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September 13, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-13

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 13, 2000

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Heaven must look a lot like a football Saturday

d

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.

Religion and football need not collide

Irealize that many of you out there are not
die-hard football fans. Some could care less
about the game. However, attending a universi-
ty like Michigan and saying "I don't watch
football," is a lot like living in Alabama and
saying, "I don't eat
grits." People may
respect your decision,
but the majority are
going to look at you
funny and think:
"What's wrong witht
this knucklehead?" For
those of you who just
don't understand the
whole football mania
here (and even for those
who do), I will try to
explain by way of a Branden
story. Maybe it's fiction-S
al, maybe not. You Sa"z
decide... Dropping
A young man wakes
up to the blaring of his
alarm clock. It is 9 a.m.
on Saturday morning and his mouth is dry, his
head feels about three sizes too big and he is in
dire need of a shower. He pops an aspirin and
washes it down with a 32-ounce plastic cup-
that says "Panchero's," brushes his teeth and
jumps into the shower. He emerges feeling
refreshed, but slams a cold cup of coffee any-
way in hopes of killing off the last vestiges of
his hangover. Donning a white "Michigan" tee
shirt with blue letters, he walks out the front
door of his apartment.
As he walks the streets of Ann Arbor, he
sees animation everywhere. Parents are in town
visiting with their student progeny; alumni are
back, meeting each other and hanging out at
old haunts together; friends are chilling on a
myriad of porches; engineering and pre-med
students are on their way to study.

Already the fraternity houses are booming
with activity, a tribute to Dionysus. The young
man grins as he sees this. Normally the sound
of Destiny's Child blaring at volume high
enough to kill small children would annoy the
shit out of him, but today he doesn't mind it. He
sees cases of cheap beer being passed out to the
guys and the sorority girls that are pre-partying
with them and smiles a secret little smile, for he
too understands fratguy logic. Beer + football =
Game. The alcohol is inherent to the math, as
without the beer it would turn into something
like football + game = Football Game, which is
far too rational and reeks of Da' Man.
The young man walks on and meets up with
some friends who have graduated but are back
in town tailgating. Hugs are exchanged. His
friends are barbecuing and the young man
avails himself to a piece of chicken, hoping to
settle his stomach. It works. Someone throws
him a beer. He still feels a little queasy, but
sucks it up and takes a pull. By the time he fin-
ishes the first beer, he feels much better. They
catch up; talk about football, talk about life.
He has time for three more beers and a game
of frisbee in the morning sun before they start
moving towards the stadium. Like streams
flowing into a river and then running to the sea,
so does the crowd move forward, inexorably
converging into a huge mass at the stadium.
The young man smiles again, for he knows he
is watching tens of thousands of people united
in purpose. Old and young, rich and poor,
black and white. They have come together
today and the only thing they have in common
is The Team. Your team, my team, it's all one
- it is our team. The young man knows this
and it makes him happy. Surely this is a good
thing, he thinks. He knows evil - he has been
evil. This feels the opposite.
He enters the stadium and sits down with his
friends, but not for long. It is almost kickoff
and everyone stands up. The kicker raises his

