Cedar Rapids Gazette, May 22, 1974, Page 6

Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette May 22, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - May 22, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (th? (ttfcRir I^npttbFighting back against teil-all computers Editorial Page Wedn«vikjy Woy 22, 1974 NUM Slapping down ransom? PROMPTED BV the sickening Hearst case and a plague of other big-splash kidnapings lately. a bill to prohibit the payment rtf ransom has gone into the mill for congressional study. It has early earmarks of a cure that makes the illness worse. The argument fur anti-ransom legislation is that a criminal would be slower to act on kidnap plans when he knows the victim's family can’t legally pay off. Supposedly the lower prospect of reward would cancel some of the crimes that people now commit, expecting heavy hauls of loot. Realistically, the chances are that seldom will a shrewd criminal mind accommodate that hope. A no-pay law, if anything, might actually encourage rather than deter. Families overwhelmingly concerned with getting back a loved one would be forced to disregard police entirely, make the deal alone and lose the help that law enforcement agents now provide. The seasoned criminal will sense this leverage and exploit it, not lay off. A law that regulates the victims of a crime (ransom payers) so that they too criminally break a law by yielding to such a threat also goes against the principles of simple .justice. On top of that, most kidnaped persons’ chances for release unhurt would not improve one bit thereby. The ran* som-ban idea should be dropped Another possible response to kidnap-wave activity, however, does deserve consideration now by congress. This is a proposal to prohibit by federal law the acceptance of money or goods known to be a ransom payment. The gobbled-up food handout in the Hearst case brought it up. Already an item of federal law (title 18, section 1201 of the U S. Code) provides: Whoever receives, possesses or disposes of any money or any other property, or any portion thereof, which has at any time been delivered as ransom or reward in connection with viola tion of sec 1201 of this title (kidnaping), knowing the same to be money or property which has been at any time delivered as such ransom or reward, shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than I 0 years or both. North Carolina's Senator Helms at one point queried Attorney General Sax be as to whether this statute could cover the Hearst giveway. If Saxbe answered, the response seems inconclusive. But if it is right under the law as it stands for outsiders to accept and use kidnap loot at somebody else's expense, by any respectable standard of justice it is still wrong to profit that way from a crime. The law should make this clear beyond a doubt, without delay. Stimulating the arts AS PART of a seed-money venture being launched nationwide by the new Associated Councils of the Arts, the Cedar Rapids-Marion Fine Arts Council’s head man reportedly is planning to mail-solicit the $15-a-year contribution from about HK) people in this area. That sounds like a fine idea, except for one thing: The opportunity to join as “advocates of the arts” should go to possibly ten times as many people here. As Executive Director Dave Spatola rightly observes, Cedar Rapids has developed rn outstanding cultural climate for a community of this size. Attendance and participation both are on the rise for many activities offered by arts-related groups: concerts, art exhibits and fairs, theatrical and dance performances — the whole fine arts gamut. Good qualities of life, in terms of sheer enjoyment and appreciation on the part of thousands who partake, accordingly have grown impressively in recent years. The newly organized support campaign for this sort of movement nationally can only enhance programs    gaining strength in our own front yard. Considering the modest input being asked, it would seem possible to top the hundred-level many times among the patron-rosters alone of the Art Association, Cedar Rapids Symphony, Community Concerts program, Community theater clientele and allied cultural strongholds. If local interest in the national approach can reach the scale that underlying cultural enthusiasm seems to show, in fact, a strictly local contributive venture encompassing all the arts might well run parallel to that. A small-gift opportunity that taps the potential obviously here could take long steps toward the universal arts objectives of better and more.Isnt it the truth? By Carl Bible* \r We sin, and the preachers tell us that we aren’t sorry enough because we invariably go and sin some more. Making regrets for a bad or naughty deed is something like the pain we get from striking the crazy bone in our elbow — sharp and short The best part of repentance is the sinning —Arab proverb interOcean *-'i,e« Syndicate Comediennes problem Ugly-funny lib-out?By Don Oakley AS IF TUHY didn t have enough to answer for already, male chauvinists are responsible for something else — the fact that female cornus have to play the role of ugly ducklings in order to get laughs So claims one woman who has made a study of the situation The leading comediennes “base much of their material ort the premise that they are unattractive women although in fact none of th* rn is ugly." writes author Ann Niet/ke in Human Behavior magazine By contrast, male comics don’t have to be concerned about their appearances, she says. They can go on and on about how ugly their wives or girlfriends are. just as if they themselves were handsome prizes, but the comediennes have to make themselves as unattractive as possible or talk about themselves as if they were the homeliest creatures iii the world who can't get or hold a manDonOakley When and if “women become liberated from matrimony as a central goal of their existence.’’ says Ms. Nietzke, nun ti of the material of the comediennes will become irrelevant. This is probably true, and the funny girls had best make hay while tin* male chauvinist sun shines, .lust about everyone today agrees that the goal of the feminist liberation movement should Im* to free women from cultural stereotypes and give them the right to choose to marry or not marry, to pursue a career or not pursue a career, to have children or riot have children — and riot have to apologize to it One thing the critics of male domination tend to overlook however, is the fact that men are even more biologically locked into their traditional roles than ar*- women Sure. they can choose to be truck drivers or business executives and maybe, in th** future, they can even choose to Im* “househusbands But until such time as medical science enables males to Im-ar children, there will never b*- such a thing as true equality of choice between th*' sexes, ( nill that day arrives, laughing at “ugly comediennes may be tine of the I«*w remaining prerogatives men will have a tiniit r t nte* ur isfc Asw Kj* onBy Tom Wicker c kJ in Sweden, the truth about his tax deductions and payments would have been known as soon as he filed his return By tradition and law, just about every public document hero in open to anyone who wants to see it. whether it concerns him or not. That is one reason why the Swedish government is pushing ahead with a unique plan to control computer data banks The tapes, discs and other exotic equipment bv which data can he stored in computers are now considered “documents’’ by Swedish courts Computers, moreover, are as common as aquavit and almost as powerful, in this country of skilled technology and vast social programs Imagine what a godsend the computer revolution must have been to the health service agency that has to keep records on sick pay and other benefits for virtually every one of the H I million Swedes And since aggressive Swedish businessmen can get these “documents from the* government just for the asking, private computer registers have proliferated, too Serialized Sweden and the1 computer were made for each other in another way — the personal number that every Swede acquires at birth thereafter identifies him on everything from signed dinner tabs to his most important transactions. These numbe rs make it a simple matter to cross-reference any number of computer registers and compile a mass of detail on any Swede — in fact, on practically all Swedes Nobody seemed to be paying much attention until 197(1 — the year the national census was fully computerized and the government announced that the taped records would tie sold to anyone who wanted to buy That created something of an uproar. just as proposals were being made in parliament for the* big brother of them all — a single national computer register to compile and keep updated all available data on every citizen Parliament finally backed away from that one and created. instead, a commission to look into the matter of personal registers and the threat to privacy The best estimates are that there may already be as many as 5.(Kill to IO.00(1 personal registers, public and private, in operation in Sweden Some estimates run up to 50.000, taking into account, say . every businessman’s payroll that may be handled by computer That, of course, is a form of data register or data bank; so is a newspaper’s circulation list. if it is stored in a computer. Most registers, by themselves, are not a threat to anyone, or even a nuisance; but if all the data on them all were combined iii a master register, no one can Insure what consequences might follow The idea of privacy might well disappear Some of th** Swedish registers already are massive, and not just those of th** government social agencies The tax authority has a mass of data on every Swede’s income and wealth Direct mail advertisers can flood th** country with a mailing, or pinpoint widowers without dependents, or pubes*-ent girls, or people with hearing problems or flat feet. Some officials worry that a foreign flower could make shrewd use of a computer list of. say, retired military men with heavy divorce payments to make. Watchdogging Last July, as the first result of the parliamentary committee's report, a Data Inspection Board was created On July I of this year, it will assume sweeping powers over privately owned personal registers and strong advisory responsibilities to government registers. The board will administer what is believed hen* to Im1 the first national law governing the application of automatic data processing to personal information. Its first task will Im1 to register, inspect and license existing “personal registers” — any index, list or other notes stored m a computer and containing personal