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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - May 10, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 'Of course he can't read or write he's spent most of his life on a bust' Editorial Page Friday, May 10, 1974 No room for spite IN THE WAKE of last month's near-miss for legal sized approval of a million bond is- sue to improve four junior highs in Cedar Rapids, one school board member has come up with a dis- mal 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 prem- ised 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 enroll- ment stands four years from now, a one-school phaseout would ig- nore 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 sub- stance or in nothing but .ap- pearance. 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, inciden- tally, from precincts whose voter majorities by habit go against al- most EVERY tax-related bond proposal of any a well known, documented fact. Equally well documented is another fact: Even where majori- ties reject a public measure, their strong minorities contribute in- dispensable 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 record him as a disgraced politician the first (if not the only, in the cen- turies to come) vice-president to quit his office under charges of a felony. That itself is an impres- sive punishment. With Maryland disbarring him last week from any further prac- tice of his professional skills as a lawyer, the question follows nat- urally: 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 retribu- tion through disbarment has suf- ficient 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 con- siderably more than that) was relatively light: a 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 repor- tedly about to bring him earnings of 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 magni- tude of those two elements alone resizes all the rest. A fine, proba- tion'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 af- terthought 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 Riblet. Jr. A difference between man and beast is that an animal has a choice: It can run or fighl. 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 is tin: most intelligent of animals, and the moat silly." Stories smell fishy By Theodore M. Bernstein IN COMMENTING on some far-out dope stories and some out-and-out errors in the press coverage of the Wa- tergate affair, Edwin Diamond, a Washington broadcasler, said "II is piranha journalism going afler anylhing lhat 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 often seriously wounding them. Else's. Do you say, "someone's else pencil" or "someone else's Ob- viously it doesn't make much gramma- tical sense to say "someone else's pen- but it is so natural that is, so idiomatic that nolhing 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 il is nol 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 pastimo is a slew or a mess. From lhal word English has derived pastiche, which doesn'l exaclly mean a stew or a mess bul rather a miscellany of borrowed bits that make up a work of art, music or literature, a pastiche is a kind of pot- pourri, which is a mixture or medley, and was also originally a slew. New York Times Syndicate Insights N! finish Eavesdropping led to addiction I have no politics nary a one. Arlemm Ward By William Safire WASHINGTON In 1929, Secretary of Slate Henry Stimson closed down Ihe "black chamber" the state department's code-breaking office on the principle thai the way to make men and nations trustworthy was to trust them. As he later lold 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 quainl peep of moral sliffness 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- vival. 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 lhan (heir message (the After all, the spy as jury, judge and executioner found rools in American tradilions of justice in the old West, when some individual sheriffs embodied the entire process of law. Now, however, in this period of de- tente, we view the adoption of totalilarian means lo combal totalilarian threats as less than wise. As we have come to un- derstand thai we cannol overcome our enemies by becoming Ihem, we have slopped romanticizing the professional spy. The time of the thin-lipped Hunl and Ihe hoi-eyed Liddy is oul of joinl, for derring-do has changed to derring-don't. People's forum Latin valued To the Editor: I take Ihis opportunity to congratulate Frances Healon on her article "Latin courses need new lift" (May I agree wholeheartedly wilh her comments, es- pecially in the following three areas: One, the shift lo the trimester school calendar shortened many courses from 18 weeks to 12 weeks and has created whal may be called Ihe one-term syndrome. This is the attitude thai, "Well, if it's only for 12 weeks, I guess I can take il." The result is lhat courses lasting a whole year suffer in enrollment because sludenls don'l feel thai they can endure a whole year of physics, or Ger- man, or of just having Ihe same teacher. Latin and other foreign languages suffer not only from the