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March 21, 2000 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-03-21

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 21, 2000

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Random thoughts for a Tuesday morning

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. Alother articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily
reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

Sticks and stones
Book seizure did more harm than good

Was I the only one who watched my
March Madness dreams of glory die a
sudden death when Arizona and Temple got
knocked off this weekend? My only consola-
tion is knowing I still out-picked Dick Vitale.
At this point I'm rooting for Gonzaga to take
it all. Go Bulldogs!
If you decide to
rent an RV for Spring
Break or road trip pur-
poses, make sure you
actually watch the
video at the dealership,
particularly the parts
pertaining to the
latrine and sewage ON
tank. I speak from per-
sonal experience when
I tell you that failure to
do this can have disas Branden
trous (and very smelly)
consequences. Sant
I can't help but D 0 PPi g9th
laugh at all the people i
bitching about the
price of gas. For the
last five years, everyone in America that
could afford it has purchased a gas-guzzling
SUV Hey, if you need to drive something the
size of a Sherman tank to go to the bagel
shop or get your nails done, that's fine - just
don't cry because the OPEC nations decided
to make an extra buck off your dumb ass.
MSA elections are here again (yawn).
Besides the superfluity of protest groups
around, I can't think of a more blatant exam-
ple of mental masturbation on campus.
In a stunning move, Pope John Paul II
recently asked forgiveness for such things as
discrimination against women, minorities
and the Inquisition. Great timing buddy. I'm
sure the souls of all those who were drawn-
and-quartered, racked or otherwise killed

slowly in agonizing pain are just jumping for
I finally made the move and decided to
join a gym off-campus. I just couldn't handle
the crowds and the terrible facilities at the
CCRB and IM anymore. The University
should be absolutely embarrassed by this
fact. "Leaders and Best" right? Why is it
them that the recreational facilities at MSU,
Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan and
Western Michigan Universities are all far
superior to those here. Tell you what: Instead
of purchasing Land Rovers for the next dozen
hot-shit football and basketball recruits, why
don't we just buy them Jeep Cherokees
instead? We could take the extra quarter-mil-
lion and make the CCRB at least a semi-
decent place to work out.
The U.S. Military is in crisis. Enlistment
is at its lowest point since the advent of the
all-volunteer Army and generals everywhere
are screaming "Why?" and scrambling to fill
slots. Gee, I wonder. Perhaps because we
have a Commander in Chief with zero mili-
tary experience, but who refuses to listen to
his advisors. Perhaps because the military has
not only lost touch with today's youth, the
mentality of the modern military and that of
the so-called "Y Generation" are moving in
completely opposite directions. Somebody
better wake up quick and let the Pentagon
know that it's recent policies designed to pro-
mote a "safer," more politically-correct mili-
tary may appease Congress and the White
House, but it has disenfranchised the youth of
today. If serious changes are not made before
long, we're going to have to reinstate the draft
or we won't be able repel an invasion from
I've come to the conclusion that Ann
Arbor is a relatively boring town. Sure, there
are always fun people around and good times
to be had, but for a college-town, the atmos-

phere can be downright depressing at times.
People are unfriendly, strangers rarely say
"Hi" to each other in passing, and everyone is
too damn cliquish. I've come to the conclu-
sion that there is an easy way to fix this: Get
rid of open-container laws.
I'm serious here. What is so terrible about
the thought of pouring your beer into a plastic
cup when you leave the bar and wandering
around town with it. Imagine the transforma-
tion if they closed off the streets around the
Diag to vehicle traffic, making it pedestrian
only, and got of open-container laws: A
throng of happy, friendly people would pack
the streets in force to do nothing but walk
around, hang out with each other, and have a
good time. Sure, some people might object
on the grounds that it would promote under-
age drinking or that peoples studies would
suffer. I can understand their concerns. After
all, it's common sense that someone who is
20 (therefore old enough to purchase a
firearm, drive a 4,000-pound motor vehicle at
70 miles-per-hour and enlist in the military
and be sent off to a foreign land to kill people
or be killed himself) can not be trusted to
consume an alcoholic beverage.
But the fact is, the AAPD already has
enough people on the force to invade and con-
quer a small, Third-World country. I'm quite
certain they could put enough officers on the
streets to prevent the heinous crime of under-
age drinking.
As far as studies go, look at New Orleans.
As many of you know New Orleans has no
open-container laws. Sure, you're thinking
Mardi Gras, French Quarter, non-stop party-
ing. No one could seriously study there, right?
Hey, ever heard of Tulane? In case you
weren't aware, it's a pretty damn good school.
Just a thought ...
- Branden Sanz can be reached via
e-mail at hamrhead@umich.edu.


