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February 01, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-02-01

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 1, 2000

cje £iti~grn & ig

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
daily.letters@umich.edu
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

MIKE SPAHN
Editor in Chief
EMILY ACHENBAUM
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

Dr. Fee Igood
Medicinal use of marijuana could help many

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Even idiots have First Amendment rights
T he entire sports world is abuzz with In deriding wayward youth, criminals a sports figure displaying reprehensible
news of John Rocker. the outspoken and and young mothers. Rocker sounds eerily behavior - that never happens. Tell you
not-too-bright relief pitcher for the Atlanta similar to any number of Republican presi- what: As soon as Lawrence Phillips and
Braves. Rocker's comments in a December dential candidates. If he's a homophobe, Cecil Collins stop beating women, Mike
issue of Sports illustrated precipitated a well, I don't agree, but I can't say he's an evil Tyson stops committing felonies, Latrell
firestorm of contro- person. Some people don't like spiders and Sprewell stops assaulting coaches and pro-
versy due to his race- others kill each other for religion. fessjional athletes everywhere stop father-
related comments. Ignorant perhaps, but not evil. The "fat ing children out of wedlock like rabbits
In Rocker's inter- monkey" comment does bother me, but I. hopped up on Viagra. then I'll worry about
view with spots- like you. don't know the w hole story w hat someone is saying.
writer Jeff Pearlman behind it. Rocker defended himself, saying Furthermore, for you New Yorkers out
he (among other that his comment was directed at a good there who are so outraged, can you honestly
things) lamented the friend of his and was merely clubhouse tell me you've never heard comments like
poor driving skills of humor. Maybe he's backpedaling (which it this (or worse) before? My friend James
Asian women, called sound like) but the pos ibility that he's Miller could verbally disembowel you with
a black teammate a telling the truth is certainly plausible. I half the words and thrice the eloquence of
"fat monkey" and know from my own personal experience John Rocker. So are the comments really
basically trashed New that good friends tend to give each other only inflammatory because of the source?
York City and New Branden nicknames which might sound offensive to John Rocker is a 25-year-old baseball
Yorkers in general. Sant a third party. player from South Georgia, that's all. He is
His thoughts on New Example: About two years ago, one of my not an elected official or someone whose
York: "imagine taking best friends, a slow-talking country boy from voice has weight unless we, the American
the 7 train to the ball- H1mma backwoods Mississippi. turned 21. We threw public, allow him to be. How do we do this?
park, looking like him a surprise birthday party with a cake and Teflon-clad professional athletes are a mon-
you're (riding through) Beirut next to some everything. The words on the cake? '"Happy ster of our own creation and, sad to say, I'm
kid with purple hair next to some queer with Birthday, You Dumb Hick." as guilty of this as you are. Everyone who
AIDS right next to some dude who just got Is John Rocker a racist? Quite possibly. has ever bought tickets to a sporting event,
out of jail for the fourth time right next to Just going from that article, it certainly watched one on TV or purchased memora-
some 20-year-mom with four kids. It's seems like it. But even if he is not a racist, bilia for their favorite team has contributed
depressing" Rocker is a very stupid man. He was quoted to the deification of these people.
For these comments, Rocker has been as saying, "I'm not a very big fan of foreign- John Rocker has a right to his opinion.
castigated and ostracized. ans and the media ers ... how the hell did they get into this The First Amendment doesn't have a clause
are calling for a trade, resignation or firing country?" Well, unless he is 100 percent permitting free speech on the basis that it is
from baseball. New Yorkers arr calling for his Native-American, the man is a foreigner politically correct. No, I am not saying that
head on a plate, although that's not a particu- himself Clearly he needs to leave Atlanta we should just accept comments like this
larly new phenomenon. Let's take a minute to because he is depriving a village some- from our sports figures, but we need to
look at this situation a little more in-depth. where of an idiot. People are outraged take people like John Rocker as the grain of
John Rocker may not like people with because of the type of behavior displayed salt that they are. Just water them twice a
purple hair. He may not like gays or people by this man. Guess what, folks? Racism week and leave them alone. Eventually they
with AIDS. He may not like criminals and happens every day in every part of the will wither, die out, and not bother us any-
the though of 20-year-mothers of four may country. Why is this such a big deal. Some more.

According to the National Organization for
the Reform of Marijuana Laws, more
than 688,000 Americans are arrested each year
on marijuana charges. Many of these people
are arrested because they choose to use mari-
juana for medicinal purposes. Just this week,
Ann Arbor resident Renee Emry Wolfe
received a prison sentence - and became
another victim of the war on drugs. Wolfe was
arrested in 1998 for lighting up a joint in
Washington, D.C. Wolfe, who suffers from
multiple sclerosis, was protesting U.S. Rep.
William McCollum's opposition to medical
marijuana. Wolfe was arrested despite
Washington residents' vote to legalize medici-
nal marijuana - a vote that was suppressed by
Congress for 10 months. And we thought
elected officials were there to serve the people.
Another high-publicity case is that of Peter
McWilliams, who used marijuana to alleviate
the symptoms of AIDS and cancer. He found
the plant to be useful in taking a potent drug
cocktail of the newest AIDS and chemothera-
py drugs because marijuana was the only way
he could keep from throwing up. Since his
arrest, in which six armed troopers descended
on his California home, McWilliams has been
unable to control his vomiting and has been
awaiting trial in a life of pain. California's pro-
medical marijuana laws require that one have
a prescription for marijuana - and that the
plant is grown by a licensed grower.
McWilliams was growing his own.
What kind of drug policy denies citizens
the right to make informed decisions on their
choice of medicine? People should be free to
use marijuana as treatment for illnesses with-
out the intervention of armed drug goons.
In truth, these patients could take prescrip-
tion drugs like sedatives to alleviate symp-
toms, but choose to ingest a drug that does not

