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Cedar Rapids Gazette: Thursday, June 6, 1974 - Page 8

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   Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - June 6, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa                                Editorial Page Nixon-hating misses boat on U.S. strength tune 6 19 How much for vefs? THE PRESIDENT and (he congress are as one in insist- ing that today's Gl bill enjoy the same educational opportunities as their post-World war II counterparts, but the similarities in proposals for improvement end abruptly there. Mr. Nixon believes an 8-percent increase in benefits would suffice; the house of representatives has voted a 13.8-percent increase: and the senate veterans affairs com- mittee has settled on an 18-percent boost (pared down from the original 25 Indeed, the President and the senate are farther apart on this one than the distance from here to Tipperary. In recent years, the senate has been better attuned to the needs of veterans than the White House. But this time evidence suggests that the senate committee's package is too generous. Cost-of- living figures show that since September, 1972 date of the last veterans benefits increase educational expenses have increased slightly over 13 percent, the very adjustment level sug- gested by the house. The house bill would raise monthly benefits to a single veteran from to com- Pmtv! with iho K37 by the President and sought by the senate committee. While the dollar differences may appear small, the gaps grow mightily ttht-n applied to all :M million UI bill participants: million in the President's recommendation and million in the house package. (No figures available for the senate proposal.) Extravagant as the senate bill seems, however, two provisions (opposed thus far by the house and administration) are worthy of adoption, an extension of the maximum duration of schooling assistance from 36 months to 43 months and the payment of tuition directly to veterans. The hitter proposal, set at a maximum of yearly, would give veterans a wider choice of schools. Ordinarily the views of the Veterans Administration are in- structive for those pondering legislation improving the lot of GIs. Because of its penurious op- position to most parts of the house bill, however, the VA should be counted out. Ford as President? Acceptable, says poll By Louis Harris The Harris Survey VICE-PRESIDENT Gerald Ford receives a 42-32 percent positive rating from the American people on the way he is handling his job. This latest result is an improvement of six points in the positive column for the vice-president since March, but is still well below the 57 percent who thought he would do a "good to excellent" job when he was named last year. Mr. Ford has been touring the country almost nonstop since he replaced Spiro rallying Republicans for the 1974 campaign. He has been walking the tightrope of trying to demonstrate his loyalty to President Nixon while at the same time trying not to be tarred by the Watergate brush. These latest findings of the Harris Survey indicate he has managed to carry off this balancing act with some success as far as the American people are concerned. The bedrock appeal of Mr. Ford can be found in the 67-6 percent who feel "he is a man of high integrity." In contrast, by 50-40 percent, Americans do not feel they can say the same about Richard Nixon. In fact, an impressive 58 percent of the public agree with the statement that "Vice-president Ford seems to be trying to be independent and to be 'his own which is good." A 43-34 percent plurality, however, is critical of him, endorsing the view that "he is too much an apologist for President Nixon on Wa- tergate." New chief wanted A 48-27 percent plurality feels that Mr. Ford "would be qualified" to take over "if President Nixon were impeached and removed from office." In fact, by 49-34 percent, the public says it would "re- spect President Nixon more if he resigned from the office of President to allow Vice-president Gerald Ford to take over as President in an act of national unity." This sentiment has grown since March, when a narrow 42-39 percent plurality felt that way. In May, a nationwide cross-section of the public 18 years of age and over was interviewed in person and was asked: "How would you rote the job Vice-president Ford is doing excellent, pretty good, only fair, or Goodoxcellenl (positive) 43 37 57 Only fair-poor (negative) 32 32 22 Not sure 25 31 21 When asked why they rated him the way they did, respondents volunteered three main attributes about the vice- president. First and foremost, there is a sigh of relief that he has "stayed out of trouble." As a 35-year-old lawyer in Saginaw, Mich., put it: "Well, he's an honest man. I'm sure of that. And that's saying a lot for a man who is serving as President or vice-president these days." Another source of credit for Mr. Ford is a feeling that he is "trying hard and doing quite given "the tough times in which he has come into office." As a housewife in Stamford, Conn., put it: "I sympathize with him because he can't bite the Nixon hand that put him there, but at the same time, he'd lose all public support if he just went out to whitewash everything Nixon has done." Still related Finally, people seem to sense that the vice-president has not burned his bridges with congress, where he spent 25 years, as many think President Nixon has done. A dentist in Akron, Ohio, said: "Any President has to have the cooperation of congress to get things done. I think Ford knows this and has been very careful to keep his old ties there. He's a smart politician in a good way." In order to test some of the most con- troversial aspects of the vice-president's personal profile, the public was asked: "Let me read you some statements that have been mode about Vice-president Ford. For each, tell me if you tend to agree or disagree (read Not Positive statements He is a man of high integrity .67 He seems to be trying to be independent and to be 'his own which is good. 58 He is gaining much experience which will help him if he has to take over as President. 