one-term syndrome hut from the fact lhat 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 are very few required courses in secondary school and a wide range of clectives to fill the remaining required hours of credit. The result is an overloading of light courses such as pho- lography, pottery and family life educa- tion. In a situation such as Ihis il takes a determined effort on the parl of a student lo lake u heavy subject such as Lalin. Three, present attitudes toward Latin need lo be upgraded. Many people are unaware of Ihe polential personal gain available through a sludy of Ihe classics. A rich insighl Into the history, literature mid minds of u people who conquered and brought civilization lo what was (hen must of Ihc known world Is but one return from such a sludy. Throughout the rise and fall of the romance of American espionage, one technique thai 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 Ihe oulside wall that they were untouched by water falling from the overhanging eaves. In the 20th Century, eavesdropping was made easier by elec- tronics, and to hear each other's conver- sation 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, lo'penelrale personal privacy in order lo preserve national secrecy, was second nature to Richard Nixon. He and his chief foreign affairs lieutenanl, both children of the cold war, were determined to end (he cold war, and a willingness to eavesdrop came with the job. Step one, using Ihe FBI, the President and his men sure of the necessity of such action lo protect the national interest began to eavesdrop on the men in the press and in the White House to find the sources of leaks. Step Iwo, when the FBI appeared squeamish, was to create a "special investigalions unit" in room 16 of the Executive Office building, which was willing to eavesdrop, or worse, in order lo plug the leaks. Slep three down the eavesdropping road was the Iransfer of the abilily to eavesdrop for avowedly security pur- poses over to political campaign pur- poses, and the Hunl-Liddy team moved to Ihe re-election committee. Belatedly try- ing to figure oul what went wrong, II. R. Ilaldeman explained lo Ihe Presidenl that John Mitchell had grown so accus- tomed lo eavesdropping lhal he musl have lost his sensitivity to the illegality of wiretaps. Even at thai time, when the meaning of the events (if the previous year were be- ing driven into the oval office, the habit of eavesdropping was so ingrained lhal il was natural for John Ehrlichman lo suggest thai he make a recording of his confrontation with John Mitchell. As the transcripts show, Ihe Presidenl told him to go ahead and "gear up" for electronic eavesdropping, adding that he personally did not want to listen to the tape. The irony is so exquisite as to be un- bearable: Here was Ehrlichman sug- gesting thai he eavesdrop on the man accused of authorizing the Watergate eavesdropping, unaware thaf his own conversation planning to bug the bugger was being bugged. That is the triple dead heal of eavesdropping, Ihe royal flush or unas- sisted triple play, the ultimate hat trick a plol twisl 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 visitors should not surprise us, seen as the final, massive dose of the poison he had been sipping steadily for years. It was nol wrong, he fell, because it would be used for the right purposes for history, for Trulh. I am nol among those who think the President guilty of an impeachable high crime. An addiction to eavesdropping was his grievous fault, and grievously hath he already suffered for il. The man who was ready to eavesdrop lo protect the confidentiality -of his office was, in Hamlet's words, "hoist with his own pe- tard" a petard is a bomb, and this one has blown presidential coufidenlialily 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. New York Times Service As gradualion draws near, I can look back on my study of Latin and honestly say lhat 1 have learned more from il than from any other subjecl I have sludied in high school. I wish lo thank all those who have made this possible and to express my hope thai in Ihe future others will he afforded the opportunily I have had. Patrick A. Guinnane 1379 Hertz drive SE Kindness To Ihe 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 lo mankind. This has been true throughout history, but we often take Ihe 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. Wo so often regard tilings as dispensable, nr simply for our convenience, and we should all stop lo appreciate the vilal role of animal life to mankind. This letter is prompted because May 5-11 is the liOlh national Be Kind to Animals week. The observance is spon- sored by The American Humane Assn. of Denver, Col., and more than local humane agencies throughout the country. One area of emphasis Ihis year is the overpopulation of dogs and ails, and one act of kindness is to have your pet Hpuyed or neutered to prevent unwanted off- spring. Consider the fnlc of the unwant- ed. Il is anything bill kind. Murilyii Christensoii, secretary Mnn County Humane Society Auxiliary Runic li, Ml Vmiim road Artnthor Gas prices To the Edilor: As