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View Sample Pages : New Braunfels Herald Zeitung, July 14, 1982

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 14, 1982, New Braunfels, Texas OpinionsHarald-Zeitung Dave Kramer, General Manager    Robert    Johnson,    Editor ti'Andy Rooney Andy's revenge on junk telephone calls The other evening I was having the kind of good time we all dream about when we’re working. I was sitting in my living room, relaxed, having a drink before dinner and watching the evening news on television. My part of dealing with the world was over for the day and I finally had it at arm’s length where I could watch it, read about it and talk with my wife about it. Then the telephone. “Good evening,” the pleasant young woman’s voice at the other end of the line said. “We’re calling to ask if you’re familiar with the two new products of the Reynolds Metals Company.” “You’re doing n-hut ’’ I yelled. “My name is Sue Carswell and I work for Reynolds Aluminum Building Products Division. We have two new products on the market and we’re making a telephone survey to find out how many people know about them.” By the time I’d made it clear to Miss Carswell how I felt about being called at home, in the evening, during m>r own pleasant, private time, by a stranger asking me some idiotic questions about products I couldn’t care less about, the news was over. The ice in my drink had melted, and I no longer felt relaxed. Why does a company think it can bother people at home by telephone? I dislike junk mail, I hate the people who slip advertisements under my windshield wipers when I’m parked, and I don’t want anyone leaving free newspapers that are mostly advertisements in my driveway, but my feeling about these ways of trying to sell me something is almost friendly Virginia Payette Insects swarming up on Capitol Hill The Democrats think the country is going to the dogs and they plan to rescue it come November with a fresh dose of liberalism. Better they should stock up (»n a good pesticide. Tip O’Neill is blaming the wrong critters. The economy isn’t going to the dogs, it’s going to the insects and a can of Raid would do his cause more good than a dozen Kennedy's. Self-styled pests are all over the place. Congressmen have split from the party line into various swarms called the 'boll weevils" ... the gypsy moths” ... tile 'yellow jackets” ... and the “honeybees." As critters go, these are mostly conservative legislators, including (quick Henry, the Kilt! I a group •»! Democrats who bug old l ip w ith their pesky support of his arch rival in the White House hive. It all started with the "boll weevils,” a horde of .southern Democrats who helped President Reagan get his budget through the House. Irater came the yellow jackets,” and infestation ol conservative Republicans buzzing Congress for even greater spending cuts all down the line. Then there are the “honeybee,” Republicans dedicated to sweetening the pot with tighter revenue collections and the introduction of a flat tax rate to discourage cheaters iii the underground economy. The only entomological subspecies that doesn’t bug Tip are the "gypsy moths.” That s a swarm of northeast and big-city Republicans who agree with the crusty old speaker that Reagan’s cuts iii welfare programs are intolerable. Politics have reached the point where, as one congressman put it. "You have to lx* ail insect anything done around Headline writers are ecstatic old pols are just ticked off. What plagues them most to get here." liberal is the growing political clout of the "boll weevils.” These varmints actually had the nerve to hold their own campaign fund-raiser a couple of weeks ago to help elect conservative Democrats to Congress. At $500 a head, they collected $20,000. Washington-watchers took note, suggesting that this might just be enough to bolster the "boll weevils" legitimacy in political circles. And this time Tip played it smart; he sent three top House Democrats to the fund-raiser to show voters lie s not afraid of the infestation. Majority Reader Jim Wright show ed up carrying a can of bug-killer arid wearing a "Texas Pest Management Association” cap. Somebody pointed out that his brand ol spray doesn’t have any effect on weevils; Wright lamented that nothing else does, either. "I haven’t found a way to control them yet,” he joked with the crowd. I'm still looking for it.” It was all fun-and-games, but the fact is that the “boll weevils" have been stinging the Democratic leadership in Congress for the past 18 months. Nothing pains an old pol like O’Neill more than to have one of his own go over to the enemy. Not only that, his failure to keep the southern Democrats in line basset off a flurry of cloakroom whispers that maybe the old boy has lost his touch, that what the party needs to get it back in the catbird seat is a younger leader who’s more in tune with the new get-rid-of-Big-Brother sentiment that seems to be growing among tax-burdened voters. Tip slaps down that kind of heresay as angrily as he would a mosquito, but it s no secret that the political insects are beginning to get under his skin. Its enough to make a speaker wish he could trade in his gavel for a good oldfashioned flyswatter. ■ /. , //'M'    /. ’S' Mf, V. , • compared to the way I feel about intrusive telephone calls. We get a lot of mail at home every day. My wife takes hers and leaves everything addressed to me on the kitchen table. (I say “everything.” Actually, if it looks like money she opens it no matter who it’s addressed to.) When I come home, I take my little stack of mail and stand by the big wastebasket in the kitchen. If I have 12 peices of mail, I seldom end up with more than four that I take to the living room to read. The rest is junkmail and goes unopened into the wastebasket. Real waste for the wastebasket. Throwing out junk mail has become a part of our lives. We all know how to do it quickly and its message doesn’t enter our lives. A phone call is a diffeent matter. You can’t throw a phone call in the wastebasket unopened and I still have not reached the point where I can let the telephone ring without answering it, even though at that moment, there’s almost no one I want to talk to. If ifs illegal to bother people in a neighborhood with loud noises or to accost people on the street, why isn’t there a law that prevents companies from calling people listed in the phone book for the purpose of selling them something? If the practice gets any more popular, we could all start answering IO or 15 cals a night. When our phone rings at night, it’s usually a friend with a message that has some meaning to us or one of our kids checking in. We get only a few phone calls on the average night, so when he hear the ring, we go to the phone with some sense of anticipation. I am infuriated at least once a week to