The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on September 15, 1999 · Page 23
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September 15, 1999

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 23

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Wednesday, September 15, 1999
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1 18A THE PALM BEACH POST WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 1999 The Palm Beach Post TOM GlUFFRIDA, Publisher EDWARD SFARS, Editor LON DANIFLSON, General Manager T()M O'HARA. Managing Editor RANDY SCI IULTZ. Editor of the Editorial Page JAN TUCKWOOD, Associate Editor DO NOT ATTEMPT 10 CHANGE THE CHANNEL-WE OWN ALL OF THEM. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TURN OFF THE SET. IF YOU DO, WE WILL CUT THE ELECTRICITY. WE OWN THE POWER COMPANY. AND 1FY0UTRY TO GET A DRINK OR USE THE TOILET, THERE WILL BE NO WATER. WE OWN THAT UTILITY, TOO. DO NOT TRY TO CALL FOR HELP WE OWN THE PHONE COMPANY. SIT BACK AND ENJOY THE SHOW. NOW WE KNOW WHERE YOU ARE. I.ARRY KLINE, IT Advertising LARRY SIFDI.IK, VP& Treasurer GAI.E IIOWDFN, VP Community Relations and Marketing MICHAEL McCAFFREY, VP Circulation LINDA Ml IRPHY, T Human Resources BOB BALFE, Director, Production IVU'RA DECK CUNNINGHAM, Director, Marketing Services Tax trap for Clinton instead catches GOP r-nT The public will see the party as advocating a reckless tax cut and refusing to work on a financially responsible cut. Buchanan, Reform a fit or folly? H tlooksas if real tax reliefwill have B to wait until a Republican presi-Hdent can join your Republican Congress in enacting it into law," says Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. That's the cry of the loser: Wait till next year. When lawmakers left for recess on Aug. 6, the Republican strategy was to hold the $792 billion tax cut bill so President Clinton couldn't veto it before they got back. That gave them a month of town meetings to generate demand for their tax cut. "We've got (Mr. Clinton) in a box," said Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, the House majority whip who poses as a master strategist. Either the president would sign their bill, or he and Al Gore would pay the political price for a veto. During a month of town meetings, members of Congress heard about a Medicare system that doesn't have enough money, recalcitrant health maintenance organizations and crumbling schools. Yawns drowned out their talk of tax cuts, and their polls showed the yawning to be nearly universal. When they got back to work after Labor Day, there was no choice but to send Mr. Clinton the tax cut bill with an X where his veto will go. Mr. Clinton said all along that he would go for a more modest cut, like $250 billion over the 10 years that the GOP's $792 billion proposal covers. This month, Sen. Lott said it was "too late" for that. Congress doesn't have enough time to pass another bill. But he latest Washington Post-ABC News Poll, released last week, says that 62 nercent of the oeoDle surveyed would be satisfied with the choice on the ballot if the current leaders in the Democratic and Republican nomination fights, Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush, are the candidates in next year's presidential election. David Broder That indicates there's a smaller market for a third-party or independent candidate in 2000 than earlier in this decade. I don't believe it and, far more important, neither does Patrick Buchanan. My gut tells me that despite the current balmy economic times, the opening for a third candidate is large and likely to grow larger. Whether Pat Buchanan is the man to exploit that opportunity is much more questionable. Mr. Buchanan made it clear on Sunday's Meet the Press he is leaning strongly toward abandoning his third quest for the Republican presidential nomination and throwing in with the Reform Party started by Ross Perot. His economic nationalism fits perfectly with Mr. Perot's views, and he is being encouraged to take the step by Pat Choate, the Washington economic consultant who was Mr. Perot's 1996 running mate. But it was not economic discontent that elected Jesse Ventura as the Reform Party candidate for governor of Minnesota last November over highly credible Republican and Democratic nominees. Rather, it was the sense of frustration with the partisan squabbling in the Legislature and the voters' belief that the old politicians were squandering the opportunity these good times create for addressing some of their concerns. voters that moral matters should be left to individual conscience. Gov. Ventura reflects that view, and nominally has taken control of the Reform Party away from Mr. Perot's machine. But given the chaos within Reform Party ranks and the encouragement Mr. Buchanan is getting from the top,' it is certainly possible that his Pitchfork.Bri-gades can dominate next August's Reform convention and nominate their man. But Mr. Buchanan brings enormous baggage with him. His new book, A Republic, Not an Empire, has a screed on "Jewish influence over (American) foreign policy" that will surely revive the charges of anti-Semitism Williarri F. Buckley Jr. leveled at him in 19921 It also decries "the new religious crusaders" of the Christian right, who question whether "the United States (should) be friendly to a country that is unfriendly to our ideal of religious freedom." Like the recently released Puerto Rican prisoners, Mr. Buchanan advocates independence for Puerto Rico and flatly opposes statehood. On the other hand, he says that the United States should hold out the offer of statehood to any Canadian province that wishes to break away. His view seems to be: White Quebecers, yes; darker-skinned Puerto Ricans, no .; . : ,. He says that Mexico, not Castro, js the biggest threat to stability in the. hemisphere and suggests sending troops to our border. On the other hand, he would leave it up to