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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - November 30, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Veto Editorial Page Saturday, November 30, 1974 When police pursue Concerned over an inordinate number of high-speed chases and resulting damage to several po- lice vehicles, Cedar Rapids Chief of Police LaPeters is checking the motor vehicle pursuit policies of police departments in other cit- ies. The research is a good idea. It should supplement knowledge LaPeters has gained in several previous supervisory stints. 'It should also indicate whether chase-related accidents here are running higher than the norm for like-sized cities of similar popu- lation density. In the meantime, however, the chief says his inclination is to let officers decide whether to pursue fleeing suspects or abandon the chase. That route, in our layman's view, is the only realistic way to go. Choosing whether to chase down another driver lickety-split through town requires the exact brand of intuition needed in de- ciding how to respond to an om- inous "trouble unknown" call. Are there signs of aggravated criminal activity? Will the public be served better by catching up with suspected malefactqrs now? Or should one opt to let the pursued driver escape, perhaps to cause greater harm fGrther down the road? It takes an experienced, well- trained individual to sense the nearly ethereal warning signals. Some have the knack. Some will acquire it later. Others the bullheaded in particular may never catch on. As any officer will attest, no two set of cir- cumstances are identical. So it would make no sense whatever for police here to have a set list of do's and don'ls gov- erning vehicle pursuit. All the public can expect is that officers place public safety above all else. Only finely-honed instincts can provide that service. The need for good judgment cannot be overstated. Indeed, the decision to chase or fall back can be more critical than the choice of firing a gun at a felon. Unless discharged as a "warning shot" (unwise, in most the bullet is not likely to harm any- one other than the criminal target. But a speeding auto can endanger anyone on or near the traveled right-of-way. They're off again (way off) As if the ordinary people in a politics-obsessed republic had no greater passion than knowing who will run for President two years hence, the nation's accommodat- ing pollsters regularly undertake to test the wind. Just as they did it four years ago for the 1972 elec- tion, so they have done it this month for the one on tap in '76. The process customarily turns out to be an exercise in relative futility so far as solid forecasting goes. Even so it tends to be instructive in a few ways not in- tended. One impressive item on that score from the renewal is the way the field changes each time out. The Harris Survey, for exam- ple, took a reading on 11 Demo- cratic "possibles" at this stage of the shape-up four years ago and on 18 so-called contenders right now. (Democrats both times have provided the only suspense in the matter.) From last time to this one, only four names carried over: Edmund Muskie, George McGovern, Walter Mondale and Birch Bayh. Gone from the 1970 stable are Edward Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, John Lindsey, Sargent Shriver, Ramsey Clark, John Gardner and Harold Hughes. Newly programmed, in addition to the carryovers, are George Wallace, Eugene McCarthy, John Glenn, Henry Jackson, William Proxmire, Morris Udall, E.G. Brown, jr., Jimmy Carter, Reubin Askew, Hugh Carey, Terry San- ford, Lloyd Bentsen, Dale Bump- ers and Daniel Walker. (Among the last nine, plus Mondale and Bayh, 56 to 80 percent of the pub- lic confesses too much unfamiliar- ity to make a choice. One person in eight, it is also worth noting, conceded equal ignorance about the Democrat who actually head- ed the ticket in '72.) One is tempted to lament, considering these kinds of line- ups, that no outstanding individu- als in any line of "work but politics ever get into the act. As a practi- cal matter, however, there is probably no hope for outside blood: Professionals who run the show and name the cast will never short of miracle or mad- ness go for anyone who never graced a ballot. and proved that he has the most requisite talent of all: garnering votes. Maybe the pollsters could conjure an earthquake by listing some able outsiders along with the ones holding office and see how they rate side by side. Even though professionals would never go for anything so wild, the peo- ple just might. People's forum Bus praise To the Editor: Of the many wonderful programs put into effect for the elderly, the retired and the physically handicapped by so many public-spirited groups and citi- zens, the city and county programs for senior citizens bus service and "SEATS" rank right up there at the top. I've never taken the SEATS bus, because I've had no occasion to go out- side the county, but I've taken the buses for the