00, 0
arm. Suddenly, a breeze swirls through his sec-
tion, momentarily relieving thousands from the
unseasonably oppressive heat. The young man
smells barbecue and fresh-cut grass and burn-
ing leaves, but he also smells the salt of sweat
and the metallic tang of blood. His vision shim-
mers and the young man is suddenly looking at
a different football field - a different place
and a different time.
This is his high school football field. Or is it
the field next to his childhood home where he
learned to play The Game? His vision switches
again and he is watching all three fields at
once. The opposing quarterback tosses a swing
pass out to the tailback, but overthrows him.
When the tailback jumps and extends his arms,
#17 comes flying in and crushes him. The
young man knows this feeling, for he once
played linebacker. He once laid a hit exactly
like that in a game. It was beautiful. He felt so
alive then. He remembers those times when he
was playing The Game and nothing else mat-
tered. He didn't care about drugs or crime or*
politics, never thought about the ozone layer or
the vanishing rain forests. The whole of his
existence could be distilled to the adrenaline
rush of battle - the clash of bone and sinew
under pads and helmets; the smell of grass and
blood; the roar of the crowd and the screams of
his coach.
But he feels alive now too. He knows he
doesn't want to go back to high school -
would not even if he could. But he wants that0
feeling back. He wants to feel happy and wild
and free and full of hope - not at all like the
jaded, tired cynic he sees himself becoming.
And for three more hours, he will feel that way.
He will be young and wild and free until the
fourth quarter ends. After that? Who cares.
Right Now is all that is important and Right
Now isperfect.
- Branden Sanz can be reached via e-mail
at hamrhead@umich.edu.

On September 30, two Big Ten
football teams currently nation-
ally ranked in the top five will meet
in Ann Arbor, with the Rose Bowl
and national title hopes likely hang-
ing in the balance. But for many stu-
dents, this could not have come at a
worse time. Jewish students, in obser-
vance of Rosh Hashanah, the Hebrew
New Year, might be forced into
choosing whether to attend morning
services or the game.
The University should do every-
thing in its power to accommodate
those students who wish to fulfill
their religious obligations and sup-
port the football team. Because the
bulk of Rosh Hashanah's observance
occurs in the morning and early after-
noon, many Jewish students would be
able to attend a later game.
The Athletic Department has the
ability to establish a dialogue with
television networks and request that

they broadcast the game in the late
afternoon.
Allowing the game to be played
during the 3:30 to 7 p.m. time-slot
could well accommodate the numer-
ous Jewish students and fans who
have already purchased their tickets.
If they are truly committed to stu-
dents over television, the Athletic
Department has a responsibility to
lobby the networks on the behalf of
Jewish fans. The three and a half
hours between possible game times
means little to television networks
and most fans except those who are
obliged to attend religious services
that particular morning.
The Jewish population is a promi-
nent part of campus. When the time
of the September 30 game against
Wisconsin is finally decided, hope-
fully the dilemma for Jewish students
will have been an equally vital part of
the consideration.

Problems with pnsons
Contract debacle could expand awareness

'It is truly horrifying that these men can be honored by
our institution in light of the atrocities caused by their
politics and decisions.'
- LSA senior Scott Trudeau on University's decision to name the
School of Public Policy after former Pres. Gerald Ford and invite former
Sec. of State Henry Kissinger to be a keynote speaker at the renaming ceremony.

Issues like prison's rights and the
inherently problematic relationship
between prisons and industry are usu-
ally the sole domain of left-wing
activists. Up until now, most of the
arguments against the status quo in the
nation's prisons have been of a moral
nature - touching on notions of jus-
tice and fairness. Unfortunately, many
people have brushed these concerns off
by reasoning that the notion of "prison-
ers' rights" is oxymoronic.
The strength of these ideological
barriers has not made prisoners' advo-
cates' jobs easy - so when the oppor-
tunity presents itself to circumvent
ignorant anti-prisoner biases, activists
ought to jump at the opportunity.
In the State of Michigan, at least,
that opportunity has presented itself:
The moral side of the scenario is that
the state has awarded a $250 million
contract to Correctional Medical Ser-
vices Inc., a com any that is facing
several lawsuits allegig gross negi-
gence in the medical attention it has
given prisoners. The practical side is
that CMS did not even have to win any
type of bidding war to get its contract.
This means that Michigan taxpayers
are potentially paying millions of dol-
lars more than they have to so that pris-
oners can get medical
care that could very well itheCN
be inferior to what they
would receive at a lesser has fisca
cost.
Hopefully, the CMS morally a
debacle will bring
Michigan's more conser- dimensic
vative citizens into the
prisoner's rights move-
ments - or at least open their minds to
the problems that permeate the state's
correctional system. After all, an iso-
lated (presumably) bureaucratic
mishap is not going to change many
people's minds about justice within the
state's prisons. What the CMS contract
does do is highlight the fact that there
are big problems within the existing
system - be they fiscal or moral -
and that a serious overhaul of the way
the prisons operate is sorely needed.
Assuming prisoners' rights activists
carefully leverage the fiscal irresponsi-
bility that lead to awarding CMS its
contract, this could be the first time
many people critically think about pris-
oners rights issues. Up until now,
Michigan voters have re-elected Gov.
John Engler three times - Engler has
traded increasing funding for the state's
educational system in favor of increas-
ing funding for massive prison-build-
ing projects.
Criticism of Engler's policies has
remained almost entirely strategical,
with Democrats and others arguing that
reallocating money away from schools
and towards the correctional system
does not demonstrate sound prioritiz-
ing on Engler's part. Never has any-
thing resembling a moral critique of

