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January 24, 1996 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-01-24

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 24, 1996

atje 3b~a O ar

420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI


Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

NFL football, not1Republians,
will solve the Cornty'decay

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of a majority of the Daily's editorial board. All
other articles, letters, and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
The credit trap
LSA should assign credit hours by workload

T he predicament is a familiar one. Many
LSA juniors and seniors face an unenvi-
able choice: overload their schedules or de-
lay graduation. A student can take five diffi-
cult classes and rake in 15 credits, or risk
making college a five-year ordeal by taking
only four classes and 12 credits. The curricu-
lum committee could - and should - alle-
viate the problem by revising its credit for-
Under the current system, credit hours
correlate with the number of hours spent in
class. In general, one hour equals one credit.
For labs or film screenings the loose rule of
thumb dictates that two hours translates to
one credit. When a professor adds outside
meetings - mention of which is excluded
from the syllabus - the formula does not
allow for additional credits.
Professors often pile on extra time com-
mitments with the knowledge of neither stu-
dents nor the curriculum committee. Even
without surprises, 300- and400- level classes
are usually worth three credits, while they
resemble five-credit classes in workload. On
the other hand, 100- and 200-level classes,
generally four credits, take less time and
effort. Students trying to cram 18 credits into
a term must take six upper-level classes -
The blan
Repealing no-fault d
In the ongoing quest to reduce the skyrock-
eting U.S.divorce rate, with its detrimen-
tal effects on children and families, Michi-
gan may become the first state to repeal "no-
fault" divorce legislation. While the divorce
rate is staggering, Michigan and other states
may be choosing a dangerous "solution" to
the problem.
Currently, all 50 states have some form of
no-fault divorce laws. Husband and wife can
terminate their marriage relatively quickly
according to the wishes of either or both
sides, and for any reason. The new legislation
- similar to laws that existed until no-fault
legislation was introduced 25 years ago -.
would require specific grounds for divorce,
such as adultery, desertion, drug and alcohol
abuse or physical and mental abuse, unless
both sides agree to dissolve the marriage.Next
month, state Rep. Jessie Dahlman (R-Hol-
land) plans to introduce a package of 10 bills
that aims to provide "protection to the mar-
riage contract." The plan will be composed
of three general categories, which will in-
clude requiring couples to participate in edu-
cational programs before they get married,
talk with trained professionals prior to filing
for a divorce and develop a parenting plan
once the divorce is finalized. Under
Dahlman's proposal, the couple would pay
for the services.
Proponents of the change claim divorce
has a negative effect on the family in general


too much for even a student with no job and
no extracurricular activities.
After a student registers for a three-credit
class and discovers the heavy workload, the
only way out is to drop the class. Credits
cannot change in the middle of the semester
-but the professor can change requirements
once students have registered. The solution:
The curriculum committee must require from
professors well-planned descriptions of the
workload, including time spent in and out of
class. Then the committee would assign cred-
its based on the number of credit hours it
takes to participate fully in a class, rather
than a superficial estimate of time spent in
lab and lecture.
A revised formula would add some extra
work for the curriculum committee-whose
function is to set appropriate standards--but
also would create a more efficient system for
students and professors alike. The commit-
tee should recognize the goal, and work to-
ward achieving it.
Each term the credit problem resurfaces,
and students complain. But they have re-
signed themselves to the inept credit system
-moreover, so has the administration. This
time the curriculum committee needs to take
the ball and run with it.
ie game
ivorce is bad policy
and children in particular. Indeed, U.S. cen-
sus data has shown that children of divorced
parents have a greater tendency to drop out of
school, bear children out of wedlock and
break the law. The new divorce law, how-
ever, does not promise to correct these prob-
lems. Forcing unhappy couples to stay mar-
ried is no better than divorce. Furthermore,
reintroducing fault into divorce proceedings
would create more ugly court battles --coun-
teracting theigoal of more amicable family
One positive part of the legislation is the
provision for parent-education programs,
which would teach families how to cope with
the changes brought on by divorce. These
programs would deal most constructively
with the reality of the situation, helping fami-
lies adjust to the change. Also, they put less
strain on the legal system.
The recent conservative trend toward
"family values" points to an important need
for attention to the nation's families. How-
ever, the religious right goes beyond atten-
tion, straying far too often into attempts at
moral coercion. While the sanctity of the
family is a noble goal, it cannot be preserved
by the state. It is beyond the powers of
legislators to enforce a morality of marriage
not shared by all. To attempt to do so places
public authority where it does not belong -
in a battle that will create far more problems
than it solves.

