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November 23, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-23

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4 - The Michigan Daily -- Tuesday, November 23, 1999

be~ Lic~igrbin 3ailg

We need grace to handle turkey with

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

HEATHER KAM1INS
Editor in Chief
JEFFREY KOSSEFF
DAVID WALLACE
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority ofthe
Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect
the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

Sell the stok

'U' should divest tobacco companies

W hen you're writing about
Thanksgiving, you've got to have a
balanced plate. You want to have enough
meat to counterbalance the stuffing. And if
something resonates, that's gravy.
Like you. I'm
ready to get out of
Ann Arbor. The
approaching end-of-
semester demands
heated the past few
weeks like a turkey in
the oven. Now, just
when we're cooked,
we get a reprieve.
Thanksgiving pro-
vides four days to
hide out from loom-
ing final papers and David
projects. Then it's a Wallace
sprint to the end of
the semester with due
dates filling in for4
hurdles.
What are college students thankful for
this time of year? Sometimes there's not
enough time to remember. So not surpris-
ingly, it's more time off.
We're thankful for professors who can-
cel classes the day before Thanksgiving so
we get home while the turkey's still warm.
These professors definitely earned them-
selves a drumstick.
Come Thursday, most of us will be
home thinking about perhaps the best
meal of the year - made all the better
after three straight months of the toughest
dining decision in Ann Arbor: Domino's
thin-crust or Wendy's classic single
combo?
But the meal should make us consider
our many blessings in the seconds before
we devour it. We should say grace.

We're thankful for our family's health
and togetherness.
We're thankful for the food we're about
to receive and for Mom, who cooked it.
And we're thankful for a Lions victory
on Thanksgiving Day. (Perhaps not in that
order.)
But there's always a small hitch.
Thanksgiving marks the beginning of hol-
idav stress.
We all know the pressure. It clings to us
like green paint on dead pine needles in a
disreputable Christmas tree lot.
What makes up the bouillabaisse of hol-
idav stress ?
Dinner preparation. How will it turn
out? Did we forget anything'? A missed jar
of olives could defeat days of culinary
engineering.
Shopping. The morning after.
Thanksgiving we fling ourselves into
malls (mauls?) on the busiest shopping
day of the year, battling for parking spots
and elbow room. At least we don't have to
stop for lunch after yesterday's meal.
Exams. It's ironic that classes end but
the semester gets tougher. Blue books
make horrible stocking stuffers.
Exam grades arrive. Do we want to
look? Yes! No! Oh, the humanity! Three
weeks off to despair or celebrate, hinging
on a few letters.
The Lions. Will they make the play-
offs? Or will they fold like an amateur
playing poker in Vegas? If they don't, I'll
never root for them again. This time I
mean it.
All these stresses focus on us this time
of year. Every year it builds until some-
one threatens to eat a poinsettia and end it
all.
For me, holiday stress begins the instant
on Thanksgiving my mom says, "David.

all the stressing
before we eat, why don't you say grace?"
Always she says this as I put a heaping
forkful in my mouth. Through a mouthful
of mashed potatoes, I spit out the words.
"Ma. I don't wanna.'
Now, saving grace would be insane at this
point. I've shoved in half my plate by the
time everyone's got their food. I move faster
than the older members of my family.
"Say it. It's the least you can do. I like to
hear it."
I shoot a resistant look at my mom. "I've
done it forever. Someone else do it."
Of course, that's not an option. No one
else will do it. It has to be me. I'm still the
youngest in the family.
But that doesn't mean I go quietly.
As we break into negotiations, Grandma
sides with my mom. "C'mon, David."
My aunt wants to know why I don't want
to say grace.
Another aunt sits contentedly. enjoying
the spectacle.
My dad wants me to say grace so we can
start eating.
My uncle may side with me, the only
other Sooner shoveling away before grace.
"Let him go. He doesn't want to do it."
Plus, all these folded hands block the game
on TV
I continue to hold out. At this point,
nerves get frazzled.
"The food's getting cold!" the ladies say.
"The beer's getting warm!" add my dad
and uncle.
"Dammit," I say, giving in.
"Don't start grace with 'Dammit!'
What's wrong with you'?"
Nothing that getting through the next
month won't cure. So I end up saying
grace.
David W/llace can be reached over
e-mail at davidmw( jumich.edit.

