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September 21, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-21

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 21, 2000
ate w Sitbrggun il

My Olympics rhymes with gimmicks

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

Nader visit reason to get involved

'd like to take an informal survey: Has any-
body been watching the Olympics in the last
week? Even a little?
I used to love watching the games back in
the day, but it seems to me that the whole
Olympiad thing just
doesn't have the same
kind of excitement this
time around. Maybe it
has something to do
with the fact that we're
celebrating the "sum-
mer" games right at the'
time that the leaves are
beginning to turn col-
ors. Or maybe it's
because the 15-hour
time difference in Syd- Chris
ney is about as disori-
enting as a stroll Kula
through the bowels of Unsung
West Quad.
But I think the a
biggest reason for a
lack of real interest is that, in getting older,
we've realized that most Olympic events are
- how should I say? - incredibly wack (I'm
proud to announce that's the first time the
phrases "Olympic events" and "incredibly
wack" have been used in the same sentence).
I'm serious, if you take a close (and cyni-
cal) look at some of the competitions, you'll
be blown away by their sheer irrelevance.
Think about the javelin throw, for example:
It's a contest to see how far you can throw a
spear. Yes, a freaking spear. Certainly there's a
great amount of prestige reserved for our
nation's javelin champion, what with our soci-
ety being so dependent upon good spear

You might as well include all of the anti-
quated, feats-of-strength events in the
"Thanks, but no fucking way" category. The
shot put, the hammer toss, the discus throw -
they're about as applicable to our lives today as
the Ford Model T, the rotary phone and Jason
(And on a side note, what's the appeal to
rhythmic gymnastics? If I were ever interested
in seeing a flexible young woman cavort
around on-stage with some special props, I'd
just go to the Vu.)
Yeah, the Olympics are about as culturally
relevant as an episode of "The Love Boat,"
where any and all lovers' quarrels can be
solved with but a few glasses of banana
daiquiri and a special appearance by KC and
the Sunshine Band.
I propose that, in time for the next summer
games, a new set of events should be put into
place. Instead of glorifying ye olde traditions,
these new events would celebrate the champi-
ons of everyday life and bring the Olympics up
to speed with modern times.
Hot pants pull:
The site: Anywhere you can find young
coeds in the middle of rush, Thursday through
Saturday nights.
The sport: You thought weightlifters grunt-
ed and groaned? Wait 'til you witness the spec-
tacle of a prospective sorority girl thrusting her
hips through a tiny pair of red pleather pants.
The goal: Attracting a young man willing
to help her peel off those pants.
The favorite: Tie - Sarah and Sara.
Drunken Bottle Toss:
The site: Any neighborhood porch, some-
time between midnight and dawn.
The sport: Heaving empty beer/liquor bot-
tles into the street.

The goal: Greatest distance + widest bro-
ken-glass radius + actually staying on one's feet
while throwing = the gold.
The favorite: Former high school football
players reliving their high-fivin' glory days.
Shower singing:
The site: Any steamed-up bathroom.
The sport: Sort of like a world-class naked
karaoke contest.
The goal: Competitors are judged on their
ability to bust out quality bath-time impres-
sions of, among others, Aretha Franklin, Fred-
die Mercury and Jim Morrison.
The favorite: Me. I'm serious, you haven't
really grooved until you've heard my soaped-
up, Herbal Essence-aided falsetto on old Jack-
son 5 hits.
Loft jumping:
The site: Any dorm room outfitted with an
off-the-floor loft.
The sport: Defying gravity (and the ladder)
by soaring high jump-style into the loft.
The goal: Land in bed without bringing that
cheap plywood frame crashing down upon your
Also offered: Tandem jumping - though I
doubt many first-year guys would be eager to
compete in a sport that has them literally jump-
ing into bed with each other.
The site: In the free world.
The sport: Competitors strive for the quick-
est time in rocking the house, the mic, the boat
and the vote, though not necessarily in that
The goal: To get Bob Costas to utter the
phrase, "Here I am, rock me like a hurricane"
- -Chris Kula can be reached via e-mail
at ckula@umich.edu, and he's
goingfor the bronze.

