Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York on September 7, 1992 · Page 8
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Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York · Page 8

Rochester, New York
Issue Date:
Monday, September 7, 1992
Page 8
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Oil JAMES F. LAWRENCE, Editorial Page Editor MARK HARE, Deputy Editorial Page Editor SHARON DICKMAN, Deputy Editorial Page Editor DAN HALL, Speaking Out Editor BILL O'BRIEN, TED CASE, RICHARD PRINCE, Editorial Writers BILL MITCHELL, Editorial Cartoonist DAVID J. MACK, President and Publisher J. KEITH MOYER, Editor ELLEN LEIFELD, Managing Editor JOHN STREET, Deputy Managing Editor Published by Gannett Co. Inc. 55 Exchange Blvd., Rochester, N.Y. 14614 ipra MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 1992 Democrat anti (fbromclc TIMES-UNION ROCHESTER, N.Y. EDITORIALS Overworked? Be grateful ( The hardest workers may be those who are out looking for jobs ' For many laborers, holiday is spelled S-L-E-E-P. The Americans-are-lazy myth has been dispelled; millions of workers are working harder than ever. ' Companies, big and small, are scaling down work forces and squeezing more production out of the lucky survivors. Work days are longer; we're yawning before prime-time TV hours arrive. Labor Day is a welcome chance to sleep until the sun comes up. STILL, if you're overworked, count your blessings. The word "recession" understates the economic angst of the 1990s. Work itself lis changing. Old jobs are moving abroad ' or disappearing altogether, and those who once held them need new skills, not just new employers. At the same time, many employers are skittish, far more likely to hire temporary than permanent workers which is why being out of work today is the hardest job of all. "I remember the day I was laid off from work," Rochesterian John Wolfe wrote on our Speaking Out page back in July. "It was 16 months ago. I was upset, but I recall being optimistic." i At the time, Wolfe thought, "Give me a month and I'll be off unemployment and back on the payroll." It wasn't to be. Wolfe, who was an advertising copywriter, grew anxious. He bought 20 rare records, old Beatles and Elvis LPs, etc., and slipped his resume into the jackets. He sent them to prospective employers in envelopes ,marked: RARE RECORD ENCLOSED." Creativity got him nothing. He hired a consultant. "Eight months and 120 'cover letters later, we have yet to score a 'single interview." Wolfe's experience is not unique. Submitting resumes and applications often seems like a time-killer, not a Lot Anlt Tlitin Syndicate productive use of time. Whether it's always true or not, most out-of-work professionals believe there's no way to get a job without a connection. "There is a great amount of despair, even with hard-working, very well qualified, impressive people," says Deb Koen Marshall, placement director for the Career Placement Center, a program paid for by a consortium of area employers. The center provides support, advice on hunting for jobs, and services aimed at reducing the cost of a job search information about local employers, telephones, word processors. PEOPLE do find jobs, but not always what they wanted. Last year, Marshall told us, 56 percent of the center's clients who found work, got jobs that paid the same or more than their old jobs but that means 44 percent settled for less. Any way you look at it, looking for work is every bit as stressful as working long hours and whining about it and the pay is a lot less. Just ask John Wolfe, whose patience and effort paid off recently. He's the new editor of Rochester Business Profiles, a business magazine. He's still working hard but he's sleeping easier. Next year, let's celebrate real labor The United States is not the only country in the throes of a recession this Labor Day. Another is Japan, that arch-' nemesis of the blame-our-troubles-on- anybody-but-ourselves crowd. But the Japanese, unlike ourselves, are planning to do something about the recession. Japan is about to launch an $86 billion economic recovery program, with much of the money going for roads, sewers, schools and other public works projects. It includes $17 billion for housing assistance and purchasing land for future public projects. The plan also offers tax incentives to encourage companies to invest in new equipment. That kind of spending is the classic prescription to cure a recession and it's similar to what Bill Clinton and other ' Democrats have proposed. Why isn't Congress doing it? Simple we borrowed so much for so long, running up hundreds of billions r " ACTUALLV, M 111! I urwivciuw. rKCJl J' - V I of dollars in deficits even during the "good years" of the Reagan era, that President Bush and his advisers fear we can no longer afford the economic medicine we need. They have a point. Japan can launch its recovery program because it actually has a fiscal surplus 3 percent of its gross domestic product. The United States, by contrast, has a deficit of about 5 percent of its gross domestic product. A new public works program would mean borrowing even more, without new taxes to pay for it. Yet doing nothing is the worst option of all. We're already paying in the form of rising unemployment costs, and rising welfare. Roads, bridges and water systems are falling apart. Millions of people are in