4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 25, 2000
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What's the State of the Union? Watch the Super Bowl,0
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Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the
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the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
Study our studies
Undergrad task force has no shortage of work
T he two greatest spectacles of American
culture occur in this next week as
President Clinton gives his State of the Union
Address on Thursday and Super Bowl
XXXiV kicks off Sunday.
You probably think
there couldn't be two 1
more disparate things.°
But if you really pon-
der it, they might be
twins separated at
birth in that Arnold
Danny DeVito kind of
I'm not nuts.
If you've ever D
watched either, you've David
seen some elaborate Wallace
introductions. At the Ex I
Super Bowl, 350 lb.Maynard 'S
players run through
inflated helmets, high-
five a gauntlet of curvaceous cheerleaders and
plow into a swarm of waiting teammates, usu-
ally injuring a backup kicker coughing the
words, "Can't breathe."
You only wish that happened at the State
of the Union Address. Clinton runs through
an inflated jackass, then slaps hands with a
line of interns (let's hope hands) in routeto Al
Gore, who Clinton hugs and affectionately
head butts. He then chest-bumps the Speaker
of the House.
But no, Clinton's introductions usually
require him to simply mention, by title, every
member of the federal government. "Mr.
Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of con-
gress, honored guests, Bobby in the White
House mailroom ..." It goes on and on.
Likewise, the comparisons go on forever.
It's eerie. For example, look at the running
times. The State of the Union Address comes
on at 9 p.m. Thursday and finally stalls out
during "The Today Show" Friday morning.
The Super Bowl pregame comes on about
9 a.m. Sunday and finishes at the game's kick-
off a full trimester later.
Of course, so much time leads to filler.
During the Super Bowl pregame, analysts
spend time explaining freak plays we'll never
see. In hour three, Sterling Sharpe's head
explodes while diagramming Tennessee's
"Homerun Blimp Post, a play designed to
take advantage of the surprised St. Louis
defense should the Goodyear Blimp crash in
the end zone.
In the State of the Union Address,
President Clinton explains school reform
we'll never see. In hour three, Sen. Ted
Kennedy's head explodes when the Scotch on
his breath comes too close to an open flame.
In another coincidence, both. the Super
Bowl and the State of the Union Address
involve celebrities most Americans cannot
identify. At the Super Bowl, that's the halftime
act, usually K.C. and the Sunshine Band or
Peaches and Herb.
At the State of the Union Address, that's
the president. But these aren't the only
celebrities involved. In both events, you can
count on cheesy celebrities making appear-
ances soggier than a Georgia Dome nacho.
Hoping to associate the Super Bowl's
popularity with new shows, play-by-play
man Al Michaels will point out celebrities
in the stands and say, "Oh, there's Andy
Dick, star of ABC's new show 'A Direct
Flight to Obscurity,' premiering after the
game." As part of his State of the Union
Address, Clinton will acknowledge celebri-
ties in attendance, hoping their popularity
and who knows what else will rub off on
Let's move past the celebrities to other
Tniversity President Lee Bollinger
announced his intention to form two
commissions last Thursday to investigate
what he called "issues of major importance
to the future of the University." The first
commission will explore the relationship
between the University and the Internet
Revolution. The second will study the
undergraduate program at the University.
Considering the debatable "top-notch"
quality of the University's undergraduate
education, the latter commission is neces-
In a school that recently was reported to
be the highest funded research university
in the nation, it would be easy for the
administration to overlook the undergradu-
ate program. The University, as much as
any school in the top tier of the undergrad-
uate rankings, has gained major prestige
:through its research efforts. Regardless of
this, students who enter the University still
have a right to expect to receive a top-
notch education; this commission will
.have an excellent opportunity to discover
what aspects could improve the undergrad-
uate educational experience.
Another strength of the survey is that it
will examine a broad range of topics relat-
ed to the undergraduate educational expe-
rience. These include ways to improve
- recruitment, financial resources, the aim
of the curriculum and the expansion of
pre-professional majors. All of these are
hot topics at the University; this commis-
sion will inevitably help improve overall
education at the University. It is encourag-
ing that Bollinger is concerned with these
n Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a
6 J0long-standing controversial issue
returned to the national spotlight. Nearly
46,000 marchers swarmed the South
things Americans care about. Neither the
State of the Union Address nor the Super
Bowl may stray too far from the critical issue
During his speech, Clinton likely will call
for universal health care. A puzzled Seh
Spencer Abraham will ask, "Can he do that?"
In the next chair, Sen. Jesse Helms will fall
In Atlanta during the fourth quarter, W
vicious sack might cause the knee of quarter-
back Steve McNair to buckle forward. A baf-
fled Chris Berman will ask, "Can a knee dd'
that?" In the next chair, Joe Theismann will
But I must say these all pale compared to
the most pronounced similarity: Both the
State of the Union Address and the Super
Bowl are boring.
