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January 08, 2001 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-01-08

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 8, 2001

ale SCii an iIg

Cancer sticks: I'll take a French fly instead

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.

Students should run for city council seat

Itry my best to not hate anything. Really,
anything. Those people who know me know
that I haven't been entirely successful ... most
notably due to my hatred of nearly all vegeta-
bles. I get endless ribbing from family, friends
and it seems even acquaintances for my patent-
ed hamburger-fries-
salt-pizza diet, but it y .A
works for me. I may be
getting up close and
personal with an EKG
a lot earlier in life than
most people, but hey,
why not. I like pizza. I
love French fries. I
enjoy hamburgers.
That's right, no cheese.
And yes, I'm from
Wisconsin. Go figure.i
I don't eat celery,
much less broccoli, Spahn
spinach or any of the yq
truly grotesque "good"C
foods. And unfortunate-F
ly, since I've been
spending most of my time at the Daily, my
exercise often times consists only of the walk-
ing it takes to get to the crappy food I put in my
body, negating any possible benefits from the
exercise. But I'm trying to get better, and I'm
looking for anything that makes me feel just a
little bit better about my high cholesterol and
ridiculous eating habits. The best way I've
found to do this is to give in to one of my other
hatreds: Smoking. No, I don't mean that I
smoke to feel better about anything, it's actually
just the opposite. I focus on the fact that I don't
smoke, so at least I'm not readily ingesting tar
and other chemicals into my air passages. But
then my hatred for smoking just grows.
For the record, I'm not one of those people

who leaves the room anytime someone lights
up, nor do I go around preaching to my friends
about the evils of smoking. I don't launch into
impassioned pleas when a bar fills with
smoke. But every time I see a friend go for a
smoky treat, I wonder to myself what possess-
es them. I leave a bar and the next morning the
only thing I hate more than my headache is the
smell on my clothes. Why do so many people
willingly do something so gross, unhealthy
and just plain nasty?
At first, I figured it was the social appeal of
smoking. Sure it's nice to go out and hang out
for a few minutes with friends and share a
common experience. But then I saw the stu-
pidity in that logic. Never have I thought it
would be fun or cool to go outside in sub-zero
temperatures to fill my body with toxins. Frost
bite and lung cancer in one sitting -.sounds
appetizing. So from there I went to the peer
pressure argument. Sure, I was offered a ciga-
rettes all the way back in middle school and
for a while it was "the cool kids" who were
smoking. But anybody who makes life and
death decisions based on pre-pubescent logic
such as "I do it to be cool" is out of their mind.
So with that argument dismissed, I thought
maybe the tobacco companies did such a great
job of getting to young, impressionable minds
with Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man that
smokers were hooked before they could ratio-
nally make up their minds.
But then the reality set in, as I polled a few
smokers about why the do it. To my amaze-
ment, they actually said they enjoy it. They
actually like putting this crap into their body,
much the way I enjoy eating my French fries.
But at least I get minimal nourishment from the
fries, I argued, but to no avail. All of those hor-
ror stories, statistics and impassioned pleas that
I usually hold back can't pry the Bic lighter out

of a smoker's hand on its way to light up the
newest cancer stick. Even the most frightening
of statistics cannot dissuade a smoker from
proceeding down the nicotine line.
Tell a smoker that one in five deaths in
America can be attributed to smoking, they
open their pack. Tell them that smoking costs
more than $100 billion for treatment and lost
productivity and the lighter hits the end of the
cylinder. Talk about the nasty smell, the yel-
low teeth and bad breath and a smoker inhales
the first bits of their vice. Get practical anO
mention everything a smoker could buy with
the money spent on cigarettes even in one
year, and there's no response. I then launch
into stories about my grandpa, who died pre-
maturely after taking down a couple packs a
day for decades, and nothing. I tell smokers
about my uncle, who died before his 45th
birthday from cancer, and I get the sympathy
backed up by a puff of smoke to the face.
So with all of this on the table, I'm still
searching. An industry thrives even though it
actually kills people with its product. And fo
what? There are no benefits as far as I can see,
unless of course you're looking to cut months
from your life and disgust most people you meet
along the way of that shortened path. But I'm
not going to tell people to stop smoking. I'mu not
going to tell you about the time I wish I had with
my grandpa or the time my cousins surely wish
they had with their dad. I've got a bit of a liber-
tarian sense in me, so I think that's your choice.
But I do want to know why people smok
So if you can tell me, please write me and opeV
my eyes. And while you think about it, don't
light one up. Grab some French fries or a slice
of pizza. Maybe that way we'll all smell a little
better, look a little better and live a lot longer.
- Mike Spahn can be reached via e-maiL
at mspahn@umich.ed

