Cedar Rapids Gazette, May 10, 1974, Page 6

Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette May 10, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - May 10, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa fadtkt ftti pieta #1*3*44# Editorial Page friday, May IO. 1974 No room for spite IN TUE WAKE of last month’s near-miss for legal sized approv al of a $7.8 million bond issue to improve four junior highs in Cedar Rapids, one school board member has come up with a dismal idea: In the next bond proposal, maybe the school in the area that voted least support for this one should be dropped from the package. Director Ronald Moore premised that thought on the possibility that by 1978 Wilson junior high may no longer be needed and its students will attend instead at Roosevelt or Taft. Wherever junior high enrollment stands four years from now, a one-school phaseout would ignore the almost certain longer-term prospect of more population growth here and new needs for the junior high segment. But however this goes, talking of a Wilson chop-off now creates a strong impression — intended or not — that it would mainly be retaliation for the Wilson district’s election response April 30. That should not become a part of any new consideration for financing junior high improvements, either in substance or in nothing but appearance. The harm it could do to the whole proposition exceeds any prospect of help All eight or nine voting precincts which, in full or in part, comprise the Wilson attendance district turned in over 700 votes for the recent issue and some 800-plus against it. That reflected greater opposition than in any other district. It came, incidentally, from precincts whose voter majorities by habit go against almost EVERY tax-related bond proposal of any kind— a well known, documented fact. Equally well documented is another fact: Even where majorities reject a public measure, their strong minorities contribute indispensable support to citywide or districtwide backing that actually succeeds in passing these things now and then — especially when what it takes is a 60-percent supermajority. Every vote counts, in other words, cliche or not. When a question fails by 218 votes, as the last one did, the Wilson area's minority support will be a crucial element in any future question's possible success. The school board as a whole should keep this vividly in mind in formulating any new plan to replace the one that barely lost. The harder they fall NO MATTER WHAT the balance of his life produces, Spiro T. Agnew’s footnote in American history will record him as a disgraced politician — the first (if not the only, in the centuries to come) vice-president to quit his office under charges of a felony. That itself is an impressive punishment. With Maryland disbarring him last week from any further practice of his professional skills as a lawyer, the question follows naturally: Hasn’t this man suffered punishment enough — why should he be further handicapped in what he does to earn a living after this? The “why” of further retribution through disbarment has sufficient strength of reason in it to offset what straight compassion would suggest in this case. The rest of Agnew’s penalty for income-tax evasion (and a court-acknowledged background of considerably more than that) was relatively light: a $10,000 fine and three years on probation. He served no time in prison. He has spent his out-of-office days in freedom, and his efforts have included work on a novel reportedly about to bring him earnings of $100,000. That is more than most men earn in many years. It comes his way primarily because of who writes the words, not what they say. Way with words Although the crime behind all this was relatively mild as felonies go, the office which it tainted was the second highest in the country’, and the public trust it broke was enormous. The magnitude of those two elements alone resizes all the rest. A fine, probation’s cloud for several years, no real bar to personal mobility — in view of who performed the felony, the rap was light. Considering all circumstances, too, disbarment as an afterthought is more than just another hurting of the man. His crime dishonored a profession just as it besmirched an office, and if the bar ignored that also in the context of what politics has shown from many other members of the bar, the bar itself would all but beg still further public disrespect. In consequence, disbarment was appropriate. A punishment to fit the crime is not enough in isolation every time. This is where it has to fit the symbolism too. Isn t It the Truth! By Carl R'ble*. Jr A difference between man and beast is that an animal has a choice: It t an run or fight. A man can do neither. He has to stand and take it while the government smashes his ego, grabs his money for taxes and insists and sometimes proves that it is unlawful to spit in the eye of a bureaucrat. "Man in tho maut int*Iii ['tnt of anirnaln, anil thi* monI silly. " —Ih*n'*,nen Stories smell fishy By Theodore M. Bernstein IN COMMENTING on some far-out dope stones and some out-and-out errors in the press coverage of the Watergate affair, Edwin Diamond, a Washington broadcaster, said “It is piranha