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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - December 27, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Editorial Page Friday, December 27, 1974 Land-owning in the open This much is true about the land: It has existed long im- measurably long before the human being did who comes along to own it for part of his life. The land continues to exist long after the last breath of any- one who has possessed it tempo- rarily. What people do with land they own affects the lives, deeply sometimes, both of neighbors and of whole societies close to a given piece of land. The effect can reach far into years of the future. Ownership and use of land ac- cordingly are everybody's busi- ness and concern: Zoning can le- gitimately guide the pattern of its use, and land-use regulating has become increasingly an area of public-interest legislation. Tran- sitory ownership, in short, gives no one any rights to put the land to use in ways that may be harm- ful to the neighbors now or in the future. All this has high relevance to situations brought to light by the Gazette this month concerning the purchase of Iowa farmland in sizable pieces by buyers who are citizens of other countries and who seemingly have taken pains to keep their identities hidden. Not only because the use made of land concerns us all but be- cause what happens to the yield from land used in farming also has food-sufficiency implications of national importance, legisla- tors at the state and federal level together have become concerned. Measures to cope with the secre- cy penchant of foreign land- buyers may follow in the interest of assuring that domestic land is put to use in ways that serve do- mestic needs first. Against this idea, resistance has come from a law school pro- fessor at the University of Iowa who sees no land-law question in the trend. A title-recording sys- tem's key purpose is to protect the buyer in his purchase, says Prof. David C. Baldus, who adds: What's the difference if an lowan or a foreigner is buying the land? I fail to see that we have a problem in land disclosures I know of many Iowa corporations and individuals who would be op- posed to such a law change. Why is it relevant to know who owns the land unless you are the buyer and seller involved in the tran- saction? The public does not have the right to know the ownership of stocks." The introductory remarks above explain why land control and ownership are relevant to the problem which has developed. Corporate stocks relate to solid earth the way a cabin does to a mountain. The ownership of most land is a matter of public record already through property tax re- quirements. Wherever it is not sufficiently of record, ownership- identity should be of record for lowans or U.S. citizens as well as foreign nationals. Owners whose uses of land are, or will be, con- sistent with the legitimate, en- during public interest in ALL land's uses should have .nothing to fear or to hide. In considering appropriate im- provements in the law, those en- trusted with this duty should make sure that ownership of land is open and legitimate in keeping with that interest, clear across the board. Exotic wanderer Unless hundreds of observers are experiencing the same optical illusion, a 4-foot-tall, 125-pound kangaroo has been hopping through Indiana and Illinois the last few months. On the off chance that the elusive non-na- tive someday may come bound- ing into Iowa, we urge the follow- ing hospitality measure: Don't shoot. A particularly timid creature, the kangaroo does not like to attack other ani- mals especially he-men with firearms. Since the kangaroo is less likely to charge than, say, a deer or an enraged ground squir- rel, the visceral delight derived from gunning one down would be diminished. (If cornered, howev- er, a kangaroo will defend itself vigorously.) The idea, then, is to offer the potential marsupial guest a finer time than was had by the fabled moose, which, after wandering in recently from Minnesota, grazed clear into East Central Iowa be- fore falling before rifle fire. Granted, the kangaroo-sanc- tuary proposal violates the an- cient adage, "When in doubt, but in the cause of hu- mane treatment for harmless an- imals, marksmen ought to ab- stain. A bonus reward would be to avoid description in Time magazine and others as a state where rare beasts wander in at their direst peril. Way with words At-rocity By Theodore M. Bernstein A current phrase that offends Miss Barbara Hall of Ann Arbor, Mich., is "where it's and she has every right to be offended. What purpose is served by the of? Wouldn't "where it is" mean the same thing without the tautology produced by of? And while we are on the subject of where, another usage that is frowned upon by authorities is the employing of where in place of that .to introduce a noun clause, as in, "I saw in the papers where the inflation may