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Harrisonburg Daily News Record Newspaper Archive: September 21, 1996 - Page 6

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Publication: Harrisonburg Daily News Record

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   Daily News Record (Newspaper) - September 21, 1996, Harrisonburg, Virginia                                BatUj September Forum Richard General Manager Kenneth Editor Dale Page Editor Linda Manager Gary Manager Editorials Has Senator Robb Simply Lost Touch Charles Robb argues that denying federal recogni tion of a homosexual union amounts to nothing short of indefensible He compares that discrimi nation to the black mans struggle for civil But Virginias Democratic senator adds little to the de bate over gay marriages while inadvertantly doing much to or at least the heroic civil rights triumphs of black The problem with Robbs kind of modernday fillintheblank liberalism is that it is designed not so much to provoke needed thought and debate as to overwhelm both under the sheer weight of emotional and rhetorical Homosexuality is charac terized not by an outward im mutable characteristic such as skin color that cannot be but by behavior that So if society must rewrite laws to accommodate genetic then it must legalize theft to accom modate genetic kleptomani legalize arson to accom modate genetic pyromaniacs and reinstate prohibition be cause science tells us the Indians and Irish have the gene for But society wont do that for a very good reason Human beings have free which is what separates us from the apes and gives meaning to the words right and good and evil and The kind of weakening and watering down of marriage as an institution Robb ap parently subscribes to does not represent progress or standing tall on the right side of it is symptomatic of most of what ails our litigious We have noted in this space previously that the Defense of Marriage Act represents a sad commentary on our times as legislators must publicly restrict definitions and recog nition to something so basic as But they must do so in the expectation that Hawaii could become the first state to issue licenses for samesex and the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution could then compel Virginia and other states to recognize what Ha waii has The Defense of Marriage Act simply allows each indi vidual state to decide for it self whether or not it will honor these Chuck Robb owes Virgin ians a full explanation for his opposition to that simple proposition of self determination by the Even President Clinton backs the Defense of Marriage passed by the Senate thus isolating Robb fur We hardly view Robbs vote as an act of political courage because we are by now familiar with his record and his political As suming he seeks Robb has a full five years before he again must face Virginia He will al most certainly by then hope their memories run No Place Like Home The rest of the nation is discovering something Valley residents have long known and by now may take for granted We have some pretty darn good institutions of higher education right In News and World in its current recognizes the gains and important contributions of James Madison Eastern Mennonite Univer Bridgewater College and Mary Baldwin The magazine says JMU ranks top among public and third among regional universities in the South in overall aca demic quality and which is the measure of its excellence as weighed against limited financial resources and low In the magazine says JMU packs a whole lot of education punch for a lean It places Bridgewater Col EMU and Mary Baldwin in various Top 10 lists among liberal arts colleges of the placing EMU among the top 10 for the first We congratulate the schools on their performance and hope collegebound high schoolers from across the country and abroad will take closer note as they go about the business of selecting a Needless to we also hope our own sons and daughters right here in the Valley are paying close at as Dorothy from Kansas reminds there really is no place like home when it comes to choosing a Power Politics But Does Lobbyist Spending Correspond To Clout Our Daily Bread By THE PURNELL BAILEY By Ed Henry WHEN IT COMES to lobbying to bacco giant Philip Morris smokes out the com The company spent million lobbying Congress in the first six months of this according to disclosure reports recently filed with the House and That staggering total places Philip Morris far ahead of any other special interest for the honor of being the top spender on Capitol based on Roll Calls review of thousands of pages of In a clear sign that the tobacco war is cur rently the premier battleground among special the next biggest spender was one of the tobacco industrys chief THE AMERICAN MEDICAL Association spent million lobbying prima rily on tobaccorelated A Philip Morris spokesman did not return a call seeking comment on the companys lobby Only a handful of other special interests even cracked the million including the Chamber of Commerce million and General Motors The overwhelming majority of the companies and groups that have filed reports spent less than each on their lobby ing The filing bonanza is a result of the Lobby ing Disclosure Act of which required lob byists last month to file semiannual expense reports for the first In unprecedented de the reports reveal the amount of money that lobbyists spend on their IN THE PAST FEW aides in the House and Senate records rooms have spent countless hours sifting through tens of thou sands of pages of disclosure While all of the reports have finally made their way onto microfilm for public it is impos sible to produce a definitive list of rankings Roll Call has been able to piece together a list of the highrollers and an alyze some of the patterns that are emerging from the new Despite the benefits of the new the monetary figures are not necessarily a measure of a groups clout on the For the Christian per haps the preeminent powerhouse in GOP in terest group filed a lobbying disclosure but listed no The Coalition listed five including executive director Ralph Reed The National Rifle which is clearly another lobbying listed a paltry in lobbying The Gun Owners of a much smaller group that also defends the Second nearly matched the NRA by spending The NRAs real power comes from its hefty campaign contributions to which are not included in the lobbying disclosure re and the big money it spends in indi vidual The reports show that in the world of Washington there clearly is a caste system of haves and based on who has the resources to buttonhole The Chemical Manufacturers for made the top ten by spending The Council for a Livable spent just The Consumer Bankers Association spent only on its lobbying