K arenna Gore Schiff, the eldest
daughter of Al and Tipper Gore,
recently began two-day tour of college
campuses today on behalf of her father's
campaign for the presidency. Rebecca
Lieberman, daughter of Joe Lieberman
who is campaigning for the vice-presi-.
dency, joined Schiff. As part of the cru-
sade, Schiff held an "At the Table"
discussion at Michigan State University
to a small audience. Only 300 or so brave
souls ventured out of for what should
have been a major event for the Gore
campaign's reach to gather the student
This incident is yet
another example of youth Apathy ar
apathy across the nation.
In fact, according to college st
Voter News Service exit
polls and Census Bureau particular
estimates "Generation X"
represented 33 percent of the eligible vot-
ers but accounted for only 24 percent of
voters in the 1996 presidential election,
making them the only age group to fall
below its voting-age population in the
The trend of apathy among college
age students is particularly alarming
since many issues that directly affect stu-
dents on this campus will be decided by
elected officials. Democratic participa-
tion - namely exercising the right to
vote - is crucial. And given the social
activism of the student body at the Uni-
versity, it is sad that students are part of
the most politically apathetic age group.
Almost all of the causes and organiza-
tions that flood the University need polit-
ical backing in order to make any
progress. University students need to
keep with their tradition of community
involvement and take a greater role in the


political process. While it is understand-
able that not everyone has the time or
energy to join a campaign, everyone can
go a little out of their way to educate
themselves on candidates. A perfect way
to get more involved in the political
process would be to see Ralph Nader, the
Presidential candidate of the Green Party,
who is in Ann Arbor today.
Nader is scheduled to make his
appearance along with Michael Moore
the Michigan Theatre. The doors open at
11:30. Nader is a accomplished academic
and has been a notable public figure for
over a quarter of a century. He has been
one the foremost
authorities in the area
of consumer rights law.
tudents IS Nader's run for the
presidency is driven by
central issues, such as
the breakup of exces-
sive corporate and governmental, which
he feels is concentrated in the hands of an
opulent few. His platform includes strong
policies on labor, the environment and
Third party candidates, especially
those on the ticket of a major party, can
be extremely influential in setting a polit-
ical agenda for American society. When
votes are lost from either the left or the
right, the two dominant parties must pay
attention to the political winds and
change their platform and policies.
Regardless of which candidate your
political sympathies lie, Nader's visit to
the University is an easy way to learn
more about a serious Presidential candi-
date, become more involved in political
system and show your interest.
Let's give Nader a better welcome at
the University than Karenna Gore Schiff'
received at Michigan State.

'The tequila shortage Is an important problem
for college students because learning
the evils of tequila is a passage of life.
- LSA Junior Nate Kline

Nader deserved
front page coverage
Wednesday's Daily featured a picture and
article about the Gore campaign's presence at
Michigan State University but relegated Ralph
Nader's trip to our own campus to page 3. I
know that when I pick up the Daily, I'm going
to be subjected to blind-leading-blind liberal
bias, but it lends the paper more credibility
when it stays in the editorial page instead of
infiltrating page 1. Please don't let your love of
the Democrats shift the focus of the Daily from
timely (and worthwhile) campus events.
CRISP wasn't meant
to last 30 years
Now that CRISP is gone, readers may be
interested in a little history. CRISP was created

in 1970, as a class project in my System Pro-
gramming course, Computer & Communica-
tion Sciences 673. (We called the system
"Computer Registration In Spite of Problems."
Later, when it was officially put into use, it was
called "Computer Registration Involving Stu-
dent Participation")
Using quite early terminals, the CRISP sys-
tem envisioned a few clusters of terminals
where students could enroll, just as they have
been doing for 30 years since then. Once we got
it working, we tried to get the Administration's
Data Systems Center to adopt it, but some peo-
ple argued that "Students like the social experi-
ence of standing in line." Fortunately, the
Vice-President for Academic Affairs disagreed
and ordered them to give it a try.
We took a complete semester's enrollment
data and ran it through our prototype CRISP
system and demonstrated that the results were
exactly the same, so they undertook to redo the
CRISP system, integrating it with the existing
student database. The result is the system that
has just been deactivated. I don't think anyone
thought it would last 30 years!

Homelessness a
visible issue
I disagree with Raphael Price's letter,
("Picture of homeless man 'intrusive"'
9/20/00) regarding the photo of Jimmy
Rodgers in the September 15th issue of the
Daily. I believe that David Katz deserves
merit for his photo. Homeless people are
a very visible part of our campus commu-
nity and I believe that many students are
confused by or misunderstand this phe-
nomenon. The Daily is fulfilling its oblig-
ation to report on life in Ann Arbor.
The picture and accompanying caption
were ethical, as Rogers evidently granted
his permission to be interviewed by a
reporter. Homelessness is a timely issue in
this city and one on which the city council
is currently working. This photo, along
with last year's photo-story on alcoholics
living in tent villages outside of town, are
excellent bits of journalism.



