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October 15, 1998 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-15

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 15, 1998

c e ICir ig ut ttilg

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

'We're not going to have any
lawyers in it, messing it all up.'
- Oprah Winfrey, on the negotiations with author Toni
Morrison to buy the rights to her book "Beloved;
the film adaptation of the book opens tomorrow
TH OMAS KULJURGIS T TAT IVLY SP K IN
OK... IGUESS L WALL WfiTWRAW 125P&. 1

Fiegers wacky
campaign is
horrifying, but
fun to watch

S

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
e ~ing the model
'U' should expand ethnic studies programs

As a leader in the charge to preserve
affirmative action policies at higher
education institutions, the University has
cast itself as a model for campus and cur-
ricular diversity. In a college setting, diver-
sity should be more than just an ethnically
balanced student body, but also a wide
range of course offerings in ethnic studies.
Despite its laudable efforts to ensure a
multi-ethnic student population, the
University falls short when it comes to the
range of courses offered in some ethnic
studies programs.
For the most part, the University should
be applauded for its efforts to offer more
courses that examine non-Anglo American
perspectives. Monday's celebration of
Indigenous People's Day, however, demon-
strated that the University could still do
much more to promote diversity in the
classroom. While other ethnic studies
departments flourish, classes in Native
American culture have been shamefully
overlooked.
While the University is already ahead of
many other colleges and universities in
offering Native American studies classes
and a language course series in Ojibawa,
these few courses still insufficiently address
Native American perspectives and culture.
Ample attention to the Native American
condition would not only require an
expanded catalogue of courses with a
Native focus, but also the hiring of Native
American professors who could relate their
personal cultural experience to the course
material.
In the present cultural climate, where
ethnicity is at the heart of so many impor-
tant social and political issues, the
University does its students a disservice by
not adequately addressing a vibrant culture

that has left an indelible mark on main-
stream American society. Having one or
two exceptional ethnic studies programs
should not satisfy the University when other
ethnic studies programs are meager or non-
existent.
To ignore certain cultures because they
are underrepresented in the student body
is simply indefensible. At a University
where ignorance about Native American
cultures still thrives shamelessly out in the
open, or sometimes even in University tra-
dition, a serious initiative to increase
awareness of Native culture is long over-
due. The exclusive senior men's honor
society, Michigamua, bears an American
Indian name, and only recently was the
Michigamua totem pole near the
University's ropes course removed -tes-
tifying to the lack df sensitivity toward
Native American culture by some students
and faculty. Just as all students can learn
invaluable insights from an African
American studies course, non-Native stu-
dents can reap similar intellectual benefits
by delving into Native culture.
As a model for diversity, the University
has an obligation to set a good example in
both the composition of its student body
and in its ethnic studies course offerings.
By neglecting a culture with a significant
role in the political, social and cultural
development of the United States, the
University sends the message to other high-
er learning institutions that Native
American culture is not important enough
to warrant serious study. The stakes are
quite higher than some individuals seem to
think - once again, it is time for the
University to take the initiative and break
new ground for higher education in the
United States.

NATO

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i ,
i I
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1

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Mismanged
Bill could have addressed health care needs

C onsumer Groups from around the
nation hoped that the recent
Democrat-sponsored "patients' bill of
rights" would make health maintenance
organizations improve quality of care that
they offered. The bill failed Friday in the
U.S. Senate, but the quality of care is still
an issue that is important to many voters.
The "patients' bill of rights," which was
passed by the House in July, would have
allowed the 125 million Americans that are
enrolled in a federally regulated health care
plan to have access to a specialist when
needed, the use of doctors outside the plan
for a larger fee than doctors covered by the
program, the use of emergency services if
the symptoms "justify alarm" - even if the
problem turns out not to be an emergency
- and the ability to sue an employer-spon-
sored health plan for damages. Democrats
initially took the lead on the issue with
some support from Republicans. But the
patients' right to sue an employer prevented
the Republicans from passing the bill in the
Senate.
As the law currently reads, if an employ-
er falls under the Employee Retirement
Income Security Act, a patient who was
denied an X-ray and turns out to have un-
detected lung cancer, for example, can sue
for the cost of the X-ray, but cannot win
money for the damages that the refusal of
treatment caused.
The Consumers for Quality Care, who
lobbied for the patients' bill of rights,
sent a transcript of an Aetna training
video to every member of Congress. In
the video, the Hartford, Conn.,-based

