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November 22, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-11-22

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4A -The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 22, 2004

OPINION

U 420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, Ml 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE

SAM BUTLERTv j\f'
Red beat ]blue64 .. gin.e

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

JORDAN SCHRADER
Editor in Chief
JASON Z. PESICK
Editorial Page Editor

Man,

there are

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.

going to be some
lawsuits."

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- Quentin Richardson of the Phoenix
Suns, referring to the brawl between fans
and players during Friday's game between
the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers, as
reported Saturday by ESPN.com.

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I

An indecent standard
DANIEL ADAMS H±oRSESHOES AND H AND GRENADES

Federal Commu-
nications Com-
mission Chairman
Michael Powell has a lot to
be thankful for this Thanks-
giving.
He can start by being
thankful that he chairs
arguably one of the most
powerful and influential
government agencies in Washington - the FCC.
Not so long ago, this meant little in the way of
name recognition. Can anyone honestly remem-
ber the name of the FCC chair before Powell?
How about the one before him?
But we know Powell's name, and for that he
can thank Janet Jackson and her right boob.
Exposed before 140 million Americans at
last year's Super Bowl, that breast has changed
the way Americans look at the FCC and its
chair. Soon after the incident, Powell rushed
in, calling it "outrageous" and announcing
that he would be launching an investiga-
tion. Jackson, sensing the impending media
assault, was quick to apologize. A spokesman
offered his version of what happened, calling
it a "wardrobe malfunction."
Though seemingly well-intentioned and
sincere, her explanation and apology would
prove unable to withstand the firestorm of
brutal condemnation that was to follow. Pow-
ell and the FCC led the charge. Before his own
investigation had concluded - indeed, before
it had even begun - Powell offered his own
version of the incident: "Clearly somebody
had knowledge of it. Clearly it was something
that was planned by someone. She probably
got what she was looking for."
Powell became the face of an offended

America - the voice of parents across the
nation convinced that they and their impres-
sionable brood had been victimized by the
searing image of Jackson's nipple. Whereas
his predecessors were often content to qui-
etly and passively enforce their congressional
mandate, Powell has rarely shied away from
commenting on issues that he sees as a viola-
tion of FCC standards. These standards, how-
ever, are hardly clear on what is and what is
not indecent, dubbing indecency "language or
material that, in context, depicts or describes,
in terms patently offensive as measured by
contemporary community broadcast stan-
dards for the broadcast medium, sexual or
excretory organs or activities."
Powell seems neither confused nor daunted
by this ambiguous mandate. Take for exam-
ple the most recent FCC flap over the Terrell
Owens/Nicollete Sheridan skit on Monday
Night Football last week. In the piece, we have
Owens, a professional football player, being
seduced by Sheridan, who plays a slutty house-
wife on the appropriately titled ABC series
"Desperate Housewives." At the end of the
skit, Sheridan seems to succeed, dropping the
towel and jumping into Owens's arms..
Powell was quick to denounce the sketch
and express his disappointment. "I wonder
if Walt Disney would be proud," he quipped,
referring to the Disney corporation's owner-
ship of ABC, the network that had broadcast
the piece.
Nevermind that Walt Disney was a noto-
rious anti-Socialist, a willing informant to
Joe McCarthy's House Committee on Un-
American Activities, and a reputed racist and
anti-Semite - if this is indecent, then over
the past week, Powell has been asleep at the

wheel!
Monday through Friday at 3 p.m., just as
little Johnny is getting off the school bus.,
ABC ran "General Hospital" - a soap opera
often featuring long sexualized montages
with lots of skin, panting and sultry music.
This weekend, kids watching Saturday
morning network television were treated to
endless replays of the Friday night brawl at the
Pistons-Pacers game, in which Pacers players
Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson and Jermaine
O'Neal jumped into the stands of a crowded
stadium and began assaulting fans. Then they
jumped back on the court and, shockingly,
continued to assault fans.
And at noon this Sunday, FX showed
"Booty Call," SciFi "Escape from New York"
and A&E "Deliverance" - a lovely think
piece in which Ned Beatty's character is
raped by a hillbilly.
I'm not defending Jackson, nor am I an
advocate of abandoning decency standards
for broadcast media. But this isn't a stan-
dard; standards aren't supposed to be this
arbitrary and confusing. No, this is one
man, with a microphone, editorializing on
issues that he personally finds offensive.
One man, using the power of his position to
influence what is and what is not allowed on
television.
When asked to explain his criteria for judg-
ing what is indecent, Powell replied, "I don't
think you need to be a lawyer to understand
the basic concepts of common decency here."
Actually, to understand, you just need to be
Michael Powell.
Adams can be reached
at dnadams@umich.edu.

