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October 31, 1997 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-31

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 31, 1997

ol he 9. icl i tn jDat7lt,

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

'We always accept more students than we eventually
enroll. (This year) we had more students send in
enrollment deposits than we expected.'
-Associate Provost Lester Monts, commenting on
this year's largest class offirst-year students

Unless otherwise noid, WlSlwsigned 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.
Drug money
Higher fines will not deter marijuana use

From $5 to $15 to $25; how high will the
Ann Arbor City Council raise the mari
juana possession fine? The city has a reputa-
tion for "marijuana-friendly" laws that,
unlike many of their state and federal coun-
terparts, are not excessively taxing on those;
found in possession of the drug. Over the past7
20 years, the fine grew from $5 to the present
rate of $25. A recent proposal before the Ann
Arbor City Council would raise the fine again
- exacting a severe financial penalty for
using a drug whose illegal status is illogical.
The city council should ignore the proposal.
Marijuana is not as dangerous a drug as sub-
stances that are already legal.I
The intent is to keep minors from using
marijjana and other drugs by increasing the
financial penalty for such behavior. But
arbitrarily increasing the fine will do little+
to prevent young persons' drug use. In
effect, it will serve to punish adults more
harshly for using a drug that should be
legal. Taking marijuana off the list of illicit
substances would allow officials to mandate
tighter. controls and regulations for its sale
- keeping it out of the hands of minors.
Many argue that legalizing marijuana
would promote its widespread use. But like a;
child reaching for cookies that they are noti
supposed to eat, many marijuana users are
attracted as much to the drug's allure as an ille-
gal substance as they are to its actual chemical:
effects. After Prohibition's end, alcohol use did;
not increase markedly - it is likely that mari-
juana would follow suit. If pot were legalized,
millions of dollars would be freed to enhance
educational programs focused on keeping stu-
dents off more dangerous drugs.+
Marijuana, unlike most of its companion
illegal substances, is not addictive. The health

consequences associated with smoking the
drug are the same as those smokers of legal
nicotine cigarettes incur - negating the argu-
ment that pot poses a significant health risk.
In fact, the drug does considerably less dam-
age to the body than does alcohol, a legal and
more socially accepted chemical.
The government spends millions of dol-
lars annually to incarcerate marijuana law
offenders. Someone is arrested for possession
of a cannabis substance almost every minute.
These huge expenditures remove money
from other important social programs that
could use the funds, such as drug education
programs. Present programs put an equal
emphasis on all drugs - telling children that
substances as diverse as cocaine, heroin, mar-
ijuana and LSD all have the same effects and
consequences. But marijuana has none of the
other drugs' addictive qualities and is not
associated with overdose deaths.
In fact, marijuana proved itself useful in
the medical setting. Arizona and California
voters approved the use of marijuana for
medicinal purposes more than a year ago.
The drug increases AIDS patients' appetite
as well as curbs vomiting in cancer patients
after chemotherapy treatments. It can also be
used in the treatment of glaucoma, multiple
sclerosis and epilepsy. The drug has numer-
ous beneficial medical applications - it is
imperative that it be available to doctors in
all states for continued use.
Marijuana remains illegal in the United
States, but Ann Arbor city ordinances do not
exact a stiff financial penalty for the drug's
possession. City council should maintain the
city's reputation of social protest to marijua-
na's illegality and keep the marijuana pos-
session fine at its present low level.