Jeffery Blumenthal explains, "We have an
obligation, certainly in a non-ERISA set-
ting, under state law, to conduct what's
called a reasonable investigation." He
continues, "We could be subject to ... bad
faith damages, to punitive damages, to a
whole range of extra-contractual liability
that could be many, many millions of dol-
lars."
About 60 percent of Americans are
enrolled in a managed health care plan, and
in doing so, are essentially giving their
HMO control over the quality of their
health care. The need for an avenue to
receive damages should be addressed by
Congress. HMOs' potentially dangerous
frugality is a problem that has been in the
spotlight for years. Congress needs to
address the issue and come up with a solu-
tion soon to prevent innocent people from
getting caught up in an HMO disaster.
During a recent industry "price war," many
companies held their rates at unprofitable
levels in order to gain market share. Now
the push for profit is making the number of
approved specialist visits decline at the cost
of patients' health. Perhaps the threat of a
malpractice suit for denying treatment
would make the HMOs more devoted to the
patient and less devoted to profit margins.
Heavy lobbying by the HMOs helped
sway Republican senators decisions that
the bill - in particular the right to sue -
would drive the costs of health care up too
much. The slogan used by the HMOs in
television ads was "when politicians play
doctor, real people get hurt," but what
they failed to realize is that when nobody
can afford a doctor, real people get hurt

U should use
the 'fairest'
admissions
policy
To THE DAILY:
The University is not
obligated to give any prefer-
ential treatment to applicants
from Michigan, nor is it
obligated to accept the large
amount of money (collected
from Michigan taxpayers)
that it gets for doing so.
The University policy that
grants preferential treatment
to applicants from Michigan
is the result of a rational,
autonomous decision that has
been made from within the
University and is in the
University's (largely finan-
cial) best interest.
The statement that was
made in the Oct. 7 article
("Attacks on out-of-state
enrollment continue") to the
effect that "all qualified stu-
dents from the state of
Michigan are accepted" is
false. Each year, the
University sends out letters
informing many applicants
that although they have met or
exceeded the admissions crite-
ria established for the incom-
ing class, there just aren't any
available spots left. Each
year, the University makes
many such miscalculations.
These miscalculations deprive
hard-working students of
acceptance to the University
- acceptance they have
earned. These miscalculations
are the result of the
University's rolling admis-
sions policy. Most highly
competitive schools do not
use rolling admissions.
Rolling admissions makes
the University less able to
select the most qualified
applicants, whether they
apply from within Michigan
or from out of state.
Let us not pretend that the
University is victimized by
the state of Michigan. The
University is largely a closed
system and ought to refine
itself from within. Finger
pointing and squabbles over
residency issues are sure to
cause only animosity
between the University and
its students. Students ought
to unite in favor of the fairest
and most evaluative admis-
sions policy possible.
MATTHEW MURPHY
LSA SENIOR
Third-party
candidates
deserve votes
To THE DAILY:
It is wonderful living in
the United States today and
being a history major, for we
are watching history in the
making. Many recent analysts
are arrnina that the recent

