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May 10, 1999 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1999-05-10

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, May 10, 1999
Edited and managed by EMILY ACHENBAUM NICK WOOMER
students at the 4 4 + Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
t iUniversity of Michigan
1 atrI U n e utotherwise noted, igned editorials reflect the opinion of tk
420 Maynard Street tnajority of the Dails editorial board. All other articles, letters anr
Ann Arbor, Ml( 48109 cartoons do not necessarily releet the opinion of The Michigant Dail

N o one would deny that one of the
federal government's paramount
responsibilities is to protect the United
States against nuclear holocaust. The
government has a duty to do everything
it can to ensure the safety of those living
within its borders. It naturally follows
that the government should be especial-
ly careful with its nuclear weapons
secrets. But careful is exactly what the
government has not been. The investiga-
tion into security leaks from the United
States' nuclear weapons labs points to
past carelessness and amazingly intoler-
able current dangers.
The investigation into the security of
the nation's nuclear weapons labs focus-
es around one man - a Los Alamos,
New Mexico scientist named Wen Ho
Lee. Although Lee has not been official-
ly charged, the New York Times report-
ed that Lee downloaded highly classi-
fied "legacy codes" - strings of num-
bers which explain how nuclear

Looking the wrong way
Nuclear security breaches unacceptable

weapons in the United States' arsenal
explode - from secure computers in
Los Alamos to insecure computers.
Additionally, Lee is suspected of leaking
these secrets and others specifying the
design of new nuclear weapons technol-
ogy to the Chinese government.
The surprising thing is not that the
United States is spied upon, but that the
government is so lax in trying to prevent
it. Government officials told Newsweek
that "both the Energy Department and
the FBI failed to act aggressively on sus-
picions that Lee may have been leaking
secrets - despite warning signs that
spanned nearly 20 years."
FBI director Louis Freeh told the
Senate Intelligence Committee that in

1982, the FBI intercepted a call from
Lee to another Chinese scientist who
was then suspected of leaking neutron
bomb secrets to the Chinese.
In the early 1990s, two top security
officials at the Energy Department,
Glenn Podonsky and Edward
McCallum, tried to warn their superiors
of security risks in the computer system.
The risks were ignored, and when
Podonsky suggested increased security,
officials rejected the idea, calling the
risks acceptable. Obviously, there is no
such thing as an acceptable risk when it
comes to nuclear weapons.
Further frustrating observers is the
fact that despite the recent media atten-
tion given to the security breaches, the

nuclear weapons labs remain easil
infiltrated. Last week, it was reporte
that even though new security measure
have been put in place due to the fin
ings of the investigation, scientists at
government's weapons laboratories cat
still download secrets onto a floppy disl
and leave the site without bein;
checked. It seems that the governmen
still has a long way to go to make it
nuclear weapons labs secure.
Mistakes in nuclear weapons testin;
cannot be taken lightly. Mistakes dt
happen, but there is no excuse for the 24
years of irresponsibility that continue
to this day. Even worse is the slugg
response to these problems once t
came to light. Whether the problem lie
in bureaucracy, personnel, or some othe
internal body, it must be identified an<
dealt with aggressively. It is frighteninj
that these security breaches origitall:
took place. It is infuriating that they nov
continue.

Giving back
Summer months perfect time to volunteer

Get on the busP.
Public transportation key to city's rejuvenatior

F or many students, spring and summer
terms will provide a welcome con-
trast to the stress and anxiety that charac-
terize the fall and winter terms. The sur-
plus of time that will inevitably confront
students in the coming months, while
well deserved, should not go to waste.
Hopefully, with reduced schedules and
responsibilities, students will open them-
selves up to the spirit of volunteerism.
University basketball player Louis
Bullock already seems to have the idea.
Saturday, Bullock headed to Pioneer
High School to participate in a novel pro-
gram designed to give high schoolers a
better idea of what it is like to drive
drunk. Teens drove golf carts while wear-
ing goggles designed too simulate intoxi-.
cation. With thoughts of the school's
upcoming prom firmly entrenched at the
forefront of the student's minds, the
activity occurred at one of the best times
possible.
This year, summer offers an equally
opportune time for students at the
University to give back to the surround-
ing community. Thoughts of the recent
riots in East Lansing undoubtedly remain
fresh in the minds of the Michigan voters
who elect regents for the state's public
universities.
Students at all of this state's public
Universities will have to put forth a
strong effort to reclaim their tarnished
reputation. As images of drunk students
and burning cars flooded into living
rooms across the nation, it is likely that
people not only formed unfavorable
views of Michigan State University but
of university students in general.
Despite the profound impact the
views of a single regent can have on the
day to day functioning of a university,