0

0

J oe Camel died an untimely death, the
Marlboro Man cannot be displayed on
billboards and Phillip Morris runs anti tobac-
co campaigns on television. But despite the
public outrage directed at big tobacco and stu-
dent and faculty concerns, the University has
not divested its shares of tobacco stock from
its endowment. As a leader in social reform,
the University has a responsibility to distance
itself from damaging companies, especially
those as reprehensible as big tobacco.
More than two years ago, the faculty
Senate Assembly urged the University to sell
its more than $25 million in tobacco stocks. In
response, the University formed a committee
of students, faculty, alumni and administrators
to address the issue last year. During the '99
winter term, the Michigan Student Assembly
voted to support the committee's formation.
Yet one year later, with new Chief Investment
Officer Erik Lundberg and the committee to
address the problem, the University's tobacco
stock remains untouched. The committee
must see the betrayal of student and faculty
interests inherent in this investment and recti-
fy the problem. The University should divest
its tobacco stock.
We all know the damaging effects tobacco
companies wrought through misinformation
tied with extensive and deceptive promotional
campaigns. Their efforts paid off in the short
run, but according to the CDC, tobacco caus-
es more than 400,000 deaths and $50 billion
in medical costs each year. Cigarette makers
target teenagers' insecurities with broad mar-
keting campaigns. According to Monitoring
the Future, a division of the University's
Institute for Social Research, two thirds of all
high school smokers in 1998 used one brand:

Phillip Morris. This is not a coincidence, but
the result of targeted advertising to teens.
In addition to the ethical aspects of the
investment, consider the financial argu-
ments. Joe Camel cannot even get gigs on
billboards and he has not been a TV star
for more than three decades. In short,
tobacco campaigns are losing their fizzle.
The ability to promote the smoker's
lifestyle to youngsters is eroding and older
smokers are dying. With some studies
reporting decreased tobacco use among
teenagers, and the increasing societal pres-
sure to curb smoking, the tobacco industry
looks at potentially fewer American smok-
ers each year.
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. recently
announced it was getting out of the carcino-
gen manufacturing business in an attempt to
isolate its profitable food enterprises, like
Kraft and Nabisco. Even after dumping
tobacco on its own, RJR will have to pay its
share of the $208 billion state lawsuit settle-
ment. With many loyal stockholders distanc-
ing themselves from cancer stick makers, the
University should too.
There are many stable industries the
University could invest in. The committee
must make the rational decision to get far
away from tobacco and the negative effects it
has on public health. With such a crackdown
on tobacco by the government in the form of
lawsuits, restrictive advertising rules and
youth smoking prevention, the University
should follow the trend to distance itself from
this harmful industry. Unfortunately, this is a
trend the University could have led. But if the
committee sells the tobacco stock now, it can
still send a message.

