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March 10, 1998 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-03-10

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 10, 1998

IE irbc~itn Daig9

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

.............**K .

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

Unless 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.
Taking the ead
'U' pioneers use of alternative-fuel vehicles

'I think it's an issue of great national policy
concern and has interesting ramifications
about how we think about ... social behavior.'
University Provost Nancy Cantor on the national committee that will study
gender integration in the military, to which she was appointed on Feb. 27
.A 61SHIPRIMtE "i A uN cj- HS
MI~lT1 HAS 7 IETUleJeZ, 6Q#N41t4
RE1'4 NC-b.. 8 o4)N -EA'*r 403 P E Fp o ak o 7Ti E .
Fc'AC0 Few. o4OW KT
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LESSotiJS oF H15 to lif7

O ver the past 30 years, environmental
scientists have observed serious nega-
tive consequences of pollution on the ozone
layer and the earth's water supply. In
response to the pollution problem, the U.S.
government began addressing the issue at
home with the enactment of tougher air-
and water-quality standards. It also effected
change abroad with participation in interna-
tional environmental agreements. While
many aspects of this environmental destruc-
tion can be attributed to industrialization,
automobiles are the biggest single source of
pollution. The government has taken sever-
al steps to reduce emissions given off by the
burning of fossil fuels in automobiles, but
much more needs to be done if environ-
mental problems of global magnitude are to
be fixed.
In the next century, automobiles powered
by alternative forms of fuel such as natural
gas and electricity will be commonplace.
Federal grants - like the Clean Cities grant
- are aiding this process by providing incen-
tives for cities to purchase and experiment
with alternative-fuel vehicles. The University,
Ann Arbor Public Schools, the city of Ann
Arbor and the Ann Arbor Transportation
Authority are moving to the forefront of this
emerging industry by taking part in the pro-
gram sponsored by the Clean Cities grant -
a tremendously courageous and notable step
by all participants. In order to use the money,
the group has to match the $487,000 the fed-
eral government is putting up. In addition to
testing new vehicles, the group is going to
build alternative fuel stations for the vehicles
with the help of Consolidated Gas Co. and
Detroit Edison. All of the parties involved
should be praised as well for their involve-
ment in such a new and important program.

At the University, five electrically pow-
ered Ford pickup trucks will be used by the
vehicle transportation department. These
trucks cost $30,000 each - twice as much
as their gas-powered equivalents. The idea
behind the purchase is that these alternative
vehicles will eventually cost less than their
fossil fuel-powered alternatives. In addition,
the vehicles will cost much less to maintain
after their purchase, both fiscally and eco-
logically. If these vehicles are not purchased
by organizations that have extensive and var-
ied transportation needs, they will never be
tested and their cost will never drop. The fed-
eral government is providing the incentive to
purchase these vehicles at a higher cost with
the use of grant money. In turn, the
University will provide the incentive for the
automobile industry to continue experimen-
tation with environmentally sound vehicles.
A major portion of the University's trans-
portation department is the 53 buses that
transport a total of 3.8 million people per
year. The University did not purchase alter-
natively powered buses, which are consider-
ably more expensive than pickup trucks and
do not work effectively. The refusal to pur-
chase these buses should help send the mass
transit industry a powerful message and
incentive - the demand for alternatively
powered buses exists but since a large num-
ber of people rely on these vehicles, they
must be reliable before they can come into
common use. The University and the other
participants in this project are taking a
tremendous step in the ongoing fight against
global pollution. Initiatives like the Clean
Cities grant are taking research on alterna-
tively fueled vehicles to a new level and
should be increased before the effects of
global pollution become irreversible.

A little tipsy
Blood-alcohol law should oniy be a first step

F our drinks may not sound like too
many, but according to the president
and most senators, four drinks is enough to
legally intoxicate a driver and impair his or
her judgment. An amendment to a new bill
currently making its way through Congress
would mandate a nationwide .08-percent
blood-alcohol level - .02 percent lower
than the legal level in most states.
The amendment was co-sponsored by
Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Mike
DeWine (R-Ohio). It will be added to a bill
that would appropriate $173 billion to high-
way repairs and construction over the next
six years. Under the amendment, states that
fail to adopt the .08-percent standard by
2001 will be penalized five percent of their
federal highway dollars. The bill passed the
Senate last week and now faces a tough
fight in the House.
Critics of the amendment claim that it is
not the job of the federal government to dic-
tate a level at which one can be declared
drunk. They maintain that this bill does little
to affect repeat drunk driving offenders. But
there is a line at which the "states' rights"
argument ceases to hold water. Interstate
highways and smaller roads facilitate travel in
between different states - if one state were
to have a higher legal alcohol limit than
another, the risk to drivers in both states
would be increased. If the government wish-
es to dole out money to make highways easi-
er to travel, it only makes-sense that the safe-
ty of all users be considered. Besides, the
states are not being forced to make any move
- they would still have the option of keeping
their blood-alcohol limit at what it is today.
Only 15 states have independently adopted
a .08-nercent law. Most of the remaining 35.

