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January 31, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-01-31

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 31, 2000

Iie irbi an ai
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 MIKE SPAHN
daily.letters@umich. edu rEDITOR IN CHIEF
Edited and managed by gEMILY ACHENBAUM
students at the
studets a theEDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR
University of Michigan
Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the
Dailys editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect
the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

Lawyers to the left of me, hypocrites to the right

Editorial page platform for student ideas

A mericans love to loathe lawyers: The
wretched mass of Armani-wearing,
BMW-driving men and women searching for
a harmed or otherwise offended person and
the punitive damages that go with them.
Those evil vultures
hiding in the shadows s# .
of hospitals just wait- ... .
ing to use terms like.
"therewith," "hereto"
and "estoppel." As a <.
result, states and the
U.S. government havex
begun a process of
tort reform designed
to cut the incentives to
sue by reducing avail-
able damages and
restricting the money- Jack
making large class- Schillaci
action suits.C
Conservatives have
jumped on the band- x fL ?3i
wagon, and more
than a few times recently, members of the
GOP have claimed that the courthouse
doors should be closed to some of the
aggrieved. They see lawsuits against the
tobacco industry and Microsoft as a means
to punish companies for being successful.
There is a lot of merit to tort reform.
Americans are incredibly litigious - in
1998, 256,787 new lawsuits found their
way into U.S. District courts alone, accord-
ing to the Administrative Office of the U.S.
Courts. Many suits are filed simply to draw
a quick settlement because plaintiffs know
their cases won't survive a judge and jury's
wrath. And some lawsuits are just stupid -
Amazon.com sued (and won an injunction
against) BarnesandNoble.com for infring-
ing their patented one-click book-ordering
method. Now B&N users have to - gasp

-- double click. Now there's a brilliant,
unique idea that needed legal protection.
But the type of lawsuit that really gets the
blood boiling are those that try to alter
something significant in the constitutional
or social order. After Brown v. the Board of
Education, some states decided the
Supreme Court was so wrong that they
could nullify their decision. The Warren
Court, and to a lesser extent the Burger
Court, were decried as anti-democratic
when they found many of the rights our
generation takes for granted.
But now the tide has turned, and conser-
vatives find themselves on the plaintiffs'
end of lawsuits. It would seem that conser-
vatives have got the upper hand using a tool
they claim is abused by trial lawyers. From
campaign finance to civil rights, courts
have been making some serious rightist
inroads lately at the behest of conservative
groups.
Many conservatives complain about the
rich trial lawyer lobby that hates them so
while at the same time supporting some of
the legal machinations conservative judges
have made in recent years. For example,
George W. Bush, a man who insists his
would-be judicial appointees would not use
the bench to legislate, has lauded a recent
string of Supreme Court decisions that has
seen the court acting more activist than it
has for years. Similarly, while he brags
about cutting junk lawsuits back in Texas,
he has filed a legal complaint with the
Federal Elections Commission against a
Website critical of him (www.gwbush.com),
saying that "there ought to be limits to free-
dom." Poor thing, he got his little feelings
hurt and now he wants the man with the
gavel to fix it.
John McCain is suing the New York
Republican Party over its idiotic primary

'A University, like other organizations,
requires a certain unitv. It is organic, a total of
interrelated parts, demanding coordination,
direction and leadership."
- Tom Hayden
It is Feb. 9, 1960.
Phil Power is the Daily's Editorial Page
Editor. Hockey player Red Berenson, then
"Michigan's newly eligible center," is about to
hit the Wolverine's ice for the first time that
week against Michigan State. The Varsity
Laundry Company - complete with drive-in
service - washes, dries and folds up to five
pounds of laundry for $1.00. Tom Hayden, a
Daily Staff Reporter, is given half of the edito-
rial page for an opinion article titled "'U'
Administration: A Critique."
While Varsity Laundry is defunct, Power
would become a University regent, Berenson
the Michigan hockey coach and Tom Hayden,
a notorious '60s liberal activist, state senator
and one of the University's - and the Daily's
- most famous alumni.
There is nothing quite like looking through
the Daily archives. The yellowed pages tell a
striking tale of both campus and national his-
tory, from the viewpoint that only a student-
written, student-edited and student-managed
newspaper can give. It's not what you'll learn
in History 161. Simply by being a newspaper,
the Daily inadvertently chronicles its own his-
tory as well. For 109 years, the Daily has
embraced the editorial freedom granted to us
by the United States Constitution - the free-
dom that allows us to put out this paper.
The press is needed to keep tabs on every-
thing from national politicians to University
professors. But only the opinion page can offer

