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January 21, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-21

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 21, 2005

OPINION

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
b fi t~guu & cd 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 pieces do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
4 4 Personally, I
don't feel much like
celebrating. So I'm
going to mark the
occasion by pledging
to do everything in
my power to fight the
extremist Republicans'
destructive agenda."
- Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader,
commenting on President Bush's inauguration,
as reported yesterday by The Associated Press.

SAM BUTLER TLE SoAmox
0Y
4
ub 4~~T
yA

Looking beyond 'I have a dream'
ELLIOTT MALLEN IRRATIONAL EXUBERANCE

We're all used to.
going through
the motions of
Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
After facing massive stu-
dent pressure from the Black
Action Movement over a
decade ago, the University
decided to take the day off
and hold a symposium hon-
oring the civil rights leader,
giving us an opportunity to celebrate hard-earned
civil rights by playing beer pong a third night in a
row. King has become an easy-to-swallow sym-
bol for universally accepted and vaguely worded
concepts like freedom and diversity. He's the revo-
lutionary everyone can agree on: charismatic, God-
fearing and, most importantly, shot down in his
prime. What many fail to realize is that King's radi-
calism stretched far beyond his "I Have a Dream"
speech. His stances against the Vietnam War and in
favor of the labor movement are either forgotten or
skimmed over, diminishing his true radicalism.
A look at who has been honoring King makes it
easy to see to what degree he has become an empty
symbol of activism. General Motors, a company
with a history of racist hiring practices in Detroit,
has donated $10 million to help build a memorial to
King in Washington. Bill Swanson, chief executive
officer and chairman of the renowned arms manu-
facturer Raytheon, has stated that the outspoken
pacifist has helped his corporation, claiming that
"we are a more inclusive society and a more inclu-
sive company because of Dr. King's vision."
King has also been posthumously appointed
spokesman of companies hoping to benefit from
an association with such a revered figure. Alca-
tel, a firm dealing with voice and data networks,
recently released a digitally altered commercial
depicting King giving his "I Have a Dream"
speech in front of an empty Mall while a voiceover
soothingly asserts that "Before you can inspire,
before you can touch, you must first connect. And

the company that connects more of the world is
Alcatel, a leader in communication networks."
Alcatel spokesman Brad Burns assures us that
"It's not like we're selling a product, we're simply
associating our brand with it." Apple Computers
took a more subtle approach by releasing black-
and-white print ads featuring pictures of King
with the company's logo and the words "Think
Different" inconspicuously located in the corner.
It's the smoothest corporatization of a revolution-
ary figure ever - a seamless, wordless transition
from substance to style.
Slick advertisements and empty gestures fail to
portray the depth of King's objectives. His efforts
on civil rights are his most widely acknowledged
achievements because today they are universally
accepted. However, King the antiwar activist and
workers' rights proponent are largely ignored due
to, the still-present controversy over these topics.
Everyone wants to live in an environment where
people "will not be judged by the color of their
skin but by the content of their character," but not
everyone shares identical feelings on labor rights
or the Vietnam War.
In 1967, King gave a speech entitled Beyond
Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence in which he
declared that the Vietnam War was "an enemy
of the poor." King saw the war as a manifestation
of racial and economic inequality in the United
States, saying that "America would never invest the
necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its
poor so long as adventures like Vietnam contin-
ued to draw men and skills and money like some
demonic, destructive suction tube." He decried the
"cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys
on TV screens as they kill and die together for a
nation that has been unable to seat them together
in the same schools" and pointed out the hypocrisy
of a situation in which "we watch them in brutal
solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but
we realize that they would never live on the same
block in Detroit." For King, resisting the Vietnam
War was an integral part of promoting true equal-

