The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on March 28, 1998 · Page 20
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 20

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Saturday, March 28, 1998
Page 20
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28, 1998 George B. Pyle {£7 editorial page {"* editor WiW *——» Opinions expressed on this page are those of the identified writers. ' Quote of : the day ? 'Twenty-eight '< million dollars ' ivouldn't finish \ (U.S.-81 \ widening), but it { would go a long J way toward j finishing it." •__. .. Salina Sen. JBen Vldrlcksen J ... talking about J_federal money to > " widen U.S. 81 i near the { Nebraska border. OPINION THE SALINA JOURNAL By SCOTT SEIRER / The Salina Journal Saving the pork THE ISSUE A sixth Great Lake? THE ARGUMENT Creativity brings home the bacon C ongress is nothing if not creative. When criticism and ridicule lapped at the feet of Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who led a misguided but successful effort to have Lake Champlain designated as one of the Great Lakes, the good senator went back to the drawing board. Never mind calling Lake Champlain the sixth Great Lake, he told colleagues the other day as he argued for undoing the wrong. They agreed. The honor and prestige of the five Great Lakes — five only; no charlatans — have been restored in the Senate. The House will take up the damage control measure soon, and likely will concur. So is the old world order restored? Not quite. The plum Sen. Leahy wanted for his home state is still intact. Leahy wanted the University of Vermont to have a chance at winning National Sea Grant funding for marine research. Those grants are available only to states with coastal waters, including the Great Lakes. No Great Lakes shores touch Vermont, but the state does have Lake Champlain. Leahy cleverly pushed a bill to have that fine, but not great, lake designated as a Great Lake, at least in the eyes of the sea grant program. He got Congress and President Clinton to go along. All this was to the delight of editorial writers and critics everywhere, and it was only days before Leahy began looking for ways to turn down the heat. His new bill removes Great Lakes status for Lake Champlain, but nonetheless includes language allowing Vermont schools to vie for sea grant money to fund research that might be applicable to the Great Lakes. It was masterful stroke, so rich in cunning and creativity. Sen. Leahy has illustrated what Congress is best at accomplishing: bringing home the pork. LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL *' •{ [Discrimination against •gays is wrong J Paul Donovan's courageous letter in Saturday's Journal brought Ihome to me that discrimination {against homosexuals can go be- »!£pnd mere expression of personal ^opinion to have harmful effects on ihtiman beings. I am disappointed *to see this kind of discrimination jpresented in the name of religion >ahd God and Jesus. j! I wish to note that there are reli- jjgious organizations in Salina that practice inclusiveness. The Uni- jtarian-Universalist Fellowship of jlSalina, 901 Beatrice, 825-6275, wel- {comes people of all religious {creeds, and has a tradition of ap- toreciating human diversity. •» Incidentally, I personally avoid ijcapling myself a Christian because Jthat term has acquired connota- jtions that I am unable to reconcile ;«with what I understand to be the {message of Jesus. To me, the un- j^grlying tenet of his teachings is {to love one's neighbor as oneself. >Evil, to me, is that which causes {harm to my neighbor. i '-The Salina Unitarian-Universal- Jist minister, Rev. Patt Herdklotz, ^describes herself as a "first-centu- Jry Christian" for similar reasons. *She has been outspoken on the _Jneed for acceptance of homosexuals, and I have often heard like ^concerns spoken by other mem- Jbers of the Fellowship. I am sure *they would be there for anyone Jsfeking acceptance. | — WESLEY KOEHLER * i Salina t i !CI in ton's best choice [would be resignation i I agree with your assessment of $QSP damage done to Clinton in •JKqthleen Willey's testimony on YW Minutes." > I do have reservations, howev- >er, in regard to the reasons she |gave in coming forth so belatedly, {among them that she felt too many igpmen have been damaged in ^whatever way. The charge about ign alleged book deal seems to have Jfieen dispelled, but given her fi- f , jcial straits we will never know .any individuals or groups have jwarded her well financially for lyealing now what she had kept iretfor so long. even persisted in her admi- Cation for Clinton and apparently Continued to seek employment. ^Nevertheless, as you argue, Clinton's stupidity in these sexual {(natters is inexcusable. As you Suggest, his political agenda should receive priority above his u P.O. Box 740, Salina, KS 67402 personal integrity. The best thing he could do is to resign and turn the presidency over to Al Gore. Gore's incumbency in the 2000 election would probably cause as much dismay among Republicans as their satisfaction now about Clinton's sexual problems. — ELSTON FLOHR Lindsborg Are we willing to pay the price? Higher education fits into the plan of most young people and an increasing number of adults in Kansas. Vocational schools, community colleges and four-year universities all work to cover the needs of