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March 26, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-26

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I

4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 26, 2004

OPINION

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
able; opinion.michigandaily .comr
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

JORDAN SCHRADER
Editor in Chief
JASON Z. PESICK
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.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
Igot such a kick out
of seeing the president
huff and puff and get
all indignant about
the testimony of
Richard Clarke this
week."
- Former presidential candidate
Howard Dean, speaking to college
students, as reported yesterday
by The Washington Post.

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SAM BUTLER THE SOAPBOX

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Puncturing the silence
LoulE MEIZLISH As MEIZLISH SEES IT

0

After only three years
in office, the Bush
administration has
done a remarkable job of
making enemies of its for-
mer employees. The most
recent, of course, has been
Richard Clarke, the former
White House anti-terrorism
adviser under several presi-
dents, Democrat and Republican. Before that
there was Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who,
like Clarke, is peddling a book. Before them
were national security specialist Rand Beers
(now on John Kerry's campaign) and faith-
based initiatives chief John Dilulio Jr.
It is no doubt troubling for the White House
that these former staffers like to blast the Bush
team while he's running for re-election, and they
will no doubt hurt his campaign.
One of my more liberal friends remarked, "I
think it's a telling nature of the Bush administra-
tion that long-serving public servants and high-
ranking appointees are dropping like flies and
all saying, 'This guy is fucking nuts."'
The Bush team has not figured out how to
deal with these allegations, save for trying to
tear down the critic.
As competently reported by The New
Republic, Slate and yes, even Comedy Central's
"The Daily Show," the response from the White
House has been in three parts:
Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen
Hadley: Clarke's a good chap. We tried to do
everything we could for him and give him the
tools he needed to do his job. Darn.
Condoleeza Rice: All this guy wanted to do
was talk talk talk, yappity yap yap. We wanted
to get down to business and take out the terror-

ists. Don't know what his problem was.
Dick Cheney: Well, "to be frank," the dude
wasn't there with us. I don't know what he's
talking about. By the way (nudge nudge, wink
wink), remember all those terrorist acts of the
'90s - the first World Trade Center bombings,
the Khobar Towers, the African embassy bomb-
ings - they all happened on his watch. But,
hey, I ain't sayin', I'm just sayin'.
Last weekend I attended a campus journal-
ists' conference in New York. One of the fea-
tured guests was Ron Hutcheson, a Knight
Ridder correspondent at the White House. Natu-
rally, I asked him about my favorite show,
NBC's "The West Wing," and whether real
White House reporters have all the access the
fictional "West Wing" reporters have.
His answer was nope, not at all. Most of the
information the reporters get, he said, is accu-
mulated in the press briefing room.
The White House is a victim of its own suc-
cess, so to speak. The president hates, hates!,
unauthorized leaks and makes sure everybody in
the White House knows it. Leaks are usually not
altogether positive or negative. They often
describe the tough deliberations going on, and
that doesn't really hurt. But almost all the news
coming out of the White House is authorized by
press secretary Scott McClellan.
But the public and the media want some-
thing more, more of an insider's look. By clamp-
ing down on those who would provide mostly
innocuous stuff anonymously, the Bush team
has vastly increased the public and press's
demand for tell-all books like those by Clarke
and O'Neill.
But now the White House acts surprised that
all the insider perspectives are provided by dis-
gruntled employees. Lack of information then

leads to rampant speculation, and everyone
blames Karl Rove when something goes wrong.
M icrosoft Corp. is in trouble with anti-
trust regulators again, but this time it's
the Europeans, not the U.S. Justice
Department.
The European Commission, the administra-
tive arm of the European Union, is imposing a
$613 million penalty on Microsoft for bundling
its program Media Player with versions of the
Windows operating system, freezing out com-
petitor multimedia programs such as the
RealPlayer. The EU accuses the software
provider of abusing its virtual monopoly on the
operating-system software.
Remember that this comes years after the
U.S. government settled its anti-trust case
against Microsoft.
Does this mean that international companies
will have to deal with more than one team of
regulators at a time? I think so.
But rather than rail against this, businesses
and policymakers would be well advised to seek
out ways that the United States and Europe can
merge their regulatory functions. This would
make it easier for companies to innovate, and it
would save money for both Americans and
Europeans.
Auditors from both governments have
already agreed to share auditing functions to
prevent more Enrons and WorldComs, because
failing companies don't just affect the nation in
which they're headquartered.
Let's keep a good thing going. Let's find
more ways to share regulatory duties.
Meizlish can be reached at
meizlish@umich.edu.