A s this semester of occupations
draws to a close, the campus got
one last bitter taste of impromptu revo-
lutionary activism with the objection-
able actions of a certain graduate
student action group last Thursday. By
checking out or removing more than
3,000 books from the UGLi, this group
(which does not deserve to get its
name in print yet again) got its head-
line on the front page, but has yet to
back up its message with any produc-
tive results.
While the Daily is pro-student
activism, reprehensibly disadvantaging
undergrads in crunch time and disrupt-
ing the University library system for
the sake of drawing attention to the
administration's mishandling of the
Union tower occupation conflict has
only widened the gap between some
activists and more productive political
reformers. The protest was contradic-
tory and obviously geared to generate
These actions were alienating and
upsetting to undergraduates, especially
those who may have needed books for
term papers and research. The Under-
graduate library is almost exclusively a
resource for first year and sophomore
Profit 14
Maine's medicinal
A sheriff in Maine has proposed to
that state's legislature that marijua-
na confiscated by police departments be
distributed to people in need of it for
medicinal purposes. This proposal is a
step in the right direction to ensure that
Americans afflicted with painful illness-
es can get the pain relief they need.
Numerous states, including Maine,
have legalized the use of marijuana for
medical purposes. Unfortunately, feder-
al laws still prohibit anyone from
obtaining the drug, regardless of their
intentions. Having marijuana distributed
via the police would prevent patients
from being forced to break laws by buy-
ing it on the streets. In Maine, patients'
only means of obtaining the drug is by
growing it themselves.
Marijuana is used to treat numerous
illnesses because it effectively relieves
pain while dulling some side effect of
other treatments, such as the nausea
commonly brought on by chemotherapy.
All states that have legalized the medici-
nal use of marijuana are faced with the
same dilemma: How do their ill go
about acquiring the drug? While states
can add amendments to their own drug
laws in order to allow patients to buy
marijuana, federal law nonetheless
labels these pain-stricken citizens as
This is because marijuana is a
charged word. Users of medical mari-
juana are being incarcerated because
they choose a natural substance loaded
with negative connotations. citizens the
right to consider a natural and healing
substance on their own terms, but given
them lengthy prison terms and heavy
fines as punishment. The power of citi-
zens to make informed decisions regard-
ing their own health and well-being has
been denied, even in areas where the

plant has been legalized for medical rea-
If passed, this proposal will put all
confiscated marijuana in the control of
the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency,

students. Removing books from the
graduate library by graduate students
may have been a more politically
palatable form of protest, but would
still have been unacceptable to the stu-
dent population and research commu-
nity at large. An attack of the
administration's methods should not
have been carried out on valuable edu-
cational resources with shopping carts
and a U-Haul.
This grab for the spotlight alienated
potential supporters of the cause as
well. Possible allies did not get facts,
but instead read headlines interpreted
through the radicalism of these 50-
some grad students. This selfish
attempt to grab headlines at the
expense of other students also seems
like a gasp for short-term attention over
the long-term goals of the struggle.
The reasoning behind the actions
may be justified, but carrying this
message of disgust to the masses with
any air of authority requires a bit more
calculation and a lot less desperation.
There are several positive - and
effective - ways to protest something
and make one's voice heard. Let's keep
the U-Hauls away from our libraries
from now on.



marijuana loophole
which will then in turn give doctors the
authority to prescribe and distribute it.
All Maine residents who use the drug
legally will be officially registered with
the state so they may be exempt from
Maine's drug laws.
Opposition to the bill claims that
because the marijuana would have been
confiscated off the streets, there is no
way to ensure its purity. The risk of the
drug being laced is actually no more
severe for the patient as they would have
otherwise obtained it directly off the
streets. However, Sheriff Mark Dion, the
proposal's creator, has suggested a
means of guaranteeing the drug is not
contaminated: Only distribute confiscat-
ed plants, not the dried seeds.
This bill is a necessary step in help-
ing patients get the medical pain relief
they need. Current Maine law exempts
its ill residents from drug possession
laws, yet goes on to force them to sup-
ply their own drugs.
Growing marijuana is a difficult and
lengthy process and many patients have
neither the time nor resources to do so.
Marijuana plants take months before
becoming usable, making it unreason-
able for lawmakers to expect a patient to
be able to sit idly in pain while waiting
for their plant to finish growing. This
bill recognizes the absurdity of asking
patients to grow their own marijuana
and provides an effective solution.
Unfortunately, while more states are
legalizing marijuana for medicinal uses
everyday, they remain unable to circum-
vent federal drug laws. Unless the feder-
al government recognizes that
Americans want their pain-stricken fam-
ily members to have an effective drug
treatment, bills such as the latest pro-
posal in Maine will never be fully suc-
cessful. Some of Maine's legislators
worry that by passing this bill the state
will lose valuable federal funding. But
the state should not let the federal gov-
ernment bully them simply because we
they are treating their sick.