63 16 21 Negative statements He is too much an apologist for President Nixon on Watergate. ,43 34 23 He is going around me country so fast, it looks as though he is running for the office of President right now. 36 35 29 He does not seem to be very smart about the issues the country is facing, 26 36 38 Basically, Gerald Ford is doing quite well with public opinion at a time when his immediate superior. President Nixon, has been in deep trouble over Watergate. The public wants to give its new vice-president the benefit of the doubt, because, increasingly, people arc beginning to fee! that he might very well be the occupant of the White Honso well before 1976. Chlcooo Tribune New York News SvnrJicote Another View By Roscoe Drummond WASHINGTON Thoio U an rational case to support those who favor the impeachment of Richard vuiuUih t.-> NOT uisv iho good-faith critics of the President hut those who aim to force him out of office by any means under any circumstances for any reason It is evident the bitter-end op- ponents of Mr. Nixon are intent iipiin impeaching him even if this means im- peaching Ihe United Stales. They are apparently willing lo harm the nation if this is the oi-.ly means of harming the President. The tactic is this: to so immobilize the President hy clamor, innuendo and cal- culated leak Ihat the demand for his resignation, before he has even been charged with any crime, will be irresis- tible. The bad-faith opponents assert and reassert the claim that the President is incapable of governing because of (he impeachment proceedings and, therefore, ought to quit before the facts are on tho record and any impeachment vine Has been taken Hepetitlon nl llns claim day after day is the device !o gel II accepted without Ihe necessity of proof It is evident that the bad-faith op- ponents of the President are prepared to i'ttt k ('I'M- (viliir of woi itl prdi c. lir- tente and nuclear arms control if they can make it impossible for the President to negotiate with either friend or adver- sary. Arthur Schlesinger, jr., a speechwriter for President John Kennedy and a fine historian, seems willing to demean his talents hy writing partisan piffle plead- ing that congress do something quickly lo prevent the President from "wander- ing around the world in a transparent effort to shore up a crumhlini; political position at home. Roscoe DlUIYHilGfni Is this !a< !i( guing to foal thi? American people even any of the time? I think most Americans will see through it and perceive that these impeach-the- President-at-any-eost advocates are prepared to put the United States on a leash if that is the only way to put (he President on a leash And this at the very moment when Nixon policies and Nixon initiatives, begun early in his administration, have brought: An end to Ihe fighting in the Middle An announced trip by the President to both Israel and the Arab nations to hi-lp lui-ii tiuci- into permanent peace An imminent second useful I'.S smiel summit m An end to the long, economically perilous trade dispute between the Unit- ed States and the European Common Market through which European import duties on billion in American exports yearly will In- reduced. This is some of Ihe work which those who want lo Impeach first and ask ques- tions afterward are recklessly willing to risk to serve their partisan ends. The heads of state who are eager to discuss and negotiate with Mr. Nixon are not thinking of the weakness of the President but of Ihe strength of the United States and isn't that what we should all be thinking about? I Anaeies S.'mlirntr Capital punishment: Can its return be justified? t CTTTHAT IT all boils down said VVsen. John L. McClellan (D-Ark.) during senate debate nn the bill, "is whether it is ever 'just' to impose the death penalty. Can man ever be found to have acted so viciously, so cruelly, so much like an animal as to justify society imposing upon him the ultimate punish- ment? I firmly believe he can." Some, crimes are so heinous, McClellan said, that the person committing them forfeits his right to life. He continued: "They have merited the clearest statement that such inhuman action cannot and will not be tolerated. Nothing less will provide ample protec- tion for the innocent, or ensure a safe society." Concern for human life is central to arguments on both sides of the issue, noted Glen D. King, director of informa- tion services for the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police. But "the logic which urges an abolition of the death penalty in the interest of human life is more ap- parent