lar acts passed against former
President Nixon, but such
analysis is less accurate then
it seems. In the case of
Nixon Congress was strong-
ly against him and he
resigned in the face of mas-
sive public anger. For a closer
example of what is happen-
ing today, we need to take a
look at history, the impeach-
ment proceedings of former
President Andrew Johnson.
He was brought before the
Senate after passage of
impeachment proceedings on a
partisan platform issue, with a
Radical Republican-dominated
Congress forging the way.
Johnson was not found guilty
though. Saved by one vote, he
finished out the rest of his
term as a lame duck. At this
point, Clinton has three possi-
ble outcomes: one, he is found
guilty; two, he is acquitted; or
three, he resigns. Resignation
is not likely because, he faces
a mixed Congress who is
attempting to remove him for
party reasons, unlike Nixon
who was seen by most mem-
bers of Congress as grossly
abusing the powers of the pres-
idency.
But my fellow students,
election time is coming up and
the Republicans are hoping to
get your vote, because without
them, they simply do not have
enough votes to impeach. The
Daily reports that if the
Republicans fail to get the
votes they need, they might
push for a softer compromise
and censure the president,
which disgusts me as a citizen
of this nation to no small
degree. If the president is
being charged with crimes
against the people, then it is
the duty of Congress to rise
above party politics and exam-
ine the president impartially.
But so far they have shown no
such actions, which to my
mind makes Congress as
guilty as the president of one
basic crime: failure to put the
needs of the people ahead of
their own political needs.
When going to the polls
this November, fellow stu-
dents, consider this, youhave
a vote. As it stands, neither the
Democratic nor the
Republican parties have shown
much interest in leading. This
nation has not always been
Democratic or Republican -
perhaps it should not remain
as such in our future. We face
a new era in this nation and it
is time that we as a country
realized that a political party
other than that of the
Democrats or Republicans
might be the party of the
future. When planning to vote
this year, look around a bit.
You might just find something
other than the two mainstream
parties that you like more.
Remember this one important
truth: the only thing keeping a
third party from being main-
stream is votes, just like the
one you are about to cast.
Send a message to the
Congress and throw both
Republicans and Democrats
out of office this upcoming
nv. .0.a.a.. antin .0 x aret+

Refugee
problem is
not Israel's
fault
To THE DAILY:
Over the past few weeks,
Palestinian nationalists have
waged a smear campaign
against the people and nation
of Israel. They have called
Israelis "machine-gun-toting
racists," shown movies (some
conveniently on Jewish holi-
days) and plastered the cam-
pus with ridiculous propagan-
da. A list of their errors and
false claims would never end
so I am focusing on only one
aspect of their argument:
assigning blame to Israel over
the Palestinian refugee prob-
lem.
Their arguments neglect
several points. Between 1948
and 1967, hundreds of
Palestinians voluntarily left
Israel at the urging of Arab
leaders, who promised swift
victory over the Jewish state.
But during the same time
period, an equivalent number
of Jews arrived in Israel.
What happened to those
Jewish refugees? Israel
absorbed them as full citizens,
granted them subsidized hous-
ing and education. They now
live in a developed country,
enjoy a high standard of living
and can be found in all cor-
ners of Israeli society. If one
small, impoverished country
can absorb such a large num-
ber of people, why could the
entire Arab world, stretching
from Morroco to Iraq, and
with immaculate oil wealth,
not do likewise?
Of course, the answer is
they didn't want to. Those
original refugees, their chil-
dren and their grandchildren
still live in shanty-town
refugee camps. They are
denied citizenship, the right to
work or get a decent educa-
tion. They are kept as perpetu-
al propaganda against Israel.
The only nation that has come
forth to assist these refugees
has been Israel. Courtesy of
Israel, Palestinians in the terri-
tories enjoy a much higher
standard of living then their
"brethren" in the Arab world.
Furthermore, unlike their
"brethren," Israel's Palestinians
have not been subjected to
periodic slaughter or expul-
sion. We find it remarkable
that this allegedly pro-
Palestinian group has never
mentioned Black September
(when in 1970, King Hussein
of Jordan murdered over
20,000 Palestinians in cold
blood). Many other "Arab
brother" countries, such as the
oil sheikdoms of Oman and
Kuwait refuse to allow
Palestinians to enter the coun-
try, much less work or live
there.
I hereby challenge the
Palestinian Catastrophe
Committee to confront all
causes of the Palestinian

