New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 11, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas
4A g Herald-Zettung □ Thursday, December 11,1997
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H e r a I d - Z e
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“From abortion rights to euthanasia to indifference to the plight of the poor, the road has been paved with soothing words chosen to harmonize conscience with convenience.”
Mary Ann Glendon professor
EDITORIALLocal children share the gift of giving
Packages wrapped with pretty bows and satin ribbons sitting under a Christmas tree that is what many of us see when we think of Christmas. But some local organizations are working this holiday season to remind us that the greatest gift of all is being able to give.
The New Braunfels Breakfast Lions Club gave 25 area children that wonderful gift this past Saturday when they took them Christmas shopping. Hie I.ions gave each child $25, and Texas Commerce Bank kicked in another S5 per child so they could shop for Christmas presents for their families.
Christmas shopping was a task the children took seriously,
I ions reported.
“Its amazing to me how all of the kids have been really gung-ho about budgeting their dollars,” Lion Ron /app said.
( blier businesses and organizations who contributed to make the day a wonderful experience for the children included
■ HITI. which prov ided oranges and apples;
■ I Hilshire farms, winch donated summer sausage for stockings,
■ I uby s Cafeteria, which .served breakfast to the children
and I ions;
■ Kmart, winch welcomed the young shoppers and gave each a large can of popcorn;
■ Bealls, winch gave shopping bags; ami
■ t oinmumlies in Schixds. which selected the children for the pro lect
Santa ( laus made an appearance, courtesy of Larry Kunkel
I hanks to the et forts of the Breakfast I ions. Communities in Schools ami these local businesses, these children w ill know the joy of giving when their families open their gifts on t hristmas I )ay VV hat a wonderful gift to give to these children
t Iodin v i chlorin! ut is written bv Hcrald-Zcitung S famidin e Editor \farviin’l Edmonson t
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AUSTIN — More good books! The publishing industry might be going to hell in a hand basket (see spate of recent hand-wringing about same in many journals), but there’s nothing wrong with American writers. Voices from our many racial and ethnic subcultures; great, sweeping overviews of our national life; funny stuff; great yams — what a rich and festive year for readers it has been. Share the wealth, and buy books for hojiday gifts — and remember, the bookstores will be open until the last minute.
“The Gay Metropolis; 1940-1996“ by Charles Kaiser is an excellent general history of gay life in America, with the focus on New York City. I recommend this for straights as well as gays because I think it’s a perfect “crossover” book. I learned something new on every page. Kaiser’s thesis that World War ll was the real beginning of “gay culture’’ in this country — taking millions of men out of their hometowns and scattering them all over the globe in large groups let the gays realize how many of them there actually were — is fascinating and, I believe, entirely fresh work.
To the extent that even those of us who consider ourselves quite “enlightened’’ about homosexuals are still uncomfortable with the subject, this hook is most helpful because it is simply a very interesting and straightforward history. The account of how gays had to struggle to get themselves out of the classification of “mental illness’’ is amazing and touching. (Obligatory disclaimer; Charlie Kaiser is a friend of mine from our days together on The New York Times, but I would certainly recommend this book even he weren’t.)
Another former Times colleague, Greg Javnes, has written an entirely different kind of book, “Come Hell On High Water.’’ It’s sort of appro
priately subtitled “A Truly Sullen Memoir,” except that it’s also hilarious.
I’m not sure I can explain why this grumpy account of a sea voyage is so funny, except that it does remind of us Jean-Paul Sartre’s thesis that hell i? other people. As a hopelessly ^fastidious liker of people myself, the worse Jayne’s shipmates got, the more I laughed. This book is a salutary warning for anyone who is having a mid-life crisis and thinks the answer is to ditch it all and go around the world.
And yet another Timesie has committed book, although I don’t know this one: Rick Bragg’s “AU Over But the Shoutin’ ” is a delightful and touching memoir about “his people” — one of America’s most despised minorities, the folks known as “poor white trash.”
Some of this book will seem so familiar to Southerners that they’ll be wondering why anyone bothered to write about such ordinary folk, but to the many in the “intelligentsia” to whom fundamentalist Christians seem to be a weird subspecies, this is a wonderfully moving corrective. Having tried many times myself to explain and defend poor white Southerners, I should have known that the answer is to do what Bragg does: introduce a few of them. Getting to know his momma through this book will be one of the greatest pleasures you ever had.
“One World, Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism” by William Greider is an excellent antidote to all the globaloney we get
from the corporations about the wonders of free trade. As the Asian economies reel, Greider’s book seems almost eerily prescient. One of the greatest sour satisfactions in life is being able to say “Told you so,” and Greider did tell us so.
The national debate bn globalization and trade has been so heavily weighted by corporate money that if I could, I would make Greider’s book required reading for all Americans. But why make it mandatory when reading it is so instructive that it is its own reward?
“The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea” by Sebastian Junger is a classic “guy” book that I enjoyed a whole lot. It’s not just the men-against-the-sea theme; it also has the satisfaction offered by all those Tom Clancy books about how stuff actually works — in this case, how storms are formed. A great read, and perfect for your friends who watch the Weather Channel, too.
