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April 02, 1998 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-04-02

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I

4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 2, 1998

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

LAURIE MAYK
Editor in Chief
JACK SCHILLACI
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's editorial board.
All other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
FROM THE DAILY
Back in town
All groups must have the right to free speech

'I don't want to be on a campus that spearheads
the effort to defend affirmative action.'
- Engineering senior and Michigan Student Assembly Student General Counsel
David Burden, on a resolution the assembly passed on Tuesday night
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Bringing back vivid memories of their
rally almost two years ago, the Ku
Klux Klan has officially requested that
the Ann Arbor City Council grant them a
permit for their proposed rally on May 9.
This group represents the worst of dis-
criminatory beliefs with its messages of
hate, which conjure up images of the
Holocaust and the legalized racism that
existed in the United States for many
years. Many people, ,including local and
University organizations, do not want to
see the KKK given the right to march this
year because of the content of its mes-
sage. The issue becomes whether to deny
the group the right to assemble and speak
freely because of the message they preach
- intolerance and persecution of what
they view as non-perfect people.
The Ann Arbor City Council should
grant the KKK a permit to hold a rally on
May 9 in accordance with the guarantees
of the First Amendment. The right to free
speech is one of the foundations of United
States' citizens' civil liberties. All types of
ideas, popular and unpopular, are protect-
ed under this fundamental liberty. While
the KKK certainly falls into the unpopular
category, its members should have every
right to freely speak their minds in a pub-
lic forum. Once the government starts
denying groups of people the right to
express themselves freely, it begins to
restrict freedom, and this could lead down
the slippery slope toward censorship. Most
rational people may not agree with what
the KKK has to say and may be deeply
offended by its views, but the group's
members have the right to voice their opin-
ions nonetheless.
Members of the University and Ann
Arbor communities should take advan-
tage of their individual liberties as well

and peacefully protest the KKK if the
group come to town next month. Local
efforts by an association of clergy deserve
much praise for training "peacekeepers"
willing to put themselves between the
Klan and any violent anti-Klan demon-
strators that come to the rally. The best
and only acceptable way to fight the
Klan's speech is with more speech.
Violence against the KKK is not the
answer, nor is the suppression of their
ideas. Knowing that the KKK is active in
Michigan and throughout the United
States and educating society as to why
hate is wrong are two effective ways to
fight the group's message.
The Ann Arbor City Council and Ann
Arbor Police Department should examine
the rally held two years ago and learn
from the mistakes that resulted in a violent
riot between members of the KKK and
rock-throwing citizens outraged at the
group's presence in Ann Arbor. In addi-
tion, the police department must have a
plan of action to implement if conditions
deteriorate during the rally, something that
did not exist after the Ohio State football
game or during the affirmative action dis-
cussion with State Sen. David Jaye (R-
Macomb). Based on the experience two
years ago and the intents suggested by
members of organizations rallying against
the Klan, a greater and better organized
police presence will be necessary at the
rally to maintain peace.
The Ann Arbor City Council has the dif-
ficult task of upholding one of the basic
principles of American society for a group
that, ironically, would like to deny these
same rights to many Americans. All the
same, the city council should stand up for
the First Ammendment and be prepared for
the rally.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

In poor taste
NEA should not impose decency standards

he National Endowment for the Arts
.. was created in 1965 to subsidize
rtists and their endeavors. It has since
become a subject of much targeted contro-
"ersy. Most recently, the U.S. government
has tried to impose a set of decency stan-
dard, by which art will be evaluated and
decisions made as to which art the NEA
,will choose to fund. The subject of regu-
lated expression reached the Supreme
Court . after performance artist Karen
Finley appeared on stage naked and cov-
ered with melted chocolate in a dramati-
zation of her vision of the plight of
women. Whether or not such a perfor-
-mance would have met individual stan-
dards of taste, the performance was a form
of expression. Indeed, the one thing that
unifies all types of art is that it is used as
a medium for expression. These types of
expression should not be regulated by a
governmental agency.
The judgement of such issues as per-
sonal as art is almost always too subjective
to be evaluated according to taste. Art, by
its nature, reaches some and offends oth-
ers. Popular appeal has not and never
should be the standard to which art is held,
least of all by the federal government.
Imposing decency standards would do just
that; such standards would be subjective
and evaluative according to taste and
appeal. Whereas the government should
encourage all forms of expression, such a
policy - whether executed or not - could
counteract and impair these aims by dis-

ment as something that is good for society.
As well as contributing to society cultural-
ly, art unifies and bonds people through
common vision. It is a forum for expressing
public concerns and interests as well as
thoughts and ideas. Art has alwayg
expressed the mood and current of the
times. Some of the most controversial
works have been at least as useful in evalu-
ating society in a historical context than
less-risque ones. The intellectual controver-
sy that has always surrounded art is healthy
for society. So while some politicians and
moralists have throughout history tried to
censor certain types of art, it has likewise
proven to be important to reject taste and
moral standards.
In addition, since it is the government
and not a private organization or collector
that is responsible for this source of fund-
ing for the arts, it is that much more
important for the standard of freedom of
expression to be maintained. Were the
funding from a private source, any stan-
dards, whether of decency or another
type, would not constitute such a breach
with the artists' right to freely express
themselves. But it is the responsibility of
the government to protect the interests of
all of society. Since finding universal
standards of taste that are common to all
of society would be nearly impossible, it
is not within the right of the government
to impose these standards on the NEA.
The issue here is about funding, not about
taste. Public money should be put toward
. . . . .. . . '__ _. .__..- r

