Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - December 17, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Tuesday, December 17, 1974
The legislature's image
Even though it was ranked sixth best among state legislatures back in 1971 by the Citizens Conference on State Legislatures, the Iowa general assembly has not been one to rest on its laurels.
Super-sensitive about its socalled “public image,’’ it has been moving slowly, but ever so surely, toward a more professional staff in order to meet one of the criticisms leveled by the conference.
This move was initiated by Republicans, who have controlled the legislature since 1969, but not without Democratic help. So when Democrats won control of the house in last month’s election, and came within one vote of winning control of the senate (where control will be decided by the outcome of a special election Dec. 30 in Dubuque county), it was not surprising that they make it known the move toward a professional staff will continue.
It was surprising, however, that one of the first moves by house Democrats was to create a new position — director of information — and fill it with an individual who has had no training in that field.
Sharon Robinson is a capable and popular individual who has carried a lot of water to the Dem
ocratic donkey enough years to warrant a good patronage job. In 1970 she was the party’s candidate for secretary of state. In 1971-73 she lobbied the legislature for her party. In 1974 she served as clerk to State Rep. Mary O’Ha lloran But, the record
seems to indicate she has no professional expertise or training in the field of public relations.
In her new $10,000-a-year post, if the job description is accurate, she is supposed to find ways and means to improve the legislature’s public image, which some are unkind enough to think would be more of a challenge than even a firm of PR experts could handle.
That reasoning does not hold up. The legislature itself is in the best position to improve its image without the help of a PR person. All it needs do — and what an opportunity the Democrats have this year — is (I) outline a priority list of legislation that must be attended to, in the order of importance to the general public, (2) go to work on it opening day and (3) adjourn by late April or early May.
If the Democrats did that, they would not only improve the legislature’s public image, they would assure themselves of retaining control for some time to come. It’s worth a try.
Problem of some kind
Though Iowa’s lofty literacy index helps fortify against butchery of English, the country’s most barbarous new cliche has overrun more than a few telecasts and newspaper sports pages. Most recently the Tartar expression brutalized a column in a Des Moines newspaper. “He’s done SOME KIND OF job,’’ wrote a reporter describing a basketball player. (Emphasis is ours.)
Naturally linguists are divided over what to do about the hackneyed invader. Pacifists trust the expression soon will expire, while vigilante types want to capture its leading purveyor, Howard Cosell, and keep him gagged until he masterminds a way to exorcise the brute.
The suggestion here, however, is to civilize the adjective “some kind of’ and permit it to stay. To that end, the outlaw’s outlandish lack of conciseness first must be attacked. Under the present condition of ignorance, for example, Denver’s Charley Johnson is “some kind of’’ passer, as is Washington’s Sonny Jurgensen But football enthusiasts realize there is little sameness to the players’ someness. Jurgensen is a better thrower.Duct-drainers, beware
To eliminate confusion, what could be simpler than assigning degrees to the expression—i.e. Some kind of (Johnson); somer kind of (Bob Griese); somest kind of (Jurgensen)?
Those finding such constructions unwieldy might prefer retention of the Cosellian “some kind of’’ to connote mere excellence and incorporation of the Latin “summa’’ (highest thing) to form a super-superlative: “summa kind of.” Examples: “That Yamamoto is summa kind of suma wrestler.” “That sumac is summa kind of shrub.” “Summer is summa kind of season.”
Perhaps Latin instructors would lament such usages, but in light of the lingual carnage now being committed by “some kind of,” any kind of remedy might do.Bargain clings
Despite hefty increases in postal rates, payers of utility, mortgage and medical bills still can send a pound of flesh for just a dime
People's forumStill hope
To the Editor:
The old saying that "at Christmas it’s better to give than to receive" has not disappeared from the children today. I’m a mother of seven children and very proud that just one out of seven still has. and I hope keeps, the spirit of Christmas. Six of the children asked Santa Claus for the usual items of toys but the seventh sat and wrote his letter and here is what it said:
My name it Pot and her# ore the thing* I wont for Christmas this year It dose not moke a diffrente what you bring me this year, I know mine is diffrent from the others but you con give my toys to some little child out there in the snow healing or starving to death I know that there ore criot of people who ore starving this minute or hove lithe water ond food. So you con bring me what ever you want.