Flag has nothing to do with 'heritage'

N ear the end of the American Civil War,
Confederate ground troops often dis-
played a square banner modeled after their
navy's standard. As most of the South's mili-
tary force was infantry, that flag soon became
the accepted symbol of the Confederacy. Over
time, however, the banner's symbolism was
extended beyond that of a defeated rebellion.
Today, the Confederate flag represents toler-
ance of bigotry, slavery and injustice. While
the First Amendment allows citizens to display
even an overtly racist symbol on their own
property, the standard of the Confederacy does
not belong on public buildings.
State governments in the

tie flag has been used to portray a commitment
to racial inequality. For example, the State of
Georgia added the Confederate standard to its
State flag in 1956 in direct defiance of the
emerging Civil Rights Movement. Hopefully
such bigotry is not acceptable in Southern
leadership anymore.
A state flag should represent all of its citi-
zens, and including a racist symbol as part of
the banner alienates a good portion of those
people. Many Southerners, for varying pur-
ported reasons, display the Confederate stan-
dard on their persons and private properties.
More often than not, the allusion to racism is
the intended purpose of


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~t~A4$Y~~vALSS~N, 1~~ y }

. .

South have only recently An overtly raist symbol such a display. They have

begun to address this prob- b
lem. Last May, the State of does not belong on
South Carolina finally public
passed a bill that removed
the Confederate flag from
the State Capitol. Recently, Mississippi formed in the rigl
a commission to research the possibility of symbol fr
redesigning its State Flag. completed
The current banner features the offending and openi
Confederate standard in the top left corner. dents will
Headed by former Governor of Mississippi ernment a
William Winter, the commission will also lis- racism is
ten to the opinions of high school students. states that
Because of its racist connotations, the Confed- alight itsl
erate flag should not be displayed in any form ments sho
over public buildings, especially the State action aga
Capitol. Although some people have claimed ate stands
that the flag represents a Southern heritage, equality fc
politically and culturally, the Confederate bat- the prideo

every right to do so, right
or wrong. But no state
government should be
exhibiting such a message.
Mississippi is working
ht direction but the effort to rid this
om their government still needs to be
d. Holding hearings around the state
ing the debates to high school stu-
hopefully increase interest in gov-
nd yield an overwhelming statement
unacceptable in any form. Other
still allow this symbol of slavery to
public and governmental establish-
ould start taking similar or stronger
ainst the exhibition of the Confeder-
ard. Espousing an environment of
or all of its citizens can only add to
of the American South.


By Josh Wickerham
Daily Associate Editorial Editor
W hile George W. Bush is refocusing his
campaign to. reach out to the middle
class with a healthy serving of vanilla pleas-
antries, Ralph Nader, the Green Party presiden-
tial nominee, is scooping up the
disenfranchised American non-voter.
Nader is making a stop in town at the
Michigan Theater today on his "non-voter
tour" with veteran rabble-rouser and brilliant
satirist, Michael Moore. They're promising a
good time, but they're also focusing on some
long-ignored issues, such as real environmen-
tal reform, sustainable energy implementation,
regulation of genetically modified foods,
breaking corporate control of information sys-
tems and the media as well as addressing fair
t -

number of other long overdue policies.
But I know what you're all thinking. A vote
for Nader is a votefor Bush.
We've all heard the rhetoric before. It goes
something like this: Because Nader's support-
ers generally come from the far left and siphon
off Gore's liberal constituency, Gore would lose
electoral votes and we'd have four years of
"Dubya's" garbled mess to clean up.
Frankly, these debates are becoming ran-
corous. Papers across the nation have been
filled with the dialogue of this controversy, yet
we've made no progress. There has been no
cathartic moment when people who want to
vote for Nader say, "yes, a vote for Nader is a
vote for Bush."
Dialogue such as this is a tactic used by the
fearful to stop people from voting for the best
candidate. So let's sidestep the issue altogether.

alone. So how can a vote for Nader be a vote
for Bush when most of us have no allegiances?
Too many of us are fed up with the corpo-
rate control of our democratic institutions. The
two party duopoly of donkey and elephant
retains its stranglehold on the American elec-
torate with the simple assumption that we have
no alternative but to elect one of their appoint-
ed heirs to the thrown. (Has anyone else
noticed how the national conventions looked
more like coronation ceremonies than the end
result of months of political contention?)
We have the right to vote for who we agree
with, not to flip a coin based on which candi-
date has the more personable head on the hydra
we call the two party system.
While the major candidates are planning
their campaign juggernauts with the greatest
PR people and checking the polls with the best

Nala "- Plu

rt ~~




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