Decision
violated ex
post facto
TO THE DAILY:
This letter is written in
response to "Sex offenders do
not deserve a second chance"
(3/19/98) in the Daily. I agree
with everything the letter says
about sex offenders, and I
found it to be an excellent
summary of why Megan's
Law was enacted.
I was pleasantly surprised,
however, that the Daily chose
the unpopular position of
defending the rights of former
sex offenders ("Injustice
upheld," 3/9/98). 1 feel that
the Daily is correct in its cas-
tigation of the Supreme
Court's decision to reject the
claims of sex offenders whose
crimes occurred prior to the
enactment of Megan's Law.
One of the Constitution's
most important provisions is
the protection against ex post
facto legislation. In the
Supreme Court's decision, a
ruling that allowed a sec-
ondary punishment of crimi-
nals whose crimes were com-
mitted prior to the passage of
Megan's Law.
This ruling, by definition,
upholds a piece of ex post
facto legislation. Whether or
not the provisions of Megan's
Law as applied to current
offenders are appropriate, as I
feel they are, the court's deci-
sion was unconstitutional.
JUSTIN SCHAFER
LSA SOPHOMORE
'U' should
support
students with
children
TO THE DAILY:
Last week, the University
Provost released to the public
the "Strategic Plan for Child
Care Programs at the
University of Michigan," a
report compiled by the
University's Child Care Task
Force. As a student parent, I
feel it important to make the
campus aware of the commit-
tee's findings.
At the University, many
student parents and staff
employees struggle to locate
affordable care for the
approximately 16,000 chil-
dren who are part of our
community. Staff members
especially report having diffi-
culty finding evening and
weekend care. Sick child and
emergency care is of particu-
lar concern to faculty and
GSI parents who often cannot
find last-minute replacements
for their classes. Staff
turnover in child-care facili-
ties on and off campus is
eremely high nualit care

higher for a child in full-time
day care on campus than it is
for an undergraduate at the
University.
To address some of these
problems, the task force has
made some important pro-
posals in their plan. Copies
of this report can be obtained
at the University Reserve
Services (at the Shapiro
Undergraduate Library), at
the Media Union reference
desk and at the Taubman
Medical Library reference
desk.
An e-mail account, child-
care.feedback(umich edu
has been established for pub-
lic comment on the report. I
encourage everyone who
reads this letter to comment
on the plan because, as the
following anecdote reveals,
not everyone believes child
care deserves our support.
Several weeks ago, I
turned on the radio in time to
hear a U.S. congressperson
suggesting that the attention
and funding being paid to
day care of late may be
excessive because it privi-
leges mothers who work to
the detriment of mothers who
choose to "stay home and not
buy a second car." There are
several things wrong with
such a suggestion. First, it
implies that child care is
solely a mother's responsibil-
ity; that a father's only famil-
ial role is as breadwinner.
Second, it implies that a
house-boundewoman without
a car is the best kind of
mother. Third (and this is
perhaps the most glaringly
obvious misunderstanding of
American people the member
of Congress made), is the
idea that such a choice
(between having one or both
parents work) is one that
most American families are
free to make.
Even a brief e-mail stat-
ing your support of the
Strategic Plan would make a
difference.
KATIE JEWETT
RACKHAM
P rofessors
and GSIs
need to end
class on time
TO THE DAILY:
Attention all professors
and GSIs! Please, please end
class at the designated time.
Running even just a few min-
utes over may cause huge
inconveniences not only to
your own students (whose
next class may be way across
campus), but also to the stu-
dents and instructors of the
subsequent class scheduled
for the room. People need
time to settle in and prepare
for class, and running late
inconveniences evervone!