PS. I have abt of modi#*. Merry Christmas
I wanted to share this letter with others who think the younger generation has gone to the drugs and drinking. Mothers and fathers, don’t give up yet. because if you have just one who thinks differently, there is still hope
Carol Harrington PHO Sixth avenue SEBeautiful
To the Editor:
We are always quick to criticize our teachers and students when something goes wrong, but seldom do we think or
take the time to praise them for something good. But praise is due — lavishly so — to the three music directors and to students who participated in Thursday night’s (Dec. 12) Christmas concert at Franklin junior high.
The dedication, hard work and insight shown by Gene Ferguson, the band director; .lack Ranney, the orchestra director, and John fly al, the choral director, were in abundance as their students responded with music and voices that reached heights of musical pleasure and ability not often associated with students of junior high age.
It was a beautiful evening, filled with the joy, love and spirit of the Christmas season. A large thank-you is in order for all those involved in such a meaningful
.JoAnn Bruns 3045 Canton drive SEBad water
To the Editor:
The Dec. 5 CBS special, "Caution: Water may be dangerous to your health," was thought provoking. I waited for the public's response. Finally on Dec. IO, WHO radio carried a letter
from a listener who criticized the program because his 8-year-old
daughter was now afraid to drink water
Perhaps the little girl was right.
There was strong evidence in the documentary to show that much of our country’s water sources are polluted with industrial wastes and farm chemical runoff. This was further pointed up in a Dee 0 Gazette article which detailed the extent of water pollution in rural Iowa
Many Iowa cities use river water
treated with chlorine. According to ( BS news and the Environmental Protection
Agency, chlorine is good for killing water-carried bacterial diseases but is deadly itself in combination with the chemicals found in our water today. Carcinogenic (cancer producing) substances are often formed and then absorbed by those who drink the water.
Program moderators pointed out that if we want pure water, we must as individuals begin pushing for curbs on industrial and farm pollution and for the improvement of our water treatment facilities. According to the EPA, carbon filtration systems can be added to present water treatment facilities to remove most carcinogenic substances.
When the public recognizes that our water quality is deteriorating and insists on pure water again then we can have it. Lets not just ignore the problem just because our water doesn t taste or smell too bud (except in the spring?).
Judy Plambeck Iowa CityDefense reserves
To the Editor
I was distressed at the Tom Tiede column, “U.S. reserve bulge is fat. not muscle" (editorial page, Dec. 14). In these times of inflation, our nation would find it difficult to support a fulltime, military establishment of the size and quality necessary to provide even minimum required capability.
By far the greatest portion of the $8(1-plus billion defense budget goes for personnel costs, feeding, housing and compensating our active-duty forces during war and peace, at home and overseas, 24 hours a day, seven days a week Contrary to Mr. Tiede’s conclu-
On weeping in politics and the rarity of same
By Russell Baker
NEW YOKK — Although Jesus wept. American politicians do not. When one of them violates the protocol, the event is so extraordinary that newspapers report it on front pages and television records it with the gravity due mysterious fireballs in the sky and diabolism in city hall.
Thus, John Ehrlichman’s tears on the witness stand in Washington were treated as a major national occurrence last week and will probably be remembered by the multitude long after other details of the Watergate trial have been lost.
