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March 26, 1997 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-03-26

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 26, 1997

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420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 JosH WHITE
Editor in Chief
Edited and managed by ERIN MARSH
students at the
stdes at the Editorial Page Editor
University of MichiganA
Unle otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily editorial board. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily
/i .Foul offers
Athletics investigation must stay honest
V'he now-infamous allegations of to contact the Free Press' unnamed sources.
. wrongdoing against the University University Senior Associate Athletic
men's basketball team have inspired a new Director Keith Molin complained that the
surge of investigations. Sparked by reports University's investigation cannot operate on
published in the Detroit Free Press, the the same level as the newspaper's investiga-
University addressed the inadequacy of its tion, citing the Freedom of Information Act
own investigation by hiring private inves- as the culprit of the problem. "We have to
tigative firm Bond, Schoeneck & King. The bear our soul under freedom of informa-
firm - located only a half-mile from tion he said. "We have to reveal absolute-
NCAA headquarters in Overland Park, ly everything we have."
Kan. - gathers the majority of its business With University athletic administrators'
investigating NCAA compliance and negative FOIA sentiments known, the pub-
iriftactions. The University should be com- lic could worry that the University's investi-
mended for soliciting an investigation from gation could turn as shady as the allegations
an impartial third party. it is investigating. Indeed, hiring a private
'However, the pursuit of sources and law firm to handle the investigation could
infoirmants threatens the integrity of be a sly way of avoiding FOIA obligations.
Uniyersity, private and NCAA investiga- The University should not abuse attorney-
tions. Jessie Carter, grandmother and legal client privilege as a FOIA loophole.
guardian of University basketball player Regardless of University athletic adminis-
Robert Traylor, laid a new deal on the table trators' distaste for FOIA, information that
last week. She released the information that the University - a public institution -
recruiters from other schools offered her obtains must be released to the public.
cash and a cushy job to influence Traylor to Although administrators could face
attend their schools. Carter dangled the pressure to obtain information by any
promise of releasing the recruiters' names means necessary, the University must avoid
- if the NCAA or local newspapers would unethical source-swapping and conduct an
release the names of their sources, who honest, straightforward and complete inves-
repoirted improper cash gifts to University tigation. Those with information, like
basketball players from Detroit-area boost- Carter, should cooperate with the investiga-
er Ed Martin. tion without trying to swing deals of their
-As much as the University needs a thor- own. By the same token, informants should
ough investigation, it must not engage in feel secure speaking with newspapers with-
source-swapping. The Detroit Free Press out fearing betrayal. Administrators and
should take particular care to maintain its investigators must comply with ethical stan-
sources' anonymity - betraying its dards and the public's right to information.
sorces' confidence would annihilate jour- All of the investigation's players walk a
nalistic integrity. thin line - a clean and thorough investiga-
University administrators have tion will require cooperation, honesty and
expressed their frustration at not being able integrity on the parts of all involved.
It *
Upinms mode
Tobacco industry must address dangers

'He's looking forward to it very much.'
Jim McGrath, spokesman jor George Bush, on the former president s plans to
skydive with the Army's precision parachuting team, the Golden Knights
JiM LASSER .s",.e AS.T.......

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S cientists have long recognized nico-
tine's addictive, properties. However,
tobacco companies have spent millions
fighting the fact, lobbying lawmakers and
defending themselves in court. At last, a
major player in the tobacco industry has
adriitted that smoking cigarettes that con-
tain nicotine is addictive and that tobacco
naers cater their advertising to minors.
The'rest of the tobacco industry should fol-
low suit and take accountability for the
smoke-related health problems of millions
of Americans.
Last Thursday, Ligget, the maker of
Chesterfield cigarettes, settled lawsuits in
22states, agreeing to warn on every pack of
cigarettes that smoking is addictive. They
also offered a pre-tax settlement of 25 per-
cnt of its pre-tax profit for the next 25
years to settle state health care claims.
Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods
saidyit marks "the beginning of the end for
;this 'conspiracy of lies and deception per-
petuated on the American public by tobacco
companies." However, the powerful tobacco
lobby does not want Ligget's admission to
set a precedent. Denying Ligget's acknowl-
:edement of addictiveness will prove fruit-
:leg- any such efforts should be halted.
' Ligget, as part of the settlement, agreed
to release thousands of documents outlining
the industry-wide discussions of tobacco's
dangers and marketing strategies, reported-
ly including plans to convince teenagers to
smoke. On Thursday, Phillip Morris and
three other Ligget competitors won a tem-
porary restraining order, blocking release of
the documents, and vowed to "defend vig-
orously against the meritless lawsuits."

