd have to tell the buyer what's
wrong with it. Estimates for
replacing the cabinets and
flooring under the rugs have been
$15,000-$25,000, and we have ex-
tended ourselves already in
buying the house."
Other than appealing to the
builder or suing him, the
Ouchidas seem to have no
recourse. No public agency has
set standards for permissible
levels of formaldehyde in homes.
MANY OFFICE workers who
are chronically .tired, have
headaches, eye irritations, and
respiratory problems have a
similar dilemma.

A

Massachusetts are among states
that have begun to take steps
toward dealing with the problem
by requiring cautionary labels on*
construction materials that con-
tain formaldehyde resins. Min-
nesota also is one of the few
states that provides testing of air
within homes when a physician
suspegts formaldehyde vapor
might be damaging a reident's
health.
SO FAR, NO agency has
required testing of products at*
the point of manufacture to
assure they will not pollute the
indoor air.
But Laura Oatman, research
scientist in the Minnesota Depar-
tnent of Health, believes that
such testing-though an impor-
tant first step-would not com-
pletely solve the problem,
because so many substances,
combining in so many ways, are
involved.
The most effective method to
prevent trouble, according to
some scientists, is by making
sure that air flow is not
diminished to a danger spot in the
quest of energy efficiency.
The two goals-healthy indoor
air and energy savings-"are not
incompatible," according to Hal-
Levin at the College of Environ-

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