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January 06, 1983 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-01-06

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4

OPINION
Page 4 Thursday, January 6, 1983 The Michigan Daily

Democrats in'84:

Open for auditions

4

By Jon Weiss
Ever since Ted Kennedy decided to.
withdraw from the upcoming presiden-
tial race, the media has been buzzing
about all the different candidates who
have a chance for the Democratic
nomination in 1984. I'm no political
know-it-all, but I can tell something's
wrong with the stiffs who now are being
pushed on us.
Take the Democrat most often men-
tioned as the heir apparent to his par-
ty's throne-"Mr. Charisma" himself,
Walter Mondale. He sounds about as
exciting as the woman who answers the
phone on "Student Locater."
JOHN GLENN is another front-
runner who doesn't exactly overflow
with personality. But he's from the
Midwest, he believes in God, and he
likes a good missile (which, for some
reason, makes him one of the most
idolized men in America).
Edmund Muskie is still around, but
he is very'ancient, and is prone to lose
his temper if you call him "Ed."
There's also Morris Vdall, a nice man
who does not mind if you call him
"Mo." Besides that, no one knows
anything about him except that he
always seems to be running for
president.
A FEWBOTHER Democrats have an-
nounced their craving for power, but
they also aren't the type you'd want to
invite to a party. In fact, the fun-loving,

yet always down-to-earth Billy Carter
would have an easier time getting elec-
ted than any of the Democratic hacks
running. Unfortunately, like Teddy,
Billy would rather not accept his par-
ty's nomination, for now.
This tragic situation leaves the
Democrats with some pretty mundane
presidential hopefuls, none of whom
stand much of a chance of beating
Reagan in 1984. As proud Americans,
we cannot stand by and let this happen.
The prospect of having to see Ronald
Reagan another four years demands
that something be done.
" How can the Democrats win back
the White House?" ,you ask.
It's simple. Just look at how the
Republicans did it in 1980. Most im-
portantly, they nominated a washed-up,
second-rate actor to be their candidate.
Although many thought him a
"noodlehead," he did have nice hair
and told cute stories. So we elected him
to be our president (at least that's how
my Aunt Sophie explained her vote).
IN PLAYING the part of Mr. Chief
Executive, the man from Hollywood
has turned in the performance of his
life. Although the economy has plum-
meted into ruins, he remains sur-
prisingly well-liked (my Aunt Sophie,
who I always use as my polling sample
of American public opinion, says, "At
least he looks like a president, not like
"Jimmywhatshisname").
Therefore, for the Democrats to win,
there is no alternative-they must find
their own real-life actor, somebody who

can outshine Nancy's histrionic hubbie
at his own act.
In order to help the party choose a
viable actor-candidate, I have made a
list of those most qualified for the role:
" Leonard Nimoy. No one can take
this guy seriously as anything but the
big-eared "Mr. Spock." This gives the
Democrats a golden opportunity to cash
in on his Vulcan image of intelligence
and rationality. Reagan's fear of
receiving a deadly nerve-pinch could
also give Nimoy the crucial edge in a
debate confrontation between the two.
* Don Knotts. This mindless has-been
has played second-in-command to Andy
Griffith for too long. "Barney" is now
trying to land a dramatic series with
star billing. If he gets the nod, look for
Ron Howard as his running mate.
" Charles Bronson. Watch out! This
law-and-order candidate fields a
healthy crop of hair. If he knocks 'em
dead in the primaries, he might blow
Reagan away.
* Charles Nelson Reilly. He's a
sleeper-one of those "funnymen" who
are always on Johnny Carson or in
some game show, though you can never
quite figure out why. What did he do?
How did he become Charles Nelson
Reilly? And why? These are the same
questions we ask of Ronald Reagan.
Popular mandate will demand that
these performers try out for the
nomination in the primaries. After-
ward, the Denlocratic delegates will