disrupt their normal lives. They are not ready
to live their lives in a stupor. Marijuana dulls
their pain, but allows them to live their lives.
McWilliams, who had not smoked marijuana
in 20 years before his cancer treatment, told
the Boston Globe, "'I had this epiphany: 'Oh
my God, this stuff really works.' Then I got
mad, furious, thinking about all the millions of
cancer patients who this could be helping."
But marijuana is a charged word. Users of
medical marijuana are being incarcerated
because they choose a natural substance
loaded with negative connotations. Talk cen-
ters on issues of legality instead of giving us
the kind of dialogue necessary for rational dis-
cussions. Americans have been brainwashed
by the obnoxious propaganda of television
ads, DARE and Nancy Reagan's "just say no"
campaign.
This stance has criminalized a plant which
has been used by people even before the dis-
covery of America and probably kills no more
brain cells than an hour of television. This atti-
tude is also responsible for America's war on
drugs, which has not only denied citizens the
right to consider a natural and healing sub-
stance on their own terms, but given them
lengthy prison terms and heavy fines as pun-
ishment. In the case of marijuana, the power
of citizens to make informed decisions
regarding their own health and well-being has
been denied, even in areas where the plant has
been legalized for medical reasons.
The drug issue is not going to go away.
Informed citizens are waking to the truth that
marijuana cannot be lumped together with
with hard drugs like heroin, crack, ampheta-
mines and cocaine. The dialogue must be
changed. Marijuana is a natural substance that
should be part of our war on cancer and AIDS,
not our war on plants.

depress him. Guess what? That is his consti-
tutional right.

people will say this is important because
Rocker is a sports figure, a superstar. Yeah,

- Branden Sant can be reached via
e-mail at hammerhead(ajumich.edu.

CHIP CULLEN

G RIN DING THE NIB

r EP.4 F'Mr

Schillaci's column

There's no connection
School funds: What Engler says ... and does

was 'cruel joke on
humanity'_ ___
TO THE DAILY:
Please tell me that Jack Schillaci's Jan.A\IAb
31st column "Lawyers to the left of me,t-
hypocrites to the right" was a cruel joke
on humanity. I hope this column is not
the first of many in an ongoing series to
make we want to kill myself.
I opened up yesterday's Daily and
turned right to the editorial page like I do
every weekday morning. Not only did I
open it to see a goofy picture but I had the
misfortune of actually reading Schillaci's
Although the article was so boring I"
knew I had to finish it because maybe there pletely feminist, I will be a masculinist. dition), and it is shorter. Why dow
would be a good point or a funny joke at the First, "Gender" is a completely infan- to waste extra space and ink just to
end. No, I was wrong. tile idea and editorial. Why don't we just nate a never-present sexism? Le
It just sucked. change the spelling of women to womyn in create a non-sexist anonymous thi
So, for now on. I recommend that some- all articles too? Because this is a childish son subject. There is "he," "she," a
one proof read his articles to ensure that the rebellion. The idea that "freshman" and which sounds like the subject is ar
student body, doesn't have to go through "first-year student" are inter-changeable So, how about "ne?" Nor for an ui
that traumatizing experience ever again, terms in uninformed and inaccurate. Some joke about this to isolate ever
Thank you. first-year students are sophomores and "Women are the woes of men."
ERIC FRANK some second-year students are still fresh- Arora's letter attacked a clearly
LSA SOPHOMORE myn. Is that a better spelling? cal column as sexist. It shows how
Let's also attack the title "junior." Americans are about sex. Arora r
Isn't that also sexist because Junior is a the article as objectification of
boy's ae Womyn can't be called but what about us men? The
Edt ra ,lterb t jfir"S idy soce"she'' reduces us to sex-crazed animals
Editori I ,I et~ r b th "unior" in today's society, so let's say sole thouoghts seare breasts, sexu-anml
"third-year student." And what about sreesthosghtsoade breasts, sex
b tantlyta d "senior?" Doesn't that imply old, wrin- theaarticle although it said that
j ritatij9 kled, grumpy, and mean? I guess one out stupid and oafish. So, look at it a
of four ain't bad. But real senior citizens gerations.
should be offended, so let's say "'fourth- g eerat o rset ]Iopn
TO THE DAILY: or fifth-year student." Personally, I don't Think before you write Also, take
In the Jan. 31 edition of the editorial care which term is used, but the reasons thing not at face value but as son
page, I was offended by the blatant sexism for it make me mad, more or less.
of the staff editorial "Gender Not Included," Furthermore, to answer the question of
and Kiran Arora's letter "Article Objectified why "-woman" can't refer to both sexes as CHRIS COR
Women." Since both articles were com- a suffix is because "-man" came first (tra- LSA FIRST-YEAR S
The defintion of sluts, the college scene and STDs

