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October 30, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-10-30

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4A -The Michigan Daily -Thursday, October 30, 2003


Ube St au it


SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

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.

(The eruption was
positioned perfectly. It's
headed straight for us
like a freight train."
- John Kohl, a Harvard astrophysicist,
on a major radiation storm that was
ejected from the sun and could
disrupt communication and satellites
worldwide, as reported yesterday in the
San Francisco Chronicle.

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a OV t- 4
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Freedom from the press

an you type
without the use
of both hands?
The media wizards
of the national press
corps can. And not only
that, they can type as
they check e-mail on
their Palm Pilots and
swill Coke in gluttonous gulps and cram
popcorn down their tracheas. Actually, they
type telepathically. In some cases having the
bodies of their stories written out long before
the Rev. Al Sharpton's first quip of the
evening or Gen. Wesley Clark's first deer-in-
the-headlights moment without logging any
physical keystrokes. It's imperative when
forced to file from a cramped table overflow-
ing with electronics and caffeine-crazed
political junkies frantically scanning Friday's
Hotline in between sneaking surreptitious
glances at that nubile John Kerry staffer that
just placed a press release on the sleazy
MSNBC cameraman's laptop.
I went to the Congressional Black Cau-
cus-sponsored Democratic debate in Detroit
this past Sunday expecting a surreal experi-
ence. The debate organizers were going to
lock us up somewhere in the vast recesses of
the Fox Theatre, some kind of Shangri-La for
journalists known as the "media center."
Safely cordoned off from the general public
the national press corps can hunker down
and get to work, pouring out that delicious
copy, which the media analysts then pore
over to write their own stories identifying the
frontrunner as picked by the media, allowing

the national press corps to look at the
insights of the media analyst to tell you, the
voter, which candidate will win.
The dirty secret in this whole enterprise
is, gulp!, the national press corps doesn't
actually get to see the thing in the flesh.
That's right, in that ultramodern media cen-
ter they're watching the debate on TV. The
parries and the thrusts, the backs and the
forths are, for the brave men and women
national press corps, nothing more than mere
daguerreotypes. We are mere feet away from
an unobstructed panoramic view of the nine
gladiators, but the ushers won't let the scorps
out of their cage. But who can blame them?
Paroxysms of excitement emanate from
the floor of the Fox Theatre. They must be
the people of Detroit that we keep reading
about in our press packets. With a rush
and a push, the debate has begun and the
wind is sucked out of the media center as
the chattering class stops chattering. This
quiet does not endure past Sharpton's first
response, apparently some sort of lecture
on agricultural genetics. The hoots end
and the hisses ensue when Sen. John Kerry
challenges Sen. Joe Lieberman's national
security street cred.
Kerry is the creepy uncle of the Democra-
tic field. He tells inappropriate jokes at inop-
portune moments. The men and women of
the national press corps greet each of his
attempts at humor with groans. But they real-
ly get going each time Sen. John Edwards
mentions his childhood growing up in the
South as "the son of a millworker." Edwards
continues to commit the gravest of the seven
deadly sins: He is boring. He will receive no

mercy from the journalists of the national
press corps for the duration of this campaign.
The debate ends in anticlimax and the
journos flee their encampment on the third
floor of the Fox for "spin alley," where the
debate staffers have erected large signs bear-
ing the name of each of the nine candidates.
The journalists mill about waiting for the
candidates to show. Both Kerry and Clark
never show, but the others make an obligato-
ry appearance to give rote answers to the rote
questions they have already fielded innumer-
able times since the start of the campaign.
You can gauge the pulse of the press
corps by examining which candidate they
swarm. Crowds of journalists radiate
around Howard Dean of Vermont the
instant he emerges from the recesses of
the theatre. The swarm grows exponential-
ly and the locus of reporters surronding
Dean begins to coalesce into the circles
surronding the other candidates. Within
moments, the horde surronding Dean is so
thick that only those in his immediate
vicinity can hear his raspy voice. Yet, they
stand and stare at the frontrunner. He
oozes the confidence of a man who has
repeatedly defied the wisdom of the media
wizards of the national press corps.
Remember last year when the convention-
al wisdom held that no presidential aspi-
rant was supposed to oppose the war? But
he is now a media darling. Controversial,
unorthodox, blunt and impassioned, he
makes for a great story.
Peskowitz can be reached
at zpeskowi@umich.edu.