The State of the Union address sends most
people to bed because it lacks substance
Mike Tyson's last opponent had more teet'
Ditto the Super Bowl. For 10 years, the simul-
taneous Bud Bowl provided better entertain-
But let me identify a key difference
between the two television behemoths. The
State of the Union Address airs on ABC,
CBS, NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, CNN, CSPAN,
CSPAN II, ESPNEWS, TNT, AMC, HGTV
and Lifetime. No one watches.
The Super Bowl airs on one network
this year ABC. Everyone watches.
Allow me to make one suggestion, as a
kind of postgame or rebuttal. Presumably, the
State of the Union Address is important. So
given all it has in common with the Super
Bowl, why not make one extravaganza?
Clinton should give his State of the Union
address as the Super Bowl halftime show.
K.C. could sit in the Speaker's seat.
-David Wallace can be reached
over e-mail at email@example.com.
G;R INDNG THE NIB
issues. Doing so recognizes that students,
programs and funding are all instrumental
in the improvement efforts.
Obviously, there will always be weak
aspects of undergraduate life at the
University. For example, a school of this
size will never be able to offer the same
student/faculty ratio smaller private
schools can provide. Also, academic advis-
ers are responsible for more advisees than
at other schools.
The commission needs to find ways to
get around these hindrances. Instituting
more seminars in the curriculum will allow
students to learn from accomplished pro-
fessors while actively interacting with
them. Professors should receive incentives
to teach seminars and undergraduate
courses in addition to researching.
Along those lines, the University
should try to improve the terrible schedul-
ing process and make it easier for all stu-
dents to get into classes they want. The
University should hire more'graduate stu-
dent instructors, creating smaller discus-
sion sections. While these changes may be
somewhat costly, they would be worth-
while since faculty are the most important
resources in students' academic experi-
By following through on these sugges-
tions and others concerning the student
body, the administration could greatly
improve the undergraduate experience. We
applaud Bollinger's decision to look into
the quality of undergraduate education,
and we urge him to act on the commis-
must come down
government first put it up to commemo-
rate the centennial of the Civil War, but
the issues current at the time had just as
much to do with its appearance: It was a
slap in the face to the civil rights move-
ment. Intended or not, it continues to be
a slap in the face today.
This is not to say private citizens do
not have the right to fly the Confederate
flag - if they wish to commemorate
their Southern heritage by showing it on
their own property, that right is protected
by the First Amendment.
But the flag has no place on govern-
ment buildings. While the government is
run by majority rule, it also has a duty to
protect the rights of minorities, and that
includes not displaying the symbol of a
government that wanted to keep blacks in
University students can help in the
fight to have the Confederate flag
removed. The NAACP has called for a
tourism boycott of South Carolina in
order to demonstrate its disapproval of
Although the state is a popular desti-
nation for people on spring break - par-
ticularly cities such as Hilton Head and
Myrtle Beach -- students should keep
the boycott in mind when making vaca-
tion plans in February.
The government of South Carolina
should acknowledge that the Confederate
flag represents ideals that tear the coun-
try apart and remove it from the capitol.
While it would be a primarily symbolic
move in the field of improving race rela-
tions, the justified anger over its pres-
Carolina Statehouse in Charleston,
demanding the state legislature remove
the Confederate battle flag which has
flown there for more than a century.
NAACP president Kweisi Mfume
called for a tourism boycott of the state
5until the flag, which protesters called a
symbol of slavery and racism, is lowered.
While removal of the Confederate flag
alone would not be enough to heal the
wounds caused by racial issues, it is still
a highly divisive symbol of a racist past,
and the South Carolina legislature should
take it down.
Defenders of the flag claim that the
banner represents Southern pride and
heritage and the cause for which their
ancestors died. But it does not represent
the heritage of all South Carolinians. No
matter how strongly those who fought for
the Confederacy believed in their cause,
it remains one that called for the enslave-
ment of other human beings.
In spite of the argument that the Civil
War was not really fought over slavery, it
.was still the issue at the heart of the con-
-flict, as the Southern agricultural
economies depended on the enslavement
of African-Americans to remain viable.
Indeed, slavery was the key cause of the
war and the Confederate flag is a symbol
of the fight to keep it in practice.
Whether or not a person views it that
way, the flag remains a representation of
a racist legacy.
Delta Sigma Phi
cartoon slap in face
TO THE DAILY:
I was completely outraged by the cartoon
in the Jan. 20th edition of the Daily. Not only
was the cartoon slanderous, but portrayed a
false image of not only the Delta Sigma Phi
chapter but the entire Greek community.
