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February 02, 1994 - Image 23

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-02-02

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0 0 .

Who Makes
The Grade?
Many political groups are
speaking for our generation,
but just how are they doing?
Here's a report card.
By Eht Lee Edto 'S Flwsp

Y OU'ye seen them at your cam-
pus' activities table. You've seen
them on the news and in maga-
zines. They're the ones who
talk about getting involved and
making a difference.
But before you sign up, take a look at
this report card for six general-interest
campus political groups who want our
time and money. Not just a random A+
here or a C- there, but somewhat-sci-
entifically determined grades for each
of them, based on accessibility, level of
activity, organization, membership,
representation and funding source. If
you want Washington to listen to you
- if you're looking for a departure
from your parents' politics - then take
a look at who makes the grade. Here
are profiles of the groups that are seri-
ous and the groups that are into lip ser-
vice when it comes to making a differ-
For a complete explanation of each
group's grade, see the chart on the next
Lea...or Leave
Focus: Deficit reduction, job cre-
ation, education spending
Founded: 1992
Membership: 100 campuses. They
claim 450,000 members, but they
count inquiries and student-body
membership (through student
governments) in this figure.
Funding: Individual donations,
corporate sponsorship and mem-
bership contributions. No dues.
You've got to hand it to these peo-
ple. They have nerve. Who else,
in the 1992 elections, would ask
Congressional candidates to take
this deficit-reduction pledge: halve the
deficit by 1996, or leave office?
Naturally, they didn't find too many
takers for their pledge - only 101 can-
didates signed up, and of those, only 18
were elected. And don't hold your

breath waiting for the a
elected candidates to make
good on this promise.z
But at least they're doing
Lead...or Leave is the
gatecrasher of American
politics. Loud and pushy,
the members prefer de-
monstrations and media
stunts over niceties like let-
ter-writing campaigns and
round-table meetings.
They've organized defi-
cit teach-ins" at scattered
universities, which brought
government leaders and
students together to dis-
cuss the debt. And with the sponsorship
of Scholastic, Inc., they've also circulat-
ed educational materials about the
deficit to 6,000 high schools.
But they're best known for things like
demonstrating at the American
Association of Retired Persons head-
quarters last February (against costly
entitlement programs) and their July
march on Washington to "dis the
And on Oct. 20, 1993, Lead...or
Leave took their message - "don't bal-
ance the budget on the backs of young
people" - to Virginia universities,
helping organize simultaneous rallies to
protest state cuts in higher education.
The rally at Virginia Tech drew 4,500
people, according to university police.
Recently, in keeping with their ballsy
approach with national leaders, the
founders of Lead...or Leave and a small
group of reporters and Washington
administrative staffers developed what
founder Rob Nelson calls "The Plan"
- a strategy to, by the year 2000, elim-
inate deficit spending, spend an addi-
tional $100 billion on areas like educa-
tion, job training and repairing the
infrastructure, and not raise income
taxes. Nelson, a 29-year-old graduate of
Principia College in Illinois and Tufts
U. in Massachusetts, insists that this
strategy - which has yet to be released

- is possible if our leaders Inake cuts in
defense and entitlement funding.
In addition, Nelson says that by
February, members should receive a list
of specific policies favoring young peo-
ple (such as using the Social Security
fund surplus to finance low-interest
loans for students). Members can pre-
sent those policies they agree with to
their local Congressional members for
Whatever Lead...or Leave's faults
may be, timidity isn't one of them. But
until they produce these proposals, they
can't be credited with looking toward
Furthermore, although they claim to
be nonpartisan, Nelson says that
Lead...or Leave receives a large share of
donations from Democratic individuals
and institutions. And, in their first year,
they took thousands of dollars from
independent presidential candidate
Ross Perot. (Although some magazine
articles have cited the number as at
least $42,000, Nelson insists that it is
only $12,000.)
What you'll be doing if you join:
Organizing demonstrations. Pulling
media stunts and awareness events. If
they deliver on their policy list, you can
give your representatives and senators
something to chew on.
Grade: C+ Lead...or Leave is active

