4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 5, 1999
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October arrives, ready to plague everyones autumn
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students at the
University of Michigan
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Daily 's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect
the opinion of The Michigan Dailv.
Fire reminds of potential problems
1ctober arrived a iew days ago with
its typical slap in the face.
No. it wasn't last Friday. Somehowv,
September managed to hold out an extra
day and keep things pleasant. Perhaps
a delay. It should
know better than to
fly Northwest. .
Yes, last Saturday
debut. as the month
dumped Hudson Bay
on us while we
handle Purdue in the
Big House. David
We knew we were Wallace
in trouble when sta-
dium security began
to fans. Rather than
lead opposite corners of the stadium in
chants of "Go" and "Blue,' pyramids of
cheerleaders veiled "Bail!" to conduct
efforts to keep the stadium afloat.
October is akin to drawing a rude wait-
er at your favorite restaurant. "Hi, my
name is October, and I'll be your host for
the next 30 days. Let me know if there's
anything I can do for you." Then you
order a Sprite, and the month brings you
a Coke. Don't even ask about the coffee
- it s too strong.
Step outside and rough winds shake
what's left of the darling buds of May.
Yellowed leaves speckle damp rooftops
and sink in sidewalk puddles. Campus
buildings expel wispy plumes of smoke
that blend into the sky's mottled grays.
Suddenly. the fun walking down South
University Avenue or State Street. look-
ing at cafe patrons and in store xw indows.
floats away with the smoke oxerhead.
Max be it leaves in a breath's condensa-
tion that appears for the first time in
many months. The gloominess veighs on
us, once these heavy. solemn skies arrixe,
we know they're parked here for the next
five months. And unlike us, they don't
feed quarters into parking meters or col-
lect tickets from metermaids neither love-
ly nor named Rita.
T.S. Eliot said April is the cruelest
month, but not for college students.
Those lilacs bred out of the dead land hail
graduation, or the completion of another
No. October is our cruelest month. In
October, the semester settles into a
drudgery of repetition to match the
weather. We don't need to look outside to
know what the weather is like, and we
don't need our syllabi to know what's
going on in class.
The problem is that we have no reason
to look forward. While the year's first
months offer the coming of spring.
October offers November. November is.
like October in an irritable mood.
October is the kid who hits you with a
snowball. November is the kid who dips
his snowball in a puddle first.
So we're left not to enjoy. but simply
withstand October, hunkering down in
our foxholes until we outlast the rain of
midterms and papers.
I really think October owes us an expla-
nation for its behavior. I want to ask it,
"Hey, October! What's the deal with all this
rain and gloom?" Maybe the impossible
conversation would go something like this:
October says, "Look, I don't make the
rules. I just go to the part of the year I'm
assigned and do my job."V
"Ho does tht xork1?"
'\\elI. me and the other I I months
tormed a union. Jlune. .lul\ and August are
the loneest tenured months. so they pick
wxhere rhex xwant to work. Naturallx. thex
take the most pleasant part of the year.
i should hax\e known October is a
"Me, I'm a pretty new guy so I get one
of the unpopular sections. But there's
always a chance I could move up. There's
been a rumor going around for a long
time that July is thinking of retiring. If
that happens. I'll do my best to slide into
that choice job.~
I'm as puzzled as you. "What would
happen to your slot? I'm kind of used to
the order we've got now.
The month thinks for a minute, chomp-
ing on its cigar butt. "Well, we'd have to
find a new guy. Awhile back we had a guy
named Ed apply for i position. but none
were available. We could probably call
"September. Ld, November,
December," I say incredulously.
"Right. I like the sound of that.
I loathe the month even more now. He
picks up on it.
"Look, we could save the rhythm. He
could change his name to Edember."
"Stop it already.'
There is nothing we can do about the
month of October, we just have to cope.
We can't fire October, we can't discipline
October and we can't dock October's pay.
We can't even ignore October or transfer
October to a remote place away from us.
October is immovable. October is
David Wl/ice can be reached over
e-mail at davinwa wnich.edu.
O n Sept. 29, as the University's North
Campus computing center was ablaze,
a great deal of the campus community
experienced shock and anxiety about net-
work computing. The swift, effective efforts
to mend the situation should be acknowl-
edged, and the University is not to blame for
what was an unforeseeable accident.
Indeed, it is unquestionable the majority
of the 40,000-plus members of the
University community rely on the computer
network on a regular basis. Most were
affected to some extent by the fire.