ately and any executives who perpetrated a
deliberate plan of lying to the public should
be prosecuted.
Historically, tobacco companies have
glamorized smoking, using celebrities and
models in advertising. They even sponsor
athletic events - such as the Virginia Slims
tennis tournament - which indirectly mar-
ket smoking as a part of health and vitality.
Moreover, tobacco icons, like Joe Camel,
appeal to youth and imply that if teens
smoke, their peers will consider them cool
and popular. Advertisements fail to illus-
trate the most important tobacco industry
fact: smoking kills. Ligget and other tobac-
co companies should put a stop to such
deceptive marketing strategies - especial-
ly campaigns that admittedly target young
Ligget still faces liability in private law-
suits. It should make efforts to settle these
suits immediately. In the past, tobacco lob-
byists have prevented successful lawsuits
by using financial resources unavailable to
private citizens. Instead, Ligget and its
competitors should spend their litigatory
dollars to solve health problems caused by
their products and to compensate those who
suffer from tobacco-related illnesses.
The tentacles of the tobacco lobby reach
deep. It gives millions in contributions to
politicians and, in court, pays "expert" wit-
nesses to deny nicotine's addictive proper-
ties. Ligget's admission of tobacco's addic-
tiveness is monumental but means little
unless Ligget's larger competitors fall in
line. Tobacco companies must end mislead-
ing advertising and compensate those
whose health is damaged by the industry's

Real issues
Never in the history of
this country has there ever
been a Congress as partial
and divided as this 105th ses-
sion. This is a sham.
So far, in a matter of three
months time, the only major
decision to have been made
is that more money should be
allotted to investigate the
fund raising tactics of the
Democratic National ;
Have we forgotten that it
was the Republicans who
raised 60 percent more than
the Democrats last year? It is
simply because the
Democrats started to raise
money with as much vigor as
the Republicans that they are
now crying fowl.
It is interesting to note
that the party doing the foot-
dragging on campaign-
finance reform is the GOP.
For all their finger pointing,
they don't want to confront
an issue if it hurts their
chances of remaining in
Why did all those
Republican congressmem-
bers support Gingrich when
he was confronted with sev-
eral serious allegations? It
was because he had raised
money so intently for all of
them that they were indebted
and could not turn their
backs on the person they
knew would give them the
funds they needed to stay in
The members of this ses-
sion of Congress refuse to
confront the real issues at
hand: the budget, education,
social security, defense and
The Republicans have yet
to present a budget plan, with
only one more week before a
decision must be made.
Instead, they criticize Clinton
and push more partisan poli-
tics. Come on guys. Stop this
pitiful bickering and start
Bone marrow
can save lives
Every year, thousands of
individuals die from
leukemia and other blood dis-
eases. These deaths often
could have been averted by a
successful bone marrow
transplant. However, compat-
ible matches are sometimes

close to 80 percent of the
individuals currently in the
National Registry are of
Caucasian descent.
In short, if you are a
minority and need a trans-
plant, the likelihood of find-
ing a match is very slim.
To increase awareness of
the need for bone marrow
donors and to educate the
community about this impor-
tant health subject, the
Minority Marrow Donor
Coalition, a student organiza-
tion at the University, is
sponsoring a bone marrow
registration drive next week.
By reaching and encouraging
individuals to join the
National Registry, the
MMDC hopes to help give
patients who need bone mar-
row transplants a second
chance at life.
The drive is open to the
community, and all healthy
individuals - especially
minorities --are encouraged
to participate. The times and
sites for the drive are as fol-
lows: March 27, West Room,
North Campus Commons, 10
a.m. - 5 p.m.; March 28.
Pond Room, Michigan Union
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Registering in the
National Registry is a simple
way for concerned citizens
and students to give of them-
selves, and to potentially help
save lives, with minimal dis-
comfort. At the drive, two
tablespoons of blood will be
drawn from each participant,
to be typed and entered
anonymously into the nation-
al database. This procedure
takes 15 minutes, and will be
provided free of charge to
interested individuals at the
sites listed above. Should a
need and match arise, the
potential donor will be con-
tacted. However, there is at
no time any obligation for the
potential donor to actually
donate his or her marrow. Of
course, it is hoped all who
register are prepared to
donateif the need arises.
The death
penalty is
Unjust policy
David Taub's arguments
in favor of the death penalty
lack both substance and logic
("Mumia guilty and should
be executed," 3/21/97).
First, Taub claims that the
death penalty is a deterrent
to crime. To date, there is no
convincing evidence that
supports this assertion.
Indeed, some of the evidence
points in the other direction:
crime statistics in states that
implement this "deterrent"