Asian countries (Japan? South Korea?) to provide the first, line of defense if China were to threaten Taiwan. You have to wonder if that's the, way to create a credible third force in American politics. -' David Broder is a political columnist for The Washington Post. . - The opening for a third candidate is large. Whether Pat Buchanan is that man is much more questionable. As President Clinton and Congress head into another round of battles that will probably doom any real progress on Social Security, Medicare, campaign-finance reform or improvements in the fairness of the tax code, voters are likely to become even more fed up with two-party gridlock in Washington. That is the real opening for the Reform Party. But to grasp that opportunity, it would have to find a candidate who promised to focus on those fundamental issues in our politics and to build a powerful enough public consensus around them to cudgel the reluctant congressmen of both major parties to face up to their responsibilities. That is what Mr. Ventura has done in Minnesota in the past year and what Independent Gov. Angus King has done over the past five years in Maine. To think of Pat Buchanan as a consensus-builder is risible. It's not even certain he can win agreement within the Reform Party. As he made clear in answering my questions on Meet the Press, he is not prepared to abandon or soften any of his strong anti-abortion principles in order to win the nomination of a party which, up to this point, has, as he said, been "agnostic" on abortion and other social issues. Voter polls after the 1992 election, when Mr. Perot ran his best race, showed his supporters were the most secular group in the electorate, believing even more strongly than the typical Bill Clinton Beware 'intelligence he Central Intelligence Agency says North Korea will be able to blow up parts of the United States by 2015. And North Korea won't be alone in that damaging potential, according to the CIA. Iran will have the U.S. targeted. So might Iraq. Russia already has the potential to blow us up, and so does China. Nervous yet? You're supposed to be. The CIA designed its latest report on ballistic-missile potential to make you nervous. And, not coincidentally, the agency designed it to make Congress pay for spies who can uncover and perhaps thwart foreign missile development. In addition, those jangling national nerves will make Congress eager to keep pouring billions into a Star Wars umbrella that will magically function whenever the CIA yells, "Incoming!" That Star Wars system will have to function magically, because it is unlikely to function according to any scientific principles. A rudimentary system to shoot down moving missiles fails unless the military and the contractors rig the tests. The Theater High Altitude Area Defense system THADD works, for example, only when the Army tells the interceptor missile exactly where the attacking missile will be. One would have to assume that generals in North Korea and Iran will not be kind enough to let Congress could if Sen. Lott and House Speaker Dennis Hastert wanted to. Lately, Sen. Lott has said that if they try to negotiate a smaller tax cut, Mr. Clinton will "agree to some throwaway fixes in return for a massive hike in spending for all his pet projects." Sen. Lott must think senators can't cut taxes and chew up spending at the same time. A side issue in what has passed for a debate on tax cuts is the Democrats' claims that they mostly would benefit the wealthy. The Treasury Department figured 60 percent of the benefits would go to families with incomes above $90,000. Republicans counter that the rich pay most of the taxes, which is true, depending on how you define "rich." But the cause of the yawns of summer may lie in that fact. The burden and, thus, any benefit is heaviest for just a small fraction of the population. Sen. Lott wants his party to take President Clinton's veto to the polls next year. Aside from the fact that President Clinton won't be on the ballot, a veto won't resonate very widely in the electorate. The CIA's report on nuclear threats looks like a ploy to keep money flowing into the missile-defense money pit. us know that information. In fact, our enemies will be building new and improved ways to thwart any anti-missile system. If we really could build one to shoot down today's missiles, we would have to build a new one to shoot down tomorrow's. How frustrating, and deadly, to always be behind the curve. Then, of course, there's the fact that an anti-missile system, even if it worked, is no defense against the more likely scenario that attackers will smuggle a weapon into this country rather than go to all the trouble of putting it on an easily traceable rocket. Diplomacy to minimize deployment of all types of missiles, as always, remains the best defense. The United States should avoid, for example, accidentally blowing up Chinese embassies, a recent faux pas in which the CIA was involved. Or maybe the "intelligence" agency that missed Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, the Soviet Union's collapse and India's nuclear bomb tests is wrong about what will happen by 2015. The town's police department has been in turmoil for nearly a decade. End it by bringing in the sheriffs office. case, said the proceeding had degenerated into an excuse for officers to attack Chief Lindskoog. The most pointed previous conflict between the chief and union came In 1994, when a Lake Park town council dominated by union-backed candidates returned to the force an officer who had lied under oath. The police union also helped drive out Town Manager George Long, who in 1990 had tried unsuccessfully to fire officers accused of drag racing while off duty. If that seems like ancient history, consider that one of those officers was Mr. Umphrey, who was fired again last week by Chief Lindskoog. On balance, the record of conflict in Lake Park