Cedar Rapids Gazette, December 28, 1974, Page 7

Cedar Rapids Gazette

December 28, 1974

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Issue date: Saturday, December 28, 1974

Pages available: 28

Previous edition: Friday, December 27, 1974

Next edition: Sunday, December 29, 1974

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All text in the Cedar Rapids Gazette December 28, 1974, Page 7.

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - December 28, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Good word for Levi as attorney general Editorial Page Saturday, Docomlxir 28, 1974 Justice gets o boost Citizens who believe criminal court decisions tilt unfairly in fa- vor of wrongdoers should appre- ciate an innovation planned by Linn County Attorney-elect Eu- gene Kopecky. He and his staff will invite victims of crimes to attend sentencings, the theory being that the presence of vic- tims will result in fairer sentenc- ings, over-all. Certainly none will be com- pelled to attend, Kopecky prom- but victims will be apprised of sentencing times (which, as any court observer knows, are as changeable as the Kopecky's pitch for this change and several others was commendably low-key. There was no implication here that judges here favor convicted crim- inals over the victims. The suggestion merely is that the presence of those victimized by criminal acts will remind the court of the offense's gravity and effect. Clearly, no harm should spring from the policy. It may be that not one victim in five will want to see the wrongdoer at sentencing; refreshing of memories'may be too harsh. But at least the oppor- tunity to be there will be guaran- teed. For about a decade now, the public has watched an alarming swing toward what some observ- ers view bitterly as "criminals' Without compromising the law-given rights of wrong- doers, the new county attorney will attempt a balancing of the scales. In that effort we wish him well. Food-stamp misfire During the initial five months of the Ford administration, politi- cal cartoonists unsparingly have caricatured the President as a circus clown, a Halloween night- stalker and, in style bordering now on cliche, as a punchy foot- ball center with helmet jarred loose. Now, thanks to no other cause than faulty judgment, Mr. Ford risks being viewed as the Grinch who emptied the Christ- mas stockings of the elderly. Reference here is to the Ford proposal to pare the food-stamp program budget. Under regula- tions scheduled to take effect March 1, food-stamp recipients in the lowest income brackets will be required to pay 30 percent of their monthly income toward the purchase of food stamps. They now pay an average of 23 per- cent. As in all food-stamp provi- sions, the proposed adjustment is complex; but objecting congress- men have embraced a vivid and simple illustration of potential hardship: .The food-stamp user who now pays to buy worth of food stamps would have to pay for the same money- saving coupons next spring. Most of those affected by the switch are single people and couples, many of whom are elderly. The President and the agricul- ture department view the revi- sion as a tax-saver estimated at million yearly. What's more, say administration spokes- men, the new move' actually would make treatment of food- stamp program clients more equal. Larger households pres- ently are paying a proportionate- blarney ly larger portion of income to- ward stamp purchase. Certainly the President should not be faulted for hoping to cut costs and wanting to treat food- stamp recipients equitably. Clearly, though, the proposal would penalize the nation's most needy persons far more than it would help anybody else. "A crushing blow" for (he el- dcrly poor is how the Community Nutrition Institute describes it. Critics at the institute believe the dropout factor would cut food- stamp benefits by as much as billion yearly. In light of the threatened law- suits and congressional action to thwaj-t, it is hard to imagine food-stamp revisions surviving until (he March 1 startup. (Guidelines are open for public comment through next Friday.) The proposal's most worrisome aspect thus is not the projected hardship for the elderly thai obviously will not come to be but rather, that a conscientious, compassionate President seems to have miscalculated so glaring- ly. Mr. Ford's toe-stumping in- vites speculation: Can the food- stamp budget be pared without heavily deserving pro- gram participants? Better moni- toring for eligibility would save a little, maybe a lot. So would an amendment eliminating those whose low incomes are attributa- ble to voluntary abstention from work (as in Beyond (hose possible measures, the food-stamp program seems to de- fy economizing. Forecasts fudged By Jim Fiebig Once again it's that time hardly anyone has been wailing for my annual prediction for the New Year. The reason my psychic stock is in a bear market, of course, is that many readers mistakenly take my forecasts too literally. These bumbling dolts dismiss me as a charlatan simply because they've never learned to look between tin- lines of true prophecy. To quiet these backbiters once but probably nol tor all. let's examine my predictions of a year ago and see where I went right: Prediction. Kicliard Nixon uiii tint or impeached, but bis performance will be impaired. (A pear is slipperier than a peach Outcome: Richard Nixon was not im- peached, and his performance was im- paired by phlebitis. Positively uncanny. eh1 Prediction Spiro Agnew ml! make ,t comeback, bill nol in Ihe political arena (It will have something to do with evan- gelical preaching.) Outcome: A little off on the proachmi: angle, but Agnew is reportedly creating a book and already has a publisher, t'n- fortunateiy, old habits arc resulting in Spiro's writing coming rather slowly. (He's doing it under the table.) Prediction: Hubert will Humphrey. Outcome: lie Ilumphreyi-d not once but several times. Prediction: Severe g.is rationing will result in less driving. However. Detroit will conic out with a new auto engine that breaks down while sitting at home. Outcome: I was (lead wrong about the gas rationing, but Detroit lias come out with an autuworkor wbo breaks down while sitting at home. I will in.ike no predictions for You can