drop is not staggering, it is a step that is esti-
mated to prevent 500 deaths per year -near-
ly 16 percent of all drunk-driving casualties
-- and curtail countless injuries.
Congress must remember, however, that
this is only a step. The fact remains that peo-
ple drive while under the influence and that
any amount alcohol in the system impairs dri-
ving ability to some degree. Congress should
not be content with simply lowering the death
rate by a relatively small margin; more pro-
gressive actions should be proposed and
enacted. The alcoholic beverage lobby is not
entirely wrong when it calls for legislation
that targets repeat drunk driving offenders.
The government should support rehabilita-
tion and driver's education programs nation-
Last week, President Clinton signed an
executive order instructing Secretary of
Transportation Rodney Slater to develop a
similar .08-percent limit for federal property
like military bases and national parks. The
highway allocations bill including the
Lautenberg-DeWine amendment will now go
to the House. Although there is strong skepti-
cism from House leaders, this bill is expected
to pass as it generally has bi-partisan support.
The new amendment is a good move in the
fight to curb drunk drivers. Although the size
of the action is small, it should have positive
- if somewhat limited - effects on the safe-
ty of the nation's roads. It is important that the
federal government take this step, since the
result will be realized sooner than if it were
simply left up to individual states. But the
amendment should be considered only a step
to ultimately eliminate drunk-driving deaths
- legislators must continue to divert funds to
support preventative programs. In the mean

Day of action
did not make
Is it possible for those
"defending" affirmative
action to make their
"defense" look more ridicu-
lous than it currently does?
Aside from sending represen-
tatives to the Diag to harass
passers-by (personally, I've
been followed from the Diag
to Michigan Book and
Supply being told that I sim-
ply "don't understand what
affirmative action is about"),
and aside from holding rap
concerts under the guise of
rallys ("Hey! Ho! This racist
posse's got to go!"), there
was a day in which all classes
were to be skipped. I can
understand the points,
although I disagree with the
methods, of the first two
ways of communicating sup-
port and awareness of affir-
mative action. But the last
part has me stupefied:
A lawsuit has been filed
against the University regard-
ing affirmative action proce-
dures. The University, as an
organization, wishes to
defend affirmative action
("no resegregation of educa-
tion"). As a means of sup-
porting affirmative action, a
skip day is designated.
What I don't understand
is why, in order to promote a
higher education for those
who supposedly won't
receive it otherwise; are stu-
dents neglecting their own
educational needs? It's not as
if the University is antagonis-
tic to the cause - to the con-
trary, the University is
defending it.
It's not as if the events
couldn't be held on a day
when more people could
come; why hold an event at
that you want outside support
only to host it at time which
will deter the audience from
attending? I am not opposed
to attending events designed
to inform me exactly what it
is that I "don't understand,"
but I'll be damned if I'm
going to go thousands of dol-
lars in debt attending this
University only to go and
ditch class for no other rea-
son than to make noise for a
cause that is "supported" by
behavior such as this.
Protest is
important to
While I'm as much a fan
of taking pot shots at Ohio
C -t at _%a ".. m r nn-

BEN GORVINE present at

ior as "rude and intolerant"
does not apply to the oft-
maligned Ohio State student
body. As a proud alumnus of
Earlham College, a school that
emphasizes political activism,
social justice and a deep con-
cern for world events, I
strongly take issue with any
description of the protesters,
wherever they may be from, as
an "inherently offensive
breed." Perhaps Zucker does
not agree that dissent, protest
and debate are the corner-
stones of our democracy, but
even a cursory reading of the
First Amendment would recti-
fy his misconception. Indeed,
the real tragedy would have
been to have a town meeting
where the policies laid forth
by Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright, Secretary
of Defense William Cohen
and National Security Adviser
Sandy Berger went quietly
uncontested. Our public offi-
cials will survive the "rude-
ness" of the protesters, but our
democracy cannot survive
their silence.

Vote 'yes' on
ballot question
Since before we entered
high school, our generation
has been trying to inspire
itself toward activism. The
Yes! Yes! Yes! campaign is the
perfect opportunity for us to
actually do something. By
voting "yes" on the Michigan
Student Assembly ballot ques-
tion, we will put in motion a
political process that will
almost certainly end with the
addition of a student to the
University Board of Regents.
This is the sort of thing that
will make a difference in our
lives both practically and ide-
ologically. And voting "yes" is
easier than skipping class. So
please vote "yes" for real
change on campus.
Band tries to
get Crisler
fans involved
The Daily's suggestions for
improvement of Crisler Arena
included a mischaracterization
regarding the basketball band
("What's wrong with Crisler
Arena?" 2/20/98). The only
issue regarding the band that
would help the atmosphere in
Crisler is to place the band
closer to the student section.
Currently, the band is placed
out in the hinterlands of the
alumni, thus tempering some
of.th _-na .v t.. henn