Abortion is not a
logical 'solution'
1 am compelled to object to the Daily's
March 15 editorial on abortion, "Life Begins
at Birth." First, I find it interesting that the
Daily will refer to opponents of abortion as
"anti-choice," but won't call its proponents
anti-life. The primary source of my disgust
comes from the logic used in the arguments
for abortion. The phrase "a woman's right to
choose what to do with her body" is tossed
around with little regard to its implication. A
woman does of course have a right to choose
what to do with her body, and she exercises
this right by choosing to have sexual inter-
course. Rights, however, come coupled with
responsibilities. Once a woman exercises the
right to intercourse, she assumes the respon-
sibility of the pregnancy which may ensue.
Contraception isn't perfect, even the most
careful woman may find herself pregnant.
Abortion apparently seems like a logical
"solution" to this "problem" for many. How-
ever, once conceived, the fetus, a developing
human being, must be considered. The Daily
would claim that life begins exactly at the
moment of birth, since this is exactly the
moment, it claims, that humans "think ratio-
nally, have a moral compass, feel complex
emotions and communicate." This draws a
line between living and non-living humans,
stating that everyone who is alive has these
qualities. Since every human being has the
faculties oftrationality and morality, this
would seem to imply that children are no dif-
ferent than adults except in size.
Therefore, perhaps the seven-year-old
Mt. Morris school shooter should be held
accountable for his actions. But this is
clearly absurd; human development is a
process, not an event, and the fetus is mere-
ly a human which can't fight for its rights.
The life of an unborn child must be
weighed against the situation of the mother,
and the mother "wins" in cases where the
pregnancy was forced on her (i.e. rape or
incest) or where her life is in danger. Her
"choice" of convenience does not outweigh
her child's life. If a woman cannot handle

E: A.E

the pregnancy, for whatever reason, she
should think of that responsibility before
she exercises her right to have sex.
Abortion exists
because of inaction
When does life begin? "Life begins at
birth," Daily editors claim in a so-titled
March 15 editorial. More to the point, they
say that the "right to life" begins at birth.
They defend this by claiming that fetuses are
not people, and therefore have no rights. The
editorial goes on to define "people" with
these words: "They are self-aware, think
rationally, have a moral compass, feel com-
plex emotions, communicate, etc."
Now, I must say that this definition seems
a bit limited. I love my five-month-old niece a
great deal, but I wouldn't goes so far as to
claim that she is a self-aware, moral, rational
thinker who feels complex emotions.
According to the Daily, she isn't a person.
That's too bad.

Still, it's hard to imagine anyone would
deny her the right to life. Much as I dis-
agree with Daily editors on this point, how-
ever, I respect them for standing up for
what they believe in. What I believe is
something quite different. I do not hold
individual people accountable for the injus-
tice that I perceive in the practice of abor-
tion. The women who choose abortion and
the doctors who accommodate them are
only a small part of the problem. The real
injustice is perpetrated by the government
that allows them to do so. I believe that the
blood of countless millions is on the hands
of the United States as a whole.
And on my hands. I live in a democracy,
which means that I have power. I have failed
to do everything in my power to save lives -
to save persons - so I am partially responsi-
ble for lost lives. I have no dispute with peo-
ple who honestly believe abortion should be
legal. I have every dispute with those, like
myself, who believe it should be outlawed.
We have failed, we are failing, because of our
own inaction. We are responsible for this fail-
ure, as citizens of a democracy which has
failed the least of its people.
disgusting comment about a female's body
in my presence. In practice, I was doing the
best I could to get equal treatment for the
girl's sports teams and respect for women in
the halls. In theory, I was challenging some
of the ingrained stereotypes that women
weren't as capable or passionate at sports or
that harassment in the halls wasn't a big
I see this reluctance to identify as a fem-
inist as a problem. It's a way to avoid the
backlash that is all too common when one
identifies as being a feminist. Do you expe-
rience that "eww" feeling or are you proud
to call yourself a feminist? Are you some-
where in between? Is it because you are
afraid about what others will say about you?
Take that chance, challenge those stereo-}
types. Speak up when someone makes a
comment you don't like. If they get mad, so
what. You can take it.
Despite what the word "feminist" means
to you, I hope you start thinking about what
the reaction you have means and why you
feel this way. Whether it's positive or nega-

I'm not a feminist, but ...

Feminism. One of the "f" words to some
of us. To others, like me, feminism is a
source of pride. Defining the term is diffi-
cult because I think it means something dif-
ferent to a lot of people.
One of my favorite
quotes about feminism ..
is from Rebecca West,,
"I myself have never'
been able to find out
precisely what femi-
nism is; I only know
that people call me a
feminist whenever I
express sentiments
that differentiate me
from a doormat." That
states it pretty well for Michelle
me. I've always been Bolek
the kind of woman
who speaks up when rdgm
someone says some-
thing sexist or racist or
just downright rude
around me. Feminism for me means speak-

challenging the view that somehow being
different than men means being inferior.
Feminism is about tolerance understanding,
and loving yourself for who you are. And
yes, men can be feminists. Just ask my
Being a feminist also means that I fight
the stereotype of the "thin ideal", the expec-
tation that to be successful I need to be thin
instead of/in addition to being smart and
good at what I do. I recovered from an eat-
ing disorder by fighting many of the sexist
stereotypes that most likely played a role in
the development of the eating disorder in
the first place. I won that one and am now
trying to prevent others from going through
the same thing I did.
So why do feminists get such a bad rap?
Why is it all too common to hear someone
say, "I'm not a feminist, but..."? Are we all
man-hating lesbians who never shave our
armpits or legs? Give me a break, of course
not. That's just stupid. Some of us are les-
bians, some of us are straight, some are
bisexual, some of us shave, some don't, and

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