make fun of .leane Dixiin all you want bill you won't have .lim Fiehig to kick around any more. Jim Fiebig By William F. Buckley, jr. Several years ago a friend (if impecca- :ble judgment telephoned to ask me whrthrr 1 would join him in becoming a lobby. "I have never been a lobby my friend said, who specializes in knowing everything about everything, and in reaching sound conclusions; nor' had 1. so we thought that the experience would be good for us. The idea was to get somebody in particular named to the supreme court. The principal contender, al that moment, was Sen. Robert Byrd, about whom my friend and I were tinenthnsiastic as a prospective member of the supreme court. But the apparent enthusiasm for him in the White House suggested that President Nixon was prepared at least to consider a Democrat: indeed, a fairly partisan Democrat, Senator Byrd serving as whip for his party in the senate. It suggested, also, that youthful in- discretions would not prove to be strategic disqualifications. After all, Robert Byrd had been a member of the Ku Klux Klan in his benighted youth; but so had Hugo Black, who went on to serve for years and years in the court to the jubilation of the liberal community until, toward the end, he began to understand the Constitution, whenafter he lost a little favor. William F. Buckley, jr. II happened that our man had a skeleton in his closet. My friend and I assigned each other research taskis. I began by telephoning a trusted jour- nalist of academic inclination in the home town of our nominee for the supreme court. He visited the news- paper's morgue, and came back to me In an hour or so, summarizing its contents. "Is there evidence I asked, "of intensive Democratic No, there wasn't. Our nominee ,had not, in brief, taken active partisan political positions: He had just done his work, as a lawyer, then as dean of the law school, thon as president of the college. While dean, he had written several scholarly legal articles of stunning quality. And, by these were highly critical of the Warren court's (lights into constitutional weightlessness. As a lawyer, he appeared to lie solidly to the notion of judicial prudence, and respect for legislative authority. He had come to my owii'attention dur- ing the crazy years, in the late 1900s, when it became his turn to face the usual student disruption. He had handled it in a way that turned out to be unique. When the student rebels took over the ritual building, he declined to call in the police to pull them out. Instead, he laid gentle siege around the building, interdicting all traffic: and he ordered the students and faculty to resume orderly college lite After a week or ten days of occupation, the student trespassers, having previously ignored invitations to cease and desist and return to work, began to ooze out of the building. But as they came out, they found notices wailing for them. They were simple notices of expulsion. E-x-p-u-1-s-i-o-n. They could not believe the evidence before their eyes. But it was altogether clear, and altogether implacable. .The students left the University of Chicago and never came back. And President Edward Levi returned calmly to the business of education, and never again, though there were three years left to go before the cruzles were subdued in the rest of the country, did he have uny more trouble with students taking over his buildings. No wonder he the supreme court's ban on capital punish- ment. My friend and I failed to bring Mr. Levi to the supreme court, but Imagine my surprise that he is now being considered for attorney general by Mr. Nixon's suc- cessor. And my chagrin that my old friends and mentors, Senators Tower and Hruska, should be unenthusiastic largely, as I understand it, because the Edward Levi was so incautious as to join the National Lawyers Guild; an outfit influenced by the commies which beguiled a lot of young lawyers. After all, it is the function of a com- munist front to deceive, and no one has ever said about the Lawyers Guild that it wasn't successful they got Levi; but oh so briefly, in the '30s, about the time King Brewster and Fred Rodell and Philip Jesup and Chester Bowles were starting up the American First Commit- tee. I would beg my brothers' reconsidera- tion in re Levi, a hell of a man, and scholar, a friend and soul-mate of Milton and just what we need right now in the justice department. Washington Star Syndicate People's forum 'Missed the point' To the Editor: In response to those defending the Happy Hour preschool, I know they think they were doing the right thing, but they missed the point. I would like to ask them if they would teach white children how to play being a black, or Mexican, or even a priest or any other minority. Being an Indian is not a game. Most of what these kids benefit from, the cute little headbands and teepees, are totally outdated. One who is proud of his heri- tage docs not insult himself by mocking the native American. Pupils should be told the facts, al- though 1 doubt at that age they will re- member, that being an Indian is not wearing feathers and living in a lecpee. This is a stereotype that has made trou- ble many times for my children because Ihey are not believed to be Indians by their classmates, because they don I wear feathers but do wear clothes. If it weren't for TV. prejudiced parents and little programs such as the preschool, this would be fading out. (The fact that the first Thanksgiving was one of praise to God by the white man did little if any- thing for the Indians but destroy unity. That's not part of Indian culture.) People teaching their children rcspocti for all people won't do it by using "isn't- garbage. Indian children of preschool age won't be affected much by this stereotyping now but will be tormented throughout life because of these misconceptions by mavbe these same classmates. I know 'Hurry, children time for your ancient Greek 1 went Ihroimh it and now my children are doing the same. Will (heirs? 