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September 21, 1993 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-09-21

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 21, 1993

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420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed
by students at the
University of Michigan

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the majority opinion of the Daily editorial board.
All other cartoons, articles and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

Sharp s Toast by Jim Lasser
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AN jetC~f
TA 0,0
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Drugs, religion offer an escape


Religion continues along its,
precarious spiral downwards in the
United States as more and more of
our educated colleagues strive to
find something tangible to place
their faith in. While most students
can say with confidence that their
grandparents considered
themselves to be religious, precious
few can attest that they too believe
in the existence of an omnipotent
entity. There has to be something to
fill this great void because human
beings need an escape from reality.
Drugs serve this purpose.
Many people blame drugs and
the introduction of a somewhat
mainstream drug culture as one of
the main reasons for the decline in
religious faith, saying that with the
influx of illicit substances came a
disturbing lack of responsibility.
But science and time have worn the
words of the scriptures thin. The
Bible can now be interpreted to
mean nearly anything, from
defending racist viewpoints to
denouncing homosexuality. It has,
in effect, become outdated.
Lester is an RC junior and a
member of the Daily Editorial Page
Daily misses mark
on Cable Act
To the Daily:
Your editorial on the 1992
Cable Act ("Cable Coercion," 9/15/
93) misses the mark entirely by
assuming that this legislation
should have lowered cable rates.
While this may be the case for
some, most will experience cost
increases under the new rate
structure formulated by the Federal
Communications Commission.
Former President Bush
recognized this when he vetoed the
act, claiming it was a bad deal for
consumers. Yet, Congress overrode
his veto. Now, you would like to
exonerate Congress from all
responsibility in this matter. How
Furthermore, you attempt to
assign blame to the cable
companies alone, who you say have
"stubbornly refused" to pay ABC,
CBS, NBC, and Fox for carriage of
their signals. But in so doing you
have ignored the fact that these
local broadcasters have benefitted
immensely from this arrangement
with cable companies, which has
provided them with better reception
as well as access to fringe markets
that they otherwise would have
# lacked. This larger viewing -
audience has let do increased
advertising revenues and greater
profitability for these local
Given the poor quality of this
piece of legislation and its inability
to protect the consumer, how can
one possibly relieve Congress of its

Having faith initially appealed
to such a broad expanse of people
for many reasons. One of the main
ones was, and still is, is that it is
easier to place blame on the broad
shoulders of a ubiquitous being
than to focus it inwards. Human
beings do not like to take
responsibility for their mistakes.
The similarity between drugs
and religion gets more evident with
each passing day. The promise of
an afterlife as a reward for pious
behavior and the idea of
forgiveness for one's sins leave
people with the hope that there is
something to look forward to that is
better than reality. Prayer, holy
water and the gentle soothing
words of a priest in confession all
serve to help people feel better
about what the future holds.
Religion provides a different
mindset, something to believe in
that is separate from reality. Drugs,
in effect, do the same thing.
Caffiene relieves the tired feeling
we all have after a long night. Pills
and other types of medication
relieve painful maladies and
nicotine serves as a relaxant after a
big meal or a tense situation. We no
longer look to the heavens for a
cure, we look in the bathroom

cabinet behind the mirror.
Although illegal drugs have to
be placed in a different category
than the over the counter types,
they still warrant consideration in
this argument. Pot, coke, acid,
whatever, when it comes down to it
they all serve as an escape from
reality. Whether drunk or stoned,
we all act in a manner that we
would not and could not if we were
sober. As with religion, drugs give
us a scapegoat for our actions. It is
easy to blame the alcohol if we do
som ;thing dangerous or stupid. Just
as easy, in fact, as saying that it
was the will of God.
I am not condoning the use of
drugs, nor am I saying that religion
is wrong. I am simply pointing out
that there is a strong correlation
between the two. It is ironic that
most people with a strong religious
base are anti-drugs and most people
who enjoy using drugs are atheists.
Understand that everyone has their
own way of dealing with reality.
Religion and drugs are two of the
most popular choices, but reading,
writing and a host of other hobbies
can also serve the same purpose.
Next time you reach for a little
white pill remember, reality is a


