Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - December 28, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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Saturday, December 28, 1974
Justice gets a boost
Citizens who believe criminal court decisions tilt unfairly in favor of wrongdoers should appreciate an innovation planned by Linn County Attorney-elect eugene Kopecky. He and his staff will invite victims of crimes to attend sentencings, the theory being that the presence of \ic-tims will result in fairer sentencings, over-all.
Certainly none will be compelled to attend, Kopecky promised. but victims will be apprised of sentencing times (which, as any court observer knows, are as changeable as the weather).
Kopecky’s pitch for this change and several others was commendably low-key. There was no implication here that judges here favor convicted criminals 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 opportunity to be there will be guaranteed.
For about a decade now, the public has watched an alarming swing toward what some observers view bitterly as “criminals’ rights.’’ Without compromising the law-given rights of wrongdoers, the new county attorney will attempt a balancing of the scales. In that effort we wish him well.
During the initial five months of the Ford administration, political cartoonists unsparingly have caricatured the President as a circus clown, a Halloween night-stalker and, in style bordering now on cliche, as a punchy football 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 Christmas stockings of the elderly.
Reference here is to the Ford proposal to pare the food-stamp program budget. Under regulations scheduled to take effect March I, food-stamp recipients in the lowest income brackets will be require to pay 30 percent of their monthly income toward the purchase of food stamps. They now pay an average of 23 percent.
As in all food-stamp provisions, the proposed adjustment is complex; but objecting congressmen have embraced a vivid and simple illustration of potential hardship:. The food-stamp user who now pays $33 to buy $4H worth of food stamps would have to pay $45 for the same money-saving coupons next spring. Most of those affected by the switch are single people and couples, many of whom art* elderly.
The President and the agriculture department view the revision as a tax-saver — estimated at $850 million yearly. What’s more, say administration spokesmen, the new move actually would make treatment of food-stamp program clients more equal. Larger households presently are paying a proportionate-Time-tested blarney
Iv larger portion of income toward stamp purchase.
Certainly the President should not Ik* 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 the elderly 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 $1 billion yearly.
In light of the threatened lawsuits and congressional action to thwart, it is hard to imagine food-stamp revisions surviving until the March I 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 — that obviously will not come to be — but rather, that a conscientious, compassionate President seems to have miscalculated so glaringly.
Mr. Ford’s toe-stumping invites speculation: ('an the food-stamp budget be pared without heavily penalizing deserving program participants? Better monitoring for eligibility would save a little, maybe a lot. So would an amendment eliminating those whose low incomes are attributable to voluntary abstention from work (as in strikes). Beyond those possible measures, the food-stamp program seems to defy economizing.
By Jim Fiebig
Once again it s that time hardly anyone has been waiting for — my annual predation for the New Year.
The reason my psychic sun k 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 learnt to look between the lines of true prophecy. To quiet these backbiters once but probably not for all. let’s examine my predictions of a year ago and set* where I went right
Prediction Huhard Nixon will not be impeached, but his performance will bi1 impaired (A i**ar is slipperier than a peach )
Outcome: Richard Nixon was not impeached. and his performance was impaired by phlebitis. Positively uncanny, eh'*
Prediction Spiro Agnew will make a comeback, bul not in the political arena (It will have something to do with evangelical preaching )
Outcome: A little off on the preaching angle, but .Agnew is reportedly creating a book and already has a publisher Un* fortunately, old habits are resulting in
Spiro s writing coming rather slowly, (He’s doing it under the table )
Prediction Hubert will Humphrey.
Outcome Ile Humph roved not once but several times.
Prediction: Severe gas rationing will result in less driving However, Detroit will come out with a new auto engine that breaks down while sitting at home.
Outcome I was dead wrong about the gas rationing, but Detroit has come out with an autoworker who breaks down while sitting at home.
I will make absolutely no predictions for 1975. You can make fun of dearie Dixon all you want — but you won t have Jim Fiebig to kick around any more.
Centra* feature* Cor aor anon
Good word for Levi as attorney general
By William F. Buckley, jr.
Several years ago a friend of impeccable judgment telephoned to ask me whether I would join him in becoming a lobby. “I have never been a lobby bt'fore,” my friend said, who specializes in knowing everything about every thing, and in reaching sound conclusions, nor-had I, so we thought that the experience would Im' giMid for us The idea was to get somebody in particular named to the supreme court.
The principal contender, at that moment, was Sen Robert Byrd, about whom my friend and I were unenthusiastic 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 indiscretions would not prove to be strategic disqualifications. After all, Robert Bvrd had been a member of the Ka 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.
It happened that our man had a skeleton in his closet. My friend and I
assigned each other research task4.
I began by telephoning a trusted journalist of academic inclination in the home town of our nominee for the supreme court. He visited the newspaper’s morgue, and came back to me in an hour or so, summarizing its contents. “Is there evidence there," I asked, “of intensive Democratic activity?” 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, then as president of the college.
While dean, he had written several scholarly legal articles of stunning quality. And. by inflection^ these were highly critical of the Warren court’s
flights into constitutional weightlessness As a lawyer, he appeared to be solidly •committed to the notion of judicial prudence, and respect for legislative authority.
He had come to my own attention during the crazy years, in the late 1980s, when it became his turn to face the usual student disruption. He had handled it in a way that turned out to bt* 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 life.