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overseas visitor

Meeings should focus
E arlier this week, Chinese president
Jiang Zemin donned a cowboy hat
much like that worn by Deng Xiaoping, the
last Chinese leader to visit the United
States. In an attempt to win over
Americans, the top Chinese communist
official demanded red-carpet treatment and
an official state dinner. But lying behind the
pomp and circumstance are serious issues.
The summit's agenda includes a dialogue
about trade issues, human rights concerns
and democratic ideals. President Clinton
should use the visit as an opportunity to end
America's empty threats against the country
and instead take action.
China is the only communist nation to
which America grants "most favored
nation" trading status. Due to its booming
economy and cheap labor, America receives
more Chinese exports than any other coun-
try. But this amount of trade constitutes a
$44 billion trade deficit. Clinton plans to
discuss this problem, but a solution is not
yet in the making. Jiang and Clinton hold
separate agendas and the awkwardness that
these two exude is quite apparent.
Senior officials say that progress will be,
at best, incremental. There is likely to be a
nuclear agreement, a policy to provide U.S.
assistance to clear China's air pollution and
the promotion of a new age of economic
cooperation. But it remains clear that the
main accomplishment of this summit meet-
ing is that it is happening at all.
America's foreign policy toward China
could constitute the single-most poorly
handled policy of Clinton's administration.
America simply does not get enough in
return for ending its diplomatic quarantine
of China after the riots at Tiananmen
Srnare Clinton needs to demand results.

on human rights, trade
abuses need to end and political dissidents
in captivity should be released. But
instead, Clinton has made security issues
like nuclear proliferation and restraining
North Korea the most important justifica-
tions for deepening U.S. relations with
China - not human rights. For the U.S.
business community, this could make way
for $60 billion in contracts over the next
15 years. Clinton must not jeopardize
ethics for money.
It is time for Clinton to stand up to the
powerful eastern nation. Economic sanc-
tions should be enforced instead of just
threatened. If China refuses to dismantle
layers of protection and subsidies for its
state enterprises that unfairly compete with
American exports, Clinton holds the
responsibility to exact punishment. At
every prior meeting, Americans bring up
prominent human-rights cases like well-
known jailed dissidents and ask for their
release. In addition, America wants Red
Cross visits to Chinese prisons and an
"official" institutionalized dialogue on
human rights. Continued freedom in Hong
Kong and the end of religious repression in
Tibet are both goals of Clinton's agenda.
But Americans have yet to receive ade-
quate concessions - the Chinese have rit-
ually responded that these are strictly inter-
nal affairs and the United States should not
When Jiang Zemin demands an official
state visit, red-carpet treatment and a 21-
gun salute, these issues no longer remain
outside the United States' pervue. It is now
up to diplomats to accomplish what has
been overlooked for years. America needs
to stand up and let it be known that China's
economic and civil rights policies are unac-

diversity is
I have to submit a rebuttal
to Richard Hofer's letter in
the 10/9/97 edition of the
Daily ('"Real world' work-
place shows lack of diversi-
ty"). As a fellow engineering
senior, I have also worked in
a number large of Fortune
500 companies. However, I
have not experienced any of
what Hofer contends is com-
mon in the work place.
Just this past summer, my
upper-level manager was a
minority and the head of the
entire engineering depart-
ment was a minority. In addi-
tion, everywhere you walked
in the building there were
minorities and women work-
ing together with middle-
aged, white males.
So although it is true that
some companies still have
glass ceilings, for the most
part, that is not true of large
corporations. In fact, the
company I worked for had
very strict discrimination and
harassment policies.
Therefore, Hofer should
not use his discouraging
experience to label all of the
industry when I strongly feel
his experience was the excep-
tion rather than the rule.
Attempt at
Indian anthem
should not be
I sincerely congratulate
the young group of people
who took the initiative to cel-
ebrate MK Gandhi's birthday
on campus. It is unfortunate
that I missed it as I had no
knowledge about this cere-
mony; the event could have
been advertised better.
I was very unhappy with
the letter posted by Kumar
Gopalakrishnan ("Photo of
anthem was confusing,'
10/14/97). I would ask him to
be more open-minded and
less critical on matters like
this. Some people (whoever it
might be) took the effort to
celebrate the birthday of this
great leader who is probably
one of the most well-known
symbols of non-violence in
the world. It does not matter
at all whether sucha ceremo-
ny was conducted as "perfect-
ly" as Gopalakrishnan would
want it, but someone took the
initiative. I am probably as
Indian as he is, but I did not
find anything offensive or
wrong about either the photo-
graph or the celebration. I