announce their leading man under the
convention spotlight, leaving the party
big-wigs with the job of selecting his
understudy.
The Democratic directors then must
balance the ticket by casting a charac-
ter actor who can play to a different
audience than the star.
IF, FOR instance, the Democrats
find they need the support of
prepubescents, very short men, or very
annoying women who are always
saying, "Oh, he's so cute!", the
irrepressible Gary Coleman would
make excellent vice presidential
material. Should he spurn the offer,
Rodney Allen Rippy and Mason Reese
are just waiting to make their
comebacks.
Or if they want, instead, to get all
those big goofy types from the South out
to the polls, they can just ask "Gomer
Pyle," played by Jim Nabors, to be on
the ticket.
Finally, if the Democrats are
desperate and pollsters say they need
the entire goofy vote across the country
(estimated to be 27.3 percent of the
electorate), they do not have to lower
themselves to the dirty tricks of
Watergate. As a last resort, they can
make "Gomer" their presidential can-
didate, and get "Jethro" from "The
Beverly Hillbillies" (no one even knows
his real name) to be his vice president.
It may be about the best the party can
do without Billy Carter.
Weiss is an LSA senior.

Coleman and Bronson: A winning ticket?

I --

Edidana nt a
Edited and managed by students ot The University of Michigan

Wasserman

1

/ol. XCIII, No. 78

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

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4

ANN ARBOR landlords shouldn't
really mind the April city ballot
proposal for, setting minimum in-
sulation standards in rental housing.
After all, they're used to giving studen-
ts the bare minimum of just about
everything.
Much of Ann Arbor's housing-
particularly in the student ghettos-is
notoriously energy inefficient. Hun-
dreds of houses and apartment
buildings were built before energy
prices skyrocketed and conservation
became so crucial.
Of course, inadequate insulation in
rental housing isn't exclusively the
fault of the city's landlords. When
students choose their housing in the
relatively balmy months of March and
April, they're prone to forget about
checking for such items as storm win-
dows and automatically adjusting
thermostats. If they're used to dorm
life, in fact, they're prone not to even
be familiar with the concept of a
heating bill. But when the winter chill
turns what seemed like such a char-
'ming old house into a refrigerated
health hazard, students aren't likely to
forget how important proper insulation
Is.
But the members of the Coalition for
petter Housing, a local tenants' rights
group, have collected enough
signatures in a petition drive to help
change all that. Because of their effor-
ts, the city's April ballot will feature a
weatherization proposal that would
require landlords to provide such

necessities as a basic level of in-
sulation, weatherstripping, and
caulking. It would provide, in short, all
the things that add up to savings in
energy and tenant dollars.
With the current improvement in
rental market conditions, now is a par-
ticularly good time, from the tenant
perspective, to pass such a proposal.
Although landlords will have to invest
more money in their buildings to meet
the new standards, they won't be in a
very good position to pass these costs
on to tenants because of the current
high vacancy rate and sluggish
economy.
The potential for getting out a strong
student vote on the proposal, however,
seems somewhat discouraging. Even
though the proposal will greatly
benefit student tenants, the coalition
members found that the three most
successful days of their petition drive
came, ironically enough, during winter
break, when most students had
already left town.
The prodigious efforts of the
Coalition for Better Housing have kept
this landmark proposal alive up to
now. And its members plan to continue
their campaign to inform students and
register them to vote.
But unless students overcome their
usual voter apathy on city elections,
the weatherization plan may be
defeated. If it fails, students will find
themselves back in the same old lan-
dlord/tenant relationship. Once again,
they'll be left out in the cold.

i

4

New Secret Service

plan:@

Protection or oppression-?

