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January 06, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-01-06

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 6, 1999

Ile £idlijiautt atig

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

Editor in Chief
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
Let's make a deal
Senate should not follow House's example

'I don't think there has ever been a trial in
the history of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence
which is as important as this one.'
- US. Sen. Aren Specter (R-Penn) on the Senate trial of
President Clinton, as quoted in The New York Times yesterday
I _- 0
rT E
i t+ J

A fler months of partisan politicking and
revelations about the spicier portions of
elected officials' lives, the U.S. House passed
two of the four articles of impeachment pre-
sented by the House Judiciary Committee on
Dec. 19, 1998. The voting was almost entire-
ly along party lines, with a mere five
Democrats voting in favor of impeachment
and a similarly small handful of Republicans
opposed. The hours of debate on the House
floor led many Americans
to a feeling of anger toward
their elected representa-
tives, as evidenced by the
sharp results of a public
opinion poll taken immedi-
ately after President
Clinton's impeachment.±
Incensed by the rallying
call that was House
Speaker-designate Bob Livingston's (R-La.)
resignation, conservative and moderate
Republicans alike rallied around the party
line. Tomorrow the Senate will begin the sec-
ond presidential impeachment trial in U.S.
History. The Senate should not follow the
lower house's example of inflexibility and
partisanship; instead it should consider cen-
sure as an alternative means of punishment.
With world economic crises and the
ongoing dispute with Iraq among the many
prominent issues with which Congress must
deal, the Senate will conduct a trial that
could easily stall legislators for months and
leave key government officials unsure of
their future and unable to act effectively. The
100 senators, who will act as the jury in
Clinton's trial, must find him not guilty of
the charges in the weak articles passed by the
House, which were sparked by a witch hunt
led by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.
The 435-page Starr Report is full of dirty
little secrets about the private relationship
between Lewinsky and Clinton, but little
more. Starr was hired in 1994 to investigate
potential wrongdoing by the Clintons in the
Whitewater real estate scandal. Five years
and $40 million later, all Starr has dug up is
a story about the presidential sex life. While
Republicans on the Judiciary Committee
were quick to compliment "Judge" Starr, his
biases and tendency to act outside the ethical
boundaries required of prosecutors call his
motives into question.
The neo-Puritanism that looms over the
Capitol has been detrimental to both parties.
Livingston, a veteran legislator who chaired
the House Appropriations Committee, was
pressured to step down after he admitted to
marital infidelity. This new form of
McCarthyism is doling out power to the
nation's leaders based on their sexual history
and not their capability to serve the nation.
The public scandal began in January of
1998 when Clinton acted disingenuously at
his deposition in a civil lawsuit filed by Paula
Jones. After months of finagling over immu-
nity deals, Starr managed to get the testimo-
ny of former White House intern Monica
Lewinsky that contradicted Clinton's deposi-
tion about the substance of their relationship.
But determining whether or not Clinton's
testimony amounted to legal perjury requires
more than a finding of untruth.
Even if his testimony were to reach the
threshold of perjury, it does not constitute an

impeachable offense under the "high crimes
and misdemeanors" clause of the
Constitution. The clause was put in to protect
the American people from a president who
abuses his power to the detriment of the
nation, not as a way for a lame duck Congress
to reverse a popular election for lying about
sex. But despite the testimony of numerous
constitutional scholars before the House
Judiciary Committee, Rep. Henry Hyde (R-
Ill.) and other Committee Republicans
showed their zeal at perpetuating a grave mis-