During the weekend of
Feb. 27, 1 attended the two
hockey games at Yost Ice
Arena and felt that something
was missing. The cheers and
the chants were not there and
I wondered why. I looked
around to see children, par-
ents and older people sitting
in the student section seats.
I have had hockey season
tickets for two years. Hockey
is the best sport at Michigan,
mainly due to fan involve-
ment. The reason why very
few students attended the
games was because they
opted not to buy the extended
student tickets instead of the
regular student season tick-
The extended season tick-
ets included two games over
Thanksgiving break, two
games over winter break and
the two games on Feb. 27 and
28, the beginning of spring
break. I went to all of these
games and was disappointed
by the lack of fan involvement,
but the game against Lake
Superior State on Feb. 28 was
by far the most disappointing.
After the game, there was
a tribute to the five senior
members of the team whose
accomplishments added to the
rich 76-year history of
Michigan hockey. When the
seniors circled the ice after
their last home game, they
were met by mediocre cheers
from the student section. The
cheers and attendance of the
ceremony after the game
would have been greater if the
"student section" would have
actually contained students.
They are the ones that would
have really appreciated all of
the hard work and accom-
nh .etc o the;enin, o

hands. The crowd doesn't
even bother to raise their fists
for the victors.
The band plays during
every play break. It is not
physically possible for it to
be more active. Any lack of
energy (in comparison the the
hockey band) can only be
attributed to the size of band
- some 40 players, as dictat-
ed by the Athletic
The Daily should do some
research next time before
printing half-truths and mis-
information. Also, in its sug-
gestions, it failed to mention
the fact that when thetbasket-
ball team beat Duke, the
crowd was a lot more
involved then when the team
lost to Western ... coinci-
Student fans
were not

It is fear not love,
that conquers all
There comes a point at which each
senior, every year, has the same
feeling. You know, that feeling that goes
beyond all words, that feeling that cor-
rupts all else.
For lack of a better phrase, we'll call
this feeling the "Oh Shit!" syndrome,
and leave it at that ... I think most peo-
ple understand what we're getting at. I
hits early in the day
upon waking, in the
shower, during
class, after class,
while eating, while
drinking, in your
car and in the bar
(no more rhymes, I
promise) - when-
ever there is a
chance for the two
words to enter the JOSH
mind, they will. It's WHITE
a slippery slope;
the more you try ,
not to think about
it, the more you will.
It's time for such a phrase because
we're now in the final stretch and
there is no turning back. A few
months ago, it was time to take stock
and take care of all those things th4
we never got to do in Ann Arbor, now
it's time to make sure that there is
something waiting for us after Ann
Arbor - and whether or not we know
what that will be, fear is always
around the corner, or right in our
faces. It's not about applying for jobs
or for graduate school, now it is about
waiting to find out.
Or, in the case of those lucky enough
to know what lies beyond the maize an
blue, it is about waiting to start ane
life, one none of us knows anything
about. Despite how comfortable and
jolly some may seem while on the edge
of reality, we all have this fear, we all
suffer the syndrome.
The syndrome hit me over break, as I
stood on top of Alpine Meadows ski
resort above Lake Tahoe. Winds of
more than 65 miles per hour and
swirling snow whipped into a blindin
cloud as we traversed to a cornic
called "Idiot's Delight" - an outcrop-
ping at the top of the world that emptied
into extreme steeps and, yes, the
Wolverine Bowl, no joke. As we jutted
our skis over empty space and peered
down the steeps, fear became
inevitable; there is something very
unnatural about wanting to fallamore
than 10 feet into the unknown, all the
while expecting the worst.
In a sappy and cliche moment, lif
hit me upside the head and gave me
quite a jolt. This cornicewas nothing
to fear, yet blood flowed fast and
thoughts raged - the worst that could
happen would be to become a cloud of
snow and make a fool of myself, hard-
ly a test. The real cornice, which is
eroding faster than the California
coastline under El Nifo, is the end of
college life ... and folks, we're stan
ing on it.
Seventeen years of education are
within six weeks of completion (those
with a more illustrious career of 18, 19
or 20 years have even more to think
about) and then we are going to be set
loose upon the world forever. No ball of
snow and humiliation this time; there is
no padded landing and no way to bail
Consider that there are six, count
them, six Fridays left in college, which
of course means six weekends. I jus
got three offers in the mail claiming to
have the best graduation robes and tas-

sels and another guaranteeing delivery
of a class ring by graduation - 1
recently became the last person at the
University to officially declare a major
and my audit came back in good order.
My friends are looking for housing in
other cities and making plans, real
plans, for their futures. One or twO
couples have mentioned the word mar-
riage and this is all extremely frighten-
Regardless of your feeling toward
your courses at this point, let me remind
you that there are 31 days of class left,
which makes up less than 100 hours for
your average student. For most,
midterms have come and gone and
courses are even beginning to wrap
things up. Parents are itching to come to
Ann Arbor to see the huddled ma.4
graduate as one - the cornice is slip-
ping away and it is almost time to take
the plunge.
But all of this fear pays off, and it
will this time around too. Jumping
from the cornice was exhilarating and
wonderful; the unknown became the
conquered and the next challenge
seemed less daunting and more realis-
tic. As we all feared the first days
college life - a time of redefinition
and trying to "fit in"-- we should all
fear what comes next, but we should
use that fear to overcome what lies
Enjoy what we all have left in our
nflha-n'l iv fr ree.. k Week ht

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