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August 13, 1997 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1997-08-13

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Wednesday, August 13, 1997 - The Michigan Daily - 5

"We're digging in to urge the Teamsters, to urge
UPS, to show a willingness to compromise.
We want them to show a greater flexibility."
- Labor Secretary Alexis Herman, on the United
Parcel Services'workers who began a strike last week
PA re lations benefit citizens
ARK HANNA finally, our political leaders respiratory diseases including
Public health organizations have had the courage to act. asthma" He also mentioned
nd environmental groups led Unfortunately, the fight for that four of his seven grandchil-
y the American Lung clean air is not over. Polluters dren suffer from respiratory ail-
ssociation won another round are using their leverage over ments.
n the battle for new clean air politicians to try to get In Michigan, because of
tandards on June 25. These Congress to override the new immense campaign contribu-
tandards will save thousands standards. Polluters are gearing tions to both political parties
f lives and improve the quali- up to use their political clout from the auto and utility indus-
y of life of millions of through campaign donations, tries and other polluters, many
mericans who are at risk from shady industry-funded science of our politicians have either
alluion; particularly chil- and distorted television and remained silent on this issue or
r, the elderly and people radio advertisement to manipu- have come out in opposition to
uffering from lung and heart late public opinion. People con- the proposed clean air stan-
isease. cerned about children's health dards. Some political issues
President Bill Clinton and should make sure their voices have little bearing on people's
he Environmental Protection are heard louder than the indus- everyday lives. Clean air is a
gency deserve credit for try lobbyists and political political issue that affects
standing up for a clean environ- action committees. everyone. In the last six
ent against corporate pol- Clean air is not a partisan months, hundreds of thousands
rs that have spent millions issue. Republican governors of parents, grandparents,
llars trying to fight these and senators from New Jersey, teachers and concerned citi-
standards. Auto makers, Connecticut, Massachusettes, zens have written the EPA say-
power companies, chemical and Maine and New York have ing that their families, loved
fuel manufacturers and other strongly endorsed the proposed ones and future generations
polluters have lobbied lawmak- EPA standards, while some will be greatly served by
ers and the Clinton administra- influential Democrats have strengthening clean-air stan-
tion to weaken these clean air opposed these standards. Sen. dards. It is time to make sure
proposals at the expense of Alfonse D'Amato (R-New our political leaders, particu-
public health and a clean envi- York) recently came out strong- larly our congressional legisla-
ronment. For years, scientific ly in support of clean air stan- tors, know we are serious
studies have linked air pollution dards saying air pollution "is about clean air!
to respiratory disease, cancer one of the major causes of dis- Mark Hanna is a
other medical problems - eases ranging from cancer to Law School student
5FK SCAeJIAL. yt' NA4iuJ
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Join a 106-year tradition.
Write for Daily Opinion.
Come to a mass meetin: Sept. 8, 10,
16 and 18, 7:00 p.m. at 40 Maynard St.

Escaping the Midwest can be a learning experience
I n a few weeks' time, students from all over the There's a whole world of experiences out there,
country and world (and a lot from the East But for whatever reason, many people don't see
Coast) will start pouring into this quaint town past their own localities as a viable place to go to
called Ann Arbor. And many will guffaw (espe- when they grow up.
cially the aforementioned East Coasters) at the And I don't mean going to Cancun for spring
unique strangeness that makes up the Midwest. break. Not a vacation, I mean actually living
I've always lived in the Midwest. I'm used to somewhere else. You can't get a good apprecia-
the dull ho-hum that drives the wide tion for another part of the country or the
expanse of land in the middle of the world by going to tourist-trap attrac-
United States. It's not that I necessarily tions.
always enjoy it, but it can be comfort- Not that other areas of the country
ing - ah yes, the comfort of home. don't have their problems. Take
(Oh no, this is gonna turn into anoth- California, for instance. The sun's a bit
er debate of "pop" versus "soda," isn't too strong there - it managed fry the
it?) a .,, populace's brains to the point that they
Nope, I've long since found a solu- : voted for Proposition 209. I think it's
tion to that debate. Just say "Coke" or >. . time to put another layer of SPF-45 on.
"Sprite" and shut up about it. 'Nuff ll {Or New Jersey. Fine state, just a bit
said. JACK crowded. Oh yeah, don't go swimming
The problem with the Midwest (or at SCHILLACI - personally, I'll take Lake Michigan
least, one of the problems) is that the JACK I any day.
comfort level can sometimes be HE PULPIT But it's worth it to get away for a while.
asphyxiating. It's somewhat discon- The thing is, there are people from all
certing when people from elsewhere come here over the country that are hell bent on where they
and expect to find a plethora of things to do, want to be - and they haven't even given them-
places to go and people to see. "Get a nightlife," selves the chance to explore all the great things
the movie "Swingers" says. Michigan would do around the world.
well to follow that advice. "Today is your day. You're off to great places.
"Well, there's got to be something to do," a You're off and away."
friend not familiar with the constant party zone - Dr Seuss, "Oh, The Places You'll Go"
that is the state of Michigan recently asked me. Somewhere along the line, Seuss' wisdom got
"Nope, not really. Welcome to the Midwest," I lost on many of us. College is a learning experi-
replied. The bars close at 2:00 a.m. here. Get a ence, but sometimes escaping the classroom and
clue, laboratory can do us all some good.
That is why I never understand why some peo- Dropping ethnocentricism and dedication to
ple want to spend the rest of their lives here. We our little niche of the country can not only help
all have to pick some place to live out our exis- us learn about other people but also about our-
tence but for someone who came from a relative- selves. So get on your way.
ly small (and perhaps backward) town smack in - Jack Schillaci is stuck in the Midwest for at
the middle of the Midwest, I can't imagine want- least another three years, so give him something
ing to spend the balance of my life here. to do by e-mailing him atjschilla@umich.edu.

