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Traverse City Record Eagle (Newspaper) - October 4, 1988, Traverse City, Michigan Opinion TRAVERSE CITY RECORD-EAQLE TUeWy, OCTOBER 4,1988 AIDS didn’t bypass TC The Grand Traverse area may not face as many crime, hard-drug or pollution problems as other parts of the country. But we haven’t escaped all the mod-ern-day problems, as a recent report on AIDS indicates. As many as 20 people living in the five-county Grand Traverse area now have AIDS, according to area health experts. Another 20 area people are experiencing some health problems as a result of AIDS — but have not developed major illnesses associated with the disease. And scariest of all, as many as 800 additional area residents are believed to have the AIDS virus in their systems, but don’t know it. Members of this last group could carry the virus for eight years or more before becoming sick. But during that time, they could infect anyone else by sexual contact or by mingling their blood with someone else’s. Blood infections most frequently occur when drug addicts share needles, but those infections also could happen by accident in a hospital setting. The raw numbers are staggering — to think that as many as 800 people living in Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Benzie, Antrim and Kalkaska counties carry the virus for a disease that has no cure. And it’s getting worse. According to David Martin, an infectious disease specialist in Traverse City, the number of local people suffering from AIDS and carrying the virus has doubled in the past two years. “What (these local numbers) say to me is, we are no different from any other community in the United Sates,” says Martin. Even more frightening is the prospect for the future. Since the disease is spread through sexual contact — heterosexual as well as homosexual — the numbers could easily double and redouble. In some African countries, in fact, AIDS afflicts an estimated 20 percent of the adult population. AIDS is a disaster. But it’s not a distant one like most that we read about — the drought in Ethiopia, the flooding in Bangladesh, the war in Afghanistan, the turmoil in Lebanon, or the crime in Detroit. The AIDS epidemic is in our own community. Within a few years, most area residents may well know someone who has AIDS. Science has no cure for AIDS — at least not yet. Fortunately, however, most people can avoid being exposed to the virus simply by being prudent — by not sharing needles, and by being faithful to only one sex partner. Assuming one’s lover is equally faithful, monogamy is an almost certain way for most people to avoid exposure to AIDS. The use of condoms also helps reduce the risk of contracting AIDS, but it’s not foolproof. For most people in the Grand Traverse area, the greatest risk of getting AIDS is through sexual contact. Knowing that a potential sex partner could be one of 800 area people carrying the AIDS virus should encourage everyone to be be very cautious. OfHER VIIWS Race is no marathon now With two months to go until election day, George Bush has jumped into a lead over Michael Dukakis that dismays Democrats and has Republicans talking of another sweep. With voters so volatile, all of this could change — especially in the crucial fortnight between the end of the World Series and Nov. 8. Dukakis prides himself on being a marathoner who likes to stay in stride and not be deflected off path. His aides are counting on Bush gaffes and Dan Quayle’s liabilities to turn the polls around. What marathoner Dukakis seems not to realize is that he is now in a 60-day dash. His proclaimed coolness on TV may serve him well in the debates, but Bush’s hot one-liners, served up daily against photogenic backdrops, are being run and rerun on nightly news shows. It may be too early for Dukakis to sprint, but he had better step up his pace and run a smarter race if he wants to stay competitive. The (Baltimore) Sun The gorilla of bureaucracy WASHINGTON - In Moscow and Washington alike, the top leaders have become small dogs wagged by a huge bureaucratic tail. The cumbersome Soviet bureaucracy has grown beyond control or comprehension. It has become so all-encompassing that it now consumes most of the Soviet gross national product. This has resulted in stagnation, which could end in putrification. The bureaucracy is also the gorilla in the U.S. closet, and the American people are obliged to live with it. The political managers have demonstrated an inability to manage the beast, let alone curb its growth or diminish its domain. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has concluded that to save his country, he must rescue it first from the clutches of the bureaucracy. He appears determined to revamp the bureaucracy before it suffocates the Soviet system. Now an American leader has stepped forth to challenge the U.S. bureaucracy. He is the billionaire entrepreneur H. Ross Perot who would like to begin by reforming the U.S. Postal Service. Perot also believes he would be ready to restructure the Pentagon procurement system and the Internal Revenue System. In time, he thinks he could bring efficiency to the government at large. But in both the Soviet Union and the United States, the bureaucracy lurks like an octopus, slippery and unreachable in its murky environment, with tentacles able to reach out and shut ofi' its adversary’s oxygen. Gorbachev is engaged in a fight-to-the-death with the Soviet octopus, struggling to outmaneuver it before it smothers him in its embrace. He intends to lop off some arms and untangle others to keep them from meddling in the management of the economy. He wants to privatize Soviet agriculture and industry, putting them on the incentive system. He has called for radical reforms of the communist party, designed to clear out the deadwood. If he gets his way, party bureaucrats will face competitive, multiple candidate elections. Of course, the bureaucrats won’t accept these sweeping democratic reforms without bitter opposition. It’s dangerous to try to take privilèges away from an octopus. What is the likely outcome? The bureaucracy has gained such a powerful lock on Soviet society that it is doubtful Gorbachev can loosen it much. In America, Perot has encountered the obstinate, if less grim, obstruction of the postal bureaucracy. The postal unions stirred up their friends in the Senate, who began raising obstacles to Perot’s reforms. Then, the Board of Contract Appeals, an appendage of the federal bureaucracy, canceled Perot’s consulting contract. This alarmed the Postal Service which confessed to the Senate that the Perot contract had been “loosely drawn” without competitive bidding. What Perot wants to do is pick up where the Grace Commission left off. The commission, headed by industrialist J. Peter Grace, found massive waste in the federal government. Perot would like to take off from the Grace proposals and increase the efficiency and performance of government operations. Both reformers, Gorbachev and Perot, understand that the stakes are high. There has been a shift in the world’s undercurrents from military to economic competition. They recognize that national power ultimately must be built on a solid foundation of economic strength. Yet, Japan has pulled ahead of the United States in the economic race, and Western Europe is rapidly catching up. Gorbachev and Perot want to remove the bureaucratic encumbrances that hobble production. Both countries swarm with bureaucrats — millions of anonymous men and women — who have ensnarled the producers in petty procedures and regulations. These commissars and clerks, examiners and regulators demand the rigid observance of set rules and procedures, the interminable seeking of permission for any divergence, while the resourceful Japanese grab the world markets. Soviet missile threat — The peril posed bj Soviet cruise missiles with “low observable’ or stealth properties could be significant bj the late 1990s, according to analysts at th( Defense Intelligence Agency. The Soviet: are fielding two new sea-launched cruist missiles — the SS-N-21 and the develop mental SS-NX-24. The potential danger fron stealth cruise missiles aboard Soviet attack submarines is great. Some in the Pentagon including Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Lawrence Woodruff are arguing behind closed doors on Capitol Hill for a more effective U.S. air defense system capable of tracking these missiles. Mini-editorial — Jewish “refuseniks” ir the Soviet Union who are lucky enough tc get their freedom may face another hurdli when they get out — the Israeli government Israel wants to force the Jews who leave th( Soviet Union to go directly to Israel, evei though many of them want to come to th( United States. The Israelis are trying to bee up their own population at the expense o the rights of people who have already beei used as pawns in global politics. We com mend Secretary of State George Shultz fo insisting that the immigrants be allowed t go where they want. After all, isn’t tha what getting out from under the thumb o the Soviets is all about? Jack Anderson is a columnist for Unltei Feature Syndicate. Cheating in competition is worse than violence WASHINGTON — Sport is play, but play has a serious side. Competition can be elevating for participants and spectators. Thus the integrity of sport is a civic concern. And it is important to say precisely why what Ben Johnson did was wrong. Runners at the highest levels of competition comprise a small community. They know all that is possible regarding enhancement of performance. And they know what is permissible. Johnson