I f I were John Engler, I'd be reluctant
.to debate Geoffrey Fieger, too.
-I'd be afraid he'd bite my ear
As with Jim Morrison and Courtney
Love, when Fieger's onstage, it feels
like all hell is about
to break loose. He's
got a sort of angry
rock-star quality.
"I inhaled,'
Fieger said in a t*
Sept. 21 speech at;
the Michigan
Union. "I got a
drunk walking tick-
et here in Ann 0^
Arbor. And I don'ttEFF
recommend either." ELDRIDGE
Consider the n IC AN
commercialhwith
the live chicken
scurrying around the debate podium.
"You can run, Mr. Engler, but you can't
hide," Fieger calmly reminds the clearly
perplexed bird.
In a perfect world, the ad would end
with Fieger biting off the chicken's head
while Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train"
blares in the background.
"Cruel justice, Mr. Engler," Fieger
could bellow.}
Perhaps it's unfair to blame the
Democratic nominee for being so
excitable. I mean, if those nasty author-
ities were always trying to put your
mass-murdering doctor behind bars,a
wouldn't you be a little cranky, too?,
He injects a refreshing quality to the
fall election - Monty Python mets
the Merry Pranksters, with a touch of
the manic kid from third grade who fre-
quently skipped his ritalin dose. The
campaign becomes a giddy tragicome-
dy. Sometimes watching Fieger is enter-
taining; sometimes it's disgusting.
There are plenty of people who aren't
so amused - mainly, partisan
Democrats and long-standing Engler
haters. They've been stood up for the.
prom. They've suffered through eight
years of an official they do not like, and
when the big day comes they get a rene-
gade for their standard-bearer.
Count me out of that camp. I like
John Engler, and I like him quite a lot.
He has guided the state through pros-
perity and successfully reformed its
public-assistance programs, thanks very
much. I understand substantive argu-
ments against Engler's administration:
He closed mental hospitals, public high-*
ways are on the rot and some say educa-
tion funding is too low.
And regardless of how good a gover-
nor is, 12 years is a long, long time to
run # state. New blood is a good thing,
regardless of partisanship.
However, with the state economy'
trucking along quite nicely, there was
little chance that Engler could have
been ousted by anyone.
Then again, we'll never know.
According to a recent EPICIMRA
poll, Fieger presently trails Engler, 57 to
26 percent. The gap hasonly grown:
Shortly after his nomination in early
August, Fieger trailed Engler 53 to 33.
Fieger's goose is cooked, and the chick-
en remains alive and well.
He's irresponsible, his mannerisms
are erratic, I don't like his politics and
I'd never vote for him. Regardless'
there's a guilty part of me that finds
Fieger's routine a little bit appealing.
People sit around and complain about
the phony nature of today's political
leaders. Newt's popularity ratings tank,
so he wears sweaters and writes a book
about learning lessons the hard way. The
president builds a career on sophistry.
Everyone in power has a constituency to
incite or appease. Empty phrases and
vacuous goals are used endlessly, with
all the passion of a plate of turnips.
Fieger is a loose cannon. He's"'

Midwestern Bulworth. If you don't like
his verbal barrage, then too bad. "I didn't
attend the Specs Howard School of dou-
ble-talk," he told the Ann Arbor crowd.
He correctly criticized Clinton for his
half-truths, and pledged to build a
Democratic Party people can believe: "I
need to look in the mirror every morn-
ing and know I've been honest with
myself."
This isn't an antidote for public cyni-h
cism. It certainly isn't maturity. Fieger
throws around inflammatory words too
lightly, accusing Engler of being a bigot
and racist without any factual substanti-
ation. Much of the campaign seems to
draw on ego and flair, encapsulated
when he walked into the September
speech wearing a suit jacket over a T-
shirt displaying his face.
Listening to him speak is kind of
scary - it's also kind of fun. He ram-*
bles, doesn't make much sense and
offers nothing in the way of concrete
policy suggestions. But he's also ani-
mated, direct and pretension-free.
It's this sense of humor that sets Fieger
apart from run-of-the-mill demagogues
like Ross Perot. This is not a guy wh6

company's attorneys

train case managers

I

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