Ii
ii1
I'
Ii

the way Michigan's prisons operate
entered into mainstream debate.
The economically unsound nature
of the CMS award offers prisoner's
advocates the unique opportunity to
bring the much more fundamental ethi-
cal issues surrounding the way Ameri-
cans incarcerate people into popular
public forums. It is unlikely that
Michigan voters are simply cold-heart-
ed - instead they are probably just
skeptical of claim that prisoners are
being wronged. The issues surrounding
the correctional system are complex
and can certainly not be communicated
over the precious few sound bites
activists have been able to grab in
mainstream media.
Steady and persistent media cover-
age has the potential to change this and
the fact that the CMS contract has fis-
cally and morally abhorrent dimen-
sions makes it a perfect candidate for
serious public debate in a political cli-
mate where the current issues are los-
ing their ability to grab massive
attention.
Not only is the CMS contract story
sound bite-worthy, but it underscores
one of the most pressing problems with
the current correctional system -
increasing privatization.
In the case of
S contract CMS, it was a private
health care provider
ly and for prisoners; its goal
was to make as bigof
aorrent a profit as possible.
But this cannot possi-
is,, bly be compatible
with the state's pur-
ported interest in
keeping prisoners healthy. The more
money a private health provider saves,
the bigger its profit. So it can only be
expected to cut corners - especially
since prisoners are involved - as
looking out for their best interest is not
politically marketable.
On another level, the surprisingly
popular, newly rejuvenated practice of
private companies profiting off of dirt-
cheap prison labor is also inherently
incompatible with the state's interest in
promoting justice. In this case, private
companies stand to gain from the state
incarcerating more people since this
will only expand the already-massive
prison labor market. In turn, this gives
law-makers an incentive to build more
prisons and pass punitive and dracon-
ian laws that result in more people
serving longer sentences since support
from the private sector is critical for
winning elections.
Neither of these issues - or any of
the many other problems surrounding
state prisons - have been touched on
in any type of meaningful, public dia-
logue. The economic angle of the CMS
contract award gives prisoners' advo-
cates the opportunity to bring these
important issues to the public; they
should not pass this unique chance up.

Wolverine Access
barely works
TO THE DAILY:
In reply to Lester Monts' viewpoint regard-
ing the new Wolverine Access site ("New
Wolverine Access system is working well,"
9/7/00): Bottom line, it sucks, and it sucks
extremely bad.
What good is a new system if it's never
accessible, and if - when it is accessible - it
runs about as slow as I've seen Web pages run
lately? And what good is that nifty applet if,
again, it never seems to function?
DROR BARON
BUSINESS JUNIOR
English 317 critics
promote status quo
TO THE DAILY:
In response to the countless letters saying
how we should or shouldn't have Prof. David
Halperin's course "How to be Gay" and the
endless debate on whether or not the Universi-
ty should host this class: Christian, or any other
set of specific morals are not the basis of this
country.
Basing a fight on how this class is morally
reprehensible and is passively promoting
homosexuality is a giant mistake, since by not
having the class, you're simply promoting the
status quo. For a melting pot country, we sure
tend to stick to one antiquated set of moral
guidelines. We might as well remove the Office
of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgendered
Affairs' Website from the University servers,
since it's being passively promoted and
approved by the University by being there.
KEVIN WHITE
LSA SOPHOMORE
Men's Health is
right: 'U' anti-male
TO THE DAILY:
Last Friday, a Daily article describing how
the University was ranked by magazines such
as US News and World Reports, Mother Jones,
and the Princeton Review was run ("'U' ties