find the caller on the other end taking some commercial survey or trying to sell me insurance or a financial plan that will make me rich. If I want a commercial message when I’m home, I’ll watch television. Depending on my mood, I have several ways of dealing with these calls. If I’m in a good mood, I just slam down the receiver. If I’m annoyed, I tell the caller how I feel about being bothered. If I feel vicious, I listen for a minute and then ask them to wait while I get a pencil. In about two minutes, I pick up the phone again and say, “I’ll be right with you.” I keep them hanging on this way as long as I can. I figure that every second I keep them tied up is a second they aren’t bothering someone else. The president of the Reynolds Metals Company lives in Richmond, Va., where their offices are. His name is John Blomquist and his home telephone number is (804 ) 288-9264. I’m taking a little survey and I’d appreciate it if you’d give him a call and ask if he’s ever heard of me. John L. Hess lf medieval thinking goes on, there will be the devil to pay Th* ChdMan Soane* Monte* The calendar says we’re living in the 20th century, going on the 21st. Rut the news says we’re back iii the Middle Ages. Here’s mighty Proctor & Gamble, praying to get Satan off its back. That is, ifs suing three people for spreading the tale that the company is possessed. At first, it was a joke to P. & G., this fable that its old trademark of a moon-face and 111 stars was a symbol of devil worship. But lately ifs been getting as many as 3,000 calls iii a week from worried customers. They’d rather have ring around their collar than wash their clothes in the devil’s brew. The devil is everywhere. Rep. Robert K. Dorman, Republican of California, is sure that when he plays a Led Zeppelin recording of "Stairway to Heaven,” he can hear tiny voices saying “I live for Satan.” He and his friends, who may be the only people who play records backwards, have introduced bills in Congress and the California legislature to require a warning label on such devilish discs. Then there are those fundamentalists who want to exorcize that demon Darwin out of our biology classes. Failing that, they demand equal time for “creation science." They want to roll education back to where it was when the earth was flat and the sun and stars knew their place in the firmament. And speaking of true believers, did you see that big Moonie wedding on the TV? There were those 2,000 brides iii white and those 2,000 clean-cut young grooms, marching down the aisle to Mendelsohn’s “Wedding March” on the organ. The only odd note was the sacrament being administered in a Korean sergeant’s bark. Aside from that, it was a Norman Rockwell picture of sweet romance, multiplied 2,000 times. All that was left out was the essential. Most of the couples were strangers to each other. It was the Reverend Moon who had popped the question. And they all dutifully answered “Yes.” Whom the leader hath joined together, let no man put asunder... What we were seeing was like a scene from "The Stepford Wives,” that extraordinary movie where the wives have been replaced by robots. They act human — even better than human — but they are indeed possessed. Another word for that is brainwashed. Deep religious and moral convictions are one thing; the suppression of reason is another. Irately, the medievalists have been celebrating a victory. They have kept a majority of the public from writing it into the Constitution that men aud women are equal in rights. Various arguments were brought into play, but surely rationality had little to do with it. For example, the coven that defeated ERA said its most effective ploy was the threat that women would be drafted for combat. Not that they’re against combat, heaven forbid. They just want it limited to husbands and sons. Women are made to be victims. Listen to Phyllis Schlafly, anti-feminist career lady, who is now planning a campaign against a nuclear freeze. “The atomic bomb is a marvelous gift that was given to our country by a wise God.” And who gave the bomb to those other fellows? You know who. He’s the fellow on the phonograph record, if you play it backwards. Washington today Reagan pension battle goes on The foundation remains WASHINGTON (AP) ~ President Reagan’s $22,444 California pension has been questioned by critics who contend it’s an unconstitutional "emolument.” But the Justice Department says ifs a perfectly legal arrangement. Either way, the on-again, off-again debate centers on one of those often overlooked sections of the Constitution offering little firm proof of which side is right. The head of the Sacramento (Calif.) Urban league, for one, notes that the Constitution bars U.S. presidents from getting any state or federal emolument other than their salary. An emolument, says Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, is a “profit from office, employment or labor; fees or salary.” But the Justice Department, in a legal opinion, insists the intent of the men who drafted the clause in the 18th century was to bar payments that could influence presidential decisions. And that problem is absent, the department says, because Reagan will get the pension money from his days as California governor regardless of what he does in the Oval Office. A 1973 Library of Congress guide to the Constitution lists no disputes over the presidential “emolument” clause. Major law school textbooks do not probe the true meaning of the provision, which likely will remain in the ranks of some of the other obscure parts of the Constitution. Federal officeholders need the consent of Congress to accept any “present, emolument, office or title” from “any king, prince or foreign state.” The Justice Department says it has received inquiries about Reagan’s pension from House Speaker Thomas P. O’Neill, D-Mass., and at least two other congressman. And George Dean, president of the Sacramento Urban League, says he informed Attorney General William French Smith by letter that paying the pension as long as Reagan is president is unconstitutional. Dean, whose group advocates the rights of minorities, says he’s asked California officials to stop payments, now set at $22,444 annually, pending an independent legal review. The debate over the pension may stay just that — a war of words. Court challenges may be impossible. If, as is likely, the president keeps on receiving the pension in addition to his $200,000 salary there’s a major question of who could go to court to try to stop him. And in the absence of any court challenge, the Justice Department’s approval of the pension arrangement last year is almost certain to stand as the last official word. “The pension is not an emolument within the meaning of the Constitution ... or within the meaning of the laws of California,” says Justice Department spokesman Mark Sheehan. ;