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November 03, 1997 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-11-03

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 3, 1997

2i £irttbiir ilg

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


Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

Lnless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials r( lect the opinion of the majority of the Daily s editorial board. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily refect the opinion of The Michigan Daihy
Acting responsibly
City elections focus on ecological concerns

'We have to be able to maintain a balance
by being able to function well and
provide student groups with funding.!
- Michigan Student Assembly President Michael
Nagrant, on the assembly s budgeting priorities

n a time when environmental issues seem
to have fallen from the national political
spotlight, the University and the city are
making a tremendous effort to revitalize their
importance. The recent resurgence of the
issue is due in part to the upcoming city elec-
tions and the debate surrounding the expect-
ed vote on the Clean Air Act in Congress.
Last week, a dozen students held a rally
on the Diag urging the federal government
to pass the act. Several organizations sup-
ported their effort, including Environmental
Action (ENACT), the Ecology Center of
Ann Arbor and the Environmental
Information Center. ENACT collected more
than 1,000 signatures in support of the
Clean Air Act - a bill that would update
health standards for smog and soot passed
in its 1990 counterpart. ,
Tomorrow, residents of Ann Arbor will
elect representatives to three seats on the
city council for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th wards
- the elections for the 1 st and 5th wards are
unopposed. A remarkable aspect of the elec-
tion is the general agreement among the
politicians about the importance of main-
taining a clean and safe environment in the
city. In addition, some Democratic candi-
dates are pushing to improve existing condi-
tions - an important concern that is too
often overlooked. For instance, Heidi Herrel
(D-3rd ward) wants to continue her efforts
to bring natural gas and electrically powered
vehicles to the area. Local politicians seem
to have an easier time supporting the envi-
ronment's well being than their federal
counterparts - a stronger emphasis on
environmental issues is needed at the nation-
al level.
Federal environmental measures to

decrease pollution usually run into stiff
resistance from businesses that would have
to spend large sums of money in order to
conform to the new regulations. The United
States is accountable for almost a quarter of
the world's pollution - a staggering statis-
tic that underscores the need for more con-
trol over national pollution output.
Environmental concerns about the green-
house effect, air pollution and other nega-
tive effects of industrialism are realistic -
the government must address them immedi-
ately. Congress should pass the Clean Air
Act to make a strident effort toward improv-
ing the nation's air quality.
The effort displayed by students and
members of the Ann Arbor community, in
an attempt to improve the nation's environ-
ment, deserves commendation. Organized
voices are extremely important when trying
to command the attention of politicians and
influence their votes.
Tough choices lie ahead for our coun-
try's leaders. Protecting the environment is
not always politically popular, especially
when faced with the economic conse-
quences of businesses laying off workers
due to increased costs from new regula-
tions. But the country's future generations
need to be considered - they have the right
to live in a clean and safe environment. But
this right is severely threatened if political
leaders are not willing to enact ecologically
sound legislation. Citizens involved in the
rally last week and the local elections are
working to ensure that environmental con-
cerns receive the attention they deserve.
The government should follow the citizens'
cue and put forth efforts to reduce the coun-
try's pollution output.

Financial finagling
Reform would level election playing field

Incumbents always fight tooth-and-nail
to keep Capitol Hill inaccessible to new-
comers. But the public is tiring of this ploy
and is demanding substantial and sweeping
change. The McCain-Feingold Bill would
implement just that - revolutionizing the
way senators run re-election campaigns by
closing fundraising loopholes and putting
challengers on a more level playing field
with entrenched incumbents. Senate
Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) used
his position to keep the bill off the Senate
floor. But Lott bowed to mounting public
pressure last week and reluctantly agreed to
allow a preliminary vote next March.
Passing the bill would force senators to
serve their constituents' interests, rather
than those of big money campaign donors.
The campaign finance bill would set up
voluntary campaign limits for Senate con-
tests, similar to those in place for presiden-
tial campaigns. These would be based on
state population and would also stipulate
that candidates raise 60 percent of their
funds from individuals in their home states.
Benefits from following the proposed vol-
untary restrictions would be substantial.
Candidates would receive 30 minutes of
free television time and a 50-percent dis-
count for all television advertisements
beginning 60 days prior to the general elec-
tion. Voluntary spending limits would
encourage increased grassroots fundraising
efforts, bringing candidates closer to their
During 1996 election campaigns, there
was $260 million in "soft money" dona-
tions. But soft money donations, supposed-
ly used for organizational purposes, are not
subject to otherwise strict reporting and

the funds to affect the outcome of federal
elections. The McCain-Feingold bill would
eliminate soft money contributions -