and energetic on the national front, but
they're still better at staging media
events than working toward solutions.
For more information on Lead...or
Leave, call (202) 857-0808 or 1-800-
99CHANG. E-mail address:
Third Millennium
Focus: "Deficit reduction, the
environment and fighting urban
overty" - co-founder Jonathan
Founded: July 1993
Membership: 15 national chapters,
including two on campuses. They
estimate 1,000 dues-paying mem-
Funding: Non-politically affiliated,
private donations and $9 member
dues. They're also considering
taking grants from nonpartisan
educational foundations.
~Nu haven't seen them on your
campus yet, and maybe you never
will. But you've probably seen
them in Time, Newsday or any
major city newspaper. Like Lead...or
Leave, publicity is their specialty.
In yet another attempt to wrest
Washington's attention from our par-

D avtona is so-so. Fort Lauderdale is pleasant.
Canctin? Bahamas? Nice weather, but
you're looking for a change of hemisphere.
Those destinations are fine for some, but
you've been planning this break for some time. It's
your ultimate break - time to ditch that old flan-
nel shirt for a fancy-shmancy silk one.
So cash the financial aid check, sell the VW, find
out the going rate for plasma and call the travel
This newfound wealth will make you the upper
crust of the upper crust. Your dough flows like
cheap wine and you're not afraid to spread it
around. (Here's a C-note for your trouble my
good man, the McNuggets were magnifiquei)
While everyone else is cramming all 40 of their
friends into a subcompact, you'll be departing Los
Angeles International Airport at 8:30 p.m. on
Friday. Bring those old issues of Poseur magazine
you've been meaning to read, because you won't
touch down in Cairns, Australia, until Sunday at
7:20 a.m.
You've lost a day, so the jet lag is going to be
pretty intense. Better wait a while to unload your
scuba equipment so you don't get the bends. But
once you're ready, hit the Great Barrier Reef.
Then pop over to Green Island, a coral cay
where you can feed the fish and check out 400
varieties of coral. A glass-bottomed boat will trans-
port you into the coral kingdom without getting
your expensive shoes wet.
Being part of the nouveau riche, you're also envi-
ronmentally trendy and should check out the rain
forest which surrounds Cairns.
At night you're in Pell Grant Paradise, taking in
everything as you devour the Australian drinking
and dining experience. You didn't get rich without
knowing a good deal when you see one - beers
are only about a buck.
After a prosperous night's rest,
unwind on the beach while you
wait for the limousine to the air-
port. Then it's off to Fiji.
You'll depart from Cairns at
1:45 p.m. to catch a connecting
flight to Sydney and arrive at
Nadi, Fiji, a little after midnight.
The morning ferry will cost you
about $20 American (you drop

