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December 09, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-12-09

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, December 9, 2004




SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

computers in a
laptop position
produce scrotal


Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority
of the Daily's editorial board. All other pieces do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.


- Yefim Sheynkin, a researcher at the State
University of New York, on the relationship
between laptop computers and male infertili-
ty, as reported yesterday by timesonline.co.uk.


I can't handle 'the truth'
bout a year ago I shock-and-horror techniques, they've taken the flogging a dead horse?
pledged to you, truth about smoking, which is that it is harmful My point is that the tobacco companies
my dear read- but not immediately life threatening, and made have already been exposed - as they should
ers, that I would quit it "the truth," which states that smoking is as have been - and they paid the price. But
. Ysmoking. But in order harmful as drinking a bottle of ammonia, pop- even with all we know about the harmful
uax to maintain my integrity ping a few cyanide capsules or eating a pile of effects. of smoking and the past record of
and my policy of full dog doo (they said it, not me). tobacco companies, some of us are going to
transparency, I should The truth seems to think that its message keep right on doing it.
tell you that I picked the that smoking is harmful and tobacco com- Why can't the truth just leave it at that?
habit up again over the panies are evil is a novel one. As I already Aren't there bigger fish to fry? What about the
summer. I'm not going to quit now, because said, smokers and non-smokers alike know fast food industry, which has yet to pay its price
I don't want to quit now. If you don't like smoking is harmful, so we really don't need for turning a generation of Americans into
it, too bad. your help on that one. As for the evil tobac- lazy, chubby oafs? Surely McDonald's use of
Like every other one of the umpteen co companies' part, have they been pay- a smiling clown to hawk fatty cheeseburgers,
million smokers in America, I know it's ing attention to the news the last 10 years? french fries and milkshakes and five-gallon
unhealthy, so save your breath and don't Tobacco companies very publicly admitted tubs of sugary soda pop is equal to - or pos-
lecture me about it. You see, I don't care their wrongdoings, and they've paid more sibly worse than - anything Joe Camel ever
that it's unhealthy, and the fact that I don't than enough for it - somewhere in the ball- did. Or how about the National Rifle Associa-
care is a concept that most nonsmokers fail park of $872 bazillion dollars - and made tion for promoting unnecessary gun owner-
to understand - probably because they're an explicit agreement that they would not ship or President Bush for allowing the federal
too uptight and uncool. use any form of advertisement that might assault weapons ban to expire? Surely we can
I can only assume that most nonsmokers appeal to children, hence the death of Joe agree that guns are more dangerous than ciga-
spare me their sermons because they respect Camel. rettes. To my knowledge, smoking only causes
my right to abuse my body in any way I see But of course the truth knows about this, severe health problems and death after decades
fit, and I appreciate that. Really, I do. But considering all of its funding came from the of use, whereas a gun gets the job done in a
there are those who make it a personal mis- tobacco industry's open admission that it was fraction of the time.
sion to "educate" smokers on the dangers deceitful. Let me explain. As part of the set- . The tobacco industry is but a little lamb
of the habit. Not only do I not appreciate tlements in the late 1990s, the major tobacco compared to the stuff some of the other
them; I loathe them. companies agreed to fund anti-smoking pro- corporations and organizations pull. Cam-
The most egregious violators are a ragtag grams. One such program, the American paigns like the truth are only strengthening
bunch of teenagers calling themselves "the Legacy Foundation, in turn set up the truth my resolve to keep right on smoking. If I
truth" (name all in lower case to make it seem campaign. So what it comes down to is, the don't stand up for the tobacco companies,
cool and urban). These kids have assaulted companies the truth ads attack for being dis- who will? Now if you'll excuse me, I think
the airwaves with their senseless rhetoric and honest are the same ones that fund the truth I need a smoke.
attacks on tobacco companies in a series of by actually being honest. Sorry for doubling
television commercials dating back to a few up on my horse metaphors, but what do they Hoard can be reached at
years ago. Using grainy digital video and say about looking a gift horse in the mouth and j.ho@umich.edu.