In case you haven't noticed yet, the Re-
publican "revolution" is really nothing
more than an enormous effort to recreate a
past that never existed. The conservative
vision holds a mystical allure for some
Americans. All (male) citizens work and
those who don't never whine about it, but
rather exercise a rigorous American thrift
and eventually become rich. Everyone goes
to church, and afterwards Grandma serves a
pipin' hot, if not fat-free, Sunday dinner.
Men refer to their wives as "Ma" and protect
their homes with shotguns, while sex is had
only in bed, by married couples in the mis-
sionary position. And nerdy sociologists,
with their theories about the "root causes" of
crime, are finally rounded up and placed in
detention centers run by the militias.
Now, I respect good ole' fashioned moral
clarity as much as the next guy, but I don't
think the Oregon Trail leads into the 21st
century. And besides, the Republicans are
barking up the wrong tree. The root of
America's problems isn't lenient sentenc-
ing, women's rights, welfare or premarital
sex. Our problems stem directly from the
super-commercialization of pro football,
which, as I will prove, was a direct cause of
the decline of America's cities and thus of
her moral character and sense of commu-
nity. This is the problem Congress should
address: urban blight. I know Republicans
don't like cities, but unless they plan to give
everybody 40 acres and a mule, something's
got to be done. And that's where I come in.
A complete restructuring of the National
Football League would rebuild neighbor-
hoods, create jobs and, most importantly,
make everybody move back. Back from the
Sun Belt to where they really belong: the
cold, gritty, polluted, morally correct cities

of the Northeast and Midwest. All the NFL
has to do is adopt a few simple rule changes
and America can be great again.
The first rule would be that no city can
have a team unless it's east of Kansas City
and north of St. Louis. The only exceptions.
would be San Francisco and Atlanta, which
are anomalous - good cities in bad parts of
the country. Additionally, Canton, Decatur
and Akron would each get a team. This rule
is the cornerstone of the whole plan, because
it would end the national embarrassment
brought about by the very existence of teams
in places like Arizona, Seattle, Houston and
Tampa Bay, which isn't a city at all, but a
body of water. Dallas would not have a team,
because of what they did to Kennedy and
because they're making America watch a
Super Bowl where Barry Switzer is one of
the coaches. The Browns would be allowed
to move to Baltimore as long as the Rams
moved back (yes, back) to Cleveland.
The second rule of the new NFL involves
the playing field. It should go without saying
that all fields will be natural grass. No paint-
ing will be allowed in the end zones. Instead,
those cool diagonal white lines would be
brought back from the heady days of the old
NFL. And if teams didn't like it, they could
leave the end zone blank.
Stadiums would have to be in the central
city instead of in the suburbs and all players,
coaches and staff members would have to
live in the city. So would the owner. Men
would not be allowed into games bareheaded.
Stadiums would be filled with cigarette and
cigar smoke. Lots of smoke! Parking lots
would be small, with only space for 10
percent of the capacity of the stadium. Cities
would build extensive networks of street-
cars. Streetcars!



f -

'A free press Is
not co-opted by
government, law
enforcement or
the court
- Michele Ames, editor
in chief of The Minnesota
Daily, explaining why she
is reluctant to give
prosecutors subpoenaed

Additionally, cities would have to meet
certain political requirements in ordert
have a team. Mayors would have to be med
bers of racial or ethnic minorities and be
Democrats. The mayor-council form of city
government would be abolished and the
machine form brought back and the Ma-
chine would bear the mayor's name. A cer-
tain percentage of the mayor's henchmen
would have to have been indicted at one time
or another. Preferably, the mayor himself
would be indicted regularly, but the tooth-
less judicial system would be no match for
his Machine, whose support among t
people would be loyal and intense. Smoking
would have to be allowed at City Hall. And
the city must violate EPA air quality stan-
dards on 70 percent of the days of every year.
Deion Sanders would be banned for life.
There would be no more Super Bowls,
since it's clear that the Super Bowl was
conceived only as a hyped-up money maker
which led directly to the urban turmoil of the
late 1960s. You don't believe me? The first
Super Bowl was played in January 194
What happened right after? See? If Newt can
be an historian, so can I.
The Republicans want to renew America
by returning to the pre-Jacksonian era. I
don't like that, but I do like gritty urban
liberalism. I want labor unions. I want a new
New Deal. I want civic pride and football
games at Tiger Stadium. I want Norm Van
Brocklin and Red Grange and Alan ("the
Horse") Ameche. I want Bobby Layne.
Some people look at the past throu
rose-colored glasses. I prefer to look baW
through clouds of pungent smoke.
- Jordan Stancil can be reached over
e-mail at rialto@umich.edu.