industries or interest groups would no
longer be able to buy access to politicians
in ways that are out of the reach of average
citizens. '
Issue ads are another popular way to
skirt around campaign funding laws.
These ads allow organizations to fund
multimillion-dollar election activities, as
long as ads do not expressly say to vote
for or against a particular candidate. But
these ads are usually anything but bias-
free. The proposed law would ban issue
ads that clearly advocate to a "reasonable"
person the election or defeat of a particu-
lar candidate.
These issue ads, in combination with
soft money, have increasingly bound politi-
cians to large national interest groups --
often relegating constituent interests to sec-
ond-priority status. The McCain-Feingold
bill would change the campaigning land-
scape - instead of catering to large donors,
its provisions encourage candidates to go
door-to-door, seeking citizens' campaign
contributions and input.
Only 49 senators - 45 Democrats and
four Republicans - have publically sup-
ported the McCain-Feingold campaign
financing measure. A filibuster in March
would likely kill the bill unless 60 votes in
favor of it can be secured. As of late, an
increasing number of campaign finance
scandals have plagued Washington. There
are too many timely and important public
policy issues for Congress to spend so
much time investigating internal scandals.
Sweeping change is necessary - the

Column made
an incorrect
Paul Serilla's column in
the Daily ("Homogeneous'
and other words that don't
belong at the 'U,"' 10/17/97)
made a false assumption in
his defense of race-based
affirmative action. He states
that if affirmative action is
turned back, then the campus
will lose the diversity of
opinion that affirmative
action supposedly brings.
That argument depends on
the assumption that all the
students who come to the
University without benefit of
affirmative action don't
bring diverse opinions, there-
fore we have to subsidize
The students who come to
the University without the
help of affirmative action
aren't all cut from the same
mold (The "white boy in sub-
urbia" mold so touted by
Serilla and others). They all
have different interests,
beliefs and attitudes. Look at
the top students in the
College of Engineering, the
Business School, LSA or any
other school and you will see
that they are not all white
boys. They are highly moti-
vated, intelligent men and
womeniwho are a rainbow of
humanity. They are definitely
not a "homogeneous" group.
If affirmative action ends,
they will still be here at the
University, bringing life to
classroom debate and the
In the months ahead,
readers will see more
columns and editorials by the
Daily and other students as
University administrators use
the student media and student
leaders to whip up opposition
to the lawsuit. I can only say
that those of us who oppose
race-based affirmative action
will continue on with our.
lives, resting confident in the
knowledge that the only argu-
ments that matter will take
place in the court of law, not
public opinion. And in that
arena, we will win.
BAMN's goal
is to defend
affirm ative
There have been some
misconceptions on campus
concerning the Coalition to
Defend Affirmative Action
By Any Means Necessary.

Force the University of
California Regents to rescind
their vote to destroy affirma-
tive action.
Build militant move-
ments to stop the University
of California, the University
of Michigan and other uni-
versity administrations from
implementing any anti-affir-
mative action policy in
employment and/or admis-
Stop the implementa-
tion of racist anti-immigrant
Proposition 187 in
C Build a militant, inte-
grated. independent move-
ment that uses any means
necessary, including educa-
tion, rallies, marches, build-
ing occupations and strikes to
defend affirmative action,
win our demands and to fight
for equality in American
Use democracy to build
the movement. Hold open
mass meetings and confer-
ences, vote on strategies and
tactics, and elect a steering
committee accountableto the
members of the Coalition.
Build a democratic,
state-wide coalition that is
financially and in every other
way independent of the
University Board of Regents,
the University of California
and other administrations and
governments. Open it up to
anti-racist activists and orga-
nizations from high schools,
community colleges, state
universities, unions, black,
Latino and other minority
organizations, anti-racist
groups, women's rights
groups, lesbian/gay organiza-
tions, etc.
Athletes do
not deserve
I am disturbed by the arti-
cle in the Daily ("Goss asks
faculty to give athletes
options," 10/7/97) regarding
Tom Goss's ideas concerning
student-athletes. He suggest-
ed that the University ought
to do more to accommodate
our athletes. Time conflicts
with athletic schedules limit
many of these students to
certain programs. Should it
be necessary for the
University to restructure the
academic programs to
accommodate our athletes? I
would hope this would be
obvious from the term "stu-
dent-athletes" used by Goss.
First and most important,
they are students that have
come to the UJniversity for an