get worse." That where is nowhere correct. Word meaning opposifes. Engineers are usually skillful people to have around, but they are not always skillful in the use of words. Alfred H. Knouff of Sun City, Calif., cites the case of an en- gineer who submitted a manuscript for a test procedure to be used on a device called there "nomad" because it was classified "secret" at the time of the report. Part of the report went like this: "Replace all plugs and put the Nomad Freq. Selector back in the test position after replacing any faulty nomads." Curiously, the that begins that sentence means put 'em back, whereas the replacing used later on means don't put 'em back, get new ones. Word oddities: Everyone has heard of virility, meaning masculinity, or manly vigor, but how many people have heard of the parallel word for women? It's muliebrity (pronounced myoo-lee-EBB- riltcc) and it means womanliness or femininity. It comes from a Latin root, woman or wife. New York Times Svndkote Theodore M. Bernstein Isn't it the truth? By Carl Riblet, jr. The misuse of words can get a man into a lot of trouble. Look what hap- pened In Gerald Ford some few months after he said: "I don't want to be pres- ident." "A word fitly spoken is like ap- ples of gold on platters of silver." XXV, er, don't suppose you Ve had time yet to whip inflation, or anything People's forum Investigate the CIA To the Editor: How long will it last this time the movement to fully investigate the Central Intelligence Agency, in light of recent findings concerning surveillance of up to Americans? How long will it last before agents begin applying pressure and try to cover up their latest blunder? On the trivial side, the CIA supposedly has jurisdiction outside the United States only. What is it doing keeping tabs on American citizens in America? (Oh, I forget that's strictly confidential.) Since its formation after World war II the CIA has repeatedly brought into question its role as an information- gathering agency. Instead, it has proven to be the greatest threat to democracy, with such activities as: the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the Chilean intervention, Water- gate, etc. The list of undemocratic of- fenses is endless, but has been cloak and daggeredly concealed from the American public that supports this organization with their taxes. Perhaps the most infamous role of the LETTERS The Gazette's editorial page welcomes readers' opinions, subject to these guidelines: Length limit: 400 words. One letter pef writer overy 30 days. All may be condensed and edited without changing meaning. None published anonymously. Writer's telephone number (not printed} should follow name, address and readable handwritten signature to help authenticate. Contents deal more with issues and events than per- sonalities. No poetry- CIA has been its involvement in the Kennedy assassination conspiracy. I'm talking here about John's assassination, although secret agents might have helped rid the country of Bobby's pinko- commie threat as well. Before his death, JFK was quoted as saying, "I'm going to break it (the CIA) into a thousand pieces and scatter it in the winds." Lee Harvey Oswald wasn't the assas- sin, but rather a scapegoat. He was a CIA agent, yet the agency denies ever hearing of him and one of the men who, without bias, investigated JFK's death was none other than Alien Dulles, former head of the CIA whom Kennedy had fired earlier. (Dulles was a member of the Warren Commission, as was Gerald Ford.) None of these allegations have ever been proven, but the evidence is too strong to ignore any longer. I plead with the American public to demand a complete, open, unhindered investigation of the Central Intelligence Agency, with drastic revision in mind once the truth does come out. We must demand this inquiry now, because if it's not already too late, the truth is long in coming these days. I hope a CIA agent doesn't read this or else it might be the first and last letter I'll ever write to The Gazette. Dave Lear 2337 Ridge Trail NE back on when disaster strikes. The rea- son they do not have reserves is that their ideology as preached by their rul- ers (and accepted by the citizens) for- bids anyone to have more than his neigh- bor (although the rulers do not practice their If someone should acquire something more than sustenance, the henchmen step in and take it away. Nothing can be kept to acquire a superior means of pro- duction and increase efficiency; there- fore, there is no incentive to try to do more than just get by. But when a real shortage occurs, due to bad weather for example, those without reserves perish. With this in mind I suggest we feed the world in the following manner: Ex- plain to every dictatorial beggar crying for U.S. aid that he already has the re- sources to feed his people if he will just let them keep all that they produce and he can live on their charity instead of them being