Constitution "requires a spe-
cific posture," etc. for singing
the Anthem is carried on in
thousands of occasions in
India. I hereby humbly
request that Gopalakrishnan
take the initiative and con-
ducts the "Gandhi Jayanti"
next year on this foreign land
(here on campus at the
University for example) in
the "constitutional" way.
It is truly unfortunate that
although this world is flood-
ed with critics, it has very
few leaders and organizers.
'Keepers' do
not force
their religion
on people
In response to James
Miller's column on 10/8/97
("Keep God's code at home
- and far away from legisla-
tors"), I respectfully disagree
with several points that were
made and I believe that he
misinterpreted the goal of the
Promise Keepers and the
Body of Christ as a whole.
One thing that sets this group
apart is the focus on the indi-
vidual, or the working out of
one's own salvation. These
men participate in the
Promise Keepers to get their
lives in order, not to judge the
next manrabout his lifestyle.
As for the "queasy feel-
ing" brewing in Miller's
stomach, I doubt that the
Promise Keepers or
Christians are the cause. I do
not see an agenda for these
men other than focusing on
becoming more Christ-like.
That sure seems like a per-
sonal commitment to me.
While it is a desire of a
Christian to see another per-
son saved, no Christian or
Christian group can force
that on anyone - it's a per-
sonal decision to come to
Christ. Therefore, I fail to see
how the Promise Keepers are
out to use "that same oint-
ment" (as Miller put it) to
save the world. I am not,
however, surprised at the
recent attacks on the group or
other Christians; but Jesus
said, "Blessed are they that
are persecuted for my name's
sake ..." (Matthew 5:10).
Trust me, it will be worth it.
against 'U'
is racist
By now, most everyone

through what (she) went
through." The main point of
contention in the lawsuit is
that race "was one of the pre-
dominant factors used for
determining admission"
I can't get over the sense
that we've heard all these
things before. If [were to
make a wild guess, 1'd say
these were the same com-
plaints issued by oppressed
minorities before the days of
affirmative action. Is that it.
then'? Are these poor kids
simply feeling that they are
now in the same boat as stu-
dents of color have been in
for countless decades now?
The comments that have
been issued to justify this
blatantly racist attack on
affirmative action are either
unbelievably naive or pur-
posefully ignorant of a long
history of social, political,
economical and educational
oppression. Affirmative
action was created because
race, in fact, has been one of
the predominant factors used
for determining admission. It
was created because count-
less other students of color
have already gone through
what Gratz claims is a new-
found suffering. It was creat-
ed because students of color
have always been treated less
favorably in considering their
applications for admission to
any and all colleges.
Institutionalized racism in the
educational arena has always
existed, and it is amazing that
such an uproar is created now
that two white students find
themselves at the receiving
end of the race equation.
The fact is that, for the
moment, we need affirmative
action. It is far from being a
perfect system but it is all that
we have, all that we have been
graciously granted by the
same system that has sought
to oppress us at every turn. We
need it because, whether peo-
ple acknowledge it or not,
racism and prejudice still
abound in this society. There
are still many people who,
when evaluating two identical
college applications, will give
preference to the application
who answers "white" in the
"What is your ethnicity?"
question over the other who
answers "Hispanic," "African
American" or "Native
American." Without affirma-
tive action, there will be noth-
ing to stop the bigots in the
admissions committees across
the nation from doing just this.
At the very heart of the
matter is a racist attack on all
of us of color by a group of
law-spewing bigots who are
covering themselves through
the ludicrous cry of "reverse
racism." To those of us
defending affirmative action,
we must draw the line here.
Should the lawsuit win here
as well, then there is no stop-
ping them from reversing
affirmative action across the
nation. The time has come to
make a definitive stand. To
those who have launched and