The impeachment debate has turned into
little more than a partisan quabble. Time and
again, Republicans have used their power as
the majority party to serve their political
ends rather than fostering a fair debate. For
instance, the House leadership denied
Democrats the opportunity to bring a cen-
sure resolution to the floor for a vote.
While a simple majority is all that was
necessary to move the issue to the other side
of the Capitol, two-thirds
of the Senate will have to
consent to remove
Clinton. With partisanship
plaguing the issue as it
has, it is unlikely that
Republicans, who hold
only 55 seats in the
Senate, will be able to
Hyde muster enough votes to
remove him from office. Nonetheless, some
Republicans interviewed shortly after the
passage of the articles of impeachment stat-
ed their belief that partisanship would end
at the doors of the House. Many cited the
oath of impartiality that senators will take
prior to the trial as sufficient to prevent pol-
itics from guiding the Senate's decision.
While it is important for the senators to give
a fair reading of the facts in this matter and
acquit the president, it is unlikely that parti-
sanship will be dissipated by an oath.
Further, many senators have thrown any
possibility of impartiality to the wind by
espousing their beliefs in the media about the
gravity or inconsequence of the issues to
come before them. Unlike jurors, many sen-
ators have had no problem indicating their
preference before the trial.
There are alternatives to a drawn-out trial
that could stall legislation and disrupt the
activities of all three branches of government.
A proposal by Sens. Slade Gorton (R-Wash.)
and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) would con-
dense the trial to four days. The proposal also
calls for a vote at the beginning of the trial to
determine if the requisite two-thirds of sena-
tors even believe that the allegations in the two
articles of impeachment would warrant
Clinton's removal from office. If not, it is like-
ly that the the Senate trial would adjourn
immediately. Despite the objection of many
conservative senators, this proposal should be
adopted to speed the process along.
Besides political problems presented by
the articles of impeachment to be brought
before the Senate tomorrow, a significant
procedural and constitutional problem exists.
As pointed out by Yale constitutional law
Prof. Bruce Ackerman in his testimony
before the Judiciary Committee and in a
paper recently published, allowing the Senate
to proceed on articles passed by a lame-duck
House sets a frightening precedent.
Normally, legislation passed by only one
house at the end of a session of Congress
dies and must be repassed by both houses in
the new term. Despite their invocation of
vaunted constitutional principles,.
Republicans are ignoring the pathos of the
20th Amendment and the deference that
should be paid to the newly elected
Congress. The House should at least resub-
mit the appointment of impeachment man-
agers to allow the new representatives a
chance to confirm or annul the passage of

the articles of impeachment.
The scandal and impeachment debacle
has held the public spotlight for almost a
year, but there are still no grounds to
remove Bill Clinton from office. The presi-
dent's lawyers and the Senate should work
together to reach a censure deal. Ending the
impeachment debate quickly would be the
best way to begin to restore public confi-
dence in governmental affairs and allow
legislators to address the many pressing
public issues facing the nation and the

abridged civil
I can't believe it, but I'm
writing a letter in defense of
the Greek system.
Yes, the old boys-and-girls
club, whose implicit purpose is
the furtherance of social strati-
fication and elitism in society,
have come to a point where I
feel obligated to speak up for
Why? Well, we all know
alcohol is a problem on cam-
pus. Of course the rites of
passage, used by the Greek
system to homogenize the
thinking and behavior of its
pledge classes, make plenti-
ful use of alcohol.
In any case, this time, the
Greek system is being preyed
upon by the immense power of
the Ann Arbor Police
Department. I must object.
Of course, alcohol abuse is
rampant in the system. Just
look at the multitudinous flyers
and party announcements
slipped under the doors of first-
year students during their first
weeks in school. You don't
have to be a genius to pick up
the implication of alcohol on
them, but in case you're not,
there are often pictures.
In any case, this abuse does
happen in private residences
where real people live.
The police have neither the
right nor the authority to go to
such extreme violations of civil
liberties to curtail drinking on
campus or in town. Individual
students' lives are affected, and
for what? Holding a plastic cup
they waited in a two-hour line
to get.
Rather than bringing the
all-out power of the police to
bear on the heads of these
"poor oppressed peoples," if
Ann Arbor and the University
want to do something to com-
bat the rampant spread of alco-
hol, work to provide proper
social environments where
alcohol is not an indicator of
one's social status.
Environments like this are
scarce at many parties, both
Greek and non-Greek.
Of course, we needn't for-
get - the Greek system makes
good people do bad things.
Nationwide, it is an institu-
tion geared toward the continu-
ation of social stratification
under the rubric of "tradition."
Funny, that was the same term
which the houses used to
exclude people of color from
their ranks for years.
Further, we should note the
slantedness of the hiring sys-
tem on account of Greek per-
It's funny that if your
resume says your an Alpha
Beta Whatever, you are guaran-
teed a job if somewhere out
there, there's a recruitment offi-
cer who is a "brother" or "sis-
It seems a little unfair when
we see that programs like affir-