“Mason & Dixon” by Themas Pynchon is a wonderful, picaresque historical novel about the guys who drew the famous line, with touches of Laurence Sterne and Henry Fielding. Gosh, he’s a good writer. You’ll enjoy this.
“Requiem” is by photographers who died in Vietnam and is edited by Horst Faas and Tim Page. The photos are superb, and the tragedy never loses its impact. Yes, it still hurts to revisit how stupid and useless it all was, but we owe remembrance to the dead. And these photos, by journalists who died trying to make us see it clearly then, are moving beyond description.
And, of course, there are many more I haven’t room to mention. OK, fellow procrastinators, see you at the bookstore on Christmas Eve.
(Molly /vins is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star- Telegram.)
By The Associated Press
Here are excerpts from editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad:
The Des Moines Register, on changes in Social Secunn and Medicare
lf you’re going to set off a bomb, common sen*: says to use as long a fuse as possible to be sure you’re a long way away when it goes off. The 1983 Congress offers an example. It raised the Social Security retirement age, but attached a fuse that would bum for 20 years before anybody felt the impact.
Congress should have lit a similar fuse to Medicare.
“Saying’’ Medicare means a sac n ti ce from prox iders, taxpayers, and/or recipients We can pay doctors, pharmaceutical manufacturers and medical-device makers less. We can raise Medicare taxes paid by those now working. We can raise co-payments charged to the elderly, or at least the wealthy elderly; we can quit providing the most expensive services. Or we can delay the eligibility age, as we have for Social Security.
Of all the unhappy possibilities, the last step
should be the first taken. It is clearly the most sensible. Social Security's intent is to provide a financial safety net for the retirement years; Medicare’s intent is to provide a health safety net for the same years, and should by logic kick in at the same age.
Alamogordo (N M.) Daily News, on assassinating Saddam Hussein:
Speaking of assassination attempts, we suspect that several of our readers have wondered aloud ... why the Clinton administration doesn’t simply give the go-ahead to the Central Intelligence Agency or some other operative to slip into Iraq and take out Saddam Hussein.
That the w orld would be a far safer place without Hussein seems self-evident. The overarching question is whether the United States should be in the business of killing scoundrels. The answer is obvious.
lf the United States is to be the shining city on a hill that our Founding Fathers envisioned, it cannot go about willy-nilly, regardless of their treachery.
Otherwise, we are no better than the tyrants we would dispatch to the nether regions.
Houston Chronicle, on election of Lee Brown as mayor:
... (Lee) Brown, formerly Houston’s first African American police chief now becomes the first ethnic minority elected to the mayor’s seat.
The city’s ethnic population mix arid the relative closeness of the vote cannot be ignored, but Brown’s task of bridging gaps and reaching out to all constituencies is no different than would be required of any new mayor in the nation’s fourth-largest city.
Of particular sensitivity, of course, is the city’s affirmative action program with regard to awarding contracts. Brown has pledged to preserve the program based on race and gender “to level the playing field” and add a “graduation” component and other modifications so that the program reaches only “the truly needy.” He should be encouraged in that.
... Brown, during his campaign, laid out a clear and wide-ranging agenda. He, fortunately, has a booming local economy that makes all of his tasks easier. The broad support of Houstonians is also now required and merited. As are all the leadership skills he can muster. Best wishes to Mayor-elect Brown.
Today in History
By The Associated Press
Today is Thursday, Dec. ll, the 345ih day of 1997. There are 20 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. ll, 1946, the United Nations Intemauonal Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was established
On this date:
In 1792, France’s King Louis XVI went before the Convention to face charges of treason. Louis was convicted and executed the following month.
In 1816, Indiana became the 19th state.
In 1872, Amenca’s first Mack governor took office as Pinckney Benton Stewart Pmchback became acting governor of Louisiana In 1928, police in Buenos Aires thwarted an attempt on the life of Presr ident-elcct Herbert Hoover.
In 1936, Britain's King Edward Vin abdicated the throne in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson.
in 1937, Italy withdrew from the League of Nations.
In 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States; the U.S. responded in kind.
In 1961, a U.S. aircraft carrier carrying Army helicopters arrived in Saigon — the first direct American military support for South Vietnam’s battle against Communist guerrillas.
In 1981, the U N. Security Council chose Javier Perez de Cuellar of Fem lo be the fifth secretary-general of the world body.
In 1991, a jury in Wert Palm Bench, FU., acquitted William Kennedy Smith of sexuid assault and battery, rejecting the allegations of Patricia Bowman.
Ten years age: NATO alhet urged the U.S. Senate to redly the i
ate-range missile treaty quickly and underscored their support by pledging to Ut the Soviet Union inspect missile bases in five European countries.
Five years ago: President-elect Clinton tapped Robert Reich to be labor secretary and Donna ShalaU to be secretary of Health and Human Services A severe storm pounded the upper Atlantic coast with snow, rein md high winds.
One year aga: A China-organized committee of 400 Hong Kong notables elected shipping tycoon Tung Chee-hwa to be die first poet-colonial leader of Hong Kong.