New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 17, 1982, New Braunfels, Texas
4A New Braunfels Herald-Ze/ft/ny Friday, December 17,1982
Dave Kramer, General Manager
Robert Johnson, Editor
Andy RooneyShopping for the sweet smell of Christmas
The stores look great at this time of year and I always hope they do a good business. I want them to be encouraged to look great for Christmas again next year.
My Christmas shopping follows the same pattern every year. Before Thanksgiving I promise myself to get at it early. I plan to start the day after Thanksgiving, but I never do.
The following Monday I start looking in stores. I wander through them and see absolutely nothing that’s just right for anyone. I see a few things I’d like for myself but nothing for anyone else. The next week I find two interesting gifts and I'm encouraged. I think I’ve at least got a start, so I can relax. That’s where I
make my mistake. I know now I’m not really going to get at any serious shpping until the Monday before Christmas with just five days to do it in.
I’ve looked through the stores by now and read their advertising enough to know two things I’m not going to buy anyone. I’m not going to buy perfume and I’m not going to buy a fur coat.
Some of the biggest and best-looking department stores have just about turned over their main floors to perfume. It’s apparent that there’s a lot of quick, easy money in something as over-priced as perfume must be.
I’ve come a long way in my thoughts about perfume. Years ago I
went to Europe to write a series of magazine articles and when it came time to return to the United States. I started looking for an appropriate present to bring my wife. The only expensive perfume I’d ever heard of was Chanel No. 5.1 didn’t even know Chanel had any other numbers. There were people I knew who had lived in Paris for a long time and I asked for advice from them.
They told me there was a wonderful, less well-known perfume called Guerlaine that I should buy. I thought my wife would like the idea of my bringing her the latest and hottest perfume item from Paris, so I hotfooted it to the Guerlaine shop and bought a bottle of something for about $70. At the time, it was a very ex
travagant purchase for me to make.
Today I find it hard to believe that I gave my wife perfume...and hard to believe that she was pleased, which she seemed to be at the time. The idea of perfume seems decadent, strange and unfriendly to me now. A clean person you like smells just the way he or she should, with nothing added. When someone dabbed with perfume passes me or enter a room I’m in, I’m turned off. I’d rather have someone come in smoking a good cigar, although I’m not too fond of that, either. There ought to be a special section in restaurants and on airplanes for people wearing a lot of perfume just as there is a section for smokers. If the perfume people don’t
want to sit with the smokers, that’s their business. They’ll have to work it out between them.
I have no idea what they put in perfume, but I suspect, not much. The very best and most expensive perfume has ambergris in it. Ambergris is a waxy substance thrown up from the intestines of a whale. You can imagine what they use in cheap perfumes.
The other thing I’m not going to buy anyone is a fur coat. I’ve come a long way about them, too. I used to see a good-looking expensive coat. Now I see the animal that it came from and am reminded of traps and those cute little white Canadian seals. They got to me with those pictures I see every
My wife still has the fur coat her mother gave her years ago, but I notice she doesn’t wear it much anymore. I used to like it, but now when I see a woman in a fur coat it stikes me as being too much. I’m not even consoled by the fact that the mink is a mean little animal. I have completely dismissed the idea that my opinion of fur coats is at all influenced by the possibility that I’m too cheap to buy one for my wife. Ifs funny how your opinions of things change so radically.
I’m so opinionated it even seems to me that women with mink coats wear more perfume than women in cloth coats.
Soviet slave labor topic of report
Reagan making little headway on MX missile, Social Security
More than 120 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, slavery is once again a subject of controversy in the inner circles of a presidential administration. This time, though, the slaves under discussion are Russian, not American.
For months, an inter-agency group — including representatives of the White House, the State Department, the CIA, the National Security Council and the I.abor Department — has been hotly debating the extent of slave labor in the Soviet Union.
No one questions the fact that forced labor is widespread in the Soviet Union. What the government experts have been arguing about is whether slaves are being used on a specific Soviet construction job — the natural gas pipeline being built from Siberia to Western Europe.
Like medieval monks disputing the number of angels that can fit on a pinhead, the mter-agency group’s members have been debating whether slave labor is being used on the pipeline directly or indirectly, a lot or a little. The squabble, unfortunately, may become more important than the issue at hand.
A conclusive finding that slave labor is being used on the pipeline would presumably embarrass the Kremlin. So the White House representatives in the mter-agency group were not pleased when some State Department officials and the CIA argued that the evidence of slave labor on the pipeline was not convincing. The State Department officials and the CIA also suggested that the issue was “an old story" and didn’t deserve a big media push.