data about identifiable peopleTomWicker After July I, anyone wanting to establish a new personal register will hav** to be licensed by the data board Both for existing and new registers, th*' board will be entitled to issue strong directives as to how the register may Im- used, what data may Im* collected, who can have access to it, whether persons registered iii the file must b«* informed, and how data must bo stored, weeded out and safeguarded The law mandates complete access for the board to any personal register, and even allows the board to deny the establishment of a register, or to order one closed Some of the other provisions of the Swedish data act are as follows • Only government agencies sn cm powered by law can collect data on criminal records, psychiatric records, diseases or alcoholism, or reception of social welfare benefits • Churches and political parties can keep lists of their members, otherwise, religious and political affiliations may not he listed in any register • Individuals may inspect their own files m any register on demand once a year, force corrections of inaccuracies or incomplete data and collect money damages for any injury done them bv the circulation of inaccurate or incomplete information • The data board will designate a “responsible keeper’ for any personal Lady Godiva rides again register The keeper will he liable to criminal charges if he violates the rules laid down for his register — bu example, if he supplies information to anyone he lias reason to suspect will us*' ll illegally • lf a register is to be closed, the data board vvill decide what to do with the information it contains • With its right of inspection, th** data board also can act as a sort of ombudsman for complaining citizens, and has great power to order redress of legitimate grievances and complaints Government cloud All tins applies with force unusual in Swedish law lo privately owned personal registers — the massive ones, for instance. now operated bv direct mail aud advertising firms ll is not so clear what powers the hoard has iii relation to government registers, which ar** th** biggest and perhaps the most dangerous potentially The board can inspect government registers and make recommendations; it must bo “consulted" before new government registers arc established But it cannot direct other government agencies and force compliance (liven the general civility of Swedish institutions, however, and parliament’s declared interest in controlling excesses in personal data processing, officials believe the data board will have great impact tin government-rogistor operations At least Sweden is making a start in a field withot real precedent. The United States and most other computer countries ar** inst beginning to study Hi*' problem. People's forumDoctors’ • •timing To the Editor I would like to comment on Joyce Hcisler’s letter (Forum. May 12). Although I can understand her irritation upon hav mg to wait in her doctor’s office. I feel there is another side to the problem. I believe that sh**, as well as many others who tend to Im1 impatient, fail to realize that scheduling in a doctor’s office is very difficult. It take-, only one or two emergency-type situations to easily throw scheduling off for an hour or more, and this does not include time scheduled for simple problems which when checked by til** doctor are found to in* more complex. I don’t believe anyone involved in the situation is at all happy when things ar** running way l>ehind schedule, but if this is th** case there ar** always valid reasons in the office of a busy doc tor There are simply mon* people to be seen than there Clairvoyance on campus are time slots iii the day, and lier case is a perfect example of how this can happen. An illness which arises suddenly and needs immediate attention should not Im* put off It is a good doctor's office in which people in this type of situation are not put off for days so that it will be more convenient. I'm sun* her ease and situation was very likely not the only extra case her doctor worked in that day because immediate attention was needed, even if it meant that in* had to run a little faster to get it all done and that he would most likely eat supper hours later at the end of a busy day I think he and many other fine doctors in Cedar Rapids are to be commended for taking tim** to make certain their patients get proper car** when they need it Kathy Peeples Tenth street SUSymbolic To the Edit*>r One of til*' most basic and vital concepts ol a democratic society is freedom of speech and of the press Taken for granted arni often abused, this freedom has nonetheless been of immeasurable value in propagating our system of government. Like any powerful tool, it is extremely beneficial when used constructively However, when it is used to defame and vilify tile President of tile United States. it can in* just as powerful a tool in undermining the very system it has helped build Most of what has been reported on Watergate is factual and unbiased criticism of the transgressions by our President. His ability to effectively govern our country has been eroded to the point where resignation or impeachment now seem justified. However, ii** still represents the highest and most powerful office in America and is not a buffoon who should bt* subjected to open