judgment, giving it the unique power to chal-
lenge ideas. As one of a mere dozen college
papers in the nation financially independent
from their respective institution, Tom Hayden
could critique the administration without ethi-
cal conflict. Hayden's extensive opinion piece
attacked the "fragmentation" of the University
administration ("Most administrators knew
nothing of the curtailed library hours until they
read about it in the Daily,") and the adminis-
tration's debatable dedication to undergraduate
education ("It pays too much heed to public
relations and financial needs.")
Hayden was just a student voicing his opin-
ion to the University community in the only
forum available. But the editorial page is not
just opinion columns. It is letters to the editor,
where readers debate everything from abortion
to the Greek system. Editorials, based on 109
years of precedent, are the voice of the Daily
- the voice of students. Editorials will always
follow a 'liberal' vein - pro-choice, pro-edu-
cation, pro-student. We have taken on every-
thing from the war in Vietnam to the war over
the stadium's halo. We seek out columnists and
publish letters with different views. The com-
bination of ideas on the editorial page yields a
product like Hayden's ideal university - it
requires unity. It is a sum of interrelated parts.
In the conclusion of Hayden's aforemen-
tioned piece, he wrote that University adminis-
tration "Prefers to reflect society, not challenge
it." Newspapers reflect society. Individuals
challenge society. The editorial page aspires to
do both.
E a l
-- Emily Achenbaum, Editorial Page Editor

scheme. Steve Forbes recently threw a catty
little lawsuit GW's way, alleging that some
of the signatures that got the latter on the
New York ballot were duplicates.
The only question remaining is why the
trial lawyer lobby isn't dumping money on the
Elephants. Granted the ACLU is still fighting
its way through the courts, but with federal
judiciary stacked as it is and Orrin Hatch sit-
ting on his hands in the Senate Judiciary
Committee, there is little hope for another lib-
eral legal revolution like the one America
experienced in the '50s, '60s and '70s.
The Supreme Court, staffed with several
Republican appointees put there to end the
judicial legislation of courts past, has been
giving the term "judicial activism" new
meaning. In light of the gridlock between the
still-scraping-the-egg-off-its-face White
House and the couldn't-get-something-done-
if-it-had-to Congress, the Court has seized
the political opportunity and has been
redefining what the United States is.
Among their stellar achievements
include blanket immunity for organs of the
states from age (and perhaps other) dis-
crimination cases because the justices
decided there was insufficient evidence of
such bias. It has also decided that many fed-
eral laws requiring states to act in a certain
way are invalid.
In "The Moral Basis of a Free Society,"
Forbes has described the Warren Court as
spawning "a proliferation of increasingly
bizarre lawsuits" and creating "a judiciary
that often acts like an imperial aristocracy
hurtling decrees down on the rest of us."
Indeed. Oh, Mr. Forbes, your legal team
is on line two.
-- When Jack Schillaci is a federal
judge, he will make being George W Bush
unconstitutional. He can be reached over
e-mail at jschilla@umich.edu.
T TAT'.VE LYSPEAK: NG

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THOMAS KULJURGIS

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Gender not included
'Freshman' discriminates against women

