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March 17, 2005 - Image 4

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 17, 2005


I LI p uiu

Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editors

Managing Editor


If you live to
be a million, you
will never ever
in your life meet
anyone more
blessed than me."
- Robert Blake, upon being found
not guilty of murdering his wife, as
reported yesterday by CNN.com.




Gaining the competitive edge

've always had noth-
ing but the highest of
' Lexpectations for my
three children. Usually
they take care of business
at school and around the
house without much coax-
ing, but every now and then,
they need a proverbial kick
in the pants. Take for exam-
ple my oldest son, Brandt, who's now 11. When
Brandt was six, I signed him up for tee ball in the
local little league. He had some trouble catching
on, and he was much smaller than the other kids
on his team. A few games into the season, he told
me that he wanted to quit. I told him what I always
tell my kids when they want to quit something pre-
maturely: "You made a commitment, and you're
sticking to it." Brandt said he would much rather
take an art class or join the kids' theater troupe, but
I wasn't letting him off that easy.
He agreed to stick with it, and I agreed to help
him overcome his lack of size and turn him into a
player to be reckoned with. A solid year of coach-
ing, and Brandt had the basics down, but he just
couldn't seem to grow. At age seven, he stood just
shy of 3-foot-10 and weighed only 74 pounds. I
knew something had to be done if Brandt was to
turn into the baseball phenom he was destined
to become.
First I took Brandt to Dr. Rooney, who's
been treating our family since we moved to the
Phoenix area 10 years ago. Dr. Rooney said that
Brandt was a normal, healthy child and that I
shouldn't be concerned. Rooney's always seemed

like a trustworthy doctor, but I had to question
his motives on this one, considering his grandson
David played for one of Brandt's fiercest rivals in
the little league.
At that point, it was time to take matters
into my own hands. I studied the top baseball
players of the past decade: Barry Bonds, Mark
McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and I asked myself
what set them apart from the rest of the pack.
A good work ethic and natural ability for sure,
but there was something else I couldn't quite
lay my finger on. Then one night as I watched a
"20/20" investigative report, the answer struck
me: steroids. Those wonderful gifts of science
had made ordinary men into baseball behe-
moths, and I was hoping they would do the
same for Brandt. When it comes to fulfilling
your child's dreams, be they going to college
to become a doctor or lawyer, owning a For-
tune 500 company or, in Brandt's case, becom-
ing the best baseball player the game has ever
seen, you should be willing to do anything to
help him along the way.
I made the trip down to Mexico by myself. It
wasn't difficult to find what I was looking for.
Pharmacies with signs bearing phrases such
as "American Drugs! CHEAP!!!" and "Cheap
Pills!!! No Perscription (sic) Needed!" were
around every corner. The pharmacists were
more than willing to help me with Brandt's
plight, and I was soon on my way home with
a one-year supply of injectable steroids and
human growth hormone.
At first, Brandt was wary about his weekly
shots. Getting 500 cc of steroid serum and

HGH injected into your hip can't be all that
comfortable. Occasionally he would cry and
ask me why I kept giving him the shots, but
I would gently remind him that it was a small
price to pay to reach his goals. Besides, I
reminded him, Barry Bonds never cried when
his father injected him.
On top of that, I was confident that Brandt
would change his tune once he saw the results he
could get. And boy did he ever get results. With
his weekly injections, a strict diet and a rigor-
ous workout regimen, within six months Brandt
grew more than a foot and put on 75 pounds of
pure muscle. By age nine he stood 5-foot-3. At
10, he crossed the 6-foot mark. And now, at 11,
he's 6-foot-4 and is a hulking 250 pounds.
Some of Brandt's teachers have expressed
concerns over changes in his attitude and his
recent aggressive behavior, but they don't con-
cern me. There's no amount of aggression that
a good session in the weight room or batting
cage can't handle.
As for Brandt's prowess on the diamond,
well, his league-leading 46 home runs and 116
RBI (all in the span of 35 games!) speak for
Let this be a lesson to all the other parents
and children out there struggling to attain their
dreams: In the end, it all comes down to hard
work and careful planning. Keep reaching for
those stars, and don't let anyone or anything
stand in your way.
Hoard can be reached at
A few weeks ago, Joel Hoard wrote a col.
umn for the Daily (4w the hMmosexuaLssoL
my child's innocence, 02/24/2005) that gener-
ated a great deal of controversy both within
the University community and across the
state. We would like to take this opportunity
to clarify the Daily's editorial policy toward
the conteift of opinion columrns.
Because the right to free speech is critical
to the mission of the press, the editors of the
Daily have chosen to afford opinion colum-
nists a great deal of autonomy. We recognize
the need for creative license and only choose
to edit columns when they contain factual
inaccuracies intentionally designed to mis-
lead readers.
The content of signed articles, letters and
cartoons that appear on this page is the respon-
sibility of identified authors. These pieces do
not represent the opinions of the Daily's edi
tors, nor the position of its editorial board.
-Suhael M-min, Sam Singer
Editorial Page Editors