:"

W hen Gov. John Engler stated his
intentions to make Michigan's pub-
lic school system "the best in the world"
during his State of the State address, his
definition of "school" apparently did not
include higher education. Last
Wednesday's speech devoted half of its
content to educational issues, which is
ironic considering Engler as spent far less
than half of his term improving schools. In
his Fiscal Year 2001 budget recommenda-
tion, Engler requests a 2.5 percent funding
increase for state universities, a number
that falls short of what many legislators,
educators and University officials hoped
to see. Despite the governor's lofty goals
for the state's public school system, his
current budget recommendations stand in
contrast with the philosophy presented
during his speech. His actions, not his
words, are what the University needs in
order to stay competitive.
According to the Vice President for
Government Relations Cynthia Wilbanks,
the University requested a budget hike
close to 5 percent - and this number was
a "starting point" for funding increases.
Engler, a lawyer, does not have an intimate
knowledge of what level of funding would
best catapult the state's schools toward
national success. Officials from state uni-
versities and those directly involved in
academia have a better grasp on how much
money is need to transform all Michigan's
schools into top-notch institutions.

S'

Engler's budget recommendations put
state colleges in a no-win situation
because they penalize universities for rais-
ing tuition with funding decreases.
Under the current proposal, any univer-
sity not holding their tuition increase
below 3 percent will be subject to a 1.5
percent decrease in their base level fund-
ing for the next year. This rule forces uni-
versities to either cut back on quality or
quantity of services provided and remain
within tuition increase cap or raise tuition
much higher than 3 percent to make up for
lost funding from the state. If the state
refuses to heed the word of university offi-
cials in terms of funding, it should at the
very least allow schools to adjust their
tuition prices.
Another facet of Engler's budget rec-
ommendations differing sharply from his
educational agenda is the increase in the
state's correctional system. At 8 percent,
the proposed corrections' increase is twice
that of state universities. Engler's budget
does not make access to education any eas-
ier and therefore only continues to limit
access to higher education.
It is unclear how Gov. Engler plans for
our state's schools to achieve national sta-
tus without any significant increases in
funding or hikes in tuition. The governor's
budget seems more conducive to stagna-
tion on behalf of state universities instead
of the leaps and bounds proposed in his
State of the State address. If Engler wish-

we have
o elimi-
t's also
ird-per-
nd "it,"
mutant.
unfunny
rybody.
,y satiri-
uptight
efers to
womyn,
article
whose
, food,
ghed at
men are
as exag-
ons, but:
eevery-
rmething
RONADO
TUDENT

O Interesting title? Good. Before I get
into the main content, think about the
definition of a slut. Do you or your
friends use this word? Does it only apply
to females and mean
"dirty"? If someone
is a slut by your def-
inition, can you dis-
respect her? Would
you have sex with ar
slut? Only in certain
circumstances, like
at a party when both
of you were drunk? y
Maybe she is a slut
because she just had
sex with a random Michelle
guy at a party or has
had several partners. Bolek
If you were pursuing
her does that make a
difference in defin- -_ ____
ing who is the slut or
if either nerson should he labeled that

women have multiple casual sexual
encounters. But it does happen. That's
reality.
If you are going to be sexually active,
STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and
HIV/AIDS education, all that scary stuff
that you don't want to think about when
you're having fun and thinking you might
get laid, is important. Don't fool yourself,
you should know about this stuff. If you
do connect sluts with "dirty," realize that
there is no way you can tell if someone is
"dirty" or not, presumably meaning that
she/he has an STD. Before you use this
degrading term to describe women (or
men), think critically about the meanings
that words carry and get your facts
straight about STDs, for your own health
and the health of your partner(s).
So, you can't look at someone and
know if he or she has an STD. Second,
"sexually active" does not and should not
mean only vaginal intercourse. One of the
most imnortant tidbits to know about sex

latex condom or dental dam goes on. If
you are allergic to latex, talk to your clin
ician about some alternatives. The
thought of using condoms during oral sex
may be a foreign concept to many of us,
but they've got flavored ones now! It's
better to use one and be safer. And hey,
masturbation is a safe, fun and healthy
alternative as well. So don't forget about
masturbation.
Make smart choices. Make your own
choices. You are an adult now, by law any-
way, and are responsible for making those
choices and dealing with their conse-
quences. Any sexual activity has risk
involved: Safer sex dramatically decreas-
es the risk of disease transmission. If you
have had many sexual partners or few or
none, education about STDs is essential.
If you want to learn more, go to UHS.
Really. There is a department called the
Health Promotion/Community Relations
Office (HPCR) devoted to health educa-
tion for you. You can learn all about

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