ity. Time magazine called this "demagogic slander
that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi," which
is certainly a departure from the fawning one hears
today from mainstream news sources.
King, spent the later years of his life fighting for
workers rights and economic equality. According
to him, gaining civil rights was the easy part on
the struggle for equality, as "There are no expenses
involved, no taxes are required, for Negroes to share
lunch counters, libraries, parks, hotels and other
facilities." Substantial changes requires "the outlay
of billions for decent housing and equal education,"
a fact many are reluctant to acknowledge.
In 1968, King announced the Poor People's
Campaign, which was to culminate in another
march on the nation's capital, demanding a $12
billion Economic Bill of Rights that would ensure
employment for the able, income for the disabled
and a final end to housing discrimination. King was
shot in Memphis, Tenn. while visiting in support
of striking sanitation workers, who marched with
placards proclaiming "I am a man" under the shad-
ow of National Guard tanks and bayonets.
Had King not been assassinated on that hotel
balcony in 1968, he surely would have become a
leading voice in the labor movement. Perhaps the
reason people have been so reluctant to embrace
the anti-war, pro-labor King is that he tackled
issues that plague our country to this day. We
are fighting a war with an army in which minori-
ties are disproportionately doing the killing and
dying. Despite King's best efforts, the poor are
still overwhelmingly black. We would all like to
think that King's dream has been fulfilled and
that now all that's left to do is build monuments,
hold symposia and run King-invoking advertise-
ments cominderorating a troubling yet'dsed
chapter in American history. The striking paral-
lels between King's America and our own make
this far from appropriate.
Mallen can be reached
at emmallen@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Daily should strive for
balance in its jobs coverage
TO THE DAILY:
I have been keeping an eye on your recent stories
about the upswing in the job market, as I search
out a start to my career. However, I was ashamed
to read your article in yesterday's paper (Jobs for
graduates increasing, 01/20/2005). The article was
very factual and likeable positive throughout -
that is, until the last few paragraphs.
The bulk of the article is composed of data
from employer surveys and reactions from
various personnel within the career guidance
organization. Then the author turns to a few
choice words from one student. Having landed
five job offers after two months of searching,
this individual offers advice like: "As long as
you're really aggressive, the job market works
in your advantage," and "The biggest thing is to
think outside the box." These sound like canned
phrases clipped straight from those blindly
optimistic career magazines. Is this person sup-
posed to represent the typical job-seeking stu-
dent in the first place?
The interviewed student continues with the fol-
lowing proclamation: "There are a lot of jobs out
there. It's your fault if you haven't found one yet."

It would be fine with me if I could read the news
without baseless condescension. This individual
clearly has no grasp of the finer details of match-
ing position with applicant, much less respect for
the modern reality of the politics of hiring.
I encourage the Daily to look for multiple stu-
dent perspectives as a complement to the facts of
the issue, and to pay more attention to the intended
message in such articles.
Nick Magnuski
Rackham
Bush's cabinet
appointments have more
qualities than loyalty
TO THE DAILY:
I could not disagree more with your edito-
rial regarding President Bush's choices for his
cabinet (His loyal servants, 01/19/2005). First
off, Alberto Gonzales is a wonderful choice
for attorney general. I find it incredibly disre-
spectful you could even imply he condoned
the barbaric acts committed in the Abu Ghi-
rab prison. If you were to ever read the actual

memo I am sure you are referring to, you would
know he not only never condoned the treatment
that occurred in isolated incidents at the prison,
but instead merely narrowly defined what was
legally permissible.
In the case of Condoleezza Rice, I am unable
to think of a better choice for secretary of state.
You make the point that because she is such a
close advisor and friend of Bush's, she would just
be a yes man. However I would argue this would
not be a bad thing.
When an advisor who normally agrees with
the president disagrees with him, the president
is more apt to take notice. I believe this will be
the case with Rice. I would be remiss if I didn't
mention that Rice has one of the most impressive
resum6s I have ever seen. She is widely regarded
as one of the foremost experts in foreign policy,
serving as a professor of political science and pro-
vost at Stanford University and as an advisor to
the first President Bush.
Everyone is entitled to his opinion regarding
Bush's appointments; however, to say the nominees
for attorney general and secretary of state lack an
"understanding of the modern world and the role
America is to play" is absolutely ridiculous.
Justin Benson
LSA freshman

VIEWPOINT
Barking up the wrong tree

BY ALEXANDER HONKALA
The recent case of Merck's denied bid to
approve its cholesterol-lowering drug Mevacor
for over-the-counter sales showcases just what the
pharmaceutical industry has become. Ever since
1997, when the federal Food and Drug Adminis-
tration loosened its regulations on pharmaceuti-
cal advertising and allowed drugs to be marketed
directly to consumers ("Have you asked your doc-
tor about Viagra?"), the pharmaceutical industry
has become more and more like FOX News -
sensationalist, overblown and inaccurate. Those
three easy steps have become the industry's stan-

chondriacs who will spare no expense to medicate
their psychosomatically induced conditions. This
is especially effective if it includes assaulting the
target population with primetime TV commercials
every 30 seconds.
Step 2: Overblow it - lie to your potential
customers about the benefits and symptoms that
your drug will bring. For example, in 1987, the
FDA approved azidothymidine, which Burroughs
Wellcome flaunted as a breakthrough drug in the
fight against AIDS. Nevermind that AZT's deadly
toxicity had been well documented since the 1950s
when it was being reviewed as a potential chemo-
therapy drug. Nevermind that the National Institute

sales. Science knows that cholesterol is important.
It becomes bile acid, hormones and myelin, which
allows your central nervous system to function.
Yet we all know that too much cholesterol can clog
your arteries and make them go "pop!" Ostensi-
bly, Mevacor lowers your cholesterol. But therein
is a finer distinction that needs to be made. The
cholesterol in your body comes from your food
and from your liver manufacturing it. When your
liver is making cholesterol, it also makes some
other important stuff that is rather essential to
your body's continued vitality. However, Mevacor
inhibits your liver's production of cholesterol and
the other important stuff that goes with it. This can,

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