the vast majority of voters are apathetic
towards electoral races for those seats. A
poor opinion of university students will
only raise the level of such counterpro-
ductive attitudes. As the University's
ambassadors to the world, students
should not fail to see the benefits of their
altruism.
Practical considerations should not
overshadow the moral obligations of the
University to the areas and people within
its immediate proximity. Due to its size
and resources, the University has obliga-
tions that extend beyond academic
spheres. The surrounding community
stands to reap significant benefits from
the experience of students and faculty.
Taxpayers put money into their state
schools with the expectation that those
schools will be churning out productive
individuals whose skills will benefit soci-
ety as a whole when they graduate. In the
meantime, there is no reason why citizens
should have to wait four years to see the
results of their investment.
Most students may be absent from
Ann Arbor this summer, but the needs of
the community surrounding the
University will not change. While the
typical student volunteer network is
gone, others will need to fill in the gap.
With reduced schedules, fewer commit-
ments and a somewhat blemished image
in the wake of recent news events, stu-
dents should be able to find at least a few
hours out of their summers to devote to
community service. Not only will stu-
dents be able to redeem themselves in the
eyes of disillusioned Michigan voters,
but they ought to receive a degree of sat-
isfaction from helping others. It should
not be forgotten that selflessness is often
reciprocal.

Last Tuesday, Vice President Al Gore
spoke to an audience attending the
fourth and final day of the National
Town Meeting for a Sustainable America
at Cobo Center in Detroit. He spoke
about a broad range of environmental
topics, including how the auto industry
will be affected by Washington's more
stringent emissions policies, but perhaps
his comments stung the most when he
mentioned Detroit's lack of a decent
public transportation system.
In the past, Detroit had a wonderful
system of buses and streetcars. Today,
according to the U.S. Census bureau,
only 2 percent of Detroiters use public
transportation to get to work - if they
have any work to begin with. There are
terrible economic inequalities in the
Detroit area, thousands of people can
not get jobs in the city and can not
afford a car to get to low-paying jobs in
the suburbs. This obviously needs to be
remedied, and public transportation sys-
tems are the way to ease Detroiters' eco-
nomic troubles.
The "Smart" bus system is known for
its patchy service (there is usually an
hour's wait between buses) and limited
routes. The Detroit Transportation buses
intermittently transport people out of the
city to let them shop at suburban malls.
And of course there is the People Mover,
which only goes to a limited number of
sites in the downtown area and costs the
city a $1.50 for every person who pays
50 cents to ride on it. These are the three
rotting hulks that remain of Detroit's
once comprehensive system of public
transportation.
Certainly, the "white flight" into the
suburbs after the riots of 1967 has a lot
to do with this degeneration. The

"Smart" bus system's predecessor
"Semta, was killed in the late eightie
by city officials. Another bad decisioi
resulted in the People Mover.
The auto industry has been named a
one of the parties guilty of keeping pub
lie transportation from expanding in
last ten years. The "Big Three' h
aggressively lobbied Ed McNamara, th
executive in charge of Wayne Count'
and its roads, and Detroit Mayor Denni
Archer, to continue the same inept poli
cies that have contributed to the decay o
Detroit and prevented its citizens frot
getting the jobs that have moved out o
the city.
Public transportation will certa :
play a vital role in Detroit's revitali'a
tion. City officials can designate lane
on the freeways for high occupancy
vehicles to encourage carpooling ant
lessen the environmental impact of ca
exhaust on Detroit's already heavily pol
luted air. Currently unused rail system
should be reestablished to deliver peopl
to and from the city and into the sub
urbs. Most importantly, Archer ant
McNamara need to make Detroit's bu
system "Smart" in action as welt
name to offer the people of Detroit
window to the jobs in the suburbs.
Bringing some sort of public trans
portation to Detroit will not be easy. Tt
do so involves the expansion of the city'
bus fleet, increasing its routes and effi
ciency, and seeking state and federa
assistance to help the system get off it
feet and stay affordable for the economi
cally disadvantaged. Clearly, pi
transportation is necessary to unlocl
many Detroiters from poverty. The metr<
area will surely see great returns on at
investment in public transportation.

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