used steroids surreptitiously and in defiance of clear rules that are constantly reiterated. However, Johnson and many others involved in the intense pursuit of competitive edge may not really understand the reasons for the rules he broke. Legs have 40 percent of the body’s muscle mass. Steroids build muscle mass as well as hasten healing. Johnson’s legs exploded him to victory by a margin of 13/lOOths of a second. Did steroids make the difference? Hard to say. What has to be said is why using substances constitutes cheating. When judging a performance-enhancing technique or technology, the crucial criterion is: Does it improve performance with- ••org« Will out devaluing it. Begin by considering precisely the value drained away by cheating, then decide if use of steroids constitutes cheating. Bartlett Giamatti, baseball’s next commissioner, is the designated metaphysician of American sport. Last year, he flexed his mental muscles regarding disciplinary action against a pitcher who was caught using sandpaper to scuff balls, thereby giving pitches more pronounced movements. Giamatti noted that most disciplinary cases involve impulsive violence, which is less morally grave than cheating. Such acts of violence, although intolerable, spring from the nature of physical contests between aggressive competitors. Such violence is a reprehensible extension of the physical exertion that is integral to the contest. Rules try to contain, not expunge, violent effort. But cheating derives not from excessive, impulsive zeal in the heat of competition. Rather it is a cold, covert attempt to alter conditions of competition. As Giamatti puts it, cheating has no organic origin in the act of playing and cheating devalues any contest designed to declare a winner among participants playing under identical rules and conditions. Toward cheating, the proper policy is zero tolerance. Now, advances in training and sports medicine (medicine broadly defined, which reaches beyond prevention or treatment of, injuries) make problematic the idea, central to sport, of competitors competing on an even footing. Nowadays there can be significant inequalities regarding techniques of training and nutrition. Intensity in training should be rewarded with success in competition. But intense training should involve enhancing one’s powers by methods (e.g., weight training) or materials (eat your spinach) that enhance the body’s normal functioning. It is one thing to take vitamins, another thing to take a drug that facilitates abnormal growth (or makes a competitor abnormally aggressive). An athlete steps over the line separating legitimate from illegitimate preparation for competition when he seeks advantage from radical intrusions into his body. A radical intrusion is one that does not enhance normal functioning but rather causes the body to behave at^rmally. Illegitimate interventions cause an athlete to perform not unusually well — every athlete’s aim — but unnaturally well. Steroids are dangerous to the user’s health. Even if an athlete is willing to run the risk, his competitors should not have to run it in order to compete. That is a sufficient reason for proscribing them. But even if steroids and other performqnce-enhancing drugs were risk-free, there would still be sufficient reasons for cleansing sport of them. Drugs that make sport exotic make it less exemplary. Sport becomes less of a shared activity. It becomes less a drama of peopl( performing well than a spectacle of bodie chemically propelled. Athletes who seek a competitive edg through chemical advantage do not jus overvalue winning; they misunderstand wh; winning is properly valued. It is properl; valued as the reward for, and evidence oi praiseworthy attributes. They include th lonely submission to an exacting trainini regimen, and the mental mastery of pres sure, pain and exhaustion. ■* valued not only becaus it builds character but because it puts o display, and crowns with glory, for the eU vation of spectators as well as participant! attributes we associate with good charactei G<m character, not good chemistry. A society’s recreation is charged wit moral significance. Sport would be debasec and with it a society that takes sport ser ously, If sport did not strictly forbid thing that blur the distinction Mween th tnumph of character and the triumph < pharmacology. 1 “ columnist for the WasI Ington Post Writers Group. Gilbert A. Begley, President and Publisher Frank B. Sengtr, Assistant to the Publisher Jantes P. Herman, Editor Michael Ready, Editorial Page Editor Loralne Anderaon, City Editor John Tune, News Editor Nick Edaon, Sports Editor Marge Cotter, Section Editor Suzanne McCarthy, Community News Editor Editorial Board QIIBoslay Publisher Jim Harman Editor EdltorlaTpagS^dllor
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