To the Daily:

Banning blood drives would threaten lives of many

Gary Graca’s argument in his column Wednesday to ban blood drives at the University because men who have had sex with men cannot donate was both illogical and irresponsible (Give life (unless you’re gay), 02/13/2008). Such a ban hurts only the American Red Cross and innocent people without punishing the real culprit, the Food and Drug Administration.

The Red Cross already knows that the FDA’s discriminatory policy is outdated. It has been urging the FDA to get rid of the rule for years. Banning university blood drives hurts an organization that is already on the side of gay rights. It also has the potential to kill innocent people who have nothing to do with the FDA or its policies. The only party that is not directly affected by a ban is the FDA itself.

Students and other citizens have the right to organize and pressure the FDA whenever they want. Why create blood shortages in the meantime? Graca suggests that “critics of campus bans direct their anger at the FDA instead of wrongfully attacking universities.” Perhaps supporters of campus bans should do the same, instead of advocating policies that could lead to deaths.

Further, Graca’s argument that during a campus ban on blood drives students could be directed to off-campus blood drives is na’ve and unrealistic. The current blood drives are held at convenient campus locations so students can donate quickly and easily. How many students are going to seek out drives if the events aren’t waved in front of their faces? Very few. Yes, blood banks could coordinate drives with places close to campus, but these events would probably only generate a fraction of the turnout that on-campus drives do.

Last year, University blood drives accounted for a third of the Washtenaw County blood supply. The repercussions of a campus-wide ban could be disastrous. Taking away students’ right to organize university blood drives is an idea as ill-conceived as not allowing men who have had sex with other men donate blood. In fact, it’s downright insane.

Katie Fata

Business junior

Obama offers substance to back up his popular image

In a viewpoint Wednesday, Kellyn Jackson argued that Barack Obama is not a legitimate candidate because he is offering Americans hollow hope and has little substance to his message (Obama’s hollow hope, 02/13/2008). In attempting to argue that Hillary Clinton is more substantive, Jackson forgot to include any substance of her own in the viewpoint.

If one is looking for Obama’s substance, all one has to do is go to his campaign website, where under the issues tab he has his policy goals on 20 different issues. This is more than Clinton has on her website. Obama doesn’t lack substance; he simply realizes that it will take style as well to win both the Democratic nomination and the presidency.

In addition, Jackson took a cynical position on Obama’s ability to unite the country, asking, “What makes Obama think he can get Republicans to work with him?” If the author had done any research, she would have realized that Obama has a history of bipartisanship in both the U.S. and Illinois Senates. He has worked with elected officials on both sides of the aisle at both levels to pass bills on ethics reform, nuclear non-proliferation and death penalty reform. Further evidence of Obama’s appeal among both Republicans and independents is the large number of them who are voting for him in primaries and caucuses.

With his broad coalition of support, Obama will be the candidate who brings the nation together around his goals of making health care affordable for all, getting rid of the corrupting influence of lobbyist money in Washington D.C. and forging a path for withdrawal from Iraq.

Kyle Sutton

LSA senior

The letter writer is the communications director of the University’s chapter of Students for Obama

Attack on Clinton unneeded

Once again the Daily showed its overwhelming bias against Hillary Clinton in a feature in The Statement Wednesday (The editor’s notebook with Gabe Nelson, 02/13/2008). By defending the MSNBC correspondent who referred to Chelsea Clinton as being “pimped out,” the author lowered the Daily to a level unfitting for this typically prestigious newspaper.

As a child of a politician, I can tell you that if I were in Chelsea Clinton’s position I would do just as much – if not more – to help my parent. Chelsea is a mature adult and can add a lot to the campaign. The Daily should spend less space publishing despicable personal attacks and report the issues of this campaign.

Anthony Mariano

LSA freshman

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