wrongfully executed. Would
he still proclaim that the
murder of an innocent indi-
vidual by the state is justified
if it is to serve some dubious
public good?
To avert the possibility of
wrongful executions - no
doubt, for the benefit of Taub
as well as the rest of society
who do not commit murder
- the U.S. Supreme Court
has developed a series of rig-
orous procedures that are
indeed costly, but necessary
for upholding the moral prin-
ciple we hold so dear in this
country: individual rights,
which includes the right to
life for individuals not guilty
of murder.
I am sure Taub values his
individual rights and would
not want to part with them
without a fight. The appeals
process is a means of guaran-
teeing that everyone's indi-
vidual rights are respected
and protected. Why, then,
would he want to take that
opportunity away from peo-
ple who are wrongly placed
on death row'?
Hence, Taub, I and the
rest of the law-abiding public
should be grateful for the
safeguards contained in the
legal code that ensure we will
not be executed for crimes
we did not commit. Indeed, a
human life is worth the
tremendous expenses of the
appeals process. Before tak-
ing away someone's life, one
must ascertain beyond any
doubt the individual's guilt
because the death penalty is
an irreversible punishment.
We must also be thankful
for the "bleeding heart
lawyers," as Taub scornfully
calls them, whose purpose
we often ignorantly dismiss
as counterproductive to soci-
etal good, but whose commit-
ment to justice should be a
lesson to us all.
Third, Taub strongly
implies that in order to carry
out justice, the state should
have the right to decide who
is worthy or deserving of life.
One does not have to go far
back in history to understand
the dangers of such an
arrangement. Under this sys-
tem, the worthiness of life
would be inevitably contin-
gent upon political whims,
which in itself exposes the
system as faulty and unreli-
able in serving justice. Two
hundred years ago, the state
held that the worth of a black
man's life was much less than
the worth of a white man's
life. If both committed the
same crime, whose life does
Taub think would be sooner
spared and whose life would
be sooner taken away under
the political conditions of the
time? Would Taub consider
this justice?
The purpose here is not to
argue against death penalty,
hut to point out the ver sei-

Stupidity is an
part of ife
crew what they say about baseball.
Dodging responsibility is the
American pastime. And you can see it
everywhere, from the highest and
wealthiest levels of our culture to the
grubbiest poorest neighborhoods.
Our culture no loiger expects its cit-
izens to be smart
or competent.
Children graduate
from high school
with closets full of
"hey, thanks for
showing up, it
probably wasn't
your fault you did
your science pro-
ject in 20 minutes
before school" JAMES
trophies and MILLER
diplomas that say KU
'we know that you
really wanted to
learn to read, but you know whatever,
just try and get a job involving lots of
Adults have free reign to be idiots
too. Remember the stupid old broa
who forgot I) that coffee, at least on
this planet, is served hot and 2) that the
human crotch is a rather sensitive
region near which to be placing
volatile liquids'? She now has more
money than most people who work
hard for a living. A jury of 12 seem-
ingly normal citizens awarded this
woman a huge cash settlement because
she claimed that it was McDonald's
fault for serving her coffee that was
too hot for a drooling, mouth-breathe
like her to handle.
What a great idea! I recommend it to
everybody! Why, in fact, I'm waiting
to hear about my lawsuit against Smith
& Wesson. They viciously and negli-
gently decided not to warn people not
to clean their ears with the barrel of
one of their loaded revolvers. So I'm
suing to replace my inner ear canal, to
have my drapes and carpet dry cleaned
and for my pain and suffering.
Wish me luck.
When those little trailer rats burned
down the ol' double wide after a par-
ticularly inspiring episode of "Beavis
and Butt-head," our response was not
to chastise the parents or the children,
but to excuse their moronic behavior.
We childproof cigarette lighters.
Rather than accuse them of being
responsible for their own fate, we ele-
vate brainlessness to the position 0
natural state of man. Delusions o
grandeur swimming in our heads, we
have tried to legislate bad luck out of
existence too.
You can even see it in political
activism. When those women protest-
ed the Playboy interview session last
week, they were making an excuse.
The argument against pornography is
that its depiction of women leads to
higher rates of sexual violence (let'
put aside for a moment the fact that
this is a statistically provable state-
When deconstructionist feminists
state that pornography causes, or least
contributes to, violence against
women, there is a tacit sense of eva-
sion here. It wasn't the fact that the
aggressor was a nitwit or just a violent
swine, it was his pornography addic-
tion. Economic causes that do con
tribute to crime can be changed, some
one's desire to look at dirty pictures
cannot and should not.
The next time one of those bastards

who has been beating his wife and
children for years gets caught, don't
ask if he has a pornography problem.
Ask the prick if he has a last request.
There is a strong psychological basis
for our worship of the doctrine of
blamelessness. We have a need
believe that everyone islike we per-
ceive ourselves to be. That is to say,
nice, kind, sensible and capable of liv-
ing a clean,healthy and productive
life. That way, when something bad
happens, we can safely believe that if
it were to happen to us it would be
someone else's problem and someone
else will clean up after us. Because
we're just a bunch of idiots. Aren't we'?
The truth is much more horrifyin
People are not always just innoce
victims. Not every wife-beater, thief,
murderer, rapist, molester or coffee-
spiller has been unfairly crushed in the
jaws of circumstance. There are some
people who just don't get it and never
will. You can't save everyone. Just try
not to be living next door to them
when they go off.
No matter how hard social activists,
the American Bar Association and th
talk show community tries, the wor
will never be made out of Nerf. There
will always be sharp edges, small
moving parts and other nasty little sur-
prises that make getting out of bed in
the morning a questionable enterprise.
To the blame-shifters and other peo-

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