I

By Seth Rosenfeld
Under pressure to better protect the
president ever since the attempted
assassination March 30, 1981, by John Hin-
ckley Jr., the Secret Service and the FBI have
proposed a precedent-setting surveillance
system that is drawing fire from civil liber-
tarians.
The proposed system would authorize use of
the FBI's National Crime Information Center
(NCIC), a massive computer network of
64,000 state, local and federal criminal justice
agencies, to monitor law-abiding citizens, if
the Secret Service considered them a threat
to the president.
The Secret Service claims the proposed
program, which could go into effect early
this year without congressional approval, is
a "potentially valuable tool" in protecting the
president and other protectees from people
like Hinckley, Sara Jane Moore, and Sirhan
Sirhan.
But some law enforcement officials say the
plan would be "worthless." And civil rights
advocates compare it to the FBI's political
surveillance in the 1970s and charge that it
would be the first step toward using NCIC as
an intelligence tool-something for which it
was never intended.
To provide "preventative protection" to the
president, the Secret Service currently main-
tains a computer list of 25,000 potential
assassins. The agency focuses on a smaller
group of "dangerous individuals" who
allegedly have threatened the president.
Every three months, Secret Service agents
interview them, gathering information on
their psychological, criminal, and political
backgrounds. As of last April, the service
listed 382 "dangerous individuals," 257 of
whom were confined to prisons or mental in-
stitutions, while 125 had no outstanding
warrants and were "at larga "

INFORMATION."
The message would instruct the officer to
make no arrest based on this information. It
also would give the subject's physical
description and a notation that the service
considers them "mentally unstable" or "ar-
med and dangerous." Thus, the Secret Ser-
vice could monitor the activities of people it
deems dangerous, even if they are law-
abiding citizens who have committed no
crime.
In the aftermath of the Hinckley attempt,
the plan gained swift approval from the FBI,
the attorney general and the Treasury Depar-
tment, of which the Secret Service is an arm.
But on Capitol Hill the plan hit a snag. In a let-
ter to Secret Service Director John Simpson,
Rep. Don Edwards (D-Calif.) expressed
"grave concern" about criteria for listing
people and what data would be collected and
disseminated on them.
"While your objective is obviously well in-
tentioned. . . it may have the unintended ef-
fect of creating an unfavorable precedent
without the careful review and analysis we
prefer," wrote Edwards, a former FBI agent
who chairs the Subcommittee on Civil and
Constitutional Rights.
Secret Service spokespersons declined .to
discuss such questions with a reporter, but
Justice Department memos described how
the service determines who qualifies as a
"dangerous individual."
First, the service sifts through the more
than 25 reports of threats it receives each day
from "numerous and varied means." If the
threat was written, or reported by a reliable
source, two agents interview the person who
allegedly made the threat. If the agents
determine he or she could carry it out, they
send an evaluation of "dangerous" to their
field supervisor. If the supervisor agrees, the

of privacy and improper arrests or deten-
tion." Other observers charge that the plan
would turn NCIC inside out-from a service
which provides law agencies around the coun-
try with listings of stolen cars, missing guns,
and people wanted for serious crimes, into a
centralized surveillance system using those
agencies to funnel information to the FBI and
Secret Service.
"It would be the first time NCIC could be
used as an intelligence tool, the first time
NCIC could be used to list people charged
with no crime," commented one
congressional staffer.
The American Civil Liberties Union's
legislative director, Jerry Berman, called the
"dangerous individuals" list "open-ended."
"The files are full of derogatory infor-
mation, unsubstantiated allegations and
charges," Berman said. "We think it would
be very dangerous to have that information
floating around to policemen all over the
country and letting them feed back into the
system."
Berman and other observers compared the
proposal to the FBI's unauthorized use of
NCIC as a part of its unconstitutional and
illegal COINTELPRO to "disrupt and
neutralize" lawful protest during the early
1970s.
Secret Service claims that use of NCIC
would have several benefits, allowing agents
to keep closer track of people on its dangerous
individuals list, providing immediate notice
of their involvement in "criminal activity
which could be related to protectees," and
alerting officers that the person they are
dealing with may be unstable or armed.
But even law enforcement officials are at
odds over whether the system would make the
president any safer. The service admits that
out of the last five attempts to assassinate a
president, only one would-be assassin, Lynet-
te "Squeaky" Fromme, was on its list of
dangerous individuals, and she managed to

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