elderly many times on errands in the city. I am more than pleased with the efficient, reliable, prompt service given by both the drivers and the wom- en who handle the telephones. The drivers are not only courteous but pleasant and very accommodating, I'll recite an example, as I don't be- lieve many of the elderly have taken these buses to know just how efficient they are. The bus picked me up and let me off at the west-side Peoples bank. I went to Claxdin's pharmacy tn pick up medications which I'd ordered in adv- ance. Then I returned to the front of the hank building, where the bus picked me up and took me to the main library. I [licked up my books, and then the bus liickcd me up and returned me home. I was gone exactly one hour for these three trips and errands a cost of 20 cents a trip, three trips. Can anyone top this? These buses are a godsend to those of us who have foot, leg, knee and other problems which prevent us from stand- ing and walking too much at a time. And for the many of us who have the problem of trying to make a penny do the work of 100 pennies. I liken these buses to Rolls Royces driven by one's private chauffeurs the poor man's luxury, his dream come true. Also, I wish to remind the many who don't know that if one is held up on an appointment and can't keep the time set for a bus to come again, all one has to do is notify the bus office. The people in charge will change the time to a later one. So one doesn't have to worry when the doctor, the dentist or someone else holds one's appointments up. I hope this program is never dis- continued. Mrs. Wilbur C. Miller, sr. 51fi 1 avenue NW Fairness? To the Editor: Is it fair to condemn an innocent man through the laws of Linn county when he knows he is right? I was sent til court on a larceny charge. People have convicted me when I know I'm innocent. Is it fair? Jim Nichols 1206 Fifth avenue SE Exposure helps, hurts Protest clouds student records By William F. Buckley, jr. The administrators of many of the country's colleges and universities are these days grateful for their long experi- ence in the civil disobedience of their students. They are preparing something of the sort in protest against the pro- mulgation of the so-called Buckley amendment. The amendment took effect last Tuesday, having earlier this year been tacked on to the omnibus education subsidy bill at the urging of the sainted junior senator from New York, Mr. James L. Buckley. The rider is known as the "Family educational rights and privacy act of 1974." It passed as a result of one of those infrequent and felicitous conjunctions of right- and left-wing pressure. Mr. Buckley, desiring to protect the privacy of students, found himself in the same camp with the American Civil Liberties Union, which desires the same thing. Usually the ACLU desires that kind of thing in order to protect people from being prosecuted, or convicted. Senator Buckley desires it in order to protect students from wandering around the country for the rest of their lives with a hidden albatrqss around their neck hostile information, of a factual or eval- uative nature, that is often available to almost anyone who wants to look at the file except the man the file describes. The rider gives to the parents of students in primary and secondary schools the right to inspect these files, to protect their children against malice, and otherwise to respect their privacy. At the college level, the bill permits college students to march into the rele- vant offices and demand to see their files. Now there are some very good argu- ments against Senator Buckley's rider. It is true for instance that a teach- er, asked to give a recommendation to a college senior for review by the admis- sions board of a graduate school, is not William F. Buckley, jr. Food control To the Editor: Pope Paul VI was unfairly under- quoted in your Nov. 17 editorial. The Wanderer, St. Paul Minn., quoted fur- ther: "It is inadmissible thai those who have control of the wealth and resources of mankind should try to solve the problems of hunger by forbidding the poor to be born or by leaving to die of hunger children whose parents do not fit into the framework of theoretical plans based on pure hypothesis about man- kind's future that civilization places too much emphasis on industrial and technical solutions and too little on hu- man values almost to the total abandon- ment of agriculture." There is a food shortage not a food crisis. The Nixon-Kissinger administra- tion paid U. S. farmers over a period of five years at least billion more not to grow grain than it would have cost to buy the grain and give it to the needy. So now Kissinger threatens the world with a Food Security Council, controlled like the U. N. Security Council, by a small clique of powerful nations. It's not hard to see what pressure such a council could bring to bear on countries which disagreed with U. N. policies. Charles Monrn, a Canadian farmer and head of the International federation of Agriculture Producers, stated that