iv student al Prairie high school, I am one person who is concerned about the gas shortage. I understand lhal for a lime there really was a severe gas short- age. During that lime it seemed logical thai prices would go up. Now the President is telling us that Ihe gas com- panies will have enough gas and il won't have to bo rationed. II seems dial because Ihere will be enough gas prices should go down. Bui they don't they jnsl keep going up. I have a car and a motorcycle, and during Ihc summer I don'l mind riding Ihe motorcycle lo save gas, but in Ihc winter I'm nol aboul lo. When prices are so high I can't afford lo keep gas In my car. I also live on a farm, and II lakes a lot of gas lo farm. The President expects the tanner lo produce fond fur Ihe cnuiitry mid Instead of making money like mnsl people they lose money. We losn while the gas companies get rich, Daniel II, Serliiinsiik Huule 2, Cedar Unplda Attacking corruption of power By Tom Wicker YORK Watergate. Sen. Jacob j. Javits of New York said the other day was a "a symptom of political decadence" predictable by Lord Acton's dictum lhal "power corrupts and ab- solute power corrupts absolutely." The power of the American presidency is not absolute but it is great, and too nearly unchecked, and it has greatly corrupted Ihe office. As Javits put it, death and maiming of tens of thousands of our young in Vietnam, the Watergate scandals and Ihe shadow of impeachment are expressions of an al- mosl grotesque imbalance of power." What is to be done about that "gro- tesque imbalance of power" now residing in the presidency? The departure of Richard Nixon from (hut office, however it occurs, will nol reslore the balance. Nor can any election guarantee lhal the victor will not succumb lo the tempta- tions of power in ways more dangerous than any yet seen. In Ihis context, even impeachment docs nol serve the purpose. Impeach- ment punishes transgression, and thai is belter than Idling il go unpunished. Bui the problem is how to prevent the transgression how lo provide a syslem of checks and balances againsl abuse of !hn inevitable power of the Chief Execu- tive of one of the world's most powerful nations. Javits was instrumental in Develop- ment 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 Javits has. proposed a package of further reforms, the most notable of which is as follows: Congress would require the Presidenl lo report to it annually what steps he had taken to carry oul congressional laws and resolutions passed in the last session. He and his cabinet heads then would submil 10 queslioning by a new joinl selecl committee of both houses; and congress later would vote itself satisfied or nol with presidential actions. If not satisfied, 11 would direct what further steps il 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 Bentscn of Texas has made an interesling proposal lhat mighl largely remove politics from the jus- tice department withoul removing thai department from the reach of presiden- tial 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 stale party organization, lo the offices of at- lorney general, depuly attorney general, .assistant atlorney general or solicitor general. The atlorney general, nol the President, then would appoint U. S. at- torneys and U. S. marshals. The Hatch act, prohibiting partisan political ac- tivity, would be extended to everyone in the department of justice, from the at- torney general on down. Javits echoed a proposal of Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, to ban any form of wirclapping or bugging, without a court order. And Sen. Henry Jackson has put in a bill lo require complete ac- counting to congress by any agency en- gaging in any kind of political sur- veillance. Such surveillance would have lo be specifically juslificd by the agency involved. Tighter congressional oversight of Hie FBI and Ihc CIA and a thorough review and. if necessary, reorganization of those agencies oughl lo be underlaken. The possibilily of a seven- or nine-year fixed lerm for the FBI director, to remove him from direct presidential political control, should also he studied by congress. Such steps mighl well make secret police tac- tics all but impossible. But if congress really wants lo regain anything like equal status with Ihe presidency, the first order of business ought In be the budget reform act. Passed in differing versions by bulb, houses, and awaiting reconciliation in soiialc-house conference, this measure would al lasl provide the administrative machinery necessary for congress to play an effective part in putting together it coherent federal budget the very en- gine of Ihe government. The essential idea of both budget reform bills is lhal congress would es- tablish Its own annual budgetary ceilings, with more-or-less self-enforcing provisions for keeping Its appropriations within them, or providing Ihe addlllumil revenues lo cnwr excess spending. In Ihe fight against Inflation, as well as in the effort In restore balanced govm'iiimml III America, no single reform Is mure lin- piii'lnnl. New York 1mm
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