forced to live on his (and his connections in Those who cry concern, however, never show any for individual freedom. Consequently the proposal wouldn't be considered. But when you're hungry and Senator Clark says the reserves are gone, you might mention there was another route he could have taken. If his plan goes through he will have walked all over Iowa again. Dale L. Nethcrton Fairfax Insights Food gifts To the Editor: Iowa's Sen. Dick Clark, siding with Senator McGovcrn and Senator Hum- phrey, has proposed the United States food giveaway program be increased by one million tons. At a time when U. S. reserves are dwindling, these global do- nalors (of other people's wealth) would have it depicted further. A food reserve is necessary because drought and other agricultural problems can obviously happen in America. The reason people are starving in other coun- tries is that they have no reserves to fall Let no one underestimate the need of pity. We live in a stony universe whose hard, brilliant forces rage fiercely. Theodore Dreiser Shunned, pressured, ousted Church tramples man's rights By Tom Tiede CARLISLE, Pa. Two years ago Robert Bear decided to exercise a couple of his constitutional guarantees the freedoms of speech and religion and he has been paying dearly since. Then a member of the Reform Men- nonite church, Bear spoke out against the sect's cheeky assertion of singularity "the one, true church" whereupon he was damned by the elders for mental perversion, excommunicated for "spiri- tual adultery" and, for good measure, ordered to be thereafter "shunned" by the righteous, including his wife and six children. At first the convicted Bear felt mor- tally wounded; he wondered, "Why didn't they just kill Then his emotions turned to anger and perhaps even revenge; Bear sued the church, asking the courts to decide whether a religion has the right to ruin a man maritally and socially. The case, though little known outside Pennsylvania, has become a classic church-state confrontation, and the judicial decisions, expected soon, may define some modern legal parameters as to Ihc power of religions to punish and influence free people. Overcontrol Certainly some modern parameters are needed. Church authority has under- gone a decided change for moderation since the days when, say, popes were allowed to sentence heretics to death. Yet power abuses continue. Many come from the .smaller religious groups which, lacking the temperance often insisted on by wide public attention, wield absolute power over believers. The snake handlers of Ihe South, as example; sect elders there, preaching that venom can- not harm the pious, exercise a control near that of life and death. In Bear's case, the authority of the church may be more cruel than life and death. As he puts it; "Shunning has to be one of the most terrible punishments ever known to man." Indeed, even in a time when such a directive cannot be to- tally effective, because only a minority in a community will obey something so silly, Bear has suffered mightily and unusually. Besides the humiliation of his ordeal, and the resulting expense of battling it in the courts, he has been denied all this time the strength and companionship of his family. "My wife is a devout Bear says. So when church bishops told her she too would have to shun the sinner, she complied completely. "When I tried to go to bed with her, in the early days, she said I was trying to rape her. In Ihe morning she'd get up before me and leave, not returning many times until long after I went to bed. I was left to do everything myself: cook, wash, iron." Finally, with neither his wife nor children speaking to him, Bear moved to a Irailcr house at Ihe far end of his 400. acre farm. Today, he's back in the main home, only because his wife and children have packed off for lown. The "wife as Bear puts it, is Ihe wcirxt part of his punishment. And ho says the church not only counts on the fact, but exploits it at every opportunity. "When I first decided to sue, the bishops told my wife to talk me out of it. That night she got into bed with me for the first time." She got right back out, however, when Bear refused to recant. "And that pretty well tells you the kind of people the bishops are. They would use my wife's body, or anything else, for their own ends. And they say I'm the one who's a deviant." Going broke Bear's determination to expose such church activity is thus now absolute. He has neglected his farm to the extent of forfeiting some in lost production; he has invaded family privacy in court and in a soon to be published book. But actually, "I had no choice. I know another man wiio was shunned for nine years and it broke him totally. I couldn't stand by and have it happen to me without a fight. I have to prove I have rights as a man. I have to prove to my children I'm right. I have to prove only God can put my marriage asunder." Yet even if he wins in court, Boar