journalism — going after anything that bleeds.” The phrase he coined has reference to some small South American fishes The piranha is aggressive and sharp-toothed and attacks men and animals (or should it be “other animals”?), often seriously wounding them. • Else s. Do you say, “someone s else pencil” or “someone else’s pencil”? Obviously it doesn't make much grammatical sense to say “someone else’s pencil,” but it is so natural — that is, so idiomatic — that nothing else is possible In other words, you wouldn’t expect a possessive indication (s) to be attached to an adjective such as else, but in this instance it is not only expected, but also just about the only acceptable form. The two words are so closely coupled that they arc thought of as a compound pronoun. Word oddities. In Italian a pasticcio is a stew or a mess. From that wurd English has derived pastiche, which doesn’t exactly mean a stew or a mess but rather a miscellany of borrowed bits that make up a work of art, music or literature, a pastiche is a kind of potpourri, which is a mixture or medley, and was also originally a stew. New York Times Syndico*# Insights 'Of course he can’t read or write — he’s spent most of his life on a bus!’    AttQCklllQ corruption of power Ungentlemanly finish Eavesdropping led to addiction I have no politics — nary a one Artemus Ward By William Safire WASHINGTON — In 1929. Secretary of State Henry Stimson closed down the “black chamber” — the state department’s code-breaking office — on the principle that the way to make men and nations trustworthy was to trust them. As he later told aide McGeorge Bundy, “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail.” Stimson made that remark in 1947, after he had been secretary of war and had encouraged the establishment of a vast American intelligence community. To him. what was fair and necessary in wartime was wrong when nations were striving to construct a peace. Throughout the cold war, Stimson’s words were cited as a quaint peep of moral stiffness by CIA men convinced that fire had to be fought with fire. His words, treated as if they had been spoken in 1929. seemed an anachronism to those charged with ensuring the nation’s sur-vlval. When novelists Graham Greene and John Le Carre wrote about the morally debilitating effects of the ends-before-means attitude of espionage, their books were read for their drama (the means) more than their message (the ends). After all. the spy as jury. judge and executioner found roots in American traditions of justice in the old West, when some individual sheriffs embodied the entire process of law Now, however, in this period of detente. we view the adoption of totalitarian means to combat totalitarian threats as less than wise. As we have come to understand that we cannot overcome our enemies by becoming them, we have stopped romanticizing the professional spy. The time of the thin-lipped Hunt and the hot-eyed Liddy is out of joint, for derring-do has changed to derring-don’t People’s forum Latin valued To the Editor I take this opportunity to congratulate Frances Heaton on her article “Latin courses need new lift” (May I). I agree wholeheartedly with her comments, es-pecially in the following three areas One, the shift to the trimester school calendar shortened many courses from IK weeks to 12 weeks and has created what may he called the one-term syndrome This is the attitude that, ‘Well. if it s only for 12 weeks, I guess I ♦ an take it.’’ The result is that courses lasting a whole year suffer in enrollment because students don’t feel that they can endure a whide year of physics, or German. or of just having the same teacher Latin and other foreign languages suffer not only from the one-term syndrome but from the fact that mastery of the subject requires more than just a one-term commitment Two, my experiences in high school show that students take the easy way out. There arc very few required courses in secondary school and a wide range of electives to fill the remaining required hours of credit. The result is an overloading of light courses such as photography, pottery and family life education Iii a situation such as this it takes a determined effort on the part of a student to take a heavy subject such as Latin Three, present attitudes toward I«itm need to be upgraded. Many people are unaware of Un1 potential personal gam available through a study of the classics A rich insight into the history, literature and minds of a people w ho conquered and brought civilization to what was then most of the known world is hut one return from such a study Throughout the rise and full of the romance of American espionage, one technique that permeated the profession was the science of eavesdropping. In the 17th Century, that word was coined to describe secret listeners who stood so close to the outside wall that they were untouched by water falling from the overhanging eaves. In the 20th Century, eavesdropping was made easier by electronics, and to hear each other’s conversation became the quintessence of “reading each other’s mail.” That willingness to listen in, to put the need of national survival ahead of the restraints of what Stimson considered national gentlemanliness, to