Academics, universities
not tolerant of diversity
I find it interesting that if an institution lacks
diversity in race, ethnicity or sexual preference,
flares go up and immediate solutions must be
found. Yet when studies are released that reveal
the tremendous lack of diversity in opinion at top
universities, people like Suhael Momin, in his
column False Assumptions (12/08/2004), dismiss
this by saying that conservatives just, "don't want
to be affiliated with major research institutions."
A better assumption is that there is a filter-
ing process throughout graduate school that
excludes conservatives. In a recent column
for The Washington Post, George Will wrote,
"(This) is a reasonable assumption, given that
in order to enter the profession, your work
must be deemed, by the criteria of the prevail-
ing culture, 'relevant.' " In today's academia,
it is understood that someone who doesn't
support affirmative action or who is pro-life
should stay away from sociology or African-
American studies. The precise reason why
think tanks like the Heritage Foundation were
started is that professors who couldn't get
hired at major universities were forced to look
elsewhere for work.
In my experience, the claim that universities
encourage tolerance and acceptance of opinion
could not be more false. Just enter any sociol-
ogy or women's studies class, offer criticism
of affirmative-action or gun laws and see how
much "tolerance" you get. Liberal professors
live in a society in which their views are seen
as the global norm, and any differing opin-
ions are given little consideration. Ironically,
as the number of liberal professors at colleges
has dramatically increased, these same insti-
tutions continue to spout rhetoric of diversity
and acceptance of differences. It is far from a
coincidence that today seven in eight profes-
sors are liberal. Is it really that ridiculous to
assume there is a natural exclusion of conser-
vative thought?
Ryan Boudreau
Engineering senior
Dow does indeed pollute
Michigan's water

ments can be "fingerprinted" with new tech-
nology. That data suggests that Dow's dioxin
reaches all the way to the bay. While the bulk
of Dow's dioxin is likely from historical prac-
tices, Dow continues to discharge a small
amount of dioxin from its manufacturing plant
and to dispose of enormous on-site reservoirs
of dioxin in its landfill.
At first, before the dioxin was "fingerprint-
ed," Dow denied responsibility for it. But as
additional testing data mounted, the company
switched tactics. Dow's current tactic is to
claim that living in and near dioxin-contami-
nated areas does not result in elevated levels
of dioxin in the body, and even if it did, that
dioxin is not toxic.
Unfortunately, the facts suggest otherwise.
A recent small sample of residents living in
the dioxin-contaminated area found higher
than average levels of dioxin in their blood.
And the studies on dioxin's toxicity would fill
a lecture hall. Expert agencies like the Inter-
national Agency for Research on Cancer have
determined that the most toxic kind of dioxin
is a known human carcinogen. The Environ-
mental Protection Agency warns that dioxin
is a potent immune hormone and reproductive
system toxicant. It is especially toxic to the
developing baby. The EPA further warns that,
because of widespread dispersal of dioxin, and
because it doesn't break down in the environ-
ment, but builds up in the food chain, some of
us in the general population may already have
health impacts from exposure to dioxin.
Dow continues to claim that its workers
show no ill effects from dioxin. What it doesn't
mention is that every other major worker study
has found a statistically significant relationship
between exposure and cancer. Further, cancer
is only one of a host of health effects associ-
ated with dioxin exposure.
Dow continually quotes a state agency that
dioxin has not been demonstrated to have
caused harm to people in the watershed. That
is because a health study has not been done,
and such a study would be difficult to con-
duct. That does not mean that harm has not
We do know that the wildlife in the area is
both contaminated with dioxin and likely to
experience health impacts as a result. Dow's
own wildgame study found elevated levels of
dioxin in deer and turkey that graze in the area.

this floodplain. The Tittabawassee River emp-
ties the largest watershed in the Great Lakes.
Dow's contamination threatens the integrity of
our Great Lakes ecosystem, a precious gift to
all of us in the region. The Great Lakes are
part of our shared public trust, and each of us,
individuals and corporations, but particularly
the companies that have profited so handsome-
ly from the resource, share in the responsibil-
ity for its protection and restoration.
Tracey Easthope
The letter writer is the director of the
Environmental Health Project Ecology Center,
a nonprofit environmental organization based
in Ann Arbor.
How do credit card
companies know so much?

I am a graduate student in Electrical Engi-
neering at the University. I am very careful
to not allow companies I do business with to
sell my address information. Hence, I hardly
receive any credit card offers. But I do receive
many offers that target me as a student, some
even specifically mentioning the fact that I
am a University student. When I received my
masters degree, I received several pieces of
junk mail from credit card companies target-
ing me as a recent graduate.
I am inclined to believe that the University
is selling the names of students. Your cover
story, Dec. 7, regarding credit card companies
did not cover this aspect at all. Perhaps it is
something worth investigating?
Phil Choi
The Michigan Daily welcomes letters
from all of its readers. Letters from Uni-
versity students, faculty, staff and admin-
istrators will be given priority over others.
Letters should include the writer's name,
college and school year or other University
affiliation. The Daily will not print any let-
ter containing statements that cannot be
Letters should be kept to approximately




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