Although other public men may have wept publicly over the last 25 years, I can remember only two. Both of them, curiously or not, were associated with the career of Kichard Nixon, which gives Nixon a monopoly on political tears in the modem age
The first, of course, was Nixon, who wept publicly on the shoulder of the late Sen William Know land in 1952. There had been the slush-fund scandal in the
middle of the Eisenhower campaign Nixon, under orders from the general to prove himself “clean as a hound’s tooth," had delivered the Checkers speech which brought millions in the television audience close to tears, and the general had pronounced him "my boy."
On hearing the news, Nixon fell against Knowland's lapel and wept. There art* pictures of it. His old acting coach at Whittier college, upon seeing them, is said to have boasted, "I taught hun how to do that "
The next public weep was Sen, Edmund Muskie s, executed outside the plant of the Manchester Un ion-Leader during the New Hampshire primary of 1972
As with the post-t ’becker* crying, the Muskie tears also represented political progress for Nixon, for it was widely assumed that the voters would never tolerate a presidential candidate who had tears to shed and that Muskie had, therefore, cried himself out of the Democratic nomination.
This proved correct. Muskie, who had been running ahead of Nixon in the popularity polls at the end of 1971, faded like an old print by springtime, leaving Nixon to feed upon the luckless McGovern
There is a small irony in Ehrlichman’s tears, for the Watergate confidence game in which he is involved was a part with the political dirty-tricki operations which drove Muskie to destruc-tion-by-tears in New Hampshire The mechanics by which the White House unloosed the Muskie tear ducts seem to
have been masterminded by Charles Colson, but we may reasonably assume that Ehrhchman smiled as happily as his fellow White House pranksters upon learning that the fatal tears had flow id in the New England snow
Did Muskie smile privately this week at the news of Ehrlichman’s tears? He would surely not admit to it, but he would Ih* less than human lf he did not take satisfaction from the mild biblical justice of extracting a tear for a tear.
The more troublesome question is why the occasional shedding of tears by public men is such an astonishing event that it commands headlines and destroys careers? If Jesus could weep, why not Muskie?
The aggressive American temperament would naturally Ik* uneasy with leaders who governed on floods of tears, but an occasional cry would seem to suggest a becoming sensitivity in a man, which ought to make him more attractive, not less so, for the brutish work of the presidency.
One of the most skilled public weepers of the modern age was Winston Churchill, an American idol. I once saw the old man weep ostentatiously in the House* of Commons during a speech describing the devastation humanity would suffer in a nuclear war, and the house was almost reverential in its silence before the spectacle.
An English politician to whom I described this remarkable and un-Amer* lean performance replied, "Oh, Winston does that crying business every time he talks about the bomb, lh* can turn it on and off."
Somewhen* in England. I suppose, there was an old drama coach who said, "I taught him how to do that," but it doesn't matter. For Churchill the ability to shist a few tears on a large occasion was a manly attribute. Small boys untaught that boys don’t cry, but tears on a big occasion are entirely fitting for a big man.
Perhaps Americans prefer to Im* led by big boy*.
Ne* York Time* Service
sums (couched in accusatory language, hardly worthy of a professional journalist) the existence of the U.S. reserve forces allows the department of defense to apply funds to .support weapons systems rather than the personnel operating them.
I am also disturbed by several references to the reserves’ inadequacy in the "atomic age." It is true that the majority of the reserve forces use conventional (that is, non-nuclear) weapons. However, the vast majority of our active forces are conventional. Both active and reserve conventional forces are equally vulnerable to a massive strategic nuclear attack. The requirement for conventional force capability has been repeatedly justified (and demonstrated) to a cost-conscious congress.
Mr Tiede also observed that many members of congress and prominent citizens are members of the guard and reserve. Are they members because of their prominence, or are they prominent because of exceptional personal qualities, including love of country, which enable them to successfully pursue two careers, civilian and military'’
The “cadre" system of guard and reserve organization proposed by Mr. Tiede ignores the facts The SOO,(NM) select reservists already form competent, combat-ready organizations, 430. (NNI ready reservists can take their places in the military promptly should the need arrive. The remaining I 5IMUMNI standby reservists do not draw pay but have committed themselves to a direct part in our nation’s defense, if called on.
