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December 06, 2004 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-12-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

4A -The Michigan Daily - Monday, December 6, 2004
je fr t l f ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
4 h tothedaily@michigandaily.com

SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
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.

''The number of
men who take Viagra
is enormous. Why
would women be any
different? "
- Steven Nissen, member of the FDA
Advisory Committee for Reproductive
Health Drugs, commenting on Intrinsa,
the "female Viagra," as reported yester-
day by Newsday.com.


es's 4ions -
2 -- ,smoo
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V s~ cn o


Dirty little secret

T his October, the
Boston Red Sox
treated sports fans
across the nation, winning
a dramatic and improba-
ble World Championship.
Though not a Red Sox fan,
it was hard for me not to
get caught up in the magic
of those games. I remem-
bered for the first time in
years the memories of a childhood spent with
the game of baseball, watching from blue plas-
tic seats heroes like Trammell, Whitaker and
Gibson play on the immaculate lawn at the
corner of Michigan and Trumbell.
I grew up a baseball fan, but I don't watch
baseball anymore.
I became a fan because of players like Tram-
mell, Whitaker and Gibson. I stopped because
of players like Canseco, Caminiti, Sheffield and
Bonds. These men, comically disproportioned
freaks belting home runs out of ballparks at
improbable rates, make the transgressions of
Pete Rose look tame.
On Friday, The San Francisco Chronicle
released testimony implicating several of these
names in the federal investigation of the Bay
Area Laboratory Co-operative, or BALCO.
Five current and former Major League Base-
ball players - Jason and Jeremy Giambi,
Armando Rios, Benito Santiago and Bobby
Estalella - all admitted to investigators that
they had taken steroids. Gary Sheffield, the

current Yankees first baseman and American
League most valuable player runner-up, testi-
fied that he had taken steroids, but didn't know
at the time what they were.
Most notably, the article ran the testimony
of Barry Bonds - the man on the verge of
breaking the most coveted record in sports, the
mark for career home runs. Not only does this
testimony confirm the slugger's dubious ties to
BALCO and a number of its most prominent
clients, but Bonds makes a similar admission as
Sheffield - that he unknowingly took steroids
supplied to his trainer by BALCO. With that,
what ESPN analyst Peter Gammons dubbed
baseball's "dirty little secret," has turned into
a full-blown scandal.
Dirty little secret? Try dirty little reality.
This, the knowledge that some of baseball's best
were using illegal substances, is no secret. Over
the years, insiders - coaches and team officials
- have watched their 180-pound players bulk up
to freakish proportions and said nothing, so long
as they continued to produce at the plate.
Over the years, an increasingly self-righteous
and self-important sports media, with its insider
access and sources, couldn't help but overhear
the whispers of impropriety. Admissions from
former players like Jose Canseco. Players like
Jason Giambi, afflicted with mystery ailments
sounding eerily similar to the side affects of ste-
roid use. Players like Barry Bonds with hat sizes
that had visibly increased several times over their
playing careers. The media had to know some-
thing was wrong, but either out of a lack of evi-

dence or a lack of conviction, said little.
And the fans knew. They knew that many of
the men playing in their ballparks were cheat-
ers of the lowest order. The fans knew, but still
kept buying the tickets, hot dogs and boxes of
crackerjack that fed the beast.
Secrets are skeletons in the closet.
This is an elephant in the room.
Saturday, the teams, the media and the
fans were quick to distance themselves pub-
licly from the players implicated in the story.
Newspapers nationwide were filled with the
writings of outraged pundits, acting surprised
even though little of the testimony in the report
should have genuinely surprised them.
The whole mess reminds me of a story I once
heard about three umpires. Debating among
themselves over what is the best way to tell the
difference between a ball and a strike, the first
umpire says "I call 'em as I see 'em." The sec-
ond says, "I call 'em as they are."
Admittedly, I've never thought it wise to be
casual with the prescription of guilt and inno-
cence. Bonds and all the others deserve due
process, but in the court of my own opinion,
I don't need sworn testimony and a mountain
of circumstantial evidence to know a cheater
when I see one.
Call 'em as you see 'em.
Call 'em what they are.
Adams can be reached at


Coleman, Granholm need
to protect partnership
benefits, families
I would like to thank the Daily and its reporter,
Donn Fresard, for its coverage of the risk to the
University's domestic partner benefits program
(Same-sex benefits could lead to suit, 12/03/2004).
It was enlightening to read that Patrick Gillen of
the Thomas More Law Center believes that the
amendment precludes the University from offer-
ing domestic partner benefits to gay and lesbian
families, and that his organization is determined
to bring legal challenges to enforce this interpreta-
tion of the amendment. This is in stark contrast
to what the proponents of the amendment were
stating prior to the vote. Marlene Elwell, chair of
Citizens for Protection of Marriage, was quoted as
stating, "This has nothing to do with taking ben-
efits away." Similar assertions were attributed to
Gary Glenn of the American Family Association
in October, but he has recently changed his tune
stating, "Benefits only to homosexuals are a for-
mal recognition of a homosexual relationship as
equal or similar to marriage, and the voters have
said they don't want that." Itis particularly disturb-
ing that Glenn used as part of his early assertions
of the benign nature of the amendment statements
by our very own university president.
What I would like to add to this debate is a per-
sonal account of what impact a move to limit ben-
efits could have on my family and our loved ones.