may lose in fact. Obeying church orders, the farmer's wife has read nothing of his heroic struggle nor of the larger com- munity's support for it; thus any decision against the church will likely be con- veyed to her by Ihe church as further evidence of Bear's nnworthincss; if she believes that, and so far she has believed everything of the church, Hob Bear's incredibly mistreated family may never get back together. Hrwiptmcr Lnlcrorhe Assoelollnn Suspicion Knd each day with a little smile and they'll have the auditors in within a week. Tooeko Caullol Old light falls on hokum in new book By William Safire WASHINGTON Charles (Lucky) Luciano, king of the underworld in the '30s and '40s, may now be enjoying the last laugh from beyond the grave. His "Last supposedly dictated to a movie producer just before the gangster's death in 1962, is being published with a straight face by Little, Brown, has been chosen as the 'Book of the Month, and for a while, at least seemed to command a paperback resale of close to a million dollars. Then Nicholas Gage, a reporter for the New York Times who often covers or- ganized crime, blew the whistle, calling into question the validity of the book. The events recounted can be found in other published works, even to the extent of picking up other errors. No tapes or notes of Lucky Luciano have been produced as yet in support of the "Tes- tament's" authenticity; and there is the strange case of how Lucky got his nick- name. In the book, the writer, working from the notes of the movie producer who is supposed to have taken it all down from Luciano himself, relates an incident in 1929: The young mobster was "taken for a stabbed and beaten, but for- tunately not murdered. Hence the nickname Lucky. But reporter Gage dug up the contem- porary newspaper account of that beat- ing, which began "Charles (Lucky) showing that the gangster had been known as Lucky before that in- cident. Does this mean that the "Last Testament" is spurious, a product of pastepot and clippings or was Lucky himself telling that phony story or the origin of his nickname in the final years of his exile? Perhaps I can be of some assistance. In 1954, as an army corporal assigned to the American Forces Network in Europe, I was covering some dull NATO maneuvers out of Naples and decided to try to record some interviews with local personalities. My first target was Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rosselini, at the time a controversial couple trailblazing today's marital mores for celebrities. "The United States army is down in the lobby and wants to interview you" was an unorthodox approach that worked. En- couraged after getting them for an hour on tape, I looked up the other most- famous resident of Naples, Lucky Luciano. That cautious, polite, swarthy gentleman did not want to speak into a microphone at first, but he was fascinat- ed by the tape I had just finished making with Miss Bergman, a woman he- worshipped from afar. Had they ever met? "Of course the considerate racketeer replied. "She shouldn't as- sociate with me." In the lobby of the Albergo Vesuvio. with a federal narcotics agent quietly observing us from a corner, the gangster put on earphones and listened, enrap- tured, to Miss Berman describe her role in "Joan of But when movie director Rosselini appeared on the tape, an expression of embittered outrage, and then of pure malevolence, crossed Luciano's face. "Can you said Ihe man who had been imprisoned for heading the prostitution racket in the United States, "any guy takin' advantage of a woman like In the spirit of moral indignation, the man described by Thomas E. Dewey in "20 Against the Underworld" as "the greatest gangster in America" consented to a few mild questions with a recorder spinning. Since the story of how he came by his nickname has fresh relevance now I dug up the old recording and refreshed my recollection. How did he get nicknamed Lucky? "Bein1 that my right name was Luc- he said matter-of-factly, "it was cut short when I was a young boy, and made it 'Lucky'." But what about the famous story about the time in 1929 when he was taken for a ride, and miraculously escaped, and was called Lucky afterward? "Not true." Even after years and on a scratchy recording, Lucky's resound- ing "not true" comes across as the irri- tated denial of a legendary figure who is not pleased with that part of his own legend. I must have looked disappointed. Curling a lip, he added, "All newspaper talk." He hated Ihc press and delighted in shooting down whatever reporters liked to build up. Would this man, some years later, recounting his life In a biographer, change character and meekly accept the "newspaper talk" as Ihe Iruth? Hardly; and Ihe fact that reputable publishers have swallowed that concoction must be causing Luciano paroxysms in purgatory If not hilarity in hell. New York Times Service
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