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September 27, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-27

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4A - TheMichiganDaily-_Monday,September_27,_2004 _

OPINION

ZtIie Mllidt~igtt

420 MAYNARn STREET
ANN ARoR, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.comr

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 pieces do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
People watch
these things more
like they are
watching "Friends"
than the way they
watch the Harvard
and Yale debate
societies."
- Chris Lehane, who served as former Vice
President Al Gore's press secretary, on the
forthcoming presidential debate, as reported
by Time magazine.

Tke Yoke o
o
PnOor
record
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SAM BUTLER T sA:

Borders employees, unfit for command
D. C. LEE : LACK DIAMONDS AND PEARLS

a0

orders bookstore,
which recently
ended a labor dis-
pute with its employees
fighting for a "living wage,"
is now experiencing a new
problem stemming from
the same source. On Sept.
15, the online forum for
Borders employees encour-
aged union members to
deliberately hide, damage and forget to stock
John O'Neill's New York Times best-selling book
"Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak
Out Against John Kerry."
Naturally, the Borders union disclaimed
responsibility for the posts, which have since been
deleted from the union's online forum. Respond-
ing to nationwide inquiries into the whereabouts
of "Unfit for Command," Borders headquarters
explained that people are not having a hard time
finding the book because politically overzealous
employees are hiding it, but because it's been on
back order for weeks.
Both the Borders union and its headquarters
spin a plausible, if not likely, explanation. Of
course, as anyone who's been to Borders in the
last three years can tell you, it's just as likely that
self-proclaimed "progressive" employees are
in fact hiding, damaging and refusing to stock
O'Neill's best-seller. Politicking as usual, surely,
but shouldn't the politicking take place in the mar-
ketplace of ideas, not the actual marketplace?

If Borders employees are in fact hiding, dam-
aging and refusing to stock "Unfit for Command,"
this conduct would amount to an egregious breach
of political, ethical and corporate standards. The
unilateral blacklisting of O'Neill's wildly popular
book cannot he reconciled with any amount of
progressive thinking. Moreover, even if Borders
employees could reconcile the unilateral black-
listing of "Unfit for Command" with the absurd
notion that they know what's best for other peo-
ple, the consequences of their actions would be,
in all likelihood, counterproductive. Once word
gets out that Borders employees are unilaterally
hiding, damaging and refusing to stock a certain
book, news of this egregious breach of political,
ethical and corporate standards creates a buzz. In
time, more people are purchasing and reading the
ideas these employees seek to suppress.
Again, though, it's also possible that the Borders
union and headquarters are right. In other words,
there may still be a conspiracy -just not one orga-
nized by Borders employees. Borders as a company
has an interest in selling as many books as possible,
and perhaps people aren't finding copies of "Unfit
for Command" because there really aren't enough
copies to go around. Alternatively, the lack of cop-
ies could be an issue of local preference. According
to Borders Customer Care, "Our inventory is based
primarily on what Borders shoppers have shown
they are interested in purchasing - only 50 per-
cent of the titles in our stores are common to every
store and the other 50 percent is driven entirely by
the shopping habits of our customers." As a result,

inventory varies greatly from store to store. This
policy likely explains why the Borders on East Lib-
erty has four of five liberal bestsellers on its racks,
but only one of four conservative bestsellers, "Unfit
for Command," on the same displays.
Additionally, the Borders union might be tell-
ing the truth when it claims that the poster boast-
ing about hiding, damaging and refusing to stock
O'Neill's book is not a Borders employee. Until
the Sept. 15 debacle, the union did not moderate
the Borders employee online forum. Thus, the
union concludes, the poster could have been a
troll attempting to make Borders look bad while
generating buzz for the book. Forget hippie book-
sellers, they say - this is another vast right wing
conspiracy. Possible? Sure. Likely? Who knows.
All we know for sure is that the Borders contro-
versy speaks to the larger issue of how heated the
presidential election has become. With new cam-
paign finance laws in place, agitators are looking for
new and innovative ways to sling mud. Forget sug-
gestions that the Democrats have given up on'04 and
that they're setting their sights on '08. This election,
Democrats from John Kerry to Borders employees
are doing their damnedest to beat George W. Bush.
And regardless of whether the Borders controversy
was caused by Borders employees or members of
the vast right-wing conspiracy, with Kerry's poll
numbers steadily falling, Democrats can ill afford to
let O'Neill's book gain any more traction.
Lee can be reached at
leedc@umich.edu.