CHIP CULLEN

IE, IN I B

Help snuff out smoking
UHS should distribute free nicotine patches

O n a typical day on the University cam-
pus, one can see large numbers of stu-
dents inhaling potent carcinogenic agents
which eventually will cause various dis-
eases and death in many of them. The
American Lung Association (ALA) says an
estimated one person out of every five in
the United States will die from this "relax-
ing" habit. Even Phillip Morris is willing to
admit it: Smoking causes cancer, along with
a number of other diseases.
With new information like this coming
out all the time, and with more social estab-
lishments, workplaces and restaurants ban-
ning smoking, many people are trying to
kick the habit. The ALA reports that "Of the
current 47 million smokers, more than 31
million persons reported they wanted to
quit smoking completely." But, with many
smokers starting as young as age 11, this is
not always easy by the time students reach
college.
But this desire to quit applies to college
students as well; in a recent project, a nico-
tine patch company donated nicotine patch-
es for free distribution at the University of
Minnesota. Nicotine patches "release a con-
stant amount of nicotine into the body; the
nicotine dissolves right through the skin
and enters the body. The patches are similar
to adhesive bandages and are available in
different shapes and sizes. A larger patch
delivers more nicotine through the skin"
(www.lungusa. org/tobacco/index. html).
The patches were highly sought after by
students, and all 12,000 were distributed
within 2 months. Students obviously want
and need assistance in quitting, and help
from universities is an effective way to alle-
viate this problem.

offers counselling and free pamphlets to
those who wish to quit smoking. Nicotine
patches are available at the UHS pharmacy,
and are partially subsidized, but one box still
runs about $25. The University should con-
sider embarking on a program of free distri-
bution of nicotine patches or should further
subsidize such products, as well as making
students aware of this opportunity. Nicotine
replacement companies would be likely to
sell at bulk prices if they knew they were
reaching a large potential customer area.
This would be beneficial both for the indi-
vidual health of students and for the
University environment. Smoking is still
allowed in certain parts of University build-
ings (such as "smoking" residence hall
rooms). This contributes to secondhand
smoke, which is a potent cancer-causing
agent. Also, it is not difficult to see the effects
on University aesthetics. Right now, cigarette
butts litter every sidewalk and courtyard on
campus. Imagine the time the University
could save in cleaning and grounds mainte-
nance. It would also be more welcoming to
the countless students who abhor smoking,
and to tuition-paying parents.
On top of this, the University should be
concerned with the simple factor of how
many premature deaths it could prevent.
The earlier a person quits, the less the
chances are of getting a disease. Recently,
there have been many devices created to
help people wanting to quit.
While no one is forcing students to
give up cigarettes, nicotine patches and
other products help people who want to
quit find success. With such large benefits
to both students and the University envi-
ronment, UHS should consider larger sub-

Letter about prof.
misrepresented his
views
TO THE DAILY:
Peter Romer-Friedman's letter of Nov.
15 ("Facts support labor activists' argu-
ment") gives a rather misleading impression
of Prof. Richard Vedder's Nov. I I speech.
Though there is substantial agreement
between Vedder and some members of
SOLE, the nature of the agreement is not as
Romer-Friedman describes.
Vedder's central argument is that poor,
agricultural nations need to industrialize to
become prosperous and that the process of
industrialization necessarily involves facto-
ries with low wages and long hours. Hence,
sweatshops are a good thing, and corporate
leaders such as Frank Knight and Kathie
Lee Gifford deserve our gratitude and
admiration. If the members of SOLE agree
with this claim, they should make their
agreement public.
Romer-Friedman and other audience
members at Vedder's talk gave an argument
for the claim that, as good as sweatshops
are, actions by the University could make
them even better. Some of the empirical
assumptions of this argument are pretty
clearly true, such as the low substitutability
of capital for labor. Other assumptions
might be true, but neither Vedder nor any.
one else possesses all the data necessary to
be sure. Others are probably empirically
false, such as the claim that Nike currently
makes a particularly large return on equity.
Still others are not clearly even coherent,
such as the claim that Nike, a profit-maxi-
mizing firm, is operating in an inelastic
region of its demand curve. If any of these
assumptions fail, there is a strong chance
that sweatshop codes will hurt the workers
they're intended to help.
Those members of SOLE who hate cor-
porations, oppose sweatshops and want to
overthrow capitalism found little to agree
with in Vedder's talk. Intelligent and rea-
sonable members of SOLE, such as Romer-
Friedman, should ask themselves: If sweat-
shop codes will certainly hurt the
Universitydand Michigan consumers, and
may perhaps also hurt poor workers, can't
we find some better way - such as free
trade - to help the world's poor?
CHARLES GOODMAN
RACKHAM STUDENT
Drug testing
welfare recipients
poses problems
TO THE DAILY:
This letter is in response to Chris
Coronado's letter on drug testing welfare
recipients ("Welfare recipients should be
tested for drug use" 11/19199). I think there
has been a side left out of this debate. Chris
himself thinks that people that really need
welfare should get it, for short periods of
.ims