The squabble came to a head with the drafting of a letter to Congress a few weeks ago which accompanied a preliminary report on the group’s findings. The White House didn’t like Foggy Bottom’s draft, which it thought was too weak. An administration source told my associate Lueette l,agnado there was “some dissatifaction" with the first draft.
So the White House people rewrote the letter.
As finally delivered, the letter stated: "There is clear evidence that the Soviet Union is using forced labor on a massive scale This includes the use of political prisoners.”
As for the .specific issue of the pipeline, the beefed-up letter said: “A number of reports suggest that forced labor has been used in some of the site preparation and other preliminary work on the export pipeline...clearing the forests, leveling the right-of-way, building roads arid constructing living quarters."
The State Department and the CIA were right about one thing. It was indeed an old story. I reported last September that the Russians were using slave labor on the pipeline, and Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger reported similar findings a short time later.
Whether the story "deserved” a big media push or not, it didn’t get one. So the inter-agency group is now working on its final report to Congress, due to be delivered next month.
In addition to some dramatic new evidence — reportedly including photographs — the task force is addressing some points not touched on in the preliminary report, including the question of whether Vietnamese workers are being pressed into slavery in Siberia. Such subjects are potential sources of embarrassments for the Kremlin.
The final report may contain photographic evidence, according to administration sources. And it will be subjected to “more supervision" from the White House.
Bookstores in Danger: After three years of preliminary study, the Federal Trade Commission has evidence that chain bookstores and paperback-publishing companies may be illegally driving independent booksellers out of business. The agency is reported ready to launch a full-scale investigation.
Documents obtained by the FTC show that such big paperback publishers as Dell and Avon gave chain stores as much as 7 percent discount. Because paperbacks make up more than half the book market, this favored treatment can make the difference between profitability and bankruptcy.
In fact, the break the chains get from the publishers may be an important reason for their phenomenal success in recent years. According to the American Booksellers Association, independent bookstores average less than I percent profit, while the chams’ average profit is about IO percent. By 1990, the ABA estimates, chains will have 75 percent of the book market.
Under federal anti-trust law, wholesalers’ discounts are illegal unless they can justified by a lower cost of doing business — generally by shipping in large quantities. But my associate Jock Hatfield has seen invoices obtained by the FTC that indicate preferential prices to chain stores on both large and small orders. The ABA claims that such discounts are never offered to independent booksellers no matter how large the shipment.
By JAMES GERSTEN2ANG
WASHINGTON - President Reagan walked into the Pension Building, perhaps the most ornate, rococo structure in a city of ornate structures, took one look at its cavernous atrium and told a companion:
"I think I’ve finally found a place to base the MX."
Would that it were so easy.
As he watches Congress try to hurry home for Christmas, and as he makes his own Christmas week plans, Reagan is shrugging his shoulders and trying to hand off two key
decisions: the basing plan for the MX and future financing of the ailing Social Security system.
He made a suggestion about the MX: place the as-yet-unproduced and unfunded nuclear missile in a closely spaced pattern — so that incoming Soviet missiles would destroy each other instead of the MX — near Cheyenne, Wyo.
This was not well received on Capitol Hill, so the president on Tuesday came up with another idea.
He agreed to resubmit the so-called dense-pack plan, along with alternatives, and he would let Congress decide.
As for Social Security, Reagan has
said all year that he made a proposal, it met with criticism — a firestorm, really — and now a bipartisan commission can go at it.
But there is a hitch. The commission members, led by Chairman Alan Greenspan, a Republican adviser to Republican presidents, say they can reach no agreement and need to know from the president just what proposals he will accept.
Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., a commission member, went so far as to say the White House has “been frightened to death by Social Security."
To which Reagan responded: "We are not scared to touch the issue.” He said he had appointed a commission
to study it. This, he then said, would stop Social Security from once again becoming the "political football" he said it turned out to be after he suggested cutting benefits to future recipients.
“We appointed a commission," he said. “It doesn’t seem to me that this is the place for us to be interfering. We are waiting for the commission to come back and tell us, could they agree on a plan? If so, what, or do they have alternatives9 Then we will have an alternative.”
So, until the commission can come up with a set of recommendations, Reagan said, he would hold off making his own.
Gov. William P. Clements Jr. Governor's Office Room 200 State Capitol Austin, Texas 78701
Sen. Lloyd Bentsen United State Senate Room 240 Russell Bldg Washington, D C. 20510
State Sen. W.E. Snelson Texas Senate P O Box 12068 Austin, Texas 787C8
Sen. John Tower United States Senate Room 142 Russell Bldg Washington, D C. 20510 State Rep Bennie Bock ll Texas House of Representatives P.O. Box 2910 Austin, Texas 78769
Rep. Tom Loeffler U.S. House of Representatives 1213 Longworth House Office Bldg.
Washington, D C. 20515
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