... Realistic Options
Spring break in America.
Discerning students know it can be
the apex of higher education.
Resort area locals either loathe it or
laugh madly with dollar-sign eye-
Since it's a real drag finding out
that your spot has rolled up the red carpet when you were just
about to cross the city limits, U. has dug up the haps on spring
break locales, in the interest of shameless hedonistsnationwide:
CANCUN, MEXICO: One of the best break spots if you've got the
dough. Excellent snorkeling, good shopping, and a strip of
clubs, restaurants and bars several miles long make it a multi-
flavored Mexican getaway Package deals are probably the best
bet, as airfare alone will cut pretty deeply into your cash
Added bonuses (boni, bonum?): There is no minimum drink-
ing age and public consumption of alcohol is allowed. "People
were offering us beers when we stepped off the airplane," says
Todd Kuimjian, a senior at Virginia Tech. "And in one bar guys
jumped on your table and poured margaritas down your throat
wile everybody else wen nus."
that bill like Monopoly money) - On a more sober note, he suggests bringing along
and will deliver you and your enough pesos for parasailing and jet skiing, two of
designer luggage to Beach- Cancn's most popular activities.
comber Island.
The Beachcomber Island A K PANAMA CITY, FLA.: The Sunshine State's newly crowned
Resort is the sole hotel and is the capital of sinful delight, taking up the slack for Daytona
focal point of all activity for you a and Fort Lauderdale. Week-long hotel accommodations
and the other 200 or so inhabi- ' are only about $130, but tan lines aren't guaranteed: It
tants. You'll stay at one of the 4 may still be a little chilly in the early weeks of March.
opulent private bure (cottages) "It's fun, but it gets sort of strange sometimes," says
beach front. Expenses be damned! You rent one Tina Smith, a junior at the U. of Florida. "If you don't mind the
for yourself and another for your luggage. pickups and cut-off jeans, you'll be all right."
Remember to throw down some bucks on sun- Go before the locals decide the cash just isn't worth the
screen, because the Fiji islands record the highest debauchery.
sunshine factor in the Pacific.
After a long lounge in the sun, you'll feast on LAKE HAVASU, ARIZ.: Good weather and innumerable diversions
kakoda (a local fish steamed in coconut cream and have made Havasu the West's hot spot. (That, and Sonny
lime), raurau (a taro leaf dish) and kassaua (tapioca Bono's "War on Thongs" in Palm Springs, Calif.)
in coconut cream with bananas). "They have a lot of things oriented to college students," says
Wash it down with a toast of Yagona (the drink Kathryn Land, a senior at the U. of Nevada. "People drink, but
everyone who's anyone is enjoying) out of a there's plenty of other stuff to get into besides alcohol."
coconut shell. Slightly lightheaded, you guffaw The 45-mile lake is the center of entertainment, with house-
with well-to-do delight, snorting and throwing boat and water-ski rentals and parasailing available.
down shrimp and scallops like only the truly, filthy Last year, the break got out of hand when an outside promot-
rich can. As you eat, you'll be treated to exhibi- er marketed the place to high school students. This year Havasu
tions of dancing and fire walking. You consider is trying to regain control and keep it college-aged and
dropping the fire walkers a little something to put respectable. Get reservations early, 'cause they go quick.
in their pocket, but are refused since tipping is dis-
couraged in Fiji. SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, TEXAS: Located at the southern tip of
But alas, though you party through the night, the state, Padre offers a fairly wild party environment (bars
that ferry back to Nadi comes quickly. Your flight close at 1:30, though). It'll cost you a little more than a spot like
back to Sydney departs at 8 a.m. and your woozy Panama City, but it's a short hop across the Mexican border.
and formerly prosperous head spins a bit as you Perfect for collegiate felons or tequila freaks.
return to L.A. four hours before you left Sydney. "You can go down to Matamoras (30 minutes south of the
"My goodness, I'm rich!" you say one last time border) and get away with more," says Josie Garcia, a senior at
before you face the realities of being broke and the U. of Texas. Garcia explains "more" involves, among other
school bound. But the depression of your true things, stealing road signs. But be advised: Below-the-border
existence is tempered by your ability to think jails are all they're cracked up to be. Not so bueno.
ahead. Who needs two kidneys, when everyone
knows one will do just fine? Before you bust the pig and jump on the highway, keep in
Perhaps next break, you mind that these spots are being marketed heavily. Thus, hordes
q muse, I'll try the French Alps. of students are going, and can go fairly cheaply with the help of
I'll relax at the Mont Vallon various package deals. In a spring break survey, we found 62
hotel, indulging my glutto- percent of our readers were heading to the beach, 45 percent in
nous appetite for fine wine their cars, where 40 percent will stay in hotels, 70 percent will
and fondue. be using sunscreen and 29 percent will be wearing hats. You
"Next time... " you say out know what that means - the roads will be overrun with beach-
loud. "It's expensive, but I'm bound, hat-wearing U. readers smothered in sunscreen and try-
worth it." i ing to force 100 percent of themselves into your hotel room.
Chad Runyon, Collegiate Times, Virginia Tech
U. Magazine 15


16 " u. Magazine

JMuw/FBRURY s4 M RYRRR1994 u YFM r1

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