N otice anything different about the Daily
today? Our new editors have brought in
several style changes, including attributing
students in their first year at the University as
"freshman" instead of "first-year students" in
all sections except for the editorial page. It's a
small change - one most might not even
notice, let alone care about. But we are, as a
paper, making a statement to the University
administration, who use the word "freshman"
in their operations.
The Daily has used the term "first-year stu-
dent" instead on "freshman" for 13 years. On
April 13, 1987, the Daily's editors stated the
following in a front-page infog: "Beginning
today, the Daily will use gender-inclusive lan-
guage. This means, for example, changing
freshman to first-year student, chairman to
chair, and congressman to member of
Congress. By changing our language we can
change ideas about stereotypical gender roles.
The change may shock - people or sounds
wrong, but all change seems odd at first."
Changing back to "freshman" from "first-year
student" more than a decade later may seem
odd as well. But the Daily is not, by any
means, taking a step backwards.
"Freshman" is the title given to new stu-
dents by the University. The Daily must accu-
rately name people in articles by their official
titles, from a quoted SNRE sophomore to
University President Lee Bollinger. The goal
of the news, arts and sports sections is to report
with accuracy, whether the Daily agrees with
the name given to new students or not. The
current editors believe using the word "fresh-
man" is more accurate than "first-year stu-
dent."
But the Daily's editorial page is at liberty
make judgement calls: "First-year student"

other institutions. The editorial page precedent
is rooted in equality for all. This has always
extended to women's rights, be it abortion or
discrimination in the classroom. The 1987
Daily editors may have been a bit ahead of
their time, but they were right on: "First-year
student" is preferable to "freshman." The word
"freshman" is inherently exclusive.:
"Freshman" was appropriate 150 years ago
when colleges and universities were first
founded in the United States - when women
were simply not allowed to attend college. The
University of Notre Dame and Amherst
College are only two of several prestigious
institutions that did not admit women until the
1970's. Not everyone is offended by words like
"freshmen," yet they would find it wrong to
refer to Julie Peterson as a University
spokesman when she is clearly female.
Why can the suffix "man" easily blanket
both sexes, but the reverse is considered
ridiculous: "Policewoman" referring to both
male and female members of the police force?
Impossible. "Congressman" referring to both
male and female members of Congress? No
problem. But there is a problem -parts of the
English language are exclusive. Language can,
and should, evolve. After all, it was once
acceptable and common to refer to African-
Americans as 'colored.'
The University needs to evolve. Why does
a University that champions political correct-
ness and leveling the playing field by defend-
ing its affirmative action policy in court still
refer to first-year students as freshman? Has
the ever-politically correct administration sim-
ply overlooked this issue? Bollinger should not
ignore this inconsistency and act of gender
exclusion - even if only by language - any
longer. The University should drop the word

Daily should refrain
from using Lord's
name in vain
TO THE DAILY:
I am writing in reference to the Jan. 28
issue of the Daily. First of all. I want to
thank all of the seniors for their dedicated
service in managing the Daily, one of my
favorite newspapers in the world. Good luck
seniors and thanks.
But one of the articles, titled "We'd be
lygin if we said that the women's basketball
team won." by Dena Kern, caught my atten-
tion. The article featured a picture of
Michigan football player Tommy Hendricks
tackling a Penn State opponent. Under the
picture, in bold print, appeared the name
"Jesus," and directly below, also in bold
print, appeared the word "Ass." Granted. to
some people that may seem slightly amus-
ing, but to me, a Christian, it was very
offensive.
I really don't feel there is a need to use
my Lord's name in vain, especially in the
context it was used. I believe the author
used Jesus' name here to express her frus-
tration about the fact that PSU guard Helen
Darling prevented Michigan guard Stacey
Thomas from driving to the hoop, during
the recent Michigan vs. PSU women's bas-
ketball game.
In fact, maybe a better word such as
"jerk" or even "idiot" could have been used.
In my opinion, that would have been fun-
nier, or should I say funny. So please from
now on lay off the name of my Lord and
Savior, and keep up the good work!
FRANK LODESERTO
LSA SENIOR
Article objectified
women
TO THE DAILY:
I have to say that I am very disappointed
in the Daily for publishing Chris
Grandstaff's, Jacob Wheeler's and Albert
White's columns on Jan. 28th ("American
men deprived of sex, Steffi says," and "Joe
Smith writes tennis.") I understand that this
issue was meant to be humorous as the
seniors said goodbye, but I found their arti-
cles to be quite offensive.
Grandstaff and Wheeler focused their
article on sexually-deprived American men
being obsessed with breasts. At one point
they wrote, "They don't just look at my ass.
They love my tits too. Butt (sic) they never
notice my best feature, my ass." Their arti-
cle is terribly degrading to women and con-
tributes to our objectification. Although the
Daily would never publish an article that
insults a particular racial orkethnic group.
they seem to think it's okay to degrade
women in this way.
They also include the following quote,
"As a professional I have to admit that I too
love grabbing breasts." This statement
reduces women to objects and normalizes