at no time during preparation of the World Food Conference had any farmers been consulted, and he had not been able to likely to bo so candid if he thinks there is a chance that the student he is de- scribing will himself be reviewing the professor's recommendation. Or consider the parent who sends his boy to a prep school to which said par- ent has been donating gymnasiums or whatever for a generation. Suddenly he discovers that the headmaster's letter to Harvard discreetly advises Harvard that the young man is a pain in the behind, and ought not to be admitted into the company of civilized people. There goes the hockey rink. Indeed, the resistance of the college administrators is in the classic mode: Interpret the law, if possible, ludicrous- ly. Thus Mr. Albert B. Fitt, legal ad-, viser to Yale university, has said with- out one gathers cracking a smile, that under the new act, "grades may no longer be sent to parents." This because the act specifies that no data from the files may be sent to anyone without the students' consent, and Mr. Fitt is here suggesting that the students woujd deny knowledge of their grades to their par- ents. That is, of course, the way to torpedo a bill: Treat it the way Hugo Black and William Douglas treat the Bill of Rights, i.e. stretch it into incoherence. The trouble is, there is much that is correct in the objections to the act as it now stands. First and most obvious, congress Target unperceived shouldn't trespass ex post facto on ar- rangements arrived at legally, and in good faith. There are millions of recom- mendations on file that .were elicited on the representation that they would be held confi'dential. It is not right that any law should superordinate itself over the arrangements reached between college admissions offices, and persons writing letters of recommendations. Clearly, then, the law's focus should be prospective, rather than retroactive, and one would think that a simple clar- ification by congress, or by HEW with the tacit consent of Mr. Buckley would limit the students' rights to fu- ture files. And these would presumably be collected differently. Colleges would use a standard form and decline to solicit the advice of oth- ers except upon waiver, by the student, of any future right to examine that rec- ommendation. Surely the logical thing for the admissions officer to do, after weighing the evaluation of the student, would be to destroy the letter, to avoid strategic miscarriages of justice. What you have is a classic dilemma. Whatever happens, somebody loses something. When confronted with such dilemmas, the rule should be: Weigh in on the side of the individual, over against the bureaucracy. This Senator Buckley sought to do. His bill needs fine tuning, but it is correctly pitched. Fist-shake futility By Jim Fiebig I remember once as a kid sitting in a darkened theater and being pelted with candy throughout an entire Tarzan movie by an unseen assailant. Not knowing who was to blame mjdi.- it twice as frustrating. The American grocery shopper today is in the same irritating predicament. During the first nine months of this year, the market-basket cost of food has risen more than it did in all of 1973, and the culprit is nowhere in sight. With the farmers claiming innocence on one end and the supermarket chains on the other, we are left helplessly shak- ing our fists at some elusive, undefined culprit in between. obtain even a copy of the preliminary proceedings. He stated delegates "as- sume that food is a product of politi- cians speeches and big business opera- tors." Two IFAP leaders from Niger and Cameroon warned in 1971 about Sa- hara encroachment on their land but no one listened. One wonders what employes of the U. N. Fodd and Agricul- ture Organization has been up to all these years. A booklet, "Things To made available to journalists of the food conference, pictures a supermarket cart of goodies alongside a peasant scratch- ing the dry earth. The explanation re- fers to the disappearance of grain re- serves without mentioning deliberate idling of American land, and the tre- mendous price rises without mention of the secret Russian wheat deal. Then the. booklet states everything seems to have gone wrong at once. Well, a malevolent spirit seems to be tightening the world into a Utopia or death program where we eat if we play bail and starve if we don't. Americans, Ijcwarc of Kissinger placing olir rights under a World Food Council. Margaret Heaverlo 180 Twenty-second avenue SW Well, the mystery is over. The culprit in between, according to an agri- culture department survey released this month, is a guy called "the middle- man." The middleman lias accounted for 84 percent of this year's rise in food prices. But who really is the middle- man? What's his name: and occupation? Where can we write to that so-and-so? What's going to be done about him? Alas. The agriculture department can only tell us that we're shaking our fists in the right general direction. That's what I like about government