despair, for themselves and their families. Why not pay to put people to work? Then next Labor Day, perhaps we'll have a lot more to celebrate. DAVE ROSSIE It's time for press jackals' to show ftheir mean streaks l Wouldn't you know summer weather would i put in a belated appearance just when it's time to ;don the old hair shirt? It's that time again, the quadrennial run for the White House, when members of the news media -once again become fair game for frustrated politi-cians. Not overly popular in the best of times, 'those of us who earn our living writing for or talking to the public become pariahs in election years, especially in the eyes of Republicans. THIS YEAR is no exception. At the recently concluded Republican convention, the media were blamed almost as often as the Democratic-controlled Congress for the nation's ills, usually by people who don't seem to know that media is a plural noun. In his alternately whiny and bellicose stem-winder of an acceptance speech, George Bush took a shot or two at the media, and that's understandable. The president has taken his lumps from the national press corps this year, and it must be puzzling for him. These are, for the most part, the same people who trembled and truckled in the presence of Bush's predecessor, the Great Wheezer, never questioning his absurdities or reporting his spates of fractured syntax. Surely Bush must have assumed he was entitled to the same royal treatment, and for three years he was. Then, during the early primary season this year his vulnerability became so evident that even the press corps couldn't ignore it. Worse they exploited it. The toadies turned into tigers. So it is not surprising to hear Bush liken the press corp to jackals. It's certainly as accurate as calling us all liberals, a misrepresentation dear to the flinty little hearts of the Republican far right. The jackal analogy is apt, because the jackal, like its cousin the hyena, attacks the weak, while giving the strong a wide berth. For the last seven months the poor fish has been an object of ridicule by the same people who once trotted at his heels, hoping he'd invite them over to pitch horseshoes or at least toss them a pork rind. Don't misunderstand. It's not that the press people are making up stories about the president or misquoting him. Far from it. They are simply reporting on him accurately, without fear or favor, and that is what has him and his apologists screaming like scalded cats. WRITING THE FACTS, no matter how unflattering, is all right when you're writing about Democrats they deserve to be revealed for what they are: enemies of the republic, anti-family, anti-Christ and exponents of deviant lifestyles. Republicans, on the other hand, embody all the simple virtues that have made America great and they deserve to be depicted that way, even if it requires a little creative writing. And when the president tells us what a whiz he is at foreign affairs, we are obliged to purge our minds, and certainly our copy of Tiananmen Square, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. It's the least we can do if we want to be regarded as real Americans. Rossie is a columnist for the Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin. 1 IBfcMI 8ia7H BUFFALO .DESCRIBED AS AfJ ATMOSPHERIC DEPMXm TWAn RICHARD PRINCE You must also know when not to play hardball Maybe we can blame Richard Nixon at least for the phrase. When he faced impeachment in late 1973, it dawned on him that the House of Representatives was controlled by Democratic leader Tip O'Neill. "I knew I was in trouble," Nixon later said, "when I saw that Tip O'Neill was calling the shots up there. That man plays hardball. He doesn't know what a softball is." Christopher Matthews recounts that anecdote in his 1988 book called what else? Hardball. Subtitle: How Politics is Played Told by One Who Knows the Game. "Playing hardball" has since become one of those macho phrases that's almost always used with approval and a touch of awe. That's made it all too easy to forget that sometimes you have to play softball or find some other game. I m thinking of the Democratic leaders of the U.S. Senate, and I'm thinking about the National Association of Chiefs of Police. THE SENATE Democrats have begun to delay confirming as many as 50 of President Bush's nominees for major judgeships. They want to preserve the vacancies for Gov. Bill Clinton to fill if he's elected president. That's hardball and it hits a home run with me. The National Association of Chiefs of Police, meanwhile, is still seeking its pound of flesh from Time Warner Inc. over rapper Ice-T's heavy-metal song Cop Killer. Not content with Ice-T's July 28 announcement that Cop Killer will be pulled from future pressings of the album Body Count, some police spokesmen are urging local officials not to renew Time Warner cable system franchises throughout the country. Gerald Arenberg, executive director of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, told the show-biz paper Variety last week that if pulling franchises doesn't work, there are other ways cops "could create a living hell for all of Time Warner's cable systems locally. "Just about every time one of their trucks makes a call it parks illegally. We could write parking tickets for every one of those violations." IS THAT a hardball they're playing with or a boomerang? Lest we forget, Greater