In my own case. I am a pilot for the Illinois air national guard, even though I live in Cellar Rapids. I commute to Peoria to maintain my combat readiness at two or three weekends a month In the course of proficiency training, I flew over 220 hours last year and attended ll training periods without pay, and I am not atypical. I must meet the same professional flying standards as any air force pilot, whatever it takes to accomplish this . . .
James Swickard 4410 PepjMTWood Hill SE
Mo ny of us spend half oui lime wishing for things wt could have if we didn t spenc half our time wishing.
Demos’ roadmap: Why conservatives fret
By James J. Kilpatrick
WASHINGTON - The Democrats emerged from their Kansas City convention with an appearance of unity on the two principal aims of a political party — to elect its candidates, and to achieve its legislative program. For the moment, let the candidates go. What about the Democratic program?
As nearly as these things can be defined. the program is liberalism, pure and undefiled. The student of political science, seeking to identify "liberal’’ and "conservative" positions, could not ask a better text than the Democrats’ "Statement of Economic Policy." adopted Dec. 7. When that statement is read in conjunction with the speeches of George McGovern and Robert (’. Byrd. we an* provided with a clear road map of where the Democrats mean to take us.
The statement commits the party to "a comprehensive package of tax reductions and tax reforms.” The package includes meaningful tux reductions for moderate and low-income families, to be balanced by compensating increases on high-ineome families and corporations, Excess profits of corporations must be additionally taxed, and multinational corporations must be denied tax incentives.
In the Democrats’ view. "tight money” policies have not worked in the past and will not work now. The statement asks the Federal Reserve prudently to pursue "a general easing of credit.” Antitrust laws should tx* vigorously enforced. The statement leaves little room for voluntary measures: "We support an across-the-board system of economic controls, including prices, wages, executive compensation, profits, and rents.” There should be "a mandatory system of energy conservation."
Senator McGovern repeatedly was applauded as he warmed to these themes. McGovern turned his fire on “tax credits and write-offs for the wealthy.” He denounced overseas profits and corporate monopolies. In a purple passage, he attacked "robber bar
ons" who steal from farmers and "make us the puppets of their greed."
"Bigness in business is inherently bad,” said McGovern, “because it makes the individual small and weak . . . We must democratize the workplace, so those who labor will have a say in management and a share of profits."
McGovern also called for sweeping "mandatory controls” on the economy. He assailed "militarism” and demanded "more than token cuts in a bloated Pentagon budget." In the area of civil rights, he said the party must sponsor legislation to achieve racially integrated education and housing in the suburbs.
Senator Byrd, assistant majority leader, painted a pathetic picture of Americans "who asked for bread and have been given a stone." Old people,
he cried, "are tired of eating oatmeal and dogfood.” He too demanded mandatory energy controls: “Voluntarism will never work.”
Other speakers at Kansas City beat the same drums, for redistribution of wealth, reduction in defense spending, increases in outlays for “human needs," and as a constant factor in the social-political equation: Controls, controls, and more controls.
Now, granted, the "party unity" behind this program may prove more apparent than real. Some of the more sweeping pronouncements may be discounted as convention oratory and dogfood demagoguery. Glossy promises tend to lose their sheen in the nitty-gritty of the lawmaking process. Even so, the Democratic goals cannot possi
bly be mistaken The taxing power is to be used for a great leveling; the spending power is to be directed toward new programs of social welfare; and a voluntary society is to yield to pervasive regimentation.
The Democrats hold overwhelming majorities iii the new congress. They already have recast key house committees iii a liberal mold. They have the votes to keep the commitments of Kansas City. Very well. The prospect is enough to make every conservative hair stand on end, but conservatives have only themselves to blame They were the ones who last month stayed home
Washington Stat Syndicate
Heck! That’s the closest they've ever come’