New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 3, 1994, New Braunfels, Texas
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“Journalists endure hardships, danger, give their lives... so that free people may know the truth as best we can find it. We owe them so
- Louis D. Boccardi, The Associated Press, 1993When churches work together everyone wins
E D I
I T O R I
I A L
Getting good juries
New method of picking juries may make it harder on prosecutors, but it is fair
Prosecutors and judges in Harris County are complaining that a new Texas law that changed the way juries are selected is resulting in more aquittals and lighter sentences.
The law requires that counties use their lists of licensed drivers to select jury pools, instead of using a list of voters.
The prosecutors and judges say putting non-voters on juries results in getting jurors who are uninformed, young, poor and unconcerned about their community. They say more jurors have criminal records of their own, or have family members who have served prison time.
As a result, they say, those jurors are more likely to vote not guilty or vote for a light sentence.
Defense attorneys say the new law simply makes juries more representative of the general population, and defendents are finally getting a jury of their peers.
While everyone is concerned about crime, and no one wants to make prosecutors'jobs harder than they already are, the new law neems to make sense.
Criminal defendents are entided to a jury of their peers, and making the pool of potential jurors more closely resemble the population as a whole does not seem like an undue burden to put upon prosecutors and should result in a better judicial system.
After all, our goal should be to make the system as fair as possible, not to put people away for as long as possible whether they deserve it or not.
(Today's editorial was written by City Editor Roger Croteau.)
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Believe it or not. I’ve made it into Volume 7 of Will Durant’s prodigious “History of Civilization.”
Considering how long it has taken me to get this far, I’m not sure I will live long enough to make it all the way through Volume IO.
Last night, though, as I plugged along through Durant’s volume on the Age of Reason, I was intrigued by Sir Francis Bacon’s perceptive comments on what he called “the reasons for atheism.”
Way back there in the days when the King James Bible was a modem-speech translation, back when Shakespeare was as fresh as Andrew Lloyd Webber, Bacon posited that atheism rises from two main causes.
People opt for atheism, he said, because of “divisions in religion” and because of scandals involving priests.
“Wow!” I thought as I read this idea. “If Bacon is right, it’s a wonder America is not overrun with
Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart hardly faded from the headlines when a host of priests, small and great, were fingered as molesters. Lord knows, we’ve had more than enough clergy scandals.
And religious division? During the past decade internal feuds within major fellowships have made the more traditional sparring between denominations look almost tame. Warring Baptists in Texas got almost as many headlines as Saddam Hussein.
. It now appears that Presbyterian and Episcopalian skirmishes over whether to ordain homosexuals and women will entertain the pagan world for the foreseeable future.
Religious division and clergy scandal breed unbe
lief. In Francis Bacon’s day. In ours.
With all this on the table, can you understand how delighted I was to read the latest reports on post-cold war evangelism in Albania?
In 1967 Albania’s paranoid dictator declared the country officially atheist He destroyed Bibles. He closed all of the country’s mosques and churches.
When the Iron Curtain collapsed, Christians entering the country found no indigenous church, no native base to work from. Consequently missionaries from different traditions were faced to do the unthinkable. They had to work together!
If the spirit of cooperation survives, and if the evangelists behave themselves morally, Albania's atheists may hear a gospel they can't resist
Do you suppose we should try this at home?
(Gene Shelburne is a guest columnist for the Herald-Zeitung and pastor of a church in Amarillo.)
Interest groups bog down Washington
By JIM DRINKARD
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a few blocks of gleaming new office buildings just across the Potomac River from the capital, some see the ruin of America in the making.
These sterile structures in Alexandria, Va., are the booming home lo dozens of associations — interest groups — a short subway ride from the federal government they lobby.
Directories in the marble foyers yield a mind-numbing array of names: the American Society of Military Comptrollers, the Health Industry Distributors Association, the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals, the National Society of Fund Raising Executives, the American Gear Manufacturers Council, the Nauonal Association of Colletic Admission Counselors.
nciording to city development officials, more than 250 national trade and professional groups now are based in this closc-in suburb, a fivefold increase from just a decade ago.
A similar pattern has occurred in downtown Washington and in oilier suburbs.
A directory of Washington lobbyists estimates that 2,200 associations and
Today in history
By Th# Associated Press
Today is Tuesday, May 3, the 123rd day of 1994. There are 242 days left in the yearx Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 3, 1802, Washington, D.C., was incorporated as a city, with the mayor appointed by the president, and die council elected by properly owners.