the wide range of students. Kansas is considering taking a stronger role in both funding higher education and coordinating these entities. Traditionally, community colleges have received the majority of funds for operations from local property tax. If the current proposal in Topeka is approved it would change that. Some highlights of the plan: • Replace the Board of Regents with a new Council on Higher Education. • Put in place committees that should improve coordination between vocational, community and Regents' institutions. • Increase the level of accountability to the Legislature. • Move the oversight of vocational and community institutions from the Board of Education to the new Council. • Provide "Enhancement funding" for all entities • Reduce local property taxes for community colleges. • Add Washburn University to the Regents' system. Buying Christmas presents for everybody and the mailman may be a good idea. It certainly makes a lot of people happy. Buying everyone's happiness does get a little expensive, though. The recent appropriation estimate is for an additional $44 million for community colleges. It also would cost approximately $13 million to move Washburn. The enhancement package for everybody else is likewise a significant expenditure. Improved coordination and delivery of higher educational services is a goal that I believe all of us share. The real question remaining is, are we willing to pay the price? — SCOTT HILL Abilene State School Board member V TOPIC Clinton sorry for the wrong thing CAL THOMAS Los Angeles Times Syndicate Clinton apologizes for slavery, not for Africans, but to try to please African-Americans P resident Clinton has come close to an apology. Not for the growing number of laws he and Hillary allegedly have broken. Not for the lengthening list of women whose dignity he has apparently violated. But for something of which he is A not guilty: slavery. While in Uganda, the president said: "European-Americans received the fruits of the slave trade. And we were wrong in that .... " Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who isn't worried about currying favor with blacks in his country, called the idea of a U.S. apology for slavery "rubbish." Museveni noted that "African chiefs were the ones waging war on each other and capturing their own people and selling them. If anyone should apologize it should be the African chiefs." The Clintons are using Africa as a backdrop for their grand strategy to delay legal proceedings against them, deceive the American public about what they are alleged to have done, deny all allegations of wrongdoing, and destroy the reputations of anyone — such as Kathleen Willey — who threatens their hold on power. It is a strategy that should make some nonelected African dictators envious. The latest outrage is the president's claim of T COMMENT Society not to Too many children are not allowed to be just kids for an ordinary amount of time I t's not the guns. It's not TV. It's not movies featuring enormous amounts of gratuitous violence. It's not even Jerry Springer or all the other moronic, lowest common denominator talk shows available in every media mar- MIKE ket that result in public air- BARNICLE waves resembling an electron- Boston ic septic tank filled with first- Globe time callers. # None of that killed five peo- "executive privilege" for some of his top aides. So deceptive is this administration that neither the president nor his scores of taxpayer- funded lawyers will tell the public whether, in fact, the executive privilege claim has actually been made. It is reported he may even claim executive privilege concerning Hillary Clinton, who will be portrayed as an "adviser" to the president and, therefore, not able to divulge conversations she's had with him or his aides. Who's next, Buddy and Socks? Richard Nixon attempted to use executive privilege to prevent the testimony of top aides. "The core White House tactic," writes journalist Fred Emery in his book "Watergate: The Corruption of American Politics and the Pall of Richard Nixon," was "to shelter the president's men under the cloak of executive privilege. They would consider answering written interrogatories but they would refuse to appear at hearings, arguing that traditional confidentiality of the president's dealings with them within the executive branch of government could not be overridden by another branch — not the legislative, in Congress, or the judicial, in the courts." That "doctrine" would later be abandoned when it was clear it wasn't working. The Supreme Court later ruled that, while executive privilege could be claimed as a valid doctrine, in Nixon's case it did not apply. The claim that evidence could be withheld on the grounds of "the generalized interest in confidentiality," said the court, could "not prevail over the fundamental demands of due process of law in the fair administration of criminal justice." In other words, though Nixon said there were some laws a president didn't have to obey, the Supreme Court said no president is above the law. Hillary Clinton knows this, since she served with former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum on the House Judiciary Committee, which eventually returned articles of impeachment against Nixon. Then-Hillary Rodham .believed that Nixon didn't deserve the normal protections