Rochester Cablevision is a Time Warner company. Lest we forget, police aren't supposed to exercise their powers for political purposes. Fortunately, Ron Evangelista, president of the Rochester Police Locust Club, told me he thinks "we won this war and it's over with." Police made their point, Evangelista said "that police are sensitive individuals and should be treated with the same respect they show other people." Though the local union joined in the protest of Cop Killer, he thinks harassing cable companies goes too far. If such a case ever got to court, I hope a judge would agree. But I can no longer be sure. And that's why I'm cheering on the Senate Democrats. Everyone knows about the bruising Supreme Court confirmation battles of the Ronald Reagan-George Bush years. But fewer realize that the packing of the Supreme Court with ideologues has only been the tip of the iceberg. Reagan and Bush have appointed more than half the nation's 837 federal district, appellate and Supreme Court judges. Those appointees are already in the majority on the Supreme Court and in nine of the 13 appellate circuits. Last May, the liberal group People for the American Way documented how those appointments have led to decisions that increased the right of government to spy on people, to strip-search students, to infringe on freedom of religion and to limit free expression. IT DOCUMENTED how judicial appointments have become political, cynical and ideological to an unprecedented degree. Others point out that while nearly 30 percent of President Jimmy Carter's judgeships went to women and to people of color, at the end of 1990, barely 16 percent of Reagan-Bush appointees were members of those groups. For African Americans, the numbers are worse: of 83 appellate appointments, only one of Reagan's was black. Of 32 by Bush, the only one was the reactionary Clarence Thomas. THE DEMOCRATS' response, as we saw most vividly during the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings last year, has largely been one of strikeouts and errors. (The March 1992 issue of Spy magazine, for instance, disclosed how Republicans cowed Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden, D-Del., by threatening to portray him as a racist.) In the game of hardball, it's past time for both the Senate Democrats and the police groups to say "enough." For Senate Democrats, that means it's time to step up to the plate. For police groups, that means it's time to step back. Prince is a Democrat and Chronicle and Times-Union columnist. His column appears Mondays. Call him at (716) 258-2414 or write him at 55 Exchange Blvd., Rochester, NY 14614. European unify may be pipe dream Nine months ago, the nations of Western Europe were striding toward a United States of Europe, abandoning obsolete nationalism for a borderless Esperanto world, in which being an Italian or a German would mean as little as being a Nebraskan or a Nova Scotian. Henceforth, Europeans would be Europeans first and foremost. The 12 members of the European Community had signed the Maastricht treaty, ordaining a single currency and a central bank for them all and ceding many of their once-cherished national powers to a new European union, including control over everything from defense policy to health and safety rules. This was an epochal change, as German Chancellor Helmut Kohl announced: "Europe is no longer the same." TODAY, however, Europe appears to be very much the same as it was before the Maastricht accord and seems determined to stay that way. Those who dreamed of a federal Europe are discovering that nationalism is not the remnant of the past they assumed. They got their first proof on June 2, when Danish voters surprised the world by voting down the treaty. Some of the European federalists were too dense to absorb the lesson, like the German diplomat who responded with airy scorn, "We are not going to let 24,000 peculiar people stop Europe's momentum." EMBRACING free trade within the EC is one thing; sacrificing political sovereignty is another. Imagine the United States letting its environmental laws be written by the United Nations or getting rid of the dollar in favor of a STEPHEN CHAPMAN currency issued by the Organization of American States. Plenty of Americans living in places like Georgia and Wyoming are dissatisfied enough with being governed from Washington; they would no more consider being ruled by a multinational commission based in, say, Rio de Janeiro, than they would begin their day by reading a newspaper printed in Portuguese. Yet this treaty asks everyone from Athens to Edinburgh to submit to the dictates of unelected bureaucrats issuing dictates from Brussels, the headquarters of the European Commis sion. The truth is that even before Maastricht, the main impetus for European unity had already disappeared. The end of the Cold War removed one source of cohesion, the Soviet threat, and promised in due time to remove another, the huge American military presence. The Cold War suppressed Europe's traditional national attachments and hostilities, but it couldn't banish them for good. The Maastricht treaty, which was supposed to be the shining model for a new age, may turn out to be a pipe dream of the old one. Chapman is a columnist and editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune.

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