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contributing to it. I really don't want to open
my school newspaper to increase my knowl-
edge and instead see myself objectified and
violated on its pages.
KIRAN ARORA
SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH STUDENT

vates. A few simple steps can mean the
difference between life and death,
MIKE KENNEDY
LSA JUNIOR
Movie review

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44
t

Last issue does not missed the mark
f~~~kd~'.AI'u rt" r

bI IUJV JuUI 1 IG II.-LIL
integrity'
TO THE DAILY:
In the three years I have been here, it
always kind of shocks me that a newspa-
per would suspend its journalistic integri-
ty so its editors can print their farewell
issue. While I understand it's probably
"all in fun," give me a break. I certainly
hope no visitors to the University pick
this issue up. I wouldn't want them to
think this is what the Daily is like, or for
that matter, take it as a representation of
the University as a whole.
STEPHANIE MASTA
LSA JUNIOR
Fire safety should
not be taken lightly
TO THE DAILY:
I agree completely with the editorial
position that the State of Michigan should
mandate sprinkler systems for all resi-
dence halls ("Where there's smoke," Jan.
27).
The New Jersey tragedy, though,
should serve as a reminder about fire
safety to students who live both on and
off campus. Every year, fire kills approx-
imately 4,000 people in the the United
States which is more than all other natur-
al disasters combined. Eighty percent of
those fire deaths occur in residences.
Also, approximately one hundred fire-
fighters are killed in the line of duty each
year.
Students must always keep fire safety

TO THE DAILY:
We strongly disagree with the Jan. 24
review, "Teen flick 'Down' in Stiles, script."
The Daily arts writer brutally bashes and
destroys the performance of Freddie Prinze,
Jr. and Julia Stiles in the new romantic come-
dy "Down to You" Not only do we disagree
with the mere one star it was given. but we
feel that the personal stabs made on the actors
were uncalled for.
We think it should first be stated that the
film attempts to target the teen audience with
a cute romantic comedy, not a deep, intense,
Academy-Award winning drama. Likewise,
neither Prinze nor Stiles are running for a
Golden Globe, so if that's what you're looking
for you shouldn't have gone to see the movie.
There was not one second where Prinze failed
to charm the audience with his gorgeous looks
and killer smile and for that he deserves no
less than four stars
The article also criticized that the charac-
ter of Imogen_ Would you want to see more of
Freddie or Julia? Yeah, that's what I thought!
We think "Down to You" successfully created
a funny, real-world type, romantic comedy
filled with optimism, which is what girls can
relate to and is what they come to the
movie to see. It's cute. It's funny. And it's a
"feel-good" movie The movie may not get an
Oscar nomination, but it is evident that this
was hardly the movie's intention g
It does, however, take an original and
creative approach to the generic romantic
comedy we are accustomed to. The so-
called "faux inspired" sequences, when
the characters were witness to each
other's memory, was a refreshing change.
And the movie cannot be responsible for
any jealousy; a whiny, pessimistic. bitter,
ex-girlfriend viewer may have for the
"perfect relationship between Al and
Imogen." And as for the "afterschool spe-
cial" ending what else would you expect

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