seems cost effective.
The other fact that must be considered is
the extra time it would take to get benefits.
A person does not go on welfare if she has
extra cash just laying around. Chances are
the person is in dire need of help. If the true
goal is to ensure that needy people get help,
I don't think this plan works.
I would also like to address one final
issue. Do you think that if all these black
people are shouting racism, they could be
telling the truth? Do you honestly feel it is
some sort of black phenomenon to cry
racism all the time? Lets just all be honest
here. Racism happens still. It happens all
the time. We as white people are not in any
position to judge: We have never been sub-
jected to it.
AIMEE BINGHAM
LSA SENIOR
Economic boom
does not extend to
everyone
To THE DAILY:
I am writing in response to Anand
Giridharadas's article regarding economic
prosperity ("Economic boom resonates in
excessive student spending" 11/19/99), The
article makesuthe point that our economy is
booming to a high level of prosperity that
has not been evident in the past. "From
California to Kalamazoo, the U.S. economy
is booming. The signs are clear: A soaring
stock market,trace unemployment and a
trillion dollar federal surplus."
I am from Kalamazoo, and I will present
statistics that reject this statement as one of
truth in Kalamazoo and beyond. In the city of
Kalamazoo, more than one out of three chil-
dren live in poverty. Impoverished families are
obviously not feeling that effects of a sup-
posed booming economy. When the Dow
Jones industrial average reached 11,000, this
did not mean much to those who cannot afford
stock. Although unemployment is at a low
level, the number of working poor families in
Michigan is not. Between 1977 and 1995, this
number increased 48 percent nationally and
155 percent in Michigan. Nearly one out of
.hri famil;cth. r. _; p. r nvmt

ArJ wvretk~anl 4 or
And3okr Cooper.'
t "-49
1 KIN

0
9

Hate mail shows
immaturity and
ignorance
TO THE DAILY:
Well, here goes. I'm writing this letter to
express my views on what's been going on
over the whole Egypt-Air situation. Why I'm
writing is because when I checked my e-mail
Friday, I got a pretty harsh letter that totally
ripped on my faith and culture. A certain indi-
vidual was quick to point her finger at Islam,
and she blames the pilots for purposely crash-
ing the plane. Along with her accusations, she
threw in a few choice words in an attempt to
rip apart all Muslims and Arabs..
At first, I was really pissed off and
angered. Then, after a while, all I thought
was that someone really has to calm down.
I'll be honest. Yeah, I make fun of my
friends every once in a while. I may even
cross the line at times. But when someone I
don't even know graciously tells me to leave
America and to go to hell, then I have a
problem. I'm just here minding my own
business, trying to pass my classes and
move on in life, just like everyone else.
What have I done to deserve hate mail
degrading Arabs and Muslims?
Honestly, people have to calm down, No
one really knows what happened in that plane.
Currently, the media is giving a million differ-
ent stories over the "latest evidence." The so-
called experts are still arguing over what hap-
pened. God only knows their true intentions.
Even if they did do it, I mean, does that lead
to the conclusion that all Arabs are terrorists?
Wonderful logic. Please, grow up. You're in
college now. You should have left your stereo-
types back in high school. So, if something
like this ever happens again (God unwilling),
do me and everyone a big favor and just leave
us alone. Thanks.
MOHSEN NASIR
LSA SOPHOMORE
Student protesters
provided inspiration
with their actions

I

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