D uring the fall and winter terms, stu-
dents make up about one-third of
the residents of the city of Ann Arbor.
Despite this, there are no students serving
on the city council. In the past, students
have played an active role in city politics
- the city's lenient marijuana laws are
due to student
members of the R
council in the -
1970s. Many
issues considered E U
by the city councils
affect students -
from taxation and-
parking policies to3
alcohol and noises
ordinances - and
students should
play a role in mak- E. MAE
ing these deci-
sions.
In November, tA
Chris Kolb was "
elected to the
Michigan State House, freeing up one
seat on the city council. Although he rep-
resented the 5th Ward - an area extend-
ing from central campus west to 1-94,
including parts of Ann Arbor's down-
town business district - a student should
run for this position and students should
support a student candidacy.
After the city's wards were re-drawn
in the 1980s, students were effectively
shut out of city politics. The University
campus was divided among the five new
wards each radiating out from Central
Campus. The census this year will pro-
vide the data for possibly changing the
ward boundaries and if the wards are re-
drawn, the student population should be
concentrated in a few wards, instead of

gerrymandered into many to reduce stu-
dent political clout.
The wards are not the only factor lim-
iting student participation in city politics.-
In recent years, student voter turnout has
been extremely low. Because University
students have unique housing, parking,
safety and other
concerns, there
should be a ward
R 1X encompassing a
primarily student-
inhabited area.
In recent years,
Q students have not
been absent from
local and regional
politics. In 1999,
two students
N ST. unsuccessfully ran
for city council as
Mu, STLibertarian candi-
ID dates; in 1998,
then-LSA senior
Jeff Irwin success-
fully ran for District 11 Washtenaw Coun-
ty Commissioner, and he now sits on the
14-member board which makes adminis-
trative and budget decisions for the coun-
ty. This fall, an unprecedented three
students ran for seats on the University
Board of Regents.
Although Ann Arbor encompasses
much more than the University, students
play a large and unique role in the eco-
nomic and social texture of the city. Stu-
dents deserve political representation in
determining the policies and laws that
affect them. The solution is threefold:
More students voting in city elections,
wards that do not split the student vote
and student candidates for Ann Arbor
city council.

'It Is Impossible to have a longer winter break if we
want to start after Labor Day, finish fall term before
Christmas and have three full terms.'
-University Registrar Tom McElvain responding
to complaints about the short winter break.

No more secrets
Government needs to end 'secret evidence'

In the past five years, 50 people have
been arrested under regulations from
Anti-Communist Acts of 1950. The use
of secret evidence to deprive someone of
his or her liberty is hypocritical of the
American system of justice. Yet that is
exactly what is happening to aliens
picked up on an immigration charge, sus-
pected of an association with terrorism
but so far not charged with an actual
crime.
Classified evidence, usually in the
possession of the FBI or other govern-
ment agencies, is used to detain the
defendants. The issue of secret evidence
involves vague notions of national securi-
ty, but the evidence is generally used to
keep detainees in the dark about their
own legal status. The public, including
the defendants and their lawyers, are not
given the opportunity to see the evidence
against them, thus making it practically
impossible to defend themselves.
The use of secret evidence is not per-
mitted in criminal cases, including
national security cases such as spy trials.
However, the decades-old law allows
such evidence to be used in certain immi-
gration proceedings. The Illegal Immi-
gration Reform and Immigrant
Responsibility Act of 1996 broadened
the range of proceedings where secret
evidence can be used against an immi-
grant. The result has been pure injustice.
Government agents present a judge
with secret evidence, upon which the
defendants are charged and told that they
- ca -

Representatives passed an amendment
offered by Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.)
to cut federal prison funding in the
amount of the cost of a secret evidence
detention. Furthermore, both houses of
Congress are currently in support of leg-
islation abolishing the use of secret evi-
dence. Campbell and Rep. David Bonior
(D-Mount Clemens) introduced the
Secret Evidence Repeal Act, which
already has more than 90 cosponsors and
would completely abolish the use of
secret evidence. Numerous civil rights
groups and groups such as the American
Civil Liberties Union and the Arab-
American Anti-Discrimination Commit-
tee have spearheaded efforts to fight
secret evidence. By ignoring the calls of
the people and the representation of the
people, the Justice Department has effec-
tively taken the law into its own hands.
Of those detained with the use of
secret evidence, all but one have been
Arab, Muslim or both. These numbers
speak for themselves and there is no
doubt that the use of secret evidence is
nothing more than racial profiling. No
person should be held for three years, not
allowed to see their family, while trying
to defend themselves against unknown
charges. However, that was the experi-
ence of an Egyptian, Nasser Ahmed. He
was kept in solitary confinement for
three years after refusing to act as a trans-
lator for the FBI. After being denied
bond and kept in prison based on secret
evidence, he was finally released after all
tte ctiAr-n- --A^ ci-.A A A n-