The most direct impact would be to deny my part-
ner the ability to receive health benefits: Thiswould
be a financial hardship for us because his employer
is a local small business that does not offer such
benefits. However, the larger impact on our life
would be the effect it would have on our 3-year-
old godson and his moms. Because our godson's
birth mother is a stay-at-home parent and his other
mother works for the University, they would lose
coverage for our godson, his birth mother and his
as-yet-unborn brother. This would make their cur-
rent situation financially untenable and could very
likely cause them to look for employment outside
of Michigan. The likely result would be severing
our close relationship with our godchild, for whom
my partner has been an involved caregiver. It is
hard for me to understand how people so vocally
committed to family could systematically work
to rain such hardships on gay and lesbian families
who simply want to raise their children in an envi-
ronment of love and safety.
In recent days, we have heard reiterations by
University President Mary Sue Coleman and
Gov. Jennifer Granholm that they are commit-
ted to preserving domestic partner benefits. But I
urge the University community to look carefully
at these statements. Coleman provides as the rea-
son for her defense that "We do not believe that
a state constitutional amendment regarding the
definition of marriage would be relevant to our
decisions about the benefits we offer ... " It was
this statement that was used by Glenn to justify
his assertion that the amendment would have no
effect on gay and lesbian families currently receiv-

ing benefits. Granholm stated just this week that
she supports domestic partner benefits because
they "have been recognized by Fortune 500 com-
panies as critical tools for attracting and retain-
ing a world-class workforce." She attempts to be
reassuring when she states, "If and when a court
finds these benefits lawful, we will move forward
with their implementation," and she attributes the
dismay of gay and lesbian Michigan citizens and
their families and friends to "inaccurate news sto-
ries." Neither acknowledges that in the interim,
while court battles are fought, our families live
from month to month not knowing if the support
system we depend on will disappear. What I do
not see in the statements of Coleman or Granholm
is any unequivocal statement that providing pro-
tection for all families, gay, straight, black, white,
single or two-parent is a public good. By support-
ing each other's families we make our commu-
nities stronger. Political actors on the Michigan
stage, including both the University president and
the governor, need to understand that.by keep-
ing their statements on this issue "value neutral,"
by not speaking to the importance of protecting
all families, by not explaining that itis wrong to
work actively to take health benefits away from
children and Michigan workers, by not exhort-
ing Americans to live up to their proud tradition
of religious pluralism and tolerance of diversity,
they cede the moral playing field to the forces of
bigotry and ignorance. It is my family that will
pay the price.
Michael Falk
Professor, College of Engineering

You can't ignore the Palestinians

We found last Wednesday's viewpoint, Sup-
port Israel to help 'U,' to be a fascinating piece of
literature. Not only does it mischaracterize the
divestment campaign, but the authors, including
members of the American Movement for Israel,
misrepresent the conflict as a whole.
Absent from the viewpoint is any mention of
the occupation! Are we to assume that this defin-
ing characteristic of the conflict simply does not
exist? Are we to ignore Israel's confiscation of
Palestinian lands, demolition of houses, uproot-
ing of olive trees, construction of Jewish-only
settlements, checkpoints, roadblocks, etc.? Is this
the foundation of the "constructive effort" for
peace that AMI envisions? This is comparable
to encouraging "collaborative dialogue" between
whites and South Africans in the 1980s without
making reference to apartheid.
Whether they are ready to admit itor not,lthere is
a rich history to this conflict thattranscends AMI's
showcase of Israeli contributions in the medical
sciences. In 1948, upon the founding of Israel on
land that was almost entirely Palestinian-owned
and inhabited, nearly one million Palestinianswere
dispossessed of their homes and forced into exile.

Over 400 Palestinian villages were destroyed,
their inhabitants living as refugees for 56 years
now and denied their inalienable right to return.
Why? Because they're Christian and Muslim and,
as indigenous Palestinians, not granted the rights
assigned universally to all human beings. Since
1967, Israel has militarily occupied the West Bank
and Gaza Strip while illegally transferring more
than 400,000 of its citizens onto more land taken
from native Palestinians. Let us disclaim here that
we are not suggesting a pure Palestinian society;
naturally, both sides of the violencehave their share
of virtue and vice. However, itis essential to view
the totality of these in a proper context. This is a
backdrop of decades-long dispossession and occur
pation, with one side being the dispossessors/occu-
piers and the other the dispossessed/occupied.
Furthermore, we are not suggesting that
University students should just absorb what
we write without question. On the contrary,
we encourage readers to do your own investi-
gation and discover the history of this conflict
for yourselves; We're sure history professors
at the University would be more than willing
to offer recommendations of useful books and
Certainly, concentrating on "constructive
efforts" to "achieve ... peace" is a noble objective,
but is that possible by ignoring Palestinian suffer-
ing under Israeli aggression? Will we get there by

outweighing atrocious human rights abuses with a
list of medical contributions, or must we acknowl-
edge and address the potent history of atrocities
and denial of rights?
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who struggled
against apartheid for decades, seems to disagree
with the authors of Wednesday's viewpoint. Tutu,
one of many South Africans who have compared
the Palestinian struggle-to that against their apart-
heid regime, has proclaimed, "If Apartheid ended,
so can the (Israeli) occupation, but the moral force
and international pressure will have to be just as
determined. The current divestment effort is the
first, though certainly not the only, necessary move
in that direction."
Kiblawi, an alum, is thefounder and former
chair of Students Alliedfor Freedom and Equality
and former co-chair of the MSA Minority Affairs
Commission. Bakale-Wise is an LSA junior and
MSA representative. Shariatmadar is an LSA
senior and a minority peer advisor at South Quad
Residence Hall. Husseini is an LSA senior and co-
founder of the Progressive Arab-Jewish Alliance.
Marino is an LSA sophomore. Shi is an Engineer-
ing graduate student. Chang is an LSA senior. Dika
is an LSA senior, vice chair of SAFE and member
of Critical Moment editorial collective. Salhi is
an LSA sophomore and external affairs chair of

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