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 waiting for them. They were simple notices of — expulsion. E-x-p-u-l-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 C hicago 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 crazies were subdued in the rest of the country, did he have any more trouble with students taking over his buildings No wonder he opposes the supreme court’s ban on capital punishment.
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 successor And my chagrin that my old friends and mentors, Senators Tower and Hruska, should Im* 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 communist front to deceive, and no one has ever said about the Lawyers Guild that it wasn't successful — they got I>evi; but oh so briefly, in the ’30s, about the time King Brewster and Fred Rodell and Philip Jesup and C hester Bowles were starting up the American First Committee
I would beg my brothers’ reconsideration in re Levi, a hell of a man, and scholar, a friend and soul-mate of Milton Friedman, 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 heritage d<M»s not insult himself by mocking the native American.
Pupils should be told the facts, aith* nigh I doubt at that age they will remember, that being an Indian is not wearing feathers and living in a teepee This is a stereotype that has made trouble many times for my children because they are not believed to be Indians by their classmates, because they don t wear feathers but do wear clothes. If it weren’t for TY. prejudiced parents and little programs such as the preschool, this would bt* fading out. (The fact that the first Thanksgiving was one of praise to God by the white man did little if anything for the Indians but destroy unity That’s not part of Indian culture )
People teaching their children respect for all people won t do it bv using “isn t-it-fun-to-be-an-Indian?" garbage
Indian children of preschool age wont he affected much by this stereotyping now but will be tormented throughout life because of these misconceptions by maybe* these same classmates I know —
I went through it and now my children are doing the same. Will theirs?
I would like also to thank those who have done something about the above and to tell them that this is a better community because of it. It is a sign of progress, slow but sure.
Pete Stanislaw 5815 Colorado drive SWAir 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 1988 when the change was nuida to EM. which was only an excuse* for using ten times more transmitting power instead of decreasing the transmitting flower as might have been dime.
It seems that it is a little late to think of it now but I’m in favor of cable TY and power conservation at radio broadcasting stationsMixed up
Larry Begalske 1432 Thirty -eighth street SE
To the Editor:
This is in response to Melvin A Nation’s letter of Dec. 21 about sending to Eldora a 13-year-old boy who has broken and enterer! 39 times . . He is being totally unfair.
Many of bs teenagers do cause trouble ancf break laws, some more than others. I think we need more support than anything cise, We do have personalities and feelings too
What does he want to do, link up all of us under the age of 18, just for being mixed up'.’ People .could try to help; it couldn’t hurt
Cheryl Wilson 3808 Oakland road NE
The gospel according to Lippmann
Freedom’s flawed flaw-finder: the press
By Anthony Lewis
BOSTON —- The death of Walter Lippmann 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 time 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 the war and support for it And then Watergate: The press has been fairly cbidtd with trying to take credit for what the law in good part accomplished But without the continuous glare of press attention, the law might have flagged and Richard Nixon might still Im* President.
The new power of the press has ariHJsed much resentment, and not only among the mighty whose crimes or misjudgments have been exposed Journalists these days experience antagonism, even raw hatred
Since the press is suspicious of power, it probably should not complain when its own power is questioned. There is in fai t a measure of self-doubt in the profession Some members of it, at least, worry about the charge first laid by Stanley
Baldwin against the press lords of the 1920s, that they wanted "power without responsibility, the prerogative of the harlot thnwjghout the ages "
Those on the inside know how imperfect an institution the press is. Its attention span is sometimes woefully short. It can chase the sensational at the expense of the serious. It is often inadequately informed, or lazy, or sloppy. Its judgment can Im* distorted by ambition It has been known to be self-important.
True, all true. To paraphrase ( hurt hill on democracy, it is probably the worst institution in which to confide our freedoms — except all the other possibilities. ,
In terms of truthfulness, honor or dedication to liberty, the press in the 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 to criticism
Other systems have other ways to prevent the inbreeding and concentration of power that corrupt human values Even Britain, the democracy closest in
form to ours, allows the press much less scope to perform that role But in the United States there is no visible alternative.
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 that the Central Intelligence Agency spied at home
Perfectly honorable officials try again and again to keep the 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 to think that difficult problems can best be handled without public noise, and an argument can always be constructed that the national interest requires secrecy. The short answer is the rec ord
Would the integrity of this country have been better preserved if the- press had not conveyed the true character of the Vietnam war** Would we Im* better off if the courts had agreed to censor the 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 Cambodia, or that it worked to subvert the legitimate government Chile?
"There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and shame the devil '* Walter Lippmann said that 50 years ago. There are occasions when publication is unwise, editors are not insensitive to those' realities But recent events make it plain that, in our system,
the presumption must be overwhelmingly in favor (rf publishing
Officials complain that the members of the press are outsiders, not able to understand the intricacies of a problem But that is the point, to have scrutiny and criticism from a detached position, one not committed to particular policies or persons
Walter Lippmann said that the first rule for journalism was to remain detached from the great He was famous for breaking his own rule; he knew and even advised Presidents from Wilson to Kennedy But he did not hesitate 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 other person's. The function and the power of the press lie there In independence
Ne* York Tim** ServiceInsights
vvySwf I V. .
Neither piety, virtue, nor liberty can long flourish in a community where the educa hon of youth is neglected.
Hurry, children — time for your ancient Greek studies!