eS

el

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Democrats don't follow
Christian values
TO THE DAILY:
Jeff Cravens wrote in a letter (Democratic Party
is the moral party in America, 11/18/2004) that
the Democratic Party is the true moral party in
America and attempted in vain to portray Jesus
as a liberal. Saying that Jesus "gave free health
care to the poor," as well as urging people to give
their money to the poor does not in any way clas-
sify Jesus Christ as a liberal. Has Cravens heard
of Medicaid? Furthermore, generosity, as Ronald
Reagan said, is "a reflection of what one does with
their money, not what one advocates the govern-
ment do with his or her money." To say that Jesus
was in favor of entitlements is nothing less than
uneducated blasphemy, as he also preached that
we should teach the man to fish, not just give him
one. Speaking of education, does Cravens know
that liberals including U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-
Mass.) helped to shape the No Child Left Behind
act, voted for it and then in the campaign lime-
light bashed it again and again? Is opportunistic
dishonesty a moral, Christian value?
Furthermore, Cravens has continued the
ongoing ignorance of liberals everywhere in his
skewed description of tax policy. A primer in that
field would teach him that everyone got tax cuts,
and it only makes sense that those paying more
taxes would get more back. That's only fair. Addi-
tionally, Cravens can quote as much Scripture as
he wants, but it doesn't prove his point when the
Scripture is misused. One of the Ten Command-
ments says "Thou shall not kill," but I see the
Democratic Party constantly push for the murder
of unborn children in the name of "choice." Even
in the case of partial-birth abortion, in which an
educated person would tell you that the child is
half-delivered, a needle is jabbed into his head
and his brain is sucked out. Is this Christian? It's
also a known fact that liberals in the Democratic
Party have relentlessly pushed for the elimination
of "God" from the Pledge of Allegiance. That's a
fantastic way to win Christians back to the Demo-
cratic Party.
The 2004 election proved one thing if nothing
else: When pressed with two opposite viewpoints,
the American people chose the party of moral val-
ues to lead them in, effectively, all three branches
of government. For that, I am truly grateful.
Kyle Burleson
LSA senior

bers of Students Allied for Freedom and Equal-
ity support terrorism are totally baseless and lack
integrity. He substantiates his claims by employ-
ing the use of selective quotations and drawing
dubious conclusions that were never in anyway
articulated by Tarek Dika in his letter (Unified
Palestinian Leadership critical to Mideast peace,
11/15/2004). Wolfe's later claims, that members
of SAFE have "something significantly wrong"
with them border on the lines of libel and renders
uncertainty on whether polite campus debate is
possible when one side composes their discourse
with such disrespect.
As for Yassir Arafat, while I have problems
with many of his ill-conceived decisions, blaming
him for the outbreak of the present Al-Aqsa Inti-
fada would be historically incorrect. This Intifada
began weeks after Arafat rejected Ehud Barak's
alleged "generous offer" (which would still have
placed sovereignty over the West Bank and Mus-
lim holy sites in East Jerusalem in the hands of the
Israelis). The Intifada started the day after Ariel
Sharon and his crew of police guards entered the
grounds of the Haram al-Sharif and violated the
third holiest site in Islam, hence the name the Al-
Aqsa Intifada.
Resisting unwanted military occupation is a
natural human desire; no one wants to see his life
and his land controlled by foreigners. Palestinians
have the same right to resist Israeli occupation
now as the French did German occupation and
the Algerians did French occupation. SAFE has
never on any occasion, whether at an event or in
the Daily, advocated for attacks on Israeli civilians
or terrorism of any kind.
Mohammed Elghoul
LSA senior
The letter writer is the vice chair of Students
Allied for Freedom and Equality.
A 'closer look' at election
results still necessary'
TO THE DAILY:
Joel Hoard's column (A call to surrender
11/18/2004) makes several very valid points
that anyone left of evangelical fundamentalism
should take to heart when deciding what to do
now. He rightly criticizes the "whining" of the
past four years, advocating an honest evaluation
of the current state of affairs in the country. The
outcome on Nov. 2 proved that many of us need to
rethink our perception of the "American people"

to vote. This they did with Malicious vigilance.
In some polling places, they physically removed
voters; in others, they took advantage of Spanish-
speaking voters, convincing them they must speak
English to vote and in perhaps the most deplorable
example, challengers donned official Election Pro-
tection shirts and stood outside a polling location
saying it was closed.
All of the above are unquestionable violations of
state and federal law and reveal an acutely flawed
system. As for Ohio, the Libertarian and Green
parties have joined forces in asking for a recount,
showing that the Ohio outcry is not simply partisan
denial. With as many as 250,000 provisional and
discarded ballots in question in a state where Bush
won by little over 130,000 votes, I think a closer
look is worth it. I need not say that those ballots
come from precincts that overwhelmingly sup-
ported John Kerry.
International monitors have said that this elec-
tion fell farther below standards for fairness than
the notorious 2000 vote. In addition to disenfran-
chisement, failure of electronic voting and com-
puterized ballot tabulation machines has been
widespread. As a country that parades its vision of
"democracy" abroad, it is somewhat embarrassing
that we cannot even live up to the very basic stan-
dards of that concept at home: It is our duty to make
sure the results are beyond doubt, and it is the duty
of publications such as the Daily to champion the
cause of voter inclusion and fair elections. If we do
not hold accountable those responsible for electoral
violations, we have no reasonable expectation of
fairness in the future, and we will continue to live
in a democracy in which 59 percent involvement is
considered "outstanding."
Matt Hollerbach
LSA senior
The letter writer is a member of the Michigan
Student Assembly.
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 University affiliation. The Daily will not
print any letter containing statements that can-
not be verified.
Letters should be kept to approximately
300 words. The Michigan Daily reserves the

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