finish on time. Take our time
into consideration, too.
CHRISTINE BELL
LSA SENIOR
Daily tried to
'make a
scandal'
TO THE DAILY:
Wow! And I thought that
this was one of those races
where everyone would be
happy with the triumph of
either major candidate. It was
a close race, and Ryan
Friedrichs and Trent
Thompson both campaigned
well. They both deserved it,
only one got it, and now, the
one person who won the elec-
tion is being publicly and
maliciously criticized. It
amazes me that the Daily,
under the premise of trying
to work with the Michigan
Student Assembly, takes any
and every chance to under-
mine the leaders of the stu-
dent government. The article
in the Daily on March 25
made Thompson sound like
an obnoxious idiot
("Allegations taint MSA elec-
tions"). The Daily staff not
only failed to substantiate the
claims in the article with any
facts or names but even
failed to state their claims
against Thompson. Yes,
Thompson went to the party
to campaign. Yes, Thompson
campaigned at the party. Yes,
Thompson and MSA Rep.
Brian Reich set up a polling
site in one of the house's bed-
rooms ... all legal under
Election Code. What exactly
are the sources claiming to
be illegal? Are they seriously
claiming that someone who
has been on this assembly,
working his butt off for over
a year would stand at a
polling site looking over peo-
ple's shoulders as they vote?
All this article does is
smear someone's name ..
and for what purpose?
Embarrassment at endorsing
the losing candidate for elec-
tion? A slow news day? A
personal vendetta? Or maybe
it was just pure sensational-
ism, and the idea that the
Daily can be a real newspa-
per if it makes a scandal. I
mean after all, that is what
journalism is about right?
Uncovering the truth? Oh
wait a minute ... I have a
really good idea ... why does-
n't the Daily try that route
and see how it works out for
them? Sorry if it isn't excit-
ing enough for them, but we
are all just college students,
and I don't think we have had
enough experience with all
things political to be as
sneaky, conspiring and uneth-
ical as their National
Enquirer-esque journalism
would like us to be. Sorry,
mums I hve tn ocn I k1ha vea

The Opening
Day of baseball
represents all
things American
S pring officially began Tuesday. The
vernal equinox was March 21,
which is when astrologers and calendar-
makers mark the beginning of the bu
ding season. After wearing shorts and
shirts for the
whole weekend,
anyone in Ann
Arbor might , s
have thought
spring had
already started.
But the indis-
putablermarker
that spring has
sprung is that
bats cracked MEGAN
balls Tuesday SCHIMPF
afternoon in rth NfR 'ECRIiYINS
states north of
Georgia and in parks that were snow-
covered and silent less than a week ago.
Tuesday was Opening Day for most
major league baseball teams.
Nothing compares to the Opening
Day aura: crisp uniforms, ceremonial
first pitches that redefine "pitch-ou
ceremonial speeches and electrified
crowds. Hope and optimism pervade
every ballpark on Opening Day -
from the World Series champion to the
cellar dwellers, everything starts over
with new twists, new faces and new
statistics.
For once, it's about the game and the
magic of being a ballplayer, instead of
the standings or the pennant race. This
inborn anticipation is practical
incorruptible, and this is what make
the beginning more special than the
end. Springtime's magic is in the air,
and sportsmanship has yet to lose its
glow.
My family used to go to Opening
Day at Tiger Stadium. I remember sit-
ting in the sun, a stolen day from reali-
ty just to watch a baseball game. I
remember speeches by the mayor, the
team owner and the pre-game shc
emcee, who was usually a radio broa -
caster. I remember the sheer excite-
ment of being there, experiencing the
first few moments of spring and sum-
mer. I remember eating lunch at a clas-
sic Detroit restaurant, full of other peo-
ple also destined for the corner of
Michigan and Trumbull.
What I don't remember is whether the
Tigers won. Opening Day is about
atmosphere and ambiance. September
about winning and losing.
Regardless of how you now feel
aboutbaseball, remember how youfelt
before the strike, before salaries sky-
rocketed, before expansion created
teams with names you might attribute to
farm teams. Back when you played in
the community league, or in the street
with the other kids.
Think of "Field of Dreams" baseball.
"Bull Durham" excitement. Drear4
worthy of "The Natural."
Think of this: On a beautiful day in
St. Louis, Mark McGwire hit a grand
slam homerun Tuesday, the first
Cardinal ever to do so. Ken Griffey
started the season with a solo shot later
that day. The two are projected to battle
this season for one of baseball's mot
hallowed records -- Roger Maris' 61-
homer mark.
Cal Ripken played.
Baseball - true baseball - is st
the American pastime. No other sport
has quite the hold that baseball does,
because baseball has a nostalgic quali-

ty that transcends athletics. It's the
same as what attracts us to Bruce
Springsteen, apple pie, Fourth of July
fireworks and family reunions. It
brings most of us to a game at least
once a year, to sit in the bleachers and
eat big pretzels. It draws thousan
each year to a tiny town in upstate Nt
York, the cathedral of all things base-
ball. There in Cooperstown, the stadi-
um has real grass, no sushi and no
retractable top. The faces in the Hall of
Fame are timeless; it is the chance to
look at baseball with the hazy light of
fond memory.
All these things keep Opening Day
dear, and draw us back year after year.
They keep baseball as the hallmark of
spring. They forever separate baseb
from football, basketball and hocke.
True, the modern version of the sport
may not be the old baseball we want to
revere. But everyone still has a soft spot
for Opening Day, and deeper down,
baseball's venerable tradition.
So regardless of how you feel about
baseball in September, or if you'll even
care, a little rush of excitement on
Opening Day is universal. It is wrapped
up in the elation at seeing spring and to
temptation of all that is new in the first
week of April.
With that first real pitch, the crack of
the bat or the thump in the glove, the
fun begins. On a green grass and dusty
dirt hbckeround flans flvinu and

I

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