favors Chief Lindskoog over his detractors. But regardless of who prevails in the current showdown, the town can't win. Facing all the economic and social problems of an older coastal town with a population that is about 6,800 and basically stagnant, Lake Park can't afford a police force like the one it's got, in any sense of the word afford. Call in the sheriff to cleanup this mess. "Virtual college is for non-students New badge in Lake Park wrestling with it, struggling 1 to comprehend or to take ; issue, but in any case enter' ing into the work. . : ' The point is to decide; ' while you're listening, what ' matters in the presentation: And while I don't believe that most of life consists of showing up, education does , begin with that with im: mersing yourself in the activity at hand, listening, thinking, judging, offering' active responses. A download is a poor substitute. I can't comment on the quality of the notes posted at StudentU.com, the new, , advertising-supported Internet venture. When I tried to register yesterday a mes-. sage came back that my ZIP code in lower Manhattan was unrecognizable to the machine in charge. Perhaps the server is lo-, cated on Mars, or is suffer , ing the death of a thousand , hackers. No matter. The ; quality of the notes isn't the point. Glitches will be de- glitched, and similar sites will follow as surely as advertisers follow a market. No doubt someone is about to ; register the Internet ad-:' dresses NotesI.com . and CollegeforDummies.com. IPOs won't be far bi-': hind. And higher education may be as virtual as black; lightning. ., Todd Gitlin is a professor of ( culture, journalism and sod-; ology at New York University ' and the author, most recently', . oSacrifice, a novel. He wrote I this article for The New York ' Times. ' ,' If students already are shortchanged with impersonal instruction in crammed lecture halls, what's the harm in offering canned notes? What harm indeed. By Todd Gitlin earing that a new Internet company is now posting free notes for core courses at 62 universities threw me back to a time in the 1980s when I was teaching a large class in a lecture hall at the University of California at Berkeley. The student government had approved a note-taking service called, for some arcane reason, Black Lightning. With the professor's approval, a graduate student would attend lectures, take notes and type them up, whereupon Black Lightning would duplicate the notes and offer them to students for a nominal fee (and to the professor for free). With some trepidation, I agreed. Students wanted the service. I read the first few sets of notes and was reasonably impressed. The graduate student in question evidently knew what he was doing. My thinking looked tidier in his transcription than in my own notes. In fact, a professor who wanted to regurgitate the same notes year after year could use those nicely printed notes the next time and the next. , ontinued disarray in the Lake Park police force is more evi dence that the town should con tract with the Palm Beach County Sheriff s Office for law enforcement. Chief Jeff Lindskoog fired three officers and a secretary, all of whom he said made false statements under oath charging the chief and department with racism. Another officer has resigned, and two were disciplined for allegedly engaging in or failing to report racist comments. . Testimony from the fired employees Brian Brown, Kevin Umphrey, Shane Riley and Ruth Ann Ingersoll helped officer Mack Davis win a racial discrimination trial against the de- Eartment. The jury awarded officer avis only $1, but the town may have to pay legal bills of $100,000. - Chief Lindskoog "absolutely, positively" denies making racist statements. The officers are sure to contest their firings. The notoriously flawed arbitration procedure required under their contract is not likely to show conclusively who is telling the truth. The record is filled with officers who have lied or even killed and been returned to their jobs, "i There also is a history of animosity between the police union and Chief Lindskoog, as well as between the union and other town officials. Even U.S. District Judge Don Middle-brooks, presiding in the Officer Davis But I soon saw that class attendance was down. Not drastically down, but down. I also became aware that questions in class were slacking off. I have long encouraged students to interrupt lectures with questions, partly to raise the plane of comprehension, partly to keep them" thinking, partly to generate arguments. Enough students normally did pipe up, during an 80-minute period, to enliven the class. But now that the notes were available in cold black type, the students were less available in spirit. So when that semester was over, I stopped giving permission to Black Lightning. Some students weren't pleased. But I didn't and don't think that the University of California had hired me to please. Needless to say, in an age when the Bill of Rights seems to begin with the right to nonstop entertainment, this is a controversial belief. Now, it may well be argued that universities are already shortchanging their students by stuffing them into huge lecture halls where, unlike at rock concerts or basketball games, the lecturer can't even be seen on a giant screen in real time. If they're already shortchanged with impersonal instruction, what's the harm in offering canned lecture notes? The amphitheater lecture is indeed, for all but the most engaging professors, a lesser form of instruction, and scarcely to be idealized. Still, Education by Download misses one of the keys to learning. Education is a meeting of minds, a process through which the student educes, draws from within, a response to what a teacher teaches. The very act of taking notes not reading somebody else's notes, no matter how stellar is a way of engaging the material,

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