the law affords to every citizen. But there was something more. As recounted in Pulitzer prize-winning journalist DaVid Maraniss' book, "First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton": "Rodham's section"analyzed the constitutional intent of impeachnle'nt and its historical basis in 400 years of English history .... At one meeting they spent four hours arguing over whether to use the phrase 'to the modern ear' in describing how high crimes and misdemeanors should be interpreted. Their report concluded that 'to limit impeachable conduct to criminal offenses would be incompatible with the evidence concerning the constitutional meaning of the phrase ...'and would frustrate the purpose that the frame'rs intended for impeachment.' They found that in 13 American impeachment cases, including ( 10 of federal judges, less than one-third of the articles of impeachment explicitly charged'the violation of a criminal statute." • ' j •'' -1 The real game is to help Bill Clinton avoid the same day of reckoning that Richard Nixon faced thanks, in part, to Hillary Rodham..The difference between then and now is that'this bunch learned some things from Nixon and'are better at delaying, deceiving, denying and- destroying. Don't look for Clinton to apologize for that. ple Tuesday on a school playground in Arkansas. We can indulge ourselves in all the semantic or psychological contortions available. We can assemble commissions, tie yellow ribbons around trees, shed tears, utter prayers, listen to speeches, read editorials, and we are still left with the apparent stone cold fact that these multiple homicides were committed by two boys. One is 11; the other 13. And no national exercise in collective guilt can disrupt this crude reality: We did not pull the trigger. Yet, quite predictably, the country will now endure a frenzied, coast-to-coast spasm of observation and analysis led by "experts" grabbing face time in order to babble blame on Quentin Tarantino, working moms, latch-key kids, the NRA, Monica Lewinsky, right-wing conspiracies, network rating systems, and God knows what else. Certainly, the culture will be listed as complicit in the killings and — odds are — the mixed signals that wash over society on a daily basis might turn out to be a factor in behavior so bizarre it is exceedingly difficult for any "normal" child or "normal" parent to comprehend. One shooter is 11; the other 13. Take a look this morning at the 11- and 13- year-old boys you might know or live with or help raise or teach or coach. Think any of them are capable of lying in ambush in bushes by a playground, rifles at the ready, with the intent of murdering classmates over a lost seventh-grade love? Perhaps the only universal lesson to be drawn is that whenever such demons are put on display, we quickly resort to a terrible habit: We provide an immediate flood of "answers" long before we even know what questions to ask. Like who are these two kids anyway? What's the deal with them? With their mothers? Their dads? Their families? Theirs was not a societal endeavor. Dressing in complete camouflage and hiding assault weapons for lethal use during a fake fire drill is neither common nor sane behavior. This was the simple, horrific, inexplicable act of two individuals, a couple of children. That one is 11 and the other 13 certainly shocks, sure does stagger belief, too, but it does not make accomplices out of millions more. However, it is a reminder of something so obvious that it is virtually invisible in our midst: Kids are no longer allowed the luxury of remaining kids for an ordinary period of DOONESBURY for Arkansas killings time. For many of them, life is always on fast-forward with the following ludicrous message: Do this. Do that. Get into this school. Make that team or you will be a nobody, an unsuccessful chump, left out and left behind. Ballgame over before you are allowed to drive, drink, or vote. This occurs over and over to youngsters .afflicted with the ills and impatience of those adults who rarely listen to children. JIpw many parents actually talk, have legitimate conversations, with 11- or 13-year-olds? How many mothers and fathers know what worries, bothers, or excites the young people who share the same space, sometimes like anonymous strangers allowed to drift through the disturbance of adolescence alone? We communicate today with a variety of options that were totally incomprehensible five years ago. We have e-mail, cell phones, Jap- tops, the Internet, Web sites, and home pages, yet we don't know what a 13-year-old is doing in his spare time or what an 11-year-old is hiding in a bureau. To make matters worse, we^re afraid to ask because then we might find qut. Rewards are offered to kids before risk or, responsibility is defined by adults who pathetically conclude that even a relationship wj,th their own children can be purchased or leveraged over time. Accountability rarely makes its way to the conversational table because so many parents are busy, too preoccupied with the moment to realize that the true priority ,— the most difficult task as well as their gre,ate,st achievement, potentially — is staring themjn the face with a baffled or bemused look that says, "Talk to me, man." By G.B. TRUDEAU COC&6WS IN MY PAY, PUT COACH7H& tW&AWtf' NOPK*-,

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