Concerns may have ranged from a stu-
dent who couldn't write the "I love you" e-
mail to her boyfriend three doors down, to
the nerve-racking experience of losing files
on personal IFS space, to professors having
to shorten class because the on-line discus-
sion necessary for lecture failed.
This reflects our technologically
advanced age more than anything else -
although academic life may seem too cen-
tered around computers, computing makes
life a great deal easier. We commend the
University for keeping up with current
The problems last week have reminded
students, faculty and staff that computer
problems are inevitable. Reminded prob-
lems with unpredictable repercussions do
occur, individuals need to take precau-
tionary measures when using computers
- including more floppy disk back-up.
Disrupted e-mail or Internet access is dif-
ficult for students and administrators to
predict. The inability to access IFS space
could be addressed by saving files that
are in use onto a floppy disk to back up
network space. This would prevent the
loss of files that are in progress at the
time of the event and also enable files to
be saved while the system is down. It is
the responsibility of the University to
provide more floppy disk drives on all
University computers. Likewise, a system
should be set up in which disks are sold in
the labs. This would enable prospective
network users to instantly save work on
The North Campus site, holding a large
volume of sensitive information, was well
protected and tucked away - suitably sep-
arated from the majority of the action on
central campus. But as protected as the site
may have been, nothing is perfect, and the
fragility of technology gives further reason
for why smoking is banned in all University
LTD's quick response to the crisis was
noteworthy. While the ITD Website warns
that there will be "network service out-
rages" over the next few days, most of the
larger problems were repaired in a day's
In addition to the repair services, ITD
offers current updates and troubleshoot-
ing at 764-HELP. It also attached clear
troubleshooting messages to screens so
that the fire and network failure were well
advertised and they provided interim IFS
space. It is staying on top of late-breaking
technologies, they have excellent trou-
bleshooting services and a help line and
they dealt with the fire professionally.
This offers a sense of comfort in a time
when one of our main insecurities is tech-
.* ~ ~
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Military should be up front about controversy
Age limits do not address society's problems.
It is no secret that atrocities have been
committed at the hands of the U.S. mil-
itary. From its treatment of Native
Americans in the 19th Century to the My
Lai massacre, it is indisputable that moral
bankruptcy has at times run rampant
through the American military.
Revelations brought forth last week may
show still more ugly American war stories
are waiting to be uncovered.
The Pentagon has promised to re-open
an investigation into accusations made by
Korean villagers who said they survived a
massacre perpetrated by American troops
during the opening weeks of the Korean
War. The pledge came after the
Associated Press published a story
wherein 12 American veterans stated that
hundreds of refugees were shot by
American troops under a bridge near No
Gun Ri in South Korea.
Some of the stories were particularly
disturbing; in one, a U.S. Army captain
was said to have given direct orders to
"get rid" of the refugees because he
thought North Korean soldiers may have
been hiding among them.'
Pentagon officials have looked into the
claims before, but found no evidence of
American wrongdoing, though they
acknowledged that record-keeping during
the war's initial weeks was shoddy and that
the first troops to arrive in Korea were ill-
prepared for the situation they faced.
In the wake of the new evidence
brought forfh by the AP, the Pentagon
should investigate vigorously the vil-
lagers' and veterans' stories and compen-
sate any victims.
cause to question how Americans view war
in general and what type of conduct they
are willing to tolerate.
Presumably, most Americans appreciate
the need to come clean on the past and
openly confront its darker aspects. In light
of these types of revelations, it is not sim-
ply enough to uncover the truth and com-
pensate where possible. Rather, the popu-
lar attitude that killing civilians en masse
is regrettable, yet often necessary in war
ought to be re-examined.
Killing civilians is always wrong, but
there is a significant difference between
taking every precaution to ensure minimal
civilian casualties and ordering the death
of innocents in the name of some "greater
This type of nationalistic utilitarian rea-
soning is not how we conduct ourselves in
everyday circumstances. If America is to
have any sort of moral consistency, it will
have to evaluate the growing list of com-
promises of principle it has made in war.
Almost every atrocity ever committed
throughout history has been done in the
name of some sort of "greater good," and
there is little reason to believe that any of
America's mistakes should be regarded as
somehow less contemptible because they
were American mistakes.