surveys. They may not offer any solu- tions, but they give our frustrations such a nice, "official" stamp of ap- proval. Replacing it is a cartoon called Mar maduke; it has a dog. Whatever happened to Heathcliff? Will you please bring it back? My fami- ly has enjoyed Heathcliff ever since. Jim Miller 3910 Falhrook drive NE (Editor's note: After Heathcliff hod appeared for several months, in editor's judgment, it was not receiving a satisfactory reader response, so the feature was dropped.) Insights Heathcliff? To the Editor: Last summer there was a cartoon in The Oawlto called Healhcliff. The main character is a cat, but now il is gone America is a large, friendly dog in a vary small room. Every lima it wuijs Us tail, it knocks over a chair. Arnold J. Toynboe CBS news flunks test of balance By James J. Kilpatrick WASHINGTON The Institute for American Strategy last month released a thoughtful and thought-provoking study of the coverage given by the Col- umbia Broadcasting System in 1972-73 to news of national defense. The insti- tute charges CBS News with imbalance, and the charge is well taken. The evidence amassed by the insti- tute is overwhelming. Under the direc- tion of Ernest VV. Lefever, a distin- guished scholar in world affairs, a team of analysts undertook a meticulous ex- amination of the CBS evening news. They isolated every reference to nation- al security over a two-year period, stud- ied the transcripts, and tabulated their findings. American attitudes on defense may bo classified roughly in terms of the hawk, the sparrow, and the dove. The hawk believes national defense efforts should be increased; the sparrow be- lieves present levels are adequate; and the dove believes these levels should be reduced. As to Vietnam, the hawk de- fends U. S. involvement, the sparrow feels yes-and-no, and the dove deplores the whole thing. Lopsided Such classifications are fairly within the range of statistical analysis. The institute's study found that in 1972, CBS News gave 79 sentences to the hawk point of view, 774 to the sparrows, and 1.382 to the doves. The imbalance was even more glaring in coverage of Vietnam. The hawks got 25 sentences, the sparrows 493, and the doves The same imbalance was found in coverage of other news in the field of national security. CBS gave virtually no attention to Soviet military buildup; its news editors sought out doves for in- terviews; most damning of all, the net- work's own reporters regularly ex- pressed their own opinions in the guise of news. An analysis of "viewpoint sentences" found that 416 originated with CBS newsmen; of these, 3.4 percent inclined toward the hawks, 12.5 toward the sparrows, 84.1 to the doves. In brief: "A consistent and careful viewer of the CBS evening news, with no other sources of military information, would have gained a strange and mas- James J. Kilpatrick sively lopsided picture of our national defense issues and options CBS News gave 17 limes as much attention to views advocating that the U. S. gov- ernment do substantially less in defense and national security than to views advocating that the government do more." Richard S. Salanl, president of CBS News, has responded to the institute's study with a request for more informa- tion on the methodology. He promises to take the institute's charges seriously and to examine the data. It is a reasona- ble reply. So much for the institute's accusa- tions and the network's initial response. Something more remains to be said on the nature of news and the task of edi- torial judgment. The institute complains repeatedly, for example, that CBS car- ried little about "the mission" of the air force, "the mission" of the navy, and "the mission" of the army. The insti- tute objects that CBS ignored significant news of national security and gave time instead, on a given night, to such events as the trial of Angela Davis. News value Well, the trouble is that "the mis- sion" isn't news; and put to a choice between reporting Admiral Moorer on Soviet submarines and covering the trial of Angela Davis, 99 editors out of 100 would take the Davis trial. The Institute for American Strategy is ob- sessed with national defense a useful obsession. But a thousand other outfits have a thousand other newsworthy obsessions: abortion, gun control, fluoridation, or- ganic gardening, racial balance busing, women's rights, historic preservation. It is likely that every one of them could compile a stalistical violation of (lie fairness doctrine. On the record, CBS News evidently failed to meet requirements of the fair-' ness doctrine in its coverage of national security news. But to some degree, fair- ness, like beauty, lies in the eye of the beholder. If Solomon himself were sit- ting in for Walter Cronkite, complaints would still be heard. In the news busi- ness, alas, that's the way it is. Backup Nearly all politicians of the two-party system and an increasing number MTIDS lu appnne of hauni: thorn both tin1 same night.
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