than he said. "I am con- vinced that ultimately abolition of capital punishment would result in a much greater loss of human life than its reten- tion." In some circumstances, continued King, "this act of the utmost gravity is not only justified but is demanded, and violations can be committed which are so reprehensible that no other form of punishment is suitable." A similar choice was set forth by Er- nest Van Den Haag, adjunct professor of social philosophy at New York univer- sity: "We may execute without thereby adding to deterrence and vainly sacrifice the life of the executed murderer. But if we fail to execute, we may have failed to add the deterrent that might have prevented prospective murderers from engaging in murder. We may therefore have been sacrificing the lives of victims who might have been spared, had we executed the convicted man. People's forum Backtalk To HIP Editor: Nothing ever presented on radio or TV oiuld beat the live performance brought to us by KXIO radio from tho .Johnson county board of supervisors meeting on a recent Wednesday morning. For the benefit of those who were un- able to listen, Mr. .Joe Xajicck brought an unpopular matter before I he hoard and was treated with unbelievable rudeness by Mr. Burns, who butted in constantly while Mr. Zajicek was trying to explain his complaint. Only Mr. Zajieek's strung voice kept him from being forced to re- treat. Finally. Mr. Hunts in a derisive manner told Mr. Zujicek to go ahead and talk because lie listening anyway Then, without any basis nf fact. Mr. Burns accused Chairman Bartol of hav- ing planned the whole affair. This was certainly an eye-opener as to who starts all the we've heard so mueli about in the past. Concerning Mr. recommen- dation that the board of health lie dis- solved, does lie not have, a point? When did the power of the hoard of health supersede that of the board of super- visors? Are we to believe Ilial this fellow Hums is actually asking the voters of Johnson county to return him to office again'' If By Congressional Quarterly WASHINGTON Two years after the supreme court struck down laws allowing capital punishment, the death penalty has reappeared in more than half the states. And the debate over its wis- dom is as complex and emotional as ever. The 5-4 ruling, announced June 29, 1972, did not impose an absolute ban on death sentences in the United States. It simply found that the laws which then allowed that sentence gave so much discretion to those who imposed it that it was resulting in irrational and arbitrary sentences, amounting to "cruel and unusual punishment" in violation of the Eighth Amendment. But only two of the justices said they felt that the death penalty under any circumstances was unconstitutional. Nullified by this decision were the death penalty laws of 39 states and the death sentences of 631 persons awaiting execution. But soon many of these states were at work on new laws. Florida, where 102 persons were on Death Row when the supreme court ruled, was the first to pass a new law; it went into effect Dec. 8, 1972. As of mid- May 1974, 27 other states enacted new death penalty laws. And, in March 1974, the senate approved a bill that would allow the death penalty for certain federal crimes. As of early June, the house had not acted on the measure. Central to the controversy over capital punishment is the issue of its double- edged effect: Does it degrade those who impose it more than it deters those whom it threatens? Should the United States have a death penalty at all? Both sides' opinions follow. The Gazette's opinion Disrespect both ways THE HISTORY, the practices and moral codes of nearly all societies reflect no overriding value on the people's part for human life as such. War and the death penalty for crime testify to values counted as superior to the lives of certain individuals, notably of enemy aliens and obnoxious criminals. Therefore it is not very persuasive to argue against capital punishment on grounds that it is inhumane, degrades human life or mars the dignity of man. Neither does it score well to argue the issue on grounds of deterrence that a death for a death dissolves the homicidal urge. If that were the key, Minnesota devoid of capital punishment since 1904 might logically qualify as Murder Capital of the United States. Instead, it had the nation's seventh lowest murder rate in 1972. In fact, six of the 10 lowest murder rates in the nation that year belonged to states that still outlaw the penalty of death. Wherever life's value and the dignity of man belong in this equation either for the wronged or those who do the wrong this much is inescapable: When society takes the life of a taker of life, it manifests the same kind of devaluation (despite the better motives) that the criminal did in his crime. As long as that example lasts, murder will remain as commonplace as capital punishment. so. would it not be reasonable to suggest to anyone wishing to approach the board in the future to enter the room carrying a whip and a chair? This was indeed a spectacle of which nn elected official should be proud. A. B. Mutchler Inwa Ciiy School support TII the Editor: A reply is required In the May 'JS letter nf four students responding to the failure "I the school bond issue. Admittedly, the failure poses a number of questions. However, I am unable In decipher a