for their attempt to empower
the "traditionally" disenfran-
Anyway, I'm getting off
point. My purpose here is not
to bash the Greek system. Well,
okay, it is. But I should point
out that everyone, no matter
who they are, has basic civil
liberties that must not be
abridged. The actions of the
AAPD have done just that.
Joseph Goebbels, minister
of propaganda for the Nazi
party, once said "Nothing is
easier than leading the people
on a leash. I just hold up a
dazzling campaign poster and
they jump right through it."
This is exactly what Mumia
Abu-Jamal has done to thou-
sands of people internationally.
The evidence against Abu-
Jamal during his trial made his
conviction a no-brainer. Abu-
Jamal was seen by three sepa-
rate witnesses, all of whom
were within 50 feet of the inci-
dent and all gave similar testi-
mony within 20 minutes of the
crime. Abu-Jamal's gun was
found at the scene and the bul-
lets in the back and in the face
of the slain officer came from
that gun. Abu-Jamal's own
brother, who was at the scene,
refused to exonerate Abu-Jamal
of the crime.
What is Abu-Jamal's
defense? He saw a police offi-
cer who was shot between the
eyes? When he walked up to
see if the officer needed any
help, the officer's gun mysteri-
ously went off and hit Abu-
Jamal in the chest. Abu-
Jamal's witnesses include a
prostitute who was "high on a
half-nickel bag" and two city
blocks from the crime, a
woman at the top of an apart-
ment building and another wit-
ness who was not even near the
crime. None of their stories
coincide. Furthermore, Abu-
Jamal's defense contends that
the bullet used to kill the offi-
cer was a .44 caliber slug,
whereas the gun found at the
scene was a .38 caliber.
Several ballistics experts,
including Abu-Jamal's original
defense ballistic expert, howev-
er, confirmed that the bullet
was .38 caliber and came from
the gun at the crime scene.
Abu-Jamal's proponents
would like everybody to
believe that his death sen-
tence is the silencing of an
activist voice. Abu-Jamal has
been quoted as saying,
"Revolution is my religion"
That would seem to go hand
in hand with Abu-Jamal's
affiliation with the Black

ous for violence. As for
"international support" for
Abu-Jamal, it doesn't matter
what celebrities support him,
or which cities applaud him.
These people have all been
fooled by a concerted effort
by Abu-Jamal and his revolu-
tionary supporters to subvert
justice and use popular senti-
ment as a tool to freedom. If
the Daily wants to take a
stand, it should take one on
the side of the evidence, and
thus on the side of justice.To
all of the people supporting
Abu-Jamal, sit down for a bit
and think about who you're
supporting and why. And
remember - you can fool
some of the people all of the
time. You can fool all of the
people some of the time. But
you can't fool all of the peo-
ple all of the time.
of Code
violations is
In the Daily's editorial
"You've got mail" (12/10/98),
the editorial staff missed the
point again. Its condemnation of
University notification of Code
of Student Conduct violations to
students receiving minor-in-pos-
session citations is based on bla-
tant self-interest and advocates
avoiding personal responsibility.
The idea that it is unfair for
the University to send a letter
to a student cited for violating
the law is ridiculous. Students
are here because the University
is here. It is the responsibility
of the University to respond
when its students violate the
law. The Daily says, "The
University does not ally itself
with any particular school of
thought and likewise, it should
not take or enforce any moral
stance." This argument fails by
going far beyond the facts of
the case.
The University is not "try-
ing to create a morally homo-
geneous student body," but
rather, as stated in the mission
statement of the University, to
develop "leaders and citizens
who will challenge the present
and enrich the future." The law
is not just a moral stance. It is
the consensus of society on our
minimum standards of behav-
ior. This typically means
restraints, and the bohemia the
Daily advocates is not going to
happen here.
So, again I say, change
your behavior or change the
rules. Stop whining about
penalties for getting caught.
Finally, accept that the educa-
tion you are getting at the
University may sometimes
extend beyond the classroom.