On this date:
In 1654, a bridge in Rowley, Mass., was permitted to charge a toll for animals, while people crossed for free.
In 1916, Irish nauonalist Padrait Pearse and two ochers were executed by the BnUsh for their roles in the Easter Rising.
In 1921, West Virginia unposed the first state sales tax.
In 1933, Nellie T. Ross became the first female director of the U.S. Mull.
In 1937, Margaret Mitchell won a Pulitzer Prize (ut her novel, "Gone With die Wind."
unions now have a permanent presence in the area, advocating special causes from foreign aid to Israel to peanut subsidies. That doesn’t count 1,500 lobbyists who represent individual corporations, or 2,500 advocates on all sides of issues like the environment, gun control and abor-lion.
The proliferation of special interests is a natural response to the subsidies, tax breaks and favors available to those who lobby, argues Jonathan Rauch in a new book, “Demosclerosis: The Silent Killer of American Government”
The groups then fight to protect their benefits, making themselves essential to their members and locking every government program into permanency, Rauch says.
Subsidies for rural electrification persist nearly 60 years af ter they were created, even though some of the areas they serve have been gobbled up by urban sprawl. Wool and mohair, regarded as essential fa making military uniforms in the 1950s, remain subsidized despite the development of
‘Instead of one group, the American Medical Association, you have IOO subspecialties of doctors. They all have a lobbyist and they all want to see you
— Rep. Mike Kopetski
“There’s nothing more permanent in this town than a temporary program,” one lobbyist told Rauch.
The explosion of groups with an ever-narrower focus is apparent everywhere. The food-packaging industry, fa example, has na one but dozens of trade groups: the Can Manufacturers Institute, the Flexible Packaging Association, the Paperboard Packaging Council, the Styrene Information and Research Center, the Glass Packaging Institute, the Composite Can and Tube Institute — and the list goes on.
“The biggest effect it has is on our time,” said Rep. Mike Kopetski, an Oregon Democrat who has been blitzed by health care interests as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
“Instead of one group, the American Medical Association, you have IOO subspecialities of doctors. They all have a lobbyist and they all want to see you, and they all bring somebody from Oregon. Instead of 15 minutes gong to doctors, it's three hours.”
But where Rauch sees democracy running amok, Kopetski says the proliferation of voices can be valuable. “It does slow the process, and could stall it out,” he concedes. “But it does show you there are individual aspects o! a complex issue, that pediatricians have different interests than other doctors.”
EDITOR S NOTE—Jim Dnnkard covers lobbying for The Associated Press. Jonathan Rauch's book. “Demosclerosis: The Silent Killer of American Governmentis published by Times Books and sells for $22.
In 1944, during World War II, U.S. rationing of most grades of meats ended.
In 1948, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to blacks and other minonues were legally unenforceable.
In 1971, anu-war protesters, calling themselves the “Mayday Tribe,” began four days of demonstrations rn Washington, D.C., aimed at shutting down the nauon’s capital.
In 1978, “Sun Day” fell on a Wednesday as thousands of people extolling the virtues of solar energy held events across the country.
In 1979, Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher was chosen to become Britain’s first female prime munster as the Tories ousted the incumbent Labor government in parliamentary elections.
In 1986, in NASA’s first post-Challenger launch, an unmanned Delta rocket lost power in its main engine shortly after liftoff, forcing safety officers to destroy it by remote control.
Ten years ago: Pope John Paul ll arrived in Seoul, South Korea, to begin a tour of Asia and the Pacific.
Five years ago: PLO leader Yasser Arafat, endin a two-day visit to France, said the PLO charter cal ing fa the destruction of Israel had been “supe: seded” by a declaration urging peaceful coexistent of the Jewish state and a Palestinian state.
One year ago: American sailor Terry M. Helve confessed to stomping to death Allen Schindler, homosexual shipmate, the previous fall, bul told h court-martial in Yokosuka, Japan, that he was drur and did na plan the killing (Helvey was sentenced I life in prison).
Today's Birthdays: Broadway librettist Bell Camden is 75. Folk singer Pete Seeger is 75. Sing! James Brown is 61. Singer Engelbert Humperdinc is 58. Singer Frankie Valli is 57. Magician Doc Henning is 47.
Thought for Today: “Wars on nations chant maps. War on poverty maps change.” — Muhamrm AU, American boxing champion (1942-).