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September 13, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-13

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 13, 1999

be Bidlign tai1g

Bush is a lot more like Clinton than he d like to admit

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

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

A mericans are masochists. Evervone
likes to make dirty Clinton jokes and
complain about the nightmare our presi-
dent brought us through, but if poll num-
bers are any indication, many of us (not

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.

me) are willing to
put another Slick
Willy at the helm -
George W. Bush.
With a 10-gallon hat
for his five-gallon
head, GW has an
image to sell - the
prodigal son who
has made peace with
his demons and
want to serve the
public as president.
But would his reign
help us move past
punchline politics or
would it simply give
us more reasons to
complain about gov-
ernment?

We'd welcome changes
Welcome Week festivities remain unpopular

Jack
Schillaci
S'a' I
the Left

image of god-like perfection from its
presidents. And forget about dredging up
scandalous memories of the past -
Clinton often just doesn't want to go
there and is smart enough to dodge the
issue. When all else fails. he can always
talk his way around the topic at hand.r
It reminds me of a certain other politi-
co who would rather not talk about part of
his mysterious past. GW doesn't want to
talk about "mistakes" he may or may not
have made 25 years ago. He'll talk about
his troubles with booze. And oh, by the
way, he's never been unfaithful to his
wife. But the nose candy, that's just an
unsubstantiated rumor and it doesn't mat-
ter and the American People don't care
and it's irrelevant and hey, this is a politi-
cal game, people, and he's just not gonna
play it.
Please.
Welcome to post-Lewinskygate poli-
tics, GW, where nothing is secret, nothing
is sacred and payback's a bitch.
Many have noticed the stark personali-
ty similarities between the chief execu-
tives of the nation and Texas. But most
such suggestions are pushed to the back
burner because let's face it, most of us do
not like the idea of another Bill Clinton in
the White House.
Many, if not most, of us have had our
fill of the half-truths and confusion and
mindless politicking that Clinton's reign
has brought us through, even if we do like
him politically. This doesn't necessarily
mean that we hate or even think poorly of
Bill, but let's face it, having Clinton in the
White House is exhausting. GW can
carry us into the promise land and break
from the shenanigans of the Clinton
White House, right?
Wrong. Billy C. wrote the book on con-

temporary personality politics and
Georgie B. bought out the entire first edi-
tion.
Some have also accused Al Gore of fol-
lowing in his boss's footsteps, but let's
face it. Gore just isn't that sneaky or
crafty. If he pulled the wooden board out
of his suit coat and loosened up a bit,
maybe I could buy it.
Bill Clinton felt our pain and remem-
bered a place called Hope. GW promises
to bring dignity and compassionate con-
servatism to the Oval Office while pro-
moting prosperity with a purpose. Such
well formed political verbiage, isn't it? It
was pretty much BS in '92 and '96 - it
certainly isn't any better because an ele-
phant is at the mic rather than a donkey.
Clinton wanted us to compartmentalize
and forgive him his sins. GW wants us to
know that he found God when he was 40
and has been a straight arrow ever since..
In an interview with The San Francisco
Chronicle, GW recently made afauxpaus
about federal immigration policy that
quickly drew criticism. In true Clinton-
esque form, GW's people quickly correct-
ed the mistake, claiming he had misun-
derstood the question and that he didn't
mean what it sounded like he said and he
did mean what he had implied earlier, or
something like that - it's hard to tell
with so much doublespeak going on.
Remind you of another man's problem
understanding the phrase "sexual rela-
tions?"
Cynical? Hell yeah, I'm cynical.
Clinton and GW'll do that to you. The
real question remaining is: Do we really
want Clintonian dramatics coming out of
Washington for another four years?
- Jack Schillaci can be reached over
e-mail at jschilla@umich.edu.
TENTIATIVLYX S PEAKING

As thousands of students pour into Ann
Arbor for Welcome Week to mill
about the campus before classes, a familiar
cry is heard from first-year students:
"There's nothing to do!"
* Welcome Week is touted as "a week of
programs and activities welcoming new
students to the University of Michigan."
Student volunteers and University employ-
ees put in a lot of planning and effort to
accommodate students during this time.
Why, then, do students feel eager to start
classes and end what is supposed to be such
an exciting time?
Many students and resident advisers feel
this full week of acclimation is too long.
Four or five days would be fine. While it is
good to have a period of time to get used to
their new surroundings, all new students
have had orientation by the time Welcome
Week arrives. They have already had time
to prepare for classes and get to know the
campus. There is no need for more "intro-
duction." Moving in doesn't take more than
a day, and when Welcome Week activities
don't appeal to students, they get antsy.
Certain events, such as Maize Craze and
Artscapade/Escapade, are popular and
well-planned.
But these seem few and far between for
students who sit in their residence hall
rooms for the rest of the week. It is not for
a lack of events that students are bored;
there is a plethora of activities.
Rather, many of the activities are unpop-
ular. When students first attend Welcome