0

Some food for thought
SOWMYA KRISHNAMURTHY AuDi AITERAM PARTEM

n any given trip to
the CCRB, I come
across the same
dilemma: All of the tread-
mills and elliptical machines
are in use, leaving me to
wait and increase my blood
pressure in the interim.
Though this is the perfect
opportunity to make a
harangue against the University's sub-par athlet-
ic facilities, I will leave that for another time.
What surprises me even more is how the lack of
available exercise equipment contrasts sharply
with national findings. Americans seem to be
more conscious of their health and fitness, yet
obesity has skyrocketed. Obesity, being over-
weight by 20 to 30 percent of the ideal body
weight, affects 64 percent of adults and is set to
exceed smoking as the No. 1 cause of preventa-
ble death.
The epidemic of fat has gotten so serious
that some politicians are mulling a "fat tax" on
unhealthy goodies like red meat and chocolate
bars. At its most basic form, such a tax would
increase the price of foods linked to obesity to
subsequently lessen our cravings. Although a
fat-tax proposal would likely generate some
much-needed federal revenue, the actual effects
on public health are suspect. The same line of
thinking was used to propel the cigarette tax,
which has boosted interstate and Internet ciga-
rette sales more than significantly curbing
smoking. Old habits die hard and other than fru-
gal college students on Entree Plus, few will
replace Twinkies with carrot sticks if a tax is
imposed; only wallets will be lighter. A fat tax
theoretically would be especially detrimental to
lower-income families who rely on cheaper and

therefore unhealthier cuisine.
Because the inertia of human nature usual-
ly impedes change, the problem of obesity
needs to be tackled more stringently from a
societal level. The first move is to proscribe
all of the political correctness behind obesity
and criticize the sedentary and unhealthy
lifestyle that propagates it. Minus certain
medical afflictions and heredity that can exac-
erbate weight gain, it is not feasible to gorge
oneself to death. In an effort to appease
everyone's "feelings," society has given the
obese the right to feel victimized. Clothing
manufacturers distort label sizes and store
mirrors to placate consumers' egos. Airlines
continue to debate whether passengers using
multiple seats should be charged single fare,
and federal compensation exists for the obese.
The image of the "big, fat party animal" and
the mantra that "beauty comes in all sizes no
matter what" (which are inherently biased to
favor men over women) are simply excuses.
There is nothing attractive about the sickness-
es caused by obesity like Type 2 diabetes, car-
diovascular disease, and several types of
cancer, or $40 billion - or about $170 per
person - the yearly price tag the public
spends treating these illnesses through
Medicare and Medicaid programs.
In no way do I advocate stigmatization of
the obese or mandating national starvation;
rather, I propose more awareness. Instead of
sugar-coating the issue, treat obesity as the
epidemic that it is and demand individual and
societal responsibility.
With their monstrous portions, lack of
healthy alternatives and misleading advertis-
ing, restaurants and fast-food chains like
McDonald's and Burger King are some of the

largest purveyors of fat. The numbers speak
for themselves. McDonald's Supersized Big
Mac and Coke, which were both incidentally
discontinued following nutritional litigation,
contained a whopping 1,600 calories and 44
grams of fat - over half of the daily caloric
and fat intake of an average American male.
Even so-called diet food can be deceptive.
Subway's popular Friendly Wraps, based on
the Atkins "become skinny but clog your arter-
ies with saturated fat" pseudo-diet, contain
such healthy ingredients as bacon and ranch
sauce, totaling to over 400 calories and 20
grams of fat a piece. Corporations need to be
more frank with nutrition information, dis-
playing it prominently before you order, and
offer bona fide alternatives.
School cafeterias require some revamping
as well. With chocolate chip cookies and
French fries being some of the most popular
lunch choices, it is no wonder that 30 percent
of school-age children are overweight and 15
percent are defined as obese.
We live in a country with some of the
most advanced medical technology in the
world. With our knowledge of preventative
measures, there is no reason why hundreds of
thousands of Americans should die because of
overconsumption. The Bush administration
recently launched a campaign to combat the
issue via improved product labels, a partner-
ship with restaurants, and increased health
education. Though its success is yet to be
seen, hopefully this holistic approach along
with some tough love will provide a solid
foundation for fighting the battle of the bulge.
Krishnamurthy can be reached
at sowymak@umich.edu.

0

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Sensational journalism a
disservice, hampers the
dialogue on female issues
To THE DAILY:
I am writing in response to the Daily's
article entitled Abortion may be key issue for
female voters (03/25/04). The Daily's han-
dling of such important and complex issues
has consistently been one-faceted and sen-
sationalistic. As three of the four women
auoted all stated. the discussion of

and sensationalizing the issue in an attempt
to garner readership, to the point that the
primary message of the story is often lost.
How can American people ever hope to
achieve reproductive justice when the
news sources largely responsible for dis-
seminating information continue to propa-
gate single-issue, narrow-voiced rhetoric
in a way that focuses solely on abortion?
As many of the women quoted in the arti-
cle clearly stated, choice is about far more
than terminating a pregnancy. The legacy
of Roe v. Wade is key to ensuring legal
availability of comprehensive reproductive

emotions evoked by the word "abortion"
and work to provide a complete picture of
the reproductive and sexual complexities
facing women today.
LISA BAKALE-WISE
LSA sophomore
MSA representative
Executive Board, Students for Choice
Reader: Granholm is the
governor, not a celebrity
from the East Coast

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