penetrate personal privacy in order to preserve national secrecy, was second nature to Richard Nixon. He and his chief foreign affairs lieutenant, both children of the cold war. were determined to end the cold war, and a willingness to eavesdrop came with the job. Step one, using the FBI. the President and hts men — sure of the necessity of such action to protect the national interest — began to eavesdrop on the men in the press and in the White House to find the sources of leaks Stet) two, when the FBI appeared squeamish, was to create a “special investigations unit” in room 10 of the Executive Office building, which was willing to eavesdrop, or worse, in order to plug the leaks Step three down the eavesdropping road was the transfer of the ability to eavesdrop for avowedly security purposes over to political campaign purposes. and the Hunt-Liddy team moved to the re-election committee. Belatedly trying to figure out v\fiat went wrong. II R. nobleman explained to the President that John Mitchell had grown so accustomed to eavesdropping that he must have lost his sensitivity to the illegality of wiretaps. Even at that time, when the meaning of Kindness To the Editor Do people really realize the impact that animals have on our daily lives? They provide food, clothing, entertainment, companionship and a variety of other tangible and intangible necessities to mankind. This has been true throughout history, blit we often take the animal kingdom for granted This is true of some of our beautiful wildlife, valuable domestic livestock, and companion animals such as the family dog or cat or horse We so often regard things as dispensable, or simply for our convenience, and we should all stop lo appreciate the vital role of animal life to mankind Tills letter is prompted because May 5-11 is the «0th national Be Kind to Animals week The observance is sponsored by I’be American Humane Assn of Deriver Col , and more than MMM! local humane agencies throughout the country One area of emphasis this year is the overpopulation of dogs and eats, and one act of kindness is to have your |x*t spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted offspring Consider the fate of the unwanted It is anything trill kind Marilyn Christenson, secretary Linn County Humane Society Auxiliary Route J MI Vernon road the events of tilt* previous year were tieing driven into the oval office, the habit of eavesdropping was so ingrained that it was natural for John Fhrlichman to suggest that he make a recording of his confrontation with John Mitchell. As the transcripts show, the President told him to go ahead and “gear up” for electronic eavesdropping, adding that he personally did not want to listen to tin' tape. The irony is so exquisite as to in* unbearable: Here was Fhrlichman suggesting that he eavesdrop on the man accused of authorizing the Watergate eavesdropping, unaware that his own conversation planning to bug the bugger was being bugged. That is the triple dead heat of eavesdropping, the royal flush or unassisted triple play, the ultimate hat trick — a plot twist that would have made E. Phillips Oppenheim blush before using The President’s willingness to go along with the indiscriminate eavesdropping on all his advisers and v isitors should not surprise us. seen as the final, massive dose of the poison he had been sipping steadily for years. It was not wrong, he felt, because it would be used for the right purposes — for history, for Truth. I am not among those who think the President guilty of un impeachable high crime. An addiction to eavesdropping was his grievous fault, and grievously hath he already suffered for it. The man who was ready to eavesdrop to protect the confidentiality of his office was. in Hamlet’s words, “heist with his own petard” — a petard is a bomb, and this one has blown presidential confidentiality sky-high. Because Nixon would read everyone else s mail, we are now forced to read his own, hardly an edifying activity, and in so doing we see why Henry Stimson was right. Nr* York Tim#* Service M Nil As graduation draws near, I can look back on my study of Latin and honestly say that I have learned more from it than from any other subject I have studied in high school. I wish to thank all those who have made this possible and to express my hope that in the future others will be afforded tin* opportunity I have had Patrick A Guinnane 1:479 Hertz drive SF Another \ WAIF ft (/TE ./ ■STO-/ Gas prices To the Editor As a student at Prairie high school, I am one person who is concerned about the gas shortage I understand that for a time there really was a severe gas short age. During that time it seemed logical that prices would go up Now the President is telling us that the gas compo riles will have enough gas and it won t have to be rationed It seems that because there will tie enough gas prices should go down But they don’t — they just keep going up I have a car and a motorcycle, and during tin1 summer I don’t mind riding the motorcycle to save gas, but iii the winier I iii not about to When prices are so high I can’t afford to keep gas iii my car. I also live on a farm, and it takes a lot of gas to farm The President exports the farmer to produce food for