ELF's actions not consistent
with actions, arson more
damaging to environment
Ari Paul has done it once again. He's
taken a popular cause - the protection of
the environment - and radicalized it with
disregard for logic and reasoning. In yes-
terday's column, Suburban heroes
(10/29/03), he praised the Earth Liberation
Front for making SUV owners feel "vili-
fied." I think that when one considers the
actions of a group like ELF, the effects of
their actions should be analyzed, not just
their statements.
Over the years, ELF has mainly been
known for destroying SUVs and large hous-
es. Their goal is to monetarily damage these
over-consumers. Unfortunately for them, the
effect of their actions is just the opposite.
Every homeowner has insurance. Nearly
every SUV owner has insurance. When ELF
burns an H2, the owner's insurance will
replace it. Net effect? One more H2 pro-
duced. When ELF burns a home, homeown-
er's insurance will pay for a new one. Net

effect? One new mansion and 300 or so less
trees that are used building it. The owners
don't suffer; only insurance companies suf-
fer. Obviously, the environment suffers from
the arson when toxic fumes from burning
plastics and chemicals are released into the
air. ELF is nothing more than a collection of
misguided outlaws. Paul draws links between
Nazism and god knows what, but he can't see
the link between arson and environmental
harm? I think we all need a little less ideolo-
gy and a little more rationality.
LSA junior
Freshman needs 24-hour
locks, limited access to dorms,
to feel safe in residence halls
I am absolutely outraged that you would
even think of advocating 24/7 access to the
residence halls for all students, as you did in
your editorial, Open door policy (10/27/03),
That kind of unlimited access for all students
would not be a good idea at all and that's an

This policy was originally set because, in
the past, there have been numerous "peeping
tom" incidents, thefts, break-ins, assults, sexual
assults, prank fire alarms and the like. Now that
they have access restricted at all hours, we resi-
dents feel safe in our homes. We have no prob-
lems with intruders and we on North Campus
have not yet had a single fire alarm this semes-
ter. I like it this way. Now if we were to remove
those access restrictions into our hall these inci-
dents would start up all over again.
Nor have we ever had any problems access-
ing other residence halls for a legitimate pur-
pose. I have had no problems getting into the
front door in any residence hall. My key has
worked in all of them, not just to eat, but to go
to the study lounge, the computer lounge, the
snack bars (like Cafe ConXion in South Quad
or the Blue Apple in Bursley). The front doors
always worked. But, if my key doesn't work in
the side door, then I feel that there's a pretty
dang good reason for it to be that way.
So, I vote in favor of leaving the access
policy as it stands right now. We have a
right to feel safe in our homes and we feel
that what you advocate will only take away
from that right!
Engineering freshman


Borders, not Daily, needs to get facts straight

Dan Smith, senior vice president and
human resource person for Borders
Group,Inc. made a valiant attempt in his let-
ter to the editor, Borders treats employees fair-
ly, acting 'in good faith' (10/22/03) to create a
smokescreen for your readers to see the cur-
rent labor negotiations between Borders and
the UFCW Local 876 as unrealistic.
The reality is Smith crossed the line with
his tailored terminology, opinion and fic-
tion. Here are the facts:
Smith states that all Borders employees
"across the country deserve to be treated fairly
and consistently." We agree. However, Bor-
ders is not living up to this claim. Workers at
the Borders Ann Arbor store average less than
$9 per hour. This is significantly below the
living standard in Ann Arbor. It is also below
Ann Arbor's Living Wage Ordinance mini-

workers also - not just for the company.
All of the union's bargaining proposals are
met with a standard response of, "If it is not in
the handbook, then we're not interested." Bor-
ders is not negotiating in good faith. Stopping
the progress of discussion with this standard
response is not courteous or professional, as
Smith defends. Throughout negotiations, the
company has refused to offer any improve-
ments in wages and benefits.
Smith claims that Borders did not violate
federal labor law. This is simply false. In fact,
Borders recently agreed to settle unfair labor
practice charges with the National Labor
Relations Board and the union over its unlaw-
ful conduct at the Ann Arbor store. These
charges included:
Illegally subcontracting the cleaning and
maintenance work at the Ann Arbor facility to
an outside firm without prior notice or bargain-
ing with the union;
Unlawfully insisting that the union agree

have put together a fair and reasonable bargain-
ing proposal. Borders' failure to offer any
improvements in wages and benefits, coupled
with its repeated violations of federal labor law
is a slap in the face to its workers and this com-
munity. Surely, a multibillion-dollar company
like Borders has the ability to pay its workers a
living wage and provide them with decent,
affordable benefits. In fiscal year 2002, Borders
Chief Executive Officer Gregory Josefowicz
was paid over $1.2 million. That is more
money than all the employees in the Ann Arbor
store earned in 2002 combined. In fact, Jose-
fowicz's salary comes out to $586.50 per hour.
That is more than any employee in the Ann
Arbor store earns in a week.
Borders pretends that it is a progressive cor-
poration that cares about its workers. The reality
is quite the opposite. The workers at Borders are
not content with the substandard wages and
benefits they have now. In order to fight for
something better for themselves and their fami-
-:,,-i,.,. ---+ - - rO I 7 ra+~


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