Me and the rest
of the micks are ]
not cool in
There are few things more irritating
than an ethnic group that isn't
oppressed complaining about their
oppression. This being said, I'm going
to do it anyway. Nyah nyah nyah.
It seems that the
A m e r i c a n
Entertainment" w
Machine has its
crosshairs set on a
new ethnic darling.
Last year it was the
Scottish. We saw a
resurgence of Sean
Connery movies
and millions of
Marlboro smoking, J AMESO
"Star Wars" wor- MILLER
shipping, dorm rat MiEtt
retards fell in love T3p
with dirty heroin -
chic and "Trainspotting." Suddenly,
being Scottish was cool.
Fine. Stupid things happen.
Now it's the Irish. This is my neigh-
I'm not sure where or when it hap-
pened. First there was "The
Matchmaker" with Janeane Garafolo,
when she went to Ireland for some rea-
son andhad big fun with cute accents
and dark beer. Then 'Angela's Ashes"
gave women everywhere a non-
Hallmark commercial reason to cry.
Everyone was so moved by the plight
of the Irish that no one pointed out that
Frank McCourt had ripped off "Portrait
of the Artist as a Young Man." The Irish
tale of maturation in a cruel and drunk-
en world has already been done by
James Joyce and in Brenden Behan's
"Borstel Boy" after that; and Frank
McCourt, despite his newfound Oprah-
like sainthood, could not hold either of
their jockstraps.
This month we have "Waking Ned
Devine," a movie starring Irish actors so
obviously and quaintly Irish that they
looked pilfered from a Lucky Charms
"Would you happen to know a Ned
Devine?" "Yes! I do! Would ye like a
nice jig, mate?"
Worse yet is the American Express
commercial where the well-heeled red-
head flies her and her mother to Ireland
so they can see where she met her
It's an adorable story, minus the
come-ons with Guinness-scented breath
and the "Nah, no rubber, love. It's a sin,
don't you know?"
Let me begin by saying that I myself
am not very Irish. If they gave a schol-
arship for it, " would just barely qualify.
There are no accents or traditional
dances or family crests on the walls in
my family. Nor is there any tweed,
homemade whiskey or genial, white-
haired, pipe-smokinguncles.
I'm not objecting to the Irish obses-
sion because of a foolish loyalty to "my
people" I object because this is some-
thing that Americans, especially the
trouser snakes than run the entertain-
ment world, love to do more than bomb
countries with dark people in them. It's
a sick little reflex we have. We reduce
anything foreign or ethnic into one or
two adorable little traits or characteris-
tics, primed for placement on the front
of a lunchbox.
The Irish are not "a proud, resilient3
people full of vitality and wit" any mre.
than the Nigerians or the Ukraines or
the Cambodians. Any group larger than

a rugby team can't be that homogenous
and easily pigeon-holed. The Irish are a
bunch of people who are all differenta
and just as dull and ordinary as the rest
of the world.
We have latched onto this image of
the Irish as a pavilion at Disney World{
because we love to latch on and simpli-
fy ethnic groups to make ourselves look
We can look at the quaint, hard-drink-
ing Irishman in a movie and think about
our idiot grandfather who was a drunk,
without the brogue, driving cap and
charming stories.
"Well, I'm Irish too, um, laddie, and
this place can't make a good Black and
Tan. My Irish grandfather makes the
best Black and Tan in the world. In fact,
there's still a little Gaelic spoken in my
house. Rah rah, IRA! Oh, Danny*
We like to identify with these tradi-
tions because our own country is so
cheap and traditionless sometimes.
Pretend to be a member of one of the
"cool ethnic groups" and you can be
cool, not like one of the bland, lawn-
mowing, church-going types that people
mean when they talk about "The Man."
It's rather like when wimpy, bawling,
little monkey boys latch onto conser -.
vatism and libertarian journalism to an
alarming lack of secondary sex charac-
teristics and the inability to get two
dates in a row or get anyone to read their
snot-covered little tabloid.
What's the upshot of all this? I don't

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