Dec. 26 was an
appropriate start for
snow emergency
TO THE DAILY:
It is my opinion that the city of Ann
Arbor did the right thing in declaring a
snow emergency starting Dec. 26 ("Ann
Arbor slips up," 1/5/01).
Thereason the snow emergency was
declared when it was because there
wouldn't be a large number of students get-
ting in the way of the clean-up.
The timing of the snow and how close it
came to the end of month I'm sure did not
make their decision any easier.
Also, the fact that while we did get a
large amount of snow beginning Dec. 11,
the snow continued well iito the next
week.
I understand that many out-of-state stu-
dents were upset that they weren't
informed about the emergency until they
were home, but, quite frankly, a student
living hundreds or thousands of miles away
shouldn't be leaving their cars parked on
public streets for upwards of two weeks
without being there to supervise them.
Keep in mind that snow removal cannot
be an easy task for the city of Ann Arbor,
given the amount of snow we have had, and
I applaud the city for doing the best possi-
ble job with the resources they had.
Keep this in mind as well: If the city
had declared a snow emergency, say a
week earlier, how would you have reacted
to that? Would you have liked all that
added hassle during finals week?
I would tend to think not.
PETER SUSALLA
ALUMNUS
Concealed weapons
law helps 'good guys'
To THE DAILY:
The Daily's editorial "Safety Under Fire"
(1/5/01) came out against the change of the con-
cealed weapons regulations. Yet, on the front
page is a story about a spate of robberies at gun-
point. Perhaps, if these victims had concealed
weapons at the time of being robbed or
mugged, they would be able to protect them-
selves. I believe the regulations in place with
this new law will allow the option of law-abid-

ing citizens to protect themselves on the streets
of Ann Arbor from the thugs who seem to be
terrorizing the University community. Will any-
one cry if a mugger gets shot in the act? Isn't it
better that the robber get shot than the innocent
person walking back to their place late at night?
Bad guys will find and use their guns for
bad things anyway. This law allows the good
guys to protect themselves.
DAViD TAUB
ALUMNUS
Legal recount of
Florida votes ended
appropriately
TO THE DAILY:
I read with interest the Daily's editorial
"Republican Coup" (1/4/01) on the election
results. I was disappointed that the Daily did
not have arguments which were more ratio-
nal and well thought out.
An example would be the Daily's state-
ment that President Clinton could continue
in office while a "complete and accurate"
recount could be completed in Florida.
That of course, would not be consistent
with the Constitution, even if it was a good

idea.
It raises some serious questions. Who
would decide that President Clinton should
continue in office while a recount wa@
underway? Who would decide the recount
was finally complete and correct, and that
the time had come for the former president
to hand over authority to the new president?
Since these would be violations of the
Constitution, would they require a Constitu-
tional Amendment, or do we want the
Supreme Court actually changing the United
States Constitution?
Or perhaps Congress could suspend the
Constitution, just this one time, until the
outcome was felt to be appropriate. '
Perhaps President Clinton could be the,
one to make these decisions?
The Constitution and laws were devel-
oped to avoid these obvious problems which
could result in very real usurpations of
power.
The results of an election are never
absolutely precise and we never will know
the exact vote count, but the legal procese
set up prior to the election at least makes th
process as fair as possible and results in a
peaceful resolution.
Suspending the laws and the Constitu-'
tion is much less likely to have that result.
RICHARD TAYLOR
ALUMNUS

DANE BARNES DISTURBED SLEEP
t&
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Zoc1

At least 'Temptation Island' is truth

O

By Paul Condra
The Daily (U. Washington)
I never watched "Survivor." I was in Spain
when "Big Brother" premiered there last year
and what a bore. I have no wish to find out
"Who's the Mole." Yet I can't wait to watch
"Temptation Island." Here's why.
"Temptation Island" doesn't try to mask
itself as an intelligent show. It doesn't claim to

and in a time of ultra-sickening PC sensitivity,
being honest for once is admirable.
How absurd to think one dumb voyeur show
is the catalyst that will irrevocably plunge soci-
ety into an abyss of blackness? Soap operas
have been doing what "TI" proposes to do for
decades - and truly, what makes "TI" more
real than a scripted show? Nothing. It's all just
TV.
Americans are not any more or less stained

in advertising
for a few bucks.
If Monica Lewinsky, the WTO, Elian Gon-
zales and the presidential election have show
America anything, it's that our culture has its
own unclean underbelly in which many Amen--
cans want to indulge.
So where do we go from here? The same
way we always have, trying to teach the youth
right from wrong, always with a keen eye on a
reality that continually assaults our morals.

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