The need for FDA nformis
deter new nor h)ted
As someone who teaches a University course
on prescription drug safety, I was glad to see
the topic discussed in recent issues of the
Daily (How Adderall slipped through the cracks,
03/15/2005, Columnist ignores complicated,
lengthy FDA approval process, 03/16/2005). I
will not add to the commentary on specific
medications. It is, however, important to note
that the concern about prescription drug safety
is no recent creation of "mainstream media," as
one letter writer suggested.
Every major proposal for reforming the Food
and Drug Administration that we have heard
recently has been sought for at least the past
35 years. In 1970, for example, a panel of the
National Academy of Sciences (about as far
from popular media as it gets) recommended
establishing a National Drug Surveillance
Center independent of the FDA drug approval

divisions. In 1998, the Journal of the American
Medical Association asserted that "the nation
needs an office of drug safety with the author-
ity, independence, funds, and legal mandate to
undertake a basic drug safety monitoring pro-
gram. This investment in drug safety has the
potential to save thousands of lives and prevent
tens of thousands of serious injuries every year."
In 2000, Janet Woodcock, then the Director
of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and
Research, described what she called a "sweat-
shop environment" within the drug review
offices of the FDA. In a recent survey, fully
two-thirds of the FDA's own medical review-
ers expressed a lack of confidence in the FDA's
post-approval safety monitoring system.
The drug safety crisis in this country is not
hype. It's a public policy issue that is as seri-
ous as it gets. The responsibility for facing it,
however, goes far beyond the FDA. We, indeed,
need a media, a Congress and a public prepared
to see it through.
Henry Greenspan
The letter writer is an RC lecturer.


The future of PIRGIM at the University

Students are often told that we are tomorrow's
leaders. We are told less often that we are today's
leaders. In Ann Arbor, throughout Michigan and
across the country, we face more problems than
we should have to tolerate and more solutions
than we use. From students not knowing their
rights as renters, to the skyrocketing cost of high-
er education, to low youth voter turnout, to the
plague of hunger and homelessness, to the poi-
soning of Michigan's lakes, rivers and streams
with toxic mercury pollution, we are surrounded
by profound challenges. Through dedication to
solid research, strategic activism and finding
solutions, students possess the power to tackle
these problems and get results.
This spirit has motivated Students for PIR-
GIM's campaign to restart a Public Interest
Research Group In Michigan chapter here at the
University. Students for PIRGIM wants to get
results for students. We want to launch a housing
hotline where students can get simple nonlegal
questions answered about their rights as renters.
We want to convince Gov. Jennifer Granholm
that a $30 million cut to higher education in her

and win results. Funding a chapter will allow
students to hire a full-time organizer as well as a
staff of experts - advocates, scientists, lawyers
and issue experts - to work for us and make sure
we win our campaigns. By sharing our expenses
with other student PIRGs across the country, we
gain access to this wealth of staff and experience
at a very small price. Our opportunities are with-
out bounds.
Early this semester, Students for PIRGIM came
to the Michigan Student Assembly with a propos-
al to fund a pilot chapter. We went out of our way
to speak to every assembly member individually
to answer questions and hear concerns. Less than
a week before the vote, we were confident that
a clear majority of the assembly supported the
resolution and that we had answered all questions
and responded to any concerns brought before us.
Then the obstacles and red tape began.
We expected that some people might not sup-
port us, but we never imagined the way our oppo-
sition would arise. We expected that if someone
was going to object to the proposal, he would do
so based on its merits. Never did we imagine that
what would give us the most difficulty would be
bureaucratic red tape.

highly questionable. MSA is currently consider-
ing a resolution that would adequately establish
these funding guidelines. Due to the recent CSJ
ruling, MSA will have to undergo a long and con-
voluted process ending with the approval of CSJ.
Finally, questioning whether students could
hire staff is ridiculous. Students across the coun-
try hire staff all the time with both tuition and stu-
dent fee money. The Student PIRGs are just one
example of this practice; many student groups
and student governments do much more. What
makes students at the University any less quali-
fied to do the same?
It is a shame that an idea with so much support
on campus that could address some of the most
pressing problems University students are facing
today is being stopped by a grab bag of proce-
dural red tape.
We have played by the rules and followed the
practice of MSA. Now the rules are being changed
for no other reason than to thwart our efforts. We
are working hard to act in good faith and to be
open and honest with MSA and the student body.
These red-tape maneuvers are the opposite of
good faith: last minute, no open dialogue, never
working to solve problems, only fighting to cre-


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