Israel a lonely champion of democracy

By Joe Roche
The Minnesota Daily has
served as a battleground for two
clashing factions the last two
weeks: One side attacks the State
of Israel, while the other side de-
fends Jews. Since neither side
mentions Israel's importance, I'm
concerned that these exchanges
have confused many people about
the moral basis for the U.S. rela-
tionship with Israel.
I believe without question that,
as Jimmy Carter said, "(Israelis)
are our best friends and allies in
the best sense of the word." And
I believe every effort must be
made to maintain American inti-
macy with Israel.
Instead of being the terrible
place as it is often charged, Israel
is a lonely champion of democ-
racy. Hubert Humphrey, describ-
ing Israel as "a natural ally" of the
United States, explained that, in
Israel, "there is a spirit of equality
which lends dignity to labor and
strengthens the drive toward
achievement and progress." This
is forgotten by those who distort
and manipulate Israel's struggle
to survive in the world's harshest
.Throughout Arab countries,
women face degradation and op-
pression. Female literacy reaches
a mere 3 percent in the Arab state
of Yemen, and women aren't al-
Roche is a sophomore at the
University of Minnesota. This
column was published yesterday
in The Minnesota Daily.

lowed to vote in several other
Arab states. Some Arab states
have yet to ratify even one of
many conventions concerning
women's rights in society. For
example, Arab women do not
have guarantees to equal employ-
ment, education or marriage
rights; they are denied the right to
vote in some Arab countries. In
Egypt, female circumcision is still
practiced. In these countries
women's educational and work-
ing rights are dismal.
In stark contrast, women in
Israel have achieved one of the
highest levels of progress and
advancement in the world. In Is-
rael, the rights of all women, in-
cluding Arab women, are guar-
anteed. Arab women's education
in Israel by far surpasses Sudan,
Libya and other Arab countries.
Arab women in the governing
Labor Party have even run for
office in the Knesset, Israel's par-
Surrounded by backward
theocratic dictatorships in nearly
every Arab state, Israel provides
a model for democracy. "Israel's
Arab citizens enjoy the very
democratic rights they are denied
in the Arab states," according to a
statement by the AFL-CIO Ex-
ecutive Council. "But neither can
we accept the view fomented by
sensationalized media accounts
that Israel has lost its moral bear-
ings and no longer merits the sup-
port of the democratic commu-
I believe the Knesset and the

judiciary of Israel firmly demon-
strate this. The Basic Law, Israel's
bill of rights, guarantees that "the
Knesset will be elected by uni-
versal, national, direct, equal, se-
cret and proportional ballot." Is-
raelis are even provided with free
transportation to their polling dis-
tricts. The commitment to the
democratic process is so concrete
that election day in Israel is a
national holiday.
The result is one of the most
inclusive parliaments imaginable,
ranging from communist and re-
ligious orthodox to several Arab
parties. All it takes is 2,500 voter
signatures and 1 percent of the
vote for a party to receive a seat in
the Knesset. Although it is in a
region dominated by religious
identification, the judiciary also
demonstrates Israel's commit-
ment to all people. It is entirely
independent of the executive and
legislative branches, and in mat-
ters of personal status where reli-
gion is concerned, Israelis have
access to Rabbinical, Moslem
Shari'a, Druze and the nine rec-
ognized Christian communities
as separate courts. Now contrast
this with the brutal religious op-
pression that is institutionalized
in the many Islamic Arab states
surrounding Israel.
Comparing Israel with other
Arab countries involves dealing
with some of the human race's
most tragic practices on itself,
such as 'slavery. While Israel
stands as the sole model of de-
mocracy, Arab states maintain up

to 300,000 slaves, according to
the British Anti-Slavery Society.
It is sadly a common practice in
many Arab states. Human Rights
Watch is currently trying tc -
fect U.S. policy toward the Arab
state of Mauritania because it has
as many as 90,000 black slaves.
Rejecting the brutality and
backwardness of its Arab foes,
Israel certainly merits deep
American respect. As John F.
Kennedy said, the United States
"has established and continued a
tradition of friendship with Is el
because we are committed t1
free societies that seek a path to
peace, and honor individual
While scenes of the Palestin-
ian uprising flashed in people's
minds for three years, the bloody
crushing of similar dissent in Arab
countries was rarely noticed. In
particular, Algeria, Libya, Jor-
dan, Iraq, Sudan, Iran and Yemen
all have put down revoltsIh
bullets and tanks. In one Syrian
town, more than 20,000 people
were killed by the government.
But unlike the milder Palestinian
uprising, there were no cameras
to record these events, and there
were no effortsmade to reconcile
differences, as there were between
the Israelis and their Palestinian
Thus, rather than being abt
against Israel, the very fact that
the Palestinian uprising lasted so
long is a tribute to Israel's quest
for justice and peace in a cruel
and dangerous region.

Gov. John Engler
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, MI 48933
(517) 355-7858
e-mail: migov@aol.com
State Rep. Liz Brater
(D-53rd district, Central Campus)
412 Roosevelt Building
Lansing, MI 48909
(517) 373-2577

State Sen. Alma Wheeler Smith
(D-Washtenaw County)
410 Farnum Building
Lansing, MI 48909
(517) 373-2406
State Rep. Mary Schroer
(D-52nd district, North Campus)
99 Olds Plaza Building
Lansing, MI 48909
(517) 373-1792

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