for average peo Major banks looking out for their profit mar gin easily outpaced the consumers Bank of America alone spent Another example of the have and havenot syndrome comes in the airline Major like Northwest million and United shelled out big Smaller like USAir South west and Continental spent much And which has been grounded because of its safety filed a report but has spent no money on lobbying so In the tobacco Reynolds was no match for Philip Morriss Reynolds spent only on ac cording to its THE AUTO industry is a driving force on the which may have something to do with the industrys resurgence in recent General Motors million and Ford million are two of the premier lobbying spend ers in But the last of the Big spent a meager Behind Philip Morris and the AMA for the top spot is the Chamber of which spent million in six The Chambers 107page disclosure report reveals an interest in legislation affecting more than a dozen major including the minimum OSHA general tax is the National Labor Relations the and even term The new reports open a window on the American Association of Retired long one of the most formidable players on the which boasts more than 30 million members second only to the Catholic Church in spent million on ALAN SIMPSON has been pushing for the repeal of the taxexempt status of groups like AARP because of their extensive lobbying of In the Seniors Coalition a rival of spent an anemic ANOTHER GROUP in AARPs clout the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee spent on AIPAC lobbied on ap Iran and Libya and authorization of a Middle East The National Federation of Independent Businesses spent million lobbying on es tate product liability health and the In the corporate defense contractor Lockheed Martin spent Boeing million barely edged out IBM was just behind with million worth of Fannie Mae is a quasigovernment agency that has come under sharp criticism for giving its top officials huge The groups Congressional critics will not be happy to learn that Fannie Mae has also spent million lobbying to keep itself Roll Call is an nonpartisan newspaper that covers The New York Times Spiro Agnew Thoughtful Controversialist By William Saftre Tycho Brahe the Danish always put on his court garments before entering the magnificent observatory given to him by the King of He once remarked that he was about to enter the audience chamber of the Creator of the uni Kirtley Mather of Harvard Uni versity looked out upon this in credibly vast universe and wrote vVe live in a universe not of chance or of but of law and Its administration is completely rational and worthy of the utmost adminis tration has certainly not been functioning in a blindly mechani cal Instead it has pro ceeded in much the same way as would an preserving and purposeful gets a definite sense of sympathetic rela tionship between oneself and the infinite creative have faith that spirit with spirit can The Psalmist said it more brief ly He telleth the number of the Through faith we under stand that the worlds were framed by the word of Hebrews WASHINGTON In Ed ward Bennett Williams law part Paul gave me my first news tip as a neophyte New York Times columnist that Vice President Spiro Agnew was the target of a grand jury inquiry for being on the take while governor of As a former Nixon speechwriter who had nattered a few I had unique access to the and sent in a query True The answer came back Believing the I wrote nothing and was beaten on the Even more disillusioning to some of us who believed in his antiestablishment after his fall and plea of nolo turned anti Not only was he sore at his Jewish coconspirators who turned him but he needed to ingratiate himself with Arabs he was pitching for I popped him as a bigot and wrote him THAT MADE ME SAD because I had admired and stood up for a different Ted Richard on the night he chose the Rockefeller supporter as his run nVlg explained privately why he had turned to a moderate borderstater Agnews a shrewd He cant give a speech worth a but hes not going to fall In that 1968 Agnew took all the abuse that could not be aimed by liberals at the newly statesmanlike When he sa luted a reporter known widely as the fat Jap with a cheery Hows the fat Jap that went unreported Ted Agnew was the first former governor to have his secret local past catch up with his exalted national He may not be the until the campaign plane landed in whereupon it was un fairly blown up as a racial One Democratic TV spot showed Agnews face for 30 to the sound track of hysterical which would now be considered of fensively Under the sustained media on Agnew did not fall but did become embittered about press And later he lashed back in a Des Moines speech drafted by Pat Buchanan he touched a nerve about media ar rogance and set back instant analysis for a NIXON WAS MISTAKEN about Agnew as speechmaker he trans formed a forgotten art form into a regular news Alliteration and he was no mere reader of the thoughts of others the underrated man bombarded his writers with long memos about themes he wanted to He zapped permissiveness in the Spockmarked He derided Washington elitism and the effete corps of impudent He blazed the trail being heavily trod by ppls lam basting the music worlds en shrinement of the drug pointing to the LSD initials of Lucy in the Sky with antedating Tipper Those were the days of Spiro our Had he held on a few more months until Nixons resig Agnew would have been president and then been im After the unlike he gave up on coming At I re established contact with Agnew and reported his settingaside of Old grudges lapse weve corresponded since about but this time only as language lovers I am with he in opposing a cavein to those who ignore pro nounantecedent Occasionally he dipped into poli tics Dole is clearly the class of the he wrote me six months but he has not been all that fast on his He would do well to speak forthrightly of his lack of ghbness and point out that Calvin Coolidge made a better president than William Jennings Bryan would have Yes to not glib no to the uncool Coolidge HOW DO WE assess the life of this thoughtful ahead of his time in his populist identification with a silent major a personable partisan who gave as good as he got but who set back his cause for a decade when he turned out to have been the taxevading recipient of regu lar payoffs Agnews grasp exceeded his His corruption as governor would probably never have been unearthed and pursued to the edge of prosecution had he not been el evated to national with all the afterthefact scrutiny that such vulnerable celebrity Ted Agnew was the first former governor to have his secret local past catch up with his exalted na tional He may not be the   

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