this problem, Goss pointed to
UCLA's policy of allowing
athletes to register before
other students. Is this fair to
the rest of the students? Are
student-athletes more impor-
tant to the University? Let's
not lose our perspective.
They have chosen to play a
game. I f the game does not
allow them to achieve their
academic goals, perhaps they
should not play the game.
column was
I would like to respond to
James Miller's column con-
cerning Nike ("Taking a
stand for the swoosh'
10/22/97). He presents a nar-
row and bigoted view of pro-
testers that attempts to dis-
credit them by class baiting
them. lie should be careful
because not all protesters fit
into such neat categories. For
instance, we were anti-Nike
protesters at the Michigan-
Iowa game and we are a
union family. One of us is a
former member of Teamsters
Local 25, SEIU local 509,
and Jobs with Justice. The
other is a former member of
the Graduate Educators'
Organization. We are both
members of the Labor Party.
Most vocal support we
encountered came from
union members.
Furthermore, the question
for us is not Nike's ulterior
motives in their desire to
maintain the contract. The
question is child labor. I think
capitalists in this country
agree that 14-year-old
American girls should not be
working more than 40 hours a
week in sub-human condi-
tions. That is why such things
are illegal in the United
States. Why should Nike, an
American-owned company, be
allowed to do in Indonesia
what is illegal in this country?
Why would anyone condone
such practices? And especial-
ly, how can the University
condone such behavior when
it also professes a commit-
ment to protecting the rights
of children, most notably
within the School of Social
Work, the Child Advocacy
Law Clinic, and the Center for
the Child and Family, not to
mention countless other civil
rights and human rights orga-
nizations that the University
supports and Nike is in viola-
tion of.
We are not thumbing our
noses at large corporations
because we think it is cool to
do so. We are outraged at
these companies' violations

The real world
can't be found
on MTV or in
o, like, I totally don't even
want to talk to him any-
more. If he thinks he ca
just - uch -- walk in here while I'm
on the phone, he can just, like, kiss my
because I have
had it with him!"
Welcome to
"The Real World."
Or is it?
Last Wednesday.
about 700 folks
lined up outside
for hours and
p a c k e d
Touchdown Cafe ERin
for their shot to MARSH
live in TV's THINKN
trendiest fish- OF 'U'
bowl, The Real
World," or join its field-tripping
cousin, "Road Rules" We'll ignoredfor
the moment that more students
showed up for this casting call tha
will probably show up to vote at
Michigan Student Assembly elections
later this month.
In case you've never seen the show,
allow me - a self-proclaimed TV cul-
ture buff- to give you the lowdown.
"This is the true story of seven
strangers, picked to live in a house.
Find out what happens when peope
stop being polite - and start getting
real s"
What this means, basically, is th
for 30 minutes a week, viewers can
tune in and watch a bunch of trendy
20-somethings snipe at each other
about things like who shirked kitchen
duty and who is sticking what
appendages into the peanut butter. It's
like a junction of high school, a soap
opera and voyeurism.
Presumably, most of the people who
waited hours in line for an interview
think it would be pretty neat-o to live
in some corporate-sponsored, funki-
fied pad free of charge. I agree - no
rent plus cool couches equals big fu.
But to call this the "real world?" Who
arc you kidding?
No one on the show pays bills. No
one is seen cleaning a toilet or is des-
perately trying to dream up a recipe
that does not involve spaghetti. These
things constitute part of the "real
world" for people at our station of life
How about stretching to pay rent, or
worrying about finding a job that will
not only offer a livable salary, but will
also provide some kind of health ben-
efits package? Nope. On "The Real
World. ryou're more lkely to hear a
catfight about which cast member is
douiblecrossing her boyfriend. which
would make her, by "Real World" def-
inition, "like, a total slut"
In MTV land. open strife constitute
a big chunk of the real world. So what
do casting directors really look for?
Seven of the biggest attitude problems
they can find?
Another prerequisite seems to be
common among cast members: Some
degree of personal suffering. Death of
a parent, history of drug or alcohol
abuse, growing up without a father or
enough food. or some other event or
condition that has made growing up l
tough and emotional process is a con-
mon thread among almost all the kids
in the cast. Some issues have hit the
target audience with positive mes-
sages. An example that comes to mind
is Pedro, the man who lived with AIDS

and appeared on the show a few sea-
sons ago. His visibility promoted an
image far above and beyond the com-
mon stereotype of "the AIDS patient"
He probably educated the MTV audi
ence more effectively than 100 public
service announcements.
However, a lot of these people's per-
sonal grief and trauma have been triv-
ialized. It's an unfair misrepresenta-
tion to deal with a topic like sexual
abuse or death of a parent in a halIf-
hour time slot, then leave the audience
with an image of the affected person
gazing off into the distance, dewy-
eyed and content, with some modern-
altrntiv-rckmusic in the back-
ground. Psychological healing takes
time, folks, and not the one-break-
method that MTV employs. It just
doesn't happen that way in the real
Plus, I shudder to think the extent to
which interviewees went on
Wednesday to convince directors they
are tortured enough to be on the show.4
I envision .lots of waterproof mascara,
so the make-up would stay put when
potential cast members tearfully con-
fessed to that one time when they
baked some brownies - and ate the
whole pan! Please.
It's true that no one watches TV to
see what happens in the course of a



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