for 25th place in national ranking," 9/8/00).c
One important ranking, however, was left out.1
Men's Health recently confirmed what every
man on this campus already knew - they list-
ed the University as one of the "Top 10 Anti-
Male campuses" in the country. Their ranking
- based on surveys, analysis of campus
speakers and courses offered - says more
about life here than any of the rankings the
Daily chose to include.
KYLE MARSHALL
LSA SENIOR
Wear yellow to the
next football game
TO THE DAILY:
Though the Michigan football team once
again killed the opponent in the Big House
last Saturday, something needs to be done to
brighten it up a bit. I say that every student
wears a yellow shirt to the next home game
- and to every game after that. It looked
really cool in Crisler last year. Think of how
bright the student section would be if every-
one there wore some sort of yellow shirt. Just
think of how cool it will look with 25,000 stu-
dents in yellow, it would be so bright the

opposing quarterback wouldn't be able to see
his receivers. W
SCOTT DRESDEN
LSA SOPHOMORE
Will Gore warrant
Ford's criticism?
TO THE DAILY:
The following appeared in the Sept. 11 edi-
torial "Fame and Ford":
"He pardoned Richard Nixon, an act which
prompted the Daily, on October 29, 1976, to
remark that 'Gerald Ford has displayed a moral
insensitivity so gaping, so unforgivable that it
alone warrants a resounding mandate from the
American electorate for his removal from
office.' Although the University did produce a.
President of the United States, it did not pro-
duce a particularly good one."
Will the Daily be as critical of Gore when
he pardons Clinton for perjury and other
crimes, if and when Gore is elected or will that
be a "different situation"?
RUSSELL ANDERSON
ALUMNUS

CHIP CULLEN (RINDING THE NIB

s
JON "'ter "' .,
LC OI'' E TO
LOO MtNGTON,
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"Irqw

GOOD RIDDAt1CE.

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'"' a.:p.r - " 1 .' .I~ .

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ewwmber, under new state legisationyou must be registered to at
Ain the same district that the address on your driver's license is Ian,
Don't give u~ your most fundamenta l rigt!

In the spirit of current events including for-
mer President Gerald Ford and former Secre-
tary of State Henry Kissinger visiting our
campus, I believe it is important to evaluate a
certain foreign policy issue that dates back to
Nixon's and Ford's administrations. Prior to the
'60s and '70s, the people of Cyprus, Turkish-
Cypriots and Greek-Cypriots, lived together
peacefully. But in 1974, Turkey forcefully
invntpd Cnmc nr-,vnc he fr ri1P nnrthem

is continuing. Today, with only about 90,000
Turkish Cypriots on the island, there are more
settlers than Turkish Cypriots.
Most Turks are not to blame, either. The
government of Turkey, for supplying the illegal
Denktash regime (the junta that currently occu-
pies Northern Cyprus), has been found guilty
in the European Court of Human Rights for
crimes against humanity. There are still many
mnrecrimec that have been left ununmished.

government under the Nixon and Ford adminis-
trations, but continues to be stem from the fail-
ure of the United States to properly an9
effectively deal with the situation today. Turkey,
a member of the United Nations and of the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization, has been
criticized by organizations such as' Amnesty
International for torture and accused of being
responsible for the disappearance of 1,619
Greek-Cvnriots. The United States. as well as

i-mm-

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