vituperation by til** press, television, and sic k cartoonists and comedians. The connotations involved go beyond the misdeeds of President Nixon. They retied portentously on the dignity and esteem of the office itself The leader of any country can ii** superseded. hut it is the office which is symbolic of the system and this symbol will live on long after the man himself is gone Dave Bradley -MJI Blairs Ferry road NE Shoutdown comprehended well By William F. Buckley, jr. IS THERE A greater tov on earth than th*' J 9-year-old who sees things as they are, writes about them with til*' quiet authority of a professional, and seasons his commentary with the wit and urbanity of the humanist '’ The following cam*' in as a letter from a sophomore at Yah* university I commend it to all who despair of American youth, and tile author. Richard Brookhiser. to editors looking for writers from tile class of I * ♦ 7 *; • How glad I was to see von pm the liberal label on Shockley. When I first spirted thinking of Shockley as a liberal, it sec tilt'd Ilk*1 little more than a clever and infuriating paradox, lait now Urn convinced there’s nothing paradoxical about it Let Shot kley speak for himself I ii*' voting citizens of til*' United States * ,in and should endeavor to make their government formulate programs st* that every bain born has high probability of leading a dignified, rewarding, and satisfying life (This was on one of his pass-outs I 'I he debate Hsell I at Yale university) was a dream. I ate with the contestants beforehand at Mory s Service was its usual JU minutes late I wondered what sh*** kl* v thought of the black waiter. wood*'red. a little guiltily, what I thought ol th*' Ilia* k waiter; then dashed over to the auditorium and snuck iii a side door The next hour and a half was pisl Ilk** a high sellout basketball gam*' with one id* no gam*' and *friIx lh*' refs to bo** \botit JU minutes into it, people started appearing iii lh** windows A friend sot ten feet above my head screaming Sh*** 'kiev Nazi' Shock lev Nazi" then looked down. soul "Iii Kirk' ami began s< reaming again My conservative friends paced aux* William F. Buckley, jr. musly back arui forth, conferred with Hic moderator, made blistering statements to the press Some of th*' liberals got pretty blistered too One guv (I heard he was a Vietnam Veteran Xgamst the War), got up arui began saying “Brothers and sisters” and ended shouting I have as much disrespect for tins crowd as I do for Shockley!*’ It was rn* us*', ho couldn’t Im* heard beyond tho first row The Party for Workers power, or some other comic-opcra organization, had a huge banner hanging from the bu I conv (hie kid pimped through tim w indows and was promptly hustled off Outside, you *mild see cameras flashing Ilk*' noiseless lightning After 90 minutes there was a louder cheer than usual - a bullhorn appeared at one til the w indows V this point, the university called ll oil I lie campus police Ii ii st I «‘<| the speakers" off the stage, ti reg Hyatt, the moderator aud a good friend, waved id (tu* crowd They stuck around for about la minutes, iis most crowds at basketball games do ripping down th*' tither team's posters Someone got lip oil a chilli' <111*1 said they should make sure Shockley loaves Yale — iis though vv*- were going to hide him and then unleash lulu iii the Swiss Room .it J o clock iii the moi lung Out side. an ic** cream truck had parked iii front of Woolscy Hall and was making a killing Capitalism, at least, was alive and well I learned that th*' Young Christian Fellowship had been out too. singing hymns “Whose side were they on ’” Someone shrugged “Cod s." The crowd was already melting into tho night, like little waves I kicked the iron fence in front of Berzelius fur about five minutes, then went back to my room II feels bad, not the least because we had to do it for Shockley ll is not pleasant defending th** rights of some whose ideas you condemn and abhor I felt sullied, I thought Y AU < Young Americans for Freedom) was sullied; I thought Mon s was sullied And ii feels had on the purely childish level, because I can never respond They could bring (Jus ll.ill tomorrow, and I hop** I would picket, and I certainly hop** I would pass out leaflets denouncing him. but I could not shout him down — because I have my asinine principles to worry about But H feels bad. most o| all, because I saw anti people, supposedly th*' brightest iii inv generation, panicked by ail idea It feels bud hearing friends, for whoso opinions of Spense! aud Beckett I have nothing hut awe, using Hie arguments of Hi*' timid Inquisitor to prove that Shockley shouldn’t speak at Yale Aud ii von ic ilia! elitist (aud von must, Im* something ol an Hills! to have wanted to collie I*. Val*-) - if you’re elitist enough to insist that “the public” isn’t mature enough to hoar Mio* kiev debated alg! refuted, then all the more reason why the elite should I*** absolutely dour about their convictions and that'comes only from having them challenged and debuted WosStnuli ’■Iii. ‘.yuan .tit- ;

  • Carl Bible
  • Dave Bradley
  • Dave Spatola
  • Don Oakley
  • Kathy Peeples
  • Richard Brookhiser
  • William F. Buckley
  • Woolscy Hall

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Issue Date: May 22, 1974

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