Week activities, a lot of them are not as fun
as anticipated, and seem rather repetitive.
There are only so many ice cream socials a
student can take. If new students are in low
attendance at these events, the Office of
New Student Programs and other organiz-
ers need to take a look at what is wrong.
Perhaps they should get student feedback
to assess what changes need to take place.
The city of Ann Arbor and what it has to
offer has been overlooked. The focus of
Welcome Week should not just be the
University but the surrounding area as
well. The free showing of "Casablanca" at
the Michigan Theatre is a good example of
how the city could be better incorporated
into Welcome Week.
Welcome Week planners should take full
advantage of the Internet. They could
broadcast the latest events and keep in
touch with new students. Knowing more
about the event might entice more people
to come. New students also could meet
online and find other students interested in
the same activities through message boards
or chat areas.
Welcome Week is the last chance for
students to get acclimated to their new
environment before classes kick in, but the
committees responsible need to take anoth-
er look at these issues. With so many
resources available and so many students
willing to help out, the University has the
ability to revamp Welcome Week and leave
students with a great first impression of the
University.

President Bill Clinton has taken more
than his fair share of jabs - some of
them deserved, some not so - from
opponents hell bent on discrediting him.
A lot of the anger directed at Clinton
stems from the way that he changed the
personality of the presidency. In a sense,
it had to happen -- the tabloid sensation
appetite of the public being what it is, tra-
ditional privacy boundaries afforded to
public figures have necessarily shrunk.
All have to admit, though, that Clinton is
a media-savvy politician in the truest
sense of the term. His ability to work an
audience, be it Congress or Tabitha
Soren, is amazing.
And if nothing else, Clinton has taught
America that it can no longer expect the

THoMAs KULJURGIS

Censored
Court decision deals blow to campus media

'U' should revamp
or eliminate
pass/fail policy
TO THE DAILY:
In the spirit of the Daily's editorial
regarding extending the current pass/fail
deadline ("An 'F' for inconvenience,"
919!99), I have a suggestion to make: I sug-
gest that the University either eliminate
pass/fail altogether or else make it retroac-
tively available to students after grades have
been received.
Learning to successfully use the
pass/fail system to one's advantage
should not be part of the University's de
facto curriculum. If pass/fail were avail-
able retroactively, all students would ben-
efit from it - not just those who are
intent on learning "the system" and
manipulating it to their advantage. This
change would also benefit faculty, since
students would retain the incentive to
strive for a higher grade instead of just
aiming for the C range.
Although it is true that some limita-
tions (such as a drop/add deadline) are
necessary for budget allocation, etc., such
restrictions have the effect of encouraging
less ambitious "safe" curriculum choices
and thereby limit students' intellectual
freedom. Facilitating this freedom ought
to be among the top priorities at one of
the great public universities.
The University should strive toward
encouraging each student to pursue his or
her interests with a minimum of bureau-
cratic obstacles. Pass/fail as it currently
exists represents what amounts to an
undesirable loophole, the exploitation of

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The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sent a
chilling message to campus media
throughout its district last week - universi-
ties may censor them.
In Kincaid v Gibson, the court, which has
jurisdiction over the states of Michigan,
Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, upheld
Kentucky State University administrators'
right to have editorial control over the cam-
pus newspaper and yearbook.
In 1994, Betty Gibson, Kentucky State's
vice president for Student Affairs, ordered the
confiscation of 2,000 copies of the student
yearbook, citing its purple color and lack of a
coherent theme. She had also prevented let-
ters to the editor that were critical of the
administration from running in the school
newspaper, The Thorobred News.
The court ruled school media that are
owned by colleges and universities are not
public forums. Kentucky State's censorship,
the court stated, an attempt to "maintain its
image to potential students, alumni and the
general public."
This ruling does for college media in the
;sixth circuit what the 1988 Hazelwood
School District v Kuhlmeier decision did for
,igh school papers nationwide. It gave school
hoards the same rights publishers had in pro-
essional newspapers. The schools partially
nd the newspapers, the court reasons, so
Ahey should have editorial control.
The largest flaw in that argument is that
unlike private corporations, where there is a
clear-cut owner or board of directors, public
jnstitutions do not operate the same way.
Presidents of universities, for example, are
'not only interested in the success of the paper.
'hey have countless conflicting interests that
,,ould influence their discretion over the
4chool newspaper, as was seen in the Kincaid
Ease.