turns Halloween
into what you
fear the most
Tt's all Hallow's Eve, so every ghost,
Igoblin and ghoul get ready to get
down and celebrate this moment s
insight to the darker side of huma
nature that rarely rears to the surface
of our collective
Yep, only
Christmas is scari-
Halloween is a
marketing and
Cinderella story. I
mean, what does it
have? A little
candy, a few cos- PAUL
tumes and some SERILLA
rotten eggs. Pow! RIA
All of a sudden, it WARFARE
blazes out of con-
trol like a flaming bag of poop on
devil's night. When did somebody
trade in the Reeses Pieces for a multi-
billion dollar industry (a pretty good
trade if you ask me)? Halloween i
now the second-biggest grossing holi-
day, behind Christmas. Candy and cos-
tumes account for a lot, but it is really
the adults with decorations, parties
and enough booze to make Halloween
the third-biggest drinking day of the
year that have pushed this once-quiet
October night over the top.
But why Halloween'? Are we just
reliving a cherished childhood memo-
ry? Maybe it's just the chance to pre-
tend to be something we aren't or peri
haps it's about participating in an
ancient tradition that is a little against
the grain and a little dubious. I think it
could be any combination of those
thingstbut more than anything else, I
think it is about fear. On Halloween,
you can face things that normally
would make you jump out of your
britches with a reasonable degree of
Butywhat makes something scary?
was always really basic on the fright
meter: The Saturday Thriller on the
local UHF station and stories about the
escaped psychopaths at summer camp
were always enough for me maybe it
is a little stereotypical, but growing up
in the 'burbs during the '80s, Stephen
King and Freddy Kruger were really
hard to miss. But I realize that different
things scare different people. For
instance, when he was little, m
youngest brother was deathly afraid of
clowns and anything wearing a wig -
I tend to think he thought that small
furry creatures were praying upon peo-
ple's heads, but who knows? My girl-
friend's dog gets unbelievably scared by
anyone wearing a hat - I tend to
believe the dog thinks a change in hea
gear equals a change in personality, but
again, it is just a theory
That's why Halloween is so coo~
because you can become your biggest
fear. 1 can be a blood-drenched, knife-
wielding maniac and my girlfriend's dog
can be a beret or a sock cap. So this year
I thought I would go down a few exam-
ples of how some peoples' biggest fears
have affected their Halloween attire.
First up, from Wall Street to Hong
Kong, stock brokers and other invest-
ment bigwigs are taking the recent
market slump in stride and enjoyin
Halloween A popular costume anong
market analysts this year is a South-
east Asian currency speculator (shak-
ing in your boots, aren't you?). Apart

from the Armani suit, it is an easy gig,
you just run around threatening to
trade all your Thai bahts for dollars
and send the global economy spiraling
and technology stocks plummeting.
Leave it to those financial whizzes to
steal all the good costume ideas befor
the rest of us even get to take ,,a crack~
Speaking of crack, there is a group on
campus that has a surprising interest in
Halloween - the coffee shop commu-
nists. You know the type, black turtle-
necks, over-used copies of the
Communist Manifesto in one hand and
miniature paper espresso cup in the
other. Even the womenlook surprising-
ly like Lenin ("Hey .Susan, nice goa-
tee"). Yep, every Halloween the militant
vanguard of pseudo-intellectuals dres
up as the scariest possible thing in their
rather limited world view.
You guessed it: The commies are
going as "the man!" Actually, they
take turns dressing up as "the man"
and everyone else is a co-conspirator.
These cronies of "the man" go around
creating strife, socio-political inequal-
ity and generally just exercising their
ability to keep everybody down
Meanwhile, the lucky commie wh
got to be "the man" sits comfortably at
home laughing diabolically and plot-
ting more ways to keep us down (ter-
rorism, corrupting law enforcement,
giving more parking tickets, etc.).
Sometimes you run into several fears
that just confuse what you really want to
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