the country aud instead of making money like most people they lose money We lose while the gas companies get rich Daniel R Serbousek Route 2. < edur Rapids By Tom Wicker NEW VORK — Watergate, Sen. Jacob .lav its of New York said the other day, was a “a symptom of political decadence" predictable by Lord Acton’s dictum that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ The power of the American presidency is not absolute but it is great, and too nearly unchecked, aud it has greatly corrupted the office. As davits put it, “The death and maiming of tens of thousands of our young in Vietnam, the Watergate scandals and tin* shadow of impeachment are expressions of an almost grotesque* imbalance of power. What is to be done about that “grotesque imbalance of power” now residing in the presidency? The departure of Richard Nixon from that office, however it occurs, will not restore the balance. Nor can any election guarantee that the victor will not succumb to the temptations of power in ways more dangerous than any yet seen. In this context, even impeachment does not serve the purpose. Impeachment punishes transgression, and that is better than letting it go unpunished. But the problem is how to prevent the transgression — how to provide a system of checks and balances against abuse of the inevitable power of the Chief Executive of one of the world’s most powerful nations. davits was instrumental in development of an essential first step already taken — passage over Nixon’s veto of the war powers act, limiting presidential ability to commit troops abroad by executive action. Now davits has proposed a package of further reforms, the most notable of which is as follows. Congress would require the President to report to it annually what steps he had taken to carry out congressional laws and resolutions passed in the last session He and his cabinet heads then would submit to questioning by a new joint select committee of both houses; and congress later would vote itself satisfied or not with presidential actions, lf not satisfied, it would direct what further steps it wished taken. Such a procedure would give congress — as Nixon’s staff types might say — greater “stroke” on executive policy and administrative oversight, and — perhaps more important — a means of directly and personally challenging a President and his cabinet. That question and answer session surely ought to be carried on the television networks. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas has made an interesting proposal that might largely remove polities from the justice department without removing that department from the reach of presidential policy. He would bar the appointment of anyone who had held a paid or unpaid position in any presidential candidate’s campaign, or in any national or state party organization, to the offices of attorney general, deputy attorney general, assistant attorney general or solicitor general The attorney general, not the President, then would appoint U. S attorneys and V S. marshals. The Hatch act. prohibiting partisan political activity, would Im1 extended to everyone in the department of justice, from the attorney general on down davits echoed a proposal of Sen Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, to ban any form of wiretapping or bugging without a court order And Sen Henry Jackson has put in a bill to require complete accounting to congress by any agency engaging in any kind of political surveillance. Such surveillance would have to In* specifically justified by the agency involved Tighter congressional oversight of the FBI and the GIA and a thorough review and. if necessary, reorganization of those agencies ought ti) be undertaken. The possibility of a seven- or nine-year fixed term for tin* FBI director, to remove him from direct presidential political control, should also be studied by congress. Such steps might well make secret indu e tactics all but impossible But it congress really wants to regain anything like equal status with the presidency, the first order of business ought to be the budget reform act. Passed rn differing versions by both houses, and awaiting reconciliation iii senate-house conference, this measure would at last provide the administrative machinery necessary for congress to play an effective part iii putting together a coherent federal budget — the very engine of Hie government I'he essential idea of both budget reform lulls is that congress would establish its own annual budgetary ceilings, wit It more to less self enforcing provisions for keeping its appropriations within them, or providing the additional revenues to cover excess spending Iii the fight against inflation, as vs id I as iii tin* effort to restore balanced government iii America, no single reform is more important Ni‘« York !tinct 'unvice ;

  • E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • Henry Stimson
  • John Fhrlichman
  • John Le Carre
  • John Mitchell
  • Lloyd Bentsen
  • Lord Acton
  • Marilyn Christenson
  • Richard Nixon
  • Ronald Moore
  • Sen Henry Jackson
  • Spiro T. Agnew
  • Theodore M. Bernstein
  • Tom Wicker
  • William Safire

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Issue Date: May 10, 1974