9

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Tactless supporters of the
war fail to show respect
for human life
TO THE DAILY:
After watching our football team defeat
the Hawkeyes on Saturday, I was surprised
- make that disgusted - by the sight of
people holding signs stating "War On,"
which were meant to look like the "No
War" signs that frequent our Ann Arbor
community. I encourage the free expres-
sion of all political viewpoints, but I urge
those people who flaunted their signs to go
visit their nearest military recruiter if they
want to stand behind their witty catch-
phrase. Our courageous men and women in
Iraq, Afghanistan and other posts around
the world having their tours extended are
putting their retirement on hold so that the
"war" can go "on."
There are many in our University com-
munity who have my respect and admiration
- those who, unlike myself, have enough
courage to step up and put their lives on the
line for our country. I support our troops
andtthe sacrifices that they make everyday,
and I also support our glorious country, but
I will not ignore the sanctity of the lives of
those that we send to fight our wars.
I may be overreacting to a few signs
held by a dozen or so people, but I value
life, namely the 1,048 American military
in Iraq, the 157 foreign contractors in Iraq
(www.icasualities.org/oif), and the 12,927 or
more Iraqi civilians (www.iraqbodycount.
net) who have died during the war. Wear
your Bush-Cheney stickers with pride if
you believe in President Bush, but please
stop and think for a second before display-
ing signs that playfully undermine the seri-
ous nature of war. God bless our troops and
our country.
STEVE WARNICK
Medical student
Anti-Semitic verbal
assaults have no place in
Ann Arbor or on campus
TO THE DAILY:
Last Wednesday night I attended a vigil
honoring the two soldiers murdered and the
numerous citizens injured in yesterday's
suicide bombing attack in Jerusalem. Grow-

Israeli flag, there was no doubt as to our sen-t
timents. A moment later, a tall, older-look-t
ing man walked by very quickly and aftert
passing us turned and screamed, "Sharon
should tear down that fence, that dirty Jew
bastard!"
I was in utter shock. I simply had no
words. After coming from such a mean-
ingful ceremony honoring people who had
died protecting the citizens of their country,
I was stunned by this first direct, vitriolic
anti-Semitism that other than on a visit to
Poland, I have never experienced before.
Before I am a Jew, before I am an American,
before I am a female, I am a person. And
no person, regardless of race or ethnicity,t
should be subject to such irrational behav-
ior, such senseless abuse, particularly on thet
grounds of an institution that prides itselfl
on its democratic values.I
ARIELLA GOLDFEIN4
LSA senior
Prof's statements on
medical marijuana are not
founded in reality
TO THE DAILY:
Prof. Lloyd Johnston's statements about
medical marijuana laws are simply false
(Medicinal pot use on A2 ballot, 09/23/04).
Johnston asserts, "There has never been a
real implementation of laws (to legalize
medical marijuana) because the federal
law always trumps the state laws, and state
laws in turn trump local laws." In fact, not
only are nine state medical marijuana laws
in force and being implemented every day
- protecting tens and probably hundreds
of thousands of patients from arrest by state
and local police - but federal courts have'
put severe limits on federal government
attempts to undermine such laws.
For example, the Wo/Men's Alliance for
Medical Marijuana, a patient-run co-op in
Santa Cruz, Calif., was raided by the fed-
eral Drug Enforcement Administration in
September 2002. It now operates under the
protection of a federal court injunction bar-
ring further DEA raids. The state of Oregon
alone has over 10,000 registered patients in
its medical marijuana program.
Johnston further claims, "Federal authori-
ties made it clear that physicians prescrib-
ing marijuana risked losing their licenses to
prescribe all controlled substances, includ-

misinformation that coincidentally happens
to track perfectly with federal opposition to
medical marijuana.
BRUCE MIRKEN
Director of Communications,
Marijuana Policy Project
Reader questions
limitations imposed by
the Patriot Act
TO THE DAILY:
In her article (My litmus test reads more
acidic than alkaline, 09/22/04), Sravya Chi-
rumamilla states, "I have been incensed
by the Patriot Act, which clearly limits my
rights." I would like to ask Chirumamilla
how exactly the Patriot Act has limited her
rights since it was first introduced. Please
clarify how your life has been affected.
Thanks.
MARK YANACHIK
Alum
LETTERS POLICY
The Michigan Daily welcomes
letters from all of its readers. Letters from
University students, faculty, staff and
administrators will be given priority over
others. Letters should include the writer's
name, college and school year or other Uni-
versity affiliation. The Daily will not print
any letter containing statements that can-
not be verified.
Letters should be kept to approxi-
mately 300 words. The Michigan Daily
reserves the right to edit for length, clarity
and accuracy. Longer "viewpoints" may be
arranged with an editor. Letters will be run
according to order received and the amount
of space available.
Letters should be sent over e-mail to
tothedaily@michigandaily.com or mailed to the
Daily at 420 Maynard St. Editors can be reached
via e-mail at editpage.editors @umich.edu. Letters
e-mailed to the Daily will be given priority over
those dropped off in person or sent via the U.S.
Postal Service.
DAILY OINN

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