Microsoft comes closer to
L ast Thursday morning, I'd just returned from
a long flight. Jet-lagged and half-asleep, I
was stumbling in the general direction of the cof-
fee pot when the Detroit Free Press headline
caught my eye. Suddenly, I was wide awake. And
I was feeling a strange communion with every
other Mac user on the planet, as our collective
jaws fell to the floor.
Microsoft was investing in Apple.
I guess I spoke too soon a few weeks
ago, when I complained that there was
no news. But then again, no one saw
this one coming.
The plan looked pretty straightfor-
ward: Microsoft would donate $150 f
million to bail out Apple's sinking ship,
and would also collaborate with Apple t
on upcoming projects. In return,
Microsoft had the assurance that Apple LizI
would stay afloat a while longer, since Ir
numerous Microsoft programs are sold E
to Mac users.
But it sounded too good to be true. How often
do you see a wildly successful business helping
out a competitor? Either this is a real stroke of
generosity on Microsoft's part, or there's some-
thing else involved.
The Microsoft-Apple alliance exemplifies the
corporate domination of contemporary America.
Though few realize it yet, we're returning to an
era like the 1890s, when monopolies first began
to flourish. The focus has shifted from power and
transportation to entertainment and technology,
but the principle remains the same.
It works very simply: If Apple had gone bank-
rupt, the computer industry would have been
destabilized. Microsoft could have made money
in that situation, but that would be a longer and
harder process. The easier way is to invest in
Apple - and gradually invest more in Apple -
and eventually turn the company into a Microsoft.

world domination
subsidiary, shifting the entire Mac consumer
base into Microsoft's hands. Of course, this is
still purely speculative, but it seems like the log-
ical thing to do.
This scenario also fits a '90s business trend, in
which a huge family-friendly conglomerate
acquires a hip, supposedly independent sub-
sidiary. The shining example is Disney
and Miramax Films. Audiences can
watch "The Piano" or "Sling Blade"
with the pleasant confidence that
they're too cool for mainstream cinema
-when in fact, those movies are dis-
tributed by the people who brought you
"Hercules" and "Aladdin."
So what does this mean for the con-
sumer? It means that we have less and
less choice about what we do. If you
LUCAS want to support independent book-
UNTRY stores, well, good luck finding one -
DfACK the majority have been driven out of
business by the ever-enlarging Borders
empire. If you'd rather buy an Apple computer
instead of a Microsoft PC ... that option could be
closed off as well. And let's not even begin to dis-
cuss how Microsoft could drive up software
prices, once it has a captive consumer base.
Business monopolies have so saturated our cul-
ture that there simply aren't many choices left -
but the least we can do is be aware of them, and
take advantage of what options we have. For
example, in Ann Arbor we can buy books at
Shaman Drum instead of Borders, and buy CDs
at Schoolkids instead of Tower. As for comput-
ers, well, there aren't many alternatives to
Microsoft ... but you can always remind your
state representatives about something called the
Sherman Antitrust Act. It worked in the 1890s,
and it's beginning to look like we need it again
- E-mail Liz Lucas at erelucas@umich.edu

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