New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 14, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
4 O HerakJ-Zeitung □ Tuesday, November 14,1995
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“The president should not be present in the media everyday.but when he is, his voice should sound like a bell.”
— Leszek Spalinski Polish presidential spokesman, 1994
Victims get victimized
Ruling allows prisoner access to protest letters from victims during parole hearings
A federal magistrate’s ruling designed to reduce the use of protest letters in the state’s parole process is rightly being challenged by Texas Attorney General Dan Morales.
The protest letters targeted by the magistrate are from the victims, their families and other citizens concerned about the pending parole of prisoners.
Under the ruling, prisoners would be made aware of any letters sent to parole officials — made aware of their contents and who wrote them — and be allowed to rebut them at their parole hearing.
While designed to give prisoners an opportunity to make a good case for themselves in front of board members, the ruling stomps on the rights of victims who wish to be heard before parole rulings are made.
Morales was quoted as saying the ruling would have a “chilling effect” on victims and involvement in the parole process.
What, in essence, the ruling would do, if it remains as it is now, * is discourage citizen involvement in the process through fear — fear that the prisoner will hear of their objections and maybe take action Against them when they are paroled or released from prison.
If th^ tgflilig stands, parole boards will also lose some of the victims’ perspectives on the crimes of the prisoner standing in front of them.
If board members, five, IO and 15 years later, interview a prisoner up for parole, they may not be able to glean the true nature of a prisoner’s crimes just from reports given to them by the court.
A victim, however, who writes passionately about the crime and their suffering at the hand of a prisoner may rightly persuade a board to rule that a prisoner must serve out his stay in prisoner and not be paroled.
Putting fear back in the minds and lives of crime victims is just bad policy.
We should support the attorney general and victims’ rights advocates who oppose this ruling.
(Today’s editorial was written by Managing Editor Doug Loveday.)
• • •
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Poamurran: Send address changes lo tie New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung, P O. Draw-v 311328, New Braunfels. Tx. 7*131-1328Only light can dispel darkness
Cleaning up the cesspool of daytime television talk shows is the latest project of Sen. Joseph Lieber-man, D-Conn., and William Bennett, who wrote the book on virtue.
Lieberman recently noted that the “tastes of a segment of our society are dictating the culture for everyone. The programs that we see on TV do not ‘reflect our society,’ as the industry likes to claim, but a distorted vision based on the tastes of a relative few.”
Conservatives and other cultural critics have become adept at expressing their dislikes. They are good at letter-writing campaigns and putting pressure on the networks and sponsors of offensive programs. They can engage in boycotts of products advertised on shows they don’t like. They can even, in rare circumstances, get rid of their television sets as the ultimate protest. None of this is bad, but how many of them remember this truth: that light dispels darkness and that good can triumph over evil? You don’t make it less dark by removing a little darkness. You make it less dark by shining a light.
Two years ago, I wrote about my “divorce” from network prime-time television due to irreconcilable differences. But one show has brought me back. It isn’t a remarriage. Let’s just say we’re dating.
The show is “Touched by an Angel” (CBS, 9 p.m., Saturdays). I first saw it last month (though it premiered last season), and it produced the most emotional and satisfying response I have felt while
viewing a television program in many years. Stalling the veteran singer and actress Della Reese and Roma Downey, who is as charming as the Ireland from which she comes, ‘Touched by an Angel” carries a simple message that has been obscured in our political-secular world: God loves you and has a plan for your life.
As humans hunger for significance, what could be more fulfilling or affirming?
This isn’t a “religious” show. It tells a story. But it contains something found on few other television programs. It offers hope and a reason for living beyond making money, consuming stuff and fighting for political turf and power.
Reading some of the fan letters, which executive producer Martha Williamson’s office sent me (and Williamson is a tremendously gifted and talented writer), shows how something greater than profit and ratings is involved in this program.
A man from Wisconsin wrote that he was prepared to end his life, but the show had given him hope and “for the first time in nearly three years I have no thought or feelings of committing suicide.”
A Denver woman wrote, “‘Touched by an Angel’
is emerging as a rose among the thorns...The triumph of good over evil is subtle and refreshing.”
A woman in Oregon reflected the views of many who sent letters: “I was pleased that a program of this caliber chose to maintain a value system that is grossly lacking in much of television today ...the suspense and passion were evident, while die concept of ‘fulfilling my immediate desires at any and all costs’ was welcomed absent.”
A prisoner wrote to say he and his cellmate never miss the program.
Ratings are solid, and CBS has ordered enough new episodes to carry the show through the entire season.
It is highly unusual for a show like this to succeed. Despite the best efforts of many of its fans (and good ratings, too), “Christy” was canceled by CBS last spring because not enough young people, who are courted by advertisers, watched.
One wishes that the energy expended by many of television’s critics could be directed, at least partially, in support of the occasional good show. Everyone should watch, and encourage others to watch, ‘Touched by an Angel,” patronize its sponsors, write CBS Entertainment President Les Moonves (12711 Ventura Blvd., Ste. 210, Studio City, CA 91604) a supportive letter and start lighting some candles instead of only cursing the darkness. That’s what the angels do.
(Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist.)
the em won. we?
Government shutdown now unavoidable
By DAVE SKIDMORE
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — The budget deadlock between President Clinton and the Republican Congress pushed the federal government to the brink of a non-essential shutdown today as both sides insisted the other would have to compromise.
“The real question is whether they’re prepared to back off a little bit,” said White House staff chief Leon Panetta as hundreds of thousands of federal workers awaited orders to go home.
“The question is how do we get an agreement?” asked House Speaker Newt Gingnch, R-Ga.
“Quite frankly, I’m discouraged,” said House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas. “The president has threatened to veto everything we’ve sent up there.”
Following midnight talks at the White House as spending authority for the government ran out, the major sticking point appeared to be a provision in an * emergency spending bill that would raise Medicare* premiums.
Budget Director Alice Rivlin directed all federal employees to report to work as usual. But the expec-
tation was that about 800,000 workers — 40 percent of the federal work force — would be sent home later in the day.
Other government workers were kept on the job, deemed essential for the public health, safety or defense.
The only clear agreement was to keep talking. But as negotiators from the White House and Capitol Hill made the rounds of morning talk shows, they showed little inclination to compromise.
Appearing on CBS, Armey said the president “cannot sit removed, detached from the whole process, and then veto everything that comes up there.”
Both sides said they hoped any shutdown wouldn’t last more than a day or so.
“You let this thing go beyond a day or two days there’s going to be some serious impact here,” Panetta said.
“I still hope that we can come together very quickly ... and be able to tell everybody in the government that this will be a one-day affair,” Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., said shortly after the
White House meeting. ,
White House press secretary Mike McCurry said it was virtually certain the government would shut down, at least for a brief period.
“There’s... no funding authority to keep the United States government operating,” he said. And he dismissed any suggestion that Republicans could rush a bill through early in the day to avert a shutdown.
Only federal employees deemed non-essential were to be sent home — that means national museums and monuments and the IRS and Social Security hotlines would be among the federal operations closed.
“All of us hope it isn’t closed for very long,” Rivlin said on ABC. “It might be one day, it might be two or three or more "
Air traffic controllers, prison guards and others with crucial jobs would keep working, as would military personnel and the Postal Service, which is independent of the government.
Only two hours before the midnight spending deadline expired, Clinton, Dole, Gingnch, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., hashed over their differences for an hour and 40 minutes.
Today In History
By The Associated Press
Today is Tuesday, Nov. 14, the 318th day of 1995. There are 47 days left in the year
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Nov. 14, 1889, inspired by Jules Verne, New York World reporter Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Cochrane) set out to travel around the world in fewer than 80 days. She succeeded, making the tnp in 72 days.
On this date:
In 1851, Herman Melville’s novel “Moby Dick" was first published in the United States.
In 1881, Charles J. Guiteau went on trial for assassinating President Garfield. Guiteau was convicted and hanged the following year.
In 1922, the British Broadcasting Corporation began its domestic radio
In 1935, President Roosevelt proclaimed the Philippine Islands a free commonwealth.
In 1940, during World War ll, German planes destroyed most of the English town of Coventry.
In 1943, an American torpedo was mistakenly fired at the U.S. battleship Iowa, which was carrying President Roosevelt and his joint chiefs to the Tehran conference; the torpedo exploded harmlessly in the Iowa’s wake.
In 1944, Tommy Dorsey and Orchestra recorded “Opus No. I” for RCA Victor.
la 1968, Yale University announced it was going coeducational.
In 1969, Apollo 12 blasted off for the moon from Cape Kennedy.
In 1972, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above the 1,000 level for the first time, ending the day at 1,003.16.
Ten years ago: President Reagan delivered a nationally broadcast speech in which he previewed his upcoming Geneva summit with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev as “a mission for peace.”
Five years ago: President Bush told congressional leaders he had no immediate plans to go to war in the Persian Gulf. British commentator Malcolm Muggeridge died in Sussex, England, at age 87. Simon and Schuster announced it had dropped plans to publish the controversial Bret Easton Ellis novel “American Psycho.”
One year ago: President Clinton, in Indonesia, held one-on-one meetings with the leaden of China, Japan
and South Korea, winning pledges to keep the pressure on North Korea to freeze its nuclear weapons program. U.S. experts visited North Korea’s main nuclear complex for first time under an accord aimed at opening such sites to outside inspections. Heavy nuns and flooding from Tropical Storm Gordon swept across Haiti, killing several hundred people.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Brian
Keith is 74. U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali is 73. Actor McLean Stevenson is 66. Actor Don Stewart is 60. Jordan’s King Hunan is 60. Britain's Prince Charles is 47.
Thought for Today: “Comfort, opportunity, number and size are not synonymous with civilization.” — Abraham Flexner, American educator.