Hopefully, investigators will be able to
satisfactorily prove that the alleged mas-
sacre never occurred. If the stories are
proven true, then the modern military has
not simply made a tactical blunder but
committed a penetrating crime. Either
way, the resurfacing accusations call for
the public to do some serious introspec-
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By Marion Weiss
Daily Editorial Page Writer
I have a proposal. Since today, more
than ever. Americans have become more
and more gluttonous, I believe we should
begin early'in our culture to educate and
enforce responsible eating habits in our
vouth. In fact. by the power vested in me,
I call upon the state and federal govern-
ment to implement a revision of our food
Cholesterol and fatty foods, sugar and
the like have plagued our culture, and until
we have an effective plan to enforce such
proper food ethic. I will not stop. For the
sake of our children. I will not stop. For
the sake of our citizens and goodwill. I
will not stop. For the sake of my morals
and -clues. I will not stop. The
Constitution guarantees us the right to lib-
erty. and until we can control the foods
that control our lives, we will never have
it. For the sake of the U.S. government,
the founding fathers and the principles of
the Constitution of the Unites States of
America, I will not stop.
I believe the minimum age to consume
more sugar and fat than the allotted daily
percentage should be ... umm ... let's see
... 21. Yes. 21. The age of 21 marks a point
in a young adult's life when one can be in
control of their own destiny and properly
make decisions that will affect the way
they live the rest of their lives. Whether
one wants to live as a glutton and die early
from clogged arteries or leading a healthy
life, in "food-moderation," living a long
and fruitful life is a choice we all must
face. Let its not put this control in the
hands of our babies, reaching for that
cookie jar day after day. To put this power
in the hands of someone any younger is
like putting a five-year-old in the pilot seat
of an F-16. They are doomed for death.
However, with the proper training, in a
few years that young child will make a
heck of a doggone pilot, being able to nav-
igate through life's mazes like no other.
That kid will be an ace, flying through the
air like a bat out of hell, with nobody out
there to stop him. Otherwise he'll be as
destructive to himself and society as a
To make sure this doesn't happen to
any of our youngsters. I propose sting
operations. We need video cameras at
every vending machine and Twinkie
Squadron law enforcement agents at every
7-1l. No Milky Way will be bought or
sold without proper identification. No ID?
Forget about it.
Well, If you can't already tell, the
above paragraphs are written in jest.
Everybody knows darn well that candy
bars and cookies are as American as apple
pie. If anyone really agreed with the above
claim, they obviously didn't realize how
arbitrary and illogical such a law would
Besides, our police would probably
have something more important on which
to waste our money. We all know that an
age limit of 21 would never stop anyone
from getting a snack, and neither would
confiscating fake-ids. Where there is a
will, there is a way. Aside from making
everyone paranoid, spoiling perfectly
good snack breaks, wasting tax money and
diminishing sales for local vendors what
exactly would be accomplished here?
Honestly, would a MIP ever be the end *
of anyone's midnight munchies? I don't
The problem is, the enforcement of
underage eating would be way too strict.
In fact. I argue that the legal age to pur-
chase and consume goodies should be as
old as the legal age to vote the politicians
into office that can make or change that
The age of 21 is nothing more than a
"quick-fix" solution to a problem that is
much deeper. It extends to the way
American culture has raised us.
We are used to fast cars, fast money,
fast women and fast food. Until there is a
deep change in the lifestyle of this nation,
how our kids are raised and our predispo-
sition to indulge in life's many pleasures,
nothing will ever change. This problem is
as old as prostitution. They should go out
and slap an age limit on that, and alcohol
and everything else. Oh well, nevermind.
Marlon Weiss can be reached over
e-mail at weissmj(tumich.edu.
Giuliani's challenge of exhibit oversteps authority
By The Lariat
The state of New York is in an uproar
over an art exhibit that includes a portrait
depicting the Virgin Mary adorned with ele-
phant dung and pictures of buttocks. Set to
open on Saturday, the exhibit also includes
other works by artist Chris Ofili, including
animal carcasses suspended in formaldehyde
and a translucent bust filled with blood.
Mayor of New York City Rudy
Giuliani is leading the fight against the
Brooklyn Museum of Art. threatening to
Union, who say that funding cannot be cut
off simply because of the nature of an
Robert O'Neil. director of the Thomas
Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free
Expression, called Giuliani's views "a blatant
act of censorship," and is angry that someone
would shut down an exhibit "because of his
personal distaste for one work"
"Censorship" has become a highly
stigmatized and emotionally loaded word
in our society. As a politician, Giuliani
would do well to avoid the semblance of
If the museum does not make any
money by exhibiting Ofihi's work (the
tickets are 59.75), they will simply move
on to a more lucrative artist. The old say-
ing, "If you ignore it, it will go away,"
truly applies in this instance.
No matter how morally abhorrent we
may find a particular piece of artwork to be,
it does not mean we should shut down the
building that houses it. According to our
constitution, we can't. "Art critic" is not in
the job description for the mayor of New