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materials for colleges and universities.
Without independent editorial freedom,
school newspapers are no longer newspapers.
The Michigan Daily is one of only about
12 college newspapers unaffected by this
type of threatening court decision because it
is neither owned nor operated by the
University. It is fully funded by advertising
revenues. Thus, the University cannot claim
publisher's rights.
But it wasn't always that way. Throughout
the first three quarters of this century,
University presidents and Daily editors bat-
tled over editorial control of this publication.
University administrators attempted to
choose the future editors of the Daily. This
led to countless resignations and protests by
editors and staffers.
The Daily fought policies set for by the
Board in Control of Student Publications,
such as a mandate that all editorials be
signed. But in 1969, the board's name was
changed to the Board for Student
Publications and it lost all editorial control
over the Daily, the Michiganensian yearbook
and Gargoyle humor magazine. It now is a
board made of alumni and community mem-
bers that controls the financial distribution
among the media and acts in an advisory
capacity.
But we must always remember what hap-
pens when university administrations assume
control of a campus newspaper's editorial
content. Consider this portion of a Daily edi-
torial printed Jan. 17, 1943, after the Board in
Control refused to take senior editors' recom-
mendations for their successors: "And in the
final analysis it means that a group of faculty
men who have taken little interest in the real
problems of the students, who are afraid to let
students think for themselves and who know
practically nothing about working journal-

which undermines the integrity of schol-
arship at the University.
MATTHEW MURPHY
LSA SENIOR
Regional and ethnic
stereotypes don't
lead to oppression
TO THE DAILY:
I would like to respond to Jeffrey
Kosseff's hysterical and unintentionally
funny column about New Jersey stereotypes
("For the last time, I've never called it 'New
Joisey,'" 9/9/99).
First of all, no college student is the vic-

tim of "bigoted oppression" at the hands of
regional or ethnic stereotypes. It's not like
Kosseff can't get into certain public places
or use certain services because he's from
New Jersey.
Second, the stereotype of the obnoxious
east coaster is no more anti-semitic than the
broad South Boston accents in "Good Will
Hunting" are anti-WASP.
As a long-time reader of the Daily, my
only advice to Kosseff is to try to take
himself and whatever holy anointed cause
he picks for the week a little less serious-
ly. No one is out to get you. Not every
joke is a hidden bigoted statement. Try
and have a sense of humor (remember*
humor? It's something I think other uni-
versities have.)
JAMES MILLER
SCHOOL OF INFORMATION

Gun control is everyone's responsibility

Everyone knows the old adage: If you want
something done right, you have to do it your-
self. No one has ever thought the saying could
apply to gun control. But now it must.
Consider who should be combating the prob-
lem of gun violence in this country (the
Federal government, of course). In the face of
one tear-jerking tragedy after another,.
Congress has failed to accomplish anything
aside from making a lot of noise. The core of
America's gun problem actually starts with the
Constitution.
While the National Rifle Association
screams itself hoarse defending the individ-
ual's right to bear arms, the Constitution does
not speak as forcefully as do gun advocates. A
close reading of the Second Amendment
reveals, at the very least, a significant ambigu-
ity as to whether the states or individuals pos-
sess the right to bear arms, and it actually
might be neither.
A clarification of the text seems like a sim-
ple enough solution. The federal government,
however, will never muster the courage to
address the most salient issue in the debate
over guns, and therefore we the American peo-
ple must enact change on our own. We must all
choose not to own guns. This choice may seem

For -recreational users, guns are supposed to
be fun for the whole family and a way to
relieve stress. Indeed, the NRA has recently
targeted teens and young children in its adver-
tising campaigns, attempting to make trips to
the firing-range a regular Sunday afternoon
family outing.
It is relevant to mention, though, that exer-
cise and yoga also release stress, and feeling
the urge to reach for a gun whenever you have
"had it up to here," or are, uh, "ready to shoot
someone,' might not be such a great idea.
Parents who choose to take their kids shooting
instead of to rock concerts or movies in the
belief that music and film are making their
children violent should remember that teach-
ing children how to use a 9mm may also make
them violent.
The most compelling argument behind
handgun ownership, though, asserts that
American citizens need guns to protect them-
selves from criminals. If you imagine a bur-
glar/rapist/serial killer breaking into your
house in the middle of the night, you probably
feel safer thinking about the scenario if you
imagine yourself with a gun. I do.
Unfortunately, this is a rather narrow way of
thinking about gun ownership. Instead, con-

The Violence Policy Center reports that
most gun homicides do not stem from crimi-
nal activity, but rather from arguments
between people who know each other.
Additionally, every time a citizen used a
firearm in ajustifiable homicidein 1996, there
were 160 gun deaths in the form of murders,
suicides and unintentional shootings: In fact,
most gun deaths are suicides.
But the overarching theme is that in the
overwhelming majority of these deaths, th*
gun used was not purchased specifically for
the act - the weapon was already there.
Forget the criminals; you are much more like-
ly to kill yourself or someone you know. It is
not difficult to see that owning a gun adds dan-
ger to your life.
I learned to shoot an M-16 two months after
I graduated from high school. My training
took place in a military boot camp in Israel
where you learn what it might be like to serve
in the Israeli Army. The experience taught me
newfound respect for those who risk their lives
to defend their country. I also learned that
there are some situations in which you need a
gun. But not in America.
There are countless ways for the U.S. gov-
ernment to control the ownership and usage of

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