con- structive answer in their comments. A superficial and cursory investigation of a vexing problem can result in an in- temperate and emotional reaction. Such a reaction associated with sarcasm and antagonism does little In solve anything. Such reaction will normally be answered in kind and in that direction there is only conflict for ils own sake. Tolerance and understanding do not (time with age but rather through knowledge. Pride based upon physical appearance aloue is pride which is a mere veneer. The well-kept school is not only the product of a bond issue. In fuel, unless today's youih js totally changed. Hie condition nl a school is more related In use, and years are not necessarily the sole vandal. The students' parents know that money is not everything. Our educational sys- tem is proof of Ihiil. but try to stisliiin it Hlllioul funds. Their parents nlsn know the value of a good educational system how far would it have gotten without their moral and monetary support? .John Newton wrote. "Do not say. Un- people must be educated, when, after all, you only mean amused, refreshed, soothed, put into good spirits and good humor, or kept from vicious i-xcesses." Is he nn point here and now? The measure of young people's educa- tion, knowledge and wisdom is yet to conic1. It is the hope of their parents and Ihis community that they are up to the task, and that is reason enough not to let either our educational system or the iunior high schools deleriorate further. Mathew P. Xieiiuger K'l'l Twenty-seventh street NE Respected To Hie Kditor: The recent resignation of Dr. Diehard Sorensen as superintendent of the Marion Independent school district has prompt- ed the Marion Education Assn. to request ils executive council In draft a letter which would publicly honor and Iliank Dr. Snrensen. He lias been all active member of our association at the local, district and slate levels anil has held high positions in Mir government of these Sorensen served as president of the casl-ccnlral district and as a member of the state executive board of the ISKA. In these positions he has worked dillgenlly for conditions that would enhance the educational opportunities for children nil over the stale of Iowa, not just Ihose in Marion. trrn -L must treat its members with re- spect for their intrinsic worth as human wrote supreme court Justice William J. Brennan, jr., in his 1972 opinion on the death penalty. Brennan was one of the two justices who spoke out for the abolition of capital punishment altogether. "The calculated killing of a human being by the state in- volves, by its very nature, a denial of the executed person's humanity (and) is uniquely degrading to human dignity." The other justice who took this position was Thurgood Marshall, who described the court's 1972 decision as "a major milestone in the long road up from bar- barism." The barbaric aspects of capital punishment were emphasized in 1971 by Jack Greenberg of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Greenberg later argued one of the cases that brought the 1972 supreme court ruling. In its irrationality the death penalty resembled "ritual human he said earlier. "The sheer lunacy of deliberately taking the life of a caged man, who can be kept caged forever, causes wonder at what the death penalty is all about." Even before the U. S. supreme court acted, the California supreme court had held that state's death penalty law un- constitutional. In its opinion, it warned that "the dignity of man, the individual and society as a whole is today demeaned by our continued practice of capital punishment. nevertheless, it is in- compatible with the dignity of an enlight- ened society to attempt to justify the taking of life for purposes of vengeance." To reinstate capital punishment, warned Sen. Harold E. Hughes (D-Iowa) during senate debate on its bill in early 1974, is to take "a long voyage into the night of the past an incredible retreat to a barbaric mode of punishment. It may satisfy our anger to take a life for a life, but what does it Congressional Quarterly The Marion Education Assn. wishes the patrons of the district to know of their great respect for Dr. Sorensen as a professional educator and of their grati- tude to him lor guiding the staff in providing an excellent program for the youth in our district. It is with regret thai we lose a qualified, efficient, dedicated and res- pected school administrator. Tom Gallagher, president 3401 E avenue Zoo backed To the Editor: I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the llawkeye Zoological Society. Several months ago, it initialed an "animal of the month" program. which included my first-grade class at Bowman Woods elementary school. A Society representative, Hev Hongron. each month chose an animal which was somewhat unfamiliar and interesting In most children in this area. She brought it in for them to sec and learn about. On her last visit, she brought Hit- entire and the children were so fas- cinated they talked about it for days. Our area's need for a 700 became more ap- parent to me us I saw how Iho children benefiled from first-hand understanding of different animal ways. I certainly thank and suppnrl Hie Ilawkeyt! Zoological Society In ils efforts In establish a In the Cedar Itaplds Mrs, Sleven Scon 1H2H Park Towne l.iine NE   

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