1 would like also to thank those who have done something about the above and to tell them that this is a better com- munity because of it. II is a sign of prog- ress, slow but sure. Pete Stanislaw 5B15 Colorado drive SW Air power To the Editor: I recently learned that by means of a few slight changes in the circuitry. AM broadcasting and receiving equipment could have been developed which would have provided the same radio services with less than one-third of the radiation intensity and as little as 3 percent of the transmitting power which was being used in 1968 when the change was mado. to FM, which was only an excuse for lising ten limes more transmitting power instead of decreasing the transmitting power as might have been done. II seems that, it is a little late to think of'it now but I'm in favor of cable TV and power conservation at radio broad- casting stations. Larry Begalske Thirty-eiBhlh street SE Mixed up To the Editor: This is in response to Melvin A. Na- tion's letter of Dec. 21 abo.ut sending to Eldora a 13-year-old boy who has broken and entered 39 limes He is being to- tally unfair. Many of hs teenagers do cause trouble and break laws, some more than others. I think we need more support than any- thing else. We do have personalities and feelings loo What docs he want to do, lock up all nf us under the age of IS, just for being mixed up? People .could try to help; it couldn't hurt. Cheryl Wilson 3WI8 Oakland road NE The gospel according to Lippmann Freedom's flawed flaw-finder: the press By Anthony Lewis BOSTON The death of Walter Lipp- mann has provided an occasion for self examination in the profession that he chose and honored, the press. Editors and commentators, reflecting on his unique role, have" thought about their own. That would have pleased Lippmann, for he believed in self-awareness in all institutions. He might indeed be said to have chosen journalism as a profession so that he could devote his life to clarifying society's vision of itself. This is an extraordinary time for the press, a time of power and a lime of doubt. Conflict has always been the law of life in the business, but never before, on such a scale. The new dimension of power was first perceived in Vietnam: The press had a profound effect on the American public's perception of Ihe war and support for it. And then Watergate: The press has been fairly eluded with trying to lake credit for what the law in good part ac- complished. But without the continuous glare of press attention, the law might have flagged and Richard Nixon might still be President. The new power of the press has aroused much resentment, and not only among Ihe mighty whose crimes or mis- judgments have been exposed. Jour- nalists these days experience an- tagonism, even raw hatred. Since the press is suspicious of power, it probably should not complain when its own power is questioned. There is in fact a measure of self-doubt in the profession. Some members of it. at least, worry alioul the charge first laid by Stanley Anthony Lewis Baldwin against the press lords of the 1920s, that they wanted "power without responsibility, the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages." Those on the inside know how impor- .fert an institution the press is. Its at- tention span is sometimes woefully short. It can chase the sensational at the ex- pense of the serious. It is often inadequately informed, or lazy, or sloppy. Us judgment can be distorted by ambition. It has been known lo be self- important. True, all true. To paraphrase Churchill on democracy, it is probably the worst institution in which to confide our freedoms except all the other pos- sibilities. In terms of truthfulness, honor or dedication lo liberty, the press in Ihe United States compares rather favorably with the standard of politicians in recent times. But it is the function of the press that matters. Its grand function in our scheme of things is to open the process of society to sunlight and therefore lo crit- icism. Other systems have other ways to prevent the inbreeding and concentration of power that corrupt human values. Even Britain, Ihe democracy closes! in form to ours, allows the press much less scope to perform that role. But in the United States there is no visible alter- native. The freedom and power given to the American press make periodic clashes with government inevitable. The year 1974, which began with Richard Nixon fighting the press over Watergate, ends with a developing uproar over charges thai the Central Intelligency Agency spied at home. Perfectly honorable officials try again and again to keep Ihe press out of delicate matters. Even the CIA, after all its embarrassments, still wants a new law empowering it to forbid publication of material it declares secret. It is a natural instinct lo think that difficult problems can best be handled without public noise, and an argument can always be constructed that the na- tional interest requires secrecy. The short answer is the record. Would the integrity of this country have been better preserved if the press had not conveyed Ihe true character of the Vietnam war? Would we be better off if the courts had agreed to censor Ihe history of that war, the Pentagon Papers? Would it really have been in the national interest to suppress the fact that the United States secretly bombed Cam- bodia, or that it worked lo subvert the legitimate government Chile? "There can be no higher law in jour- nalism than lo tell the trulh and shame Ihe devil." Walter Lippmann said that years ago. There are occasions when publication is unwise; editors arc not in- sensitive lo those realities. But recent events make it plain thai, in our system, the presumption must be overwhel- mingly in favor of publishing. Officials complain that the members of (he press are outsiders, not able to un- derstand the intricacies of a problem. But that is the point, to have scrutiny and criticism from a detached position, one not committed lo particular policies or persons. Waller Lippmann said that the first rule for journalism was lo remain de- tached from the great. He was famous for breaking his own rule; he knew and even advised Presidenls from Wilson to Ken- nedy. But he did not hesitale to separate himself from the great when they went wrong. In the end he was always himself. Those who read him knew that they were reading his views, not any oilier person's. The function and the power of the press lie there: In independence. Insights Neither piofy, virtue, nor con long Nourish in o community where Ihe educa- tion of youth it neglected. Fetor Cooper ;