As a leader of the fraternities at the
University. I take great pride in all the chapters
I represent. Steve Lezell, the president of
Delta Sigma Phi, and his chapter went
through a considerably stressful time during
the alleged hazing incident (which they were
later cleared of), and also with the harsh real-
ity of finding a new chapter house for next
year. After all this chapter had gone through,
the Daily has slapped them in the face with
this ridiculous cartoon. It even went so far to
slander Delta Sigma Phi when they were not
even remotely involved in the unfortunate
With all the intelligent individuals who
contribute to this newspaper, I can not
believe that this cartoon was even consid-
ered for publication. Whether it is done
publically or privately, some form of apolo-
gy must be given to Delta Sigma Phi.
I would hope that in the future that no
student organization has to go throughathis
childish slander like the cartoon the Daily
had printed. This is clearly unacceptable.
INTERFRATERNITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT
document is right
choice for 'U'
TO THE DAILY:
Ironically, the aspects of the Workers
Rights Consortium (WRC) criticized by the
Daily in its editorial "Not Ready for 'U"'
(1/20/00) are what make it the best option U-
M has to enforce its anti-sweatshop policy.
The Daily correctly dismissed the only alter-
native to the WRC, the Fair Labor Association,
as severely inadequate, but urged University
administrators not to affiliate with the WRC
until more "specifics" are fleshed out.
But the details absent from the founding
document can not and should not be enunciat-
ed with out the participation of the University
and the other institutions of higher learning.
Since the process of enforcement to be
employed by the WRC has not been defini-
tively cast in stone, the administration will be
able to actively tailor the plan to its own needs
and expectations. Students and administrators
alike should appreciate and demand this
If SOLE's position has been unclear up to
this point, let me now clarify it: We urge the
administration to join the process of develop-
ing the Worker's Rights Consortium by devot-
ing time, brainpower, and minimal monetary
support to the project.
SOLE does not expect the University to
blindly and indefinitely commit itself to a
Read the Bible: God
is not pro-choice
TO THE DAILY:
In the three and a half years I've spent on
this campus, I've heard a lot of people say a lot
of things against God, but never anything so
blasphemous as this. In response to Jesse
Herzog's letter, I would first encourage every-
one who does actually believe in God to read
Rev 10:6, along with Gen 1:31, James 1:17
and a host of other verses to see that what
GOD creates is good and perfect. Note also
that Satan, although limited by the Almighty,
does have the power to create and to capture
human minds (check Ephesians 6:11-12 and
II Tim. 2:26). So please, please, when we
quote Scripture, let's try to do it in context and
not randomly throw out passages.
It grieves my very soul as a child of
God to know that anyone could possibly
think that God would institute the practice
of aborting human life, especially in its
most innocent stages. How is it not per-
fectly obvious that this practice is not of
God, but of the enemy?
This notion should be as clear as a bell,
unless, of course, you have your own little
conception of Him that is not based on
God's Word. In which case, you must also
create your own heaven and transport
yourself there after you die while simulta-
neously avoiding God's judgement. Then
you will have accomplished something.
But until then, you accept God's will on his
terms or not at all. This goes for abortion
as well as every other facet of life.
So you want a choice? Your choice is
stated in Joshua 24:15. God is a pro-choice
God, but not when it comes to pregnancy
termination. It's completely up to you.
Good or evil? Light or darkness? God's will
or Satan's? This is the ultimate choice.
(Great article, Mike! It takes a lot of
courage to stand for what's right!)
'Idiots' slip through
' Il' rimiqinnc _
were right, and the only people that disagree
with you have the IQs of a pet rock? Or is t
that mostly morons write into the Daily? Or
is simply to imply that there are idiots that si
through the crack and do get into the
devoid of logic
TO THE DAILY:
Upon reading Jesse Herzog's letter to the
editor ("God's opinion on abortion unclear,"
1/21/2000), I have to question oui
University's admission policies. Herzog
implies that abortion is not bad because
"God created everything" and therefore
"God created abortion."
By this ridiculous logic we can assume
that everything and all actions cannotl
bad. I guess in Jesse's world Hitler, car jack-
ing and Ohio State cannot be bad. I ch l-
lenge Jesse to take a road trip to Columbus
and see the truth.
Foster homes far
TO THE DAILY:
I am writing in response to Emily
Aldridge's letter ("Pro-Lifers don't under-
stand the difficult choice" 1/24/00):
Aldridge justifies abortion by explaining
that life in, foster homes creates too ma
problems for a child. She writes, "I und
stand why many women would be reluctant
to put children through that."
While I agree that foster home life is not
the most desirable situation for a child, what
right do mothers have to just decide to mur-
der their babies because the kid might have