to disparage Native Americans,
then there are numerous other pro
and college teams with nicknames
that are equally hurtful to other
ethnic and/or social groups that
should be boycotted as well.
For instance, as a Swedish-
American, I am greatly offended by
the Minnesota Vikings - to me
that is just as offensive as the
Atlanta Braves. An Irish-American
person (particularly one who is a
pacifist) is likely to be distraught
over the Notre Dame Fighting
Irish. Similarly, an individual of
Greek ancestry is bound to be
annoyed by the Michigan State
Spartans and the University of
Southern California Trojans. For
that matter, vegetarians, Humane
Society supporters and
environmentalists concerned about
endangered species must be upset
about the Wolverines, Tigers,
Lions, Bears, etc.
I also feel that a number of
proper names could be included on
your list as well. My parents clearly
victimized me by giving me the
first name of Peter and the middle
name John. I was traumatized by
the many penis and toilet jokes
directed at me as a small child (at
least until I traumatized the faces of
my tormentors a few times). I am
sure anyone named Richard can
understand my plight.
What's the point of all this? If
you don't understand now, you
probably never will.
Ann Arbor
Schooling not perfect,
l..4 na n ill.akIe

were problems.
The current system is based on
two factors: a property assessment
to determine the state equalized
value (SEV), which is theoretically
half of the true cash value of the
property, and a millage rate for the
school district determined by
voters. Assessments in Michigan,
except for lakefront property,
which has a different market and
therefore is generally assessed too
low, are fair. If you believe your
property to be assessed unfairly,
appeal to the Michigan Tax
Tribunal. If you are unhappy with
their decision, move on to the
Board of Review. This appeal
system keeps assessments in check.
The biggest problem with the
current system of taxation is the
millage rate, which is determined
by vote. If you feel that the millage
in your district is too high, don't
vote for it. Keep an eye on the local
school board's budget, teacher's
salaries, etc. Too often the school
budget is allowed free reign while
property tax bills rise and taxpayers
start to get agitated, as was the case
in Kalkaska earlier this year.
Kalkaska's entire school board
should have been impeached for
their decisions. Voters in Kalkaska
have let the school board know that
they are unhappy, and the response
has been to hold the children's
education "hostage" unless
taxpayers are willing to shell out.
School funding doesn't
necessarily need to be cut, but
budgets need to be better
supervised. Teachers don't need 7-
to-8 percent raises annually when
the cost of living only rises 3 or 4
percent. As for school finance

Rep. Ford speaks out on NAFTA

Dear Mr. President:
I am a traditional Democrat -
and proud of it. I enthusiastically
supported your presidential candi-
dacy. As Chairman of the Committee
on Education and Labor, I have
worked tirelessly to pass your do-
mestic agenda. I must oppose you,
however, on the North American Free
Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and I
will work actively to defeat this un-
balanced and unfair agreement nego-
tiated by the Bush administration.

widely believed that GM did so to
take advantage of low-cost, Mexi-
can-made auto parts whose manufac-
ture will increase underNAFTA. Four
thousand of my constituents have been
laid off, and the federal job programs
that promise to retrain have too little
funding to meet the need. My con-
stituents cannot afford any more of
NAFTA's "benefits."
NAFTA was a bad deal from the
start. Free trade between the United
States, a developed, hogh-wage
economy, and Mexico, a developing,

In fact, it would weaken our negotiat-
ing strength. The treaty would limit
U.S. trade sanctions for failure to
enforce labor rights to $20 million;
current law imposes no monetary limit
on sanctions. Second, the United
States would give up the right to
impose sanctions if Mexico failed to
guarantee its citizens minimum labor
protections, including the right to form
free trade unions, labor protections,
bargain collectively, and strike.
Further, under the supplemental,
each country does nothing more' than


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