St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on October 18, 1995 · Page 18
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 18

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St. Louis, Missouri
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Wednesday, October 18, 1995
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6B ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 1995 THE POST-DISPATCH PLATFORM I KNOW THAT MY RETIREMENT WILL MAKE NO DIFFERENCE IN ITS CARDINAL PRINCIPLES, THAT IT WILL ALWAYS FIGHT FOR PROGRESS AND REFORM, NEVER TOLERATE INJUSTICE OR CORRUPTION, ALWAYS FIGHT DEMAGOGUES OF ALL PARTIES, NEVER BELONG TO ANY PARTY, ALWAYS OPPOSE PRIVILEGED CLASSES AND PUBLIC PLUNDERERS, NEVER LACK SYMPATHY WITH THE POOR, ALWAYS REMAIN DEVOTED TO THE PUBLIC WELFARE, NEVER BE SATISFIED WITH MERELY PRINTING NEWS, ALWAYS BE DRASTICALLY INDEPENDENT, NEVER BE AFRAID TO ATTACK WRONG, WHETHER BY PREDATORY PLUTOCRACY OR PREDATORY POVERTY. Founded by JOSEPH PULITZER December 12, 1878 JOSEPH PULITZER, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER 1878-1911 JOSEPH PULITZER, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER 1912-1955 JOSEPH PULITZER JR., EDITOR AND PUBLISHER 1955-1986, CHAIRMAN 1979-1993 MICHAEL E. PULITZER, CHAIRMAN AND PRESIDENT NICHOLAS G. PENNIMAN IV, PUBLISHER WILLIAM F. WOO, EDITOR . FOSTER DAVIS, MANAGING EDITOR EDWARD A. HIGGINS, EDITOR OF THE EDITORIAL PAGE 900 North Tucker Boulevard 63101 (314) 340-8000 April 10, 1907 JOSEPH PULITZER l3 III! &$mm payout i . . V gAfoJ ESTRiaEDrlOIE k OF DOCTORS 0 for-profit' Jlll ; XjjEMTH NETWORKS JBLa ...raife .. PEOPLE p i;n ffmmi EDITORIALS A Call To Black Men . . . . However Americans in general feel about the racial views of Louis Farrakhan, they must concede that his Million Man March turned out to be a much-needed 911 call to black men and could well turn out to be a watershed event. Such mass gatherings typically are held to blame society for all urban ills. Participants used this one to raise many fundamental, self-critical questions about their personal responsibilities to families, to communities and to solving social problems. Americans genuinely concerned about race relations are right to demand that Mr. Farrakhan be held accountable for past anti-Semitic rhetoric; hatred, after all, is morally corrosive, no matter which group practices it. His critics should know, however, that the gathering in Washington was less a validation of his views than a signal that these times have caused considerable distress in black America. At the national level, a far-right political movement continues to gain momentum and seeks to destroy every social program in its path. Closer to home, blacks witness in their own communities young men who cannot seem to see beyond their next homicide; they are distressed by schools that don't educate their children, law enforcement that doesn't protect their families or their property, economies that have shut them out and general neighborhood deterioration that's eating up block after block of inner-city property. The smart critic of Louis Farrakhan would look beyond his rhetoric and seize upon the rare opportunity he has created. He has, in effect, delivered an army of concerned men just waiting to do battle with urban problems. It is gratifying to see that, some established groups, notably the National Urban League, understand this point. Rather than wasting energy on the Farrakhan debate, these groups are trying to figure out how best to tap into this army of volunteers before enthusiasm wanes, as it most certainly will. Moreover, there is nothing to prevent other local and national organizations from putting together their own versions of a Million Man March movement. Cities always will need neighborhood cleanup campaigns, tutoring programs and special projects to prevent adverse home environments from turning inherently good boys into bad men. Nor is there anything wrong with traditional organizations, such as United Way chapters, providing the administrative structure to make innovative use of the talent and energy of participants like those who attended the march. Until this event, many such organizations probably did not appreciate the untapped potential of black men, often scorned as a group, in addressing urban problems. It would be a shame, then, if the debate over Louis Farrakhan's provocative racial views caused the black community and the larger community to miss the opportunity to harness this raw human energy for the common good. . . . And A Plea For Understanding As 400,000 black men were pledging in Washington to become masters of their fate, President Bill Clinton was in Austin, Texas, Monday calling on whites and blacks to understand one another. There is nothing novel or daring about that idea, yet few leaders or would-be leaders are saying much about unity and reconciliation these days. So, Mr. Clinton's words were timely, and he deserves credit for using his office to discuss the gulf between the races and its corrosive effect on society. Naturally, both Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and House Speaker Newt Gingrich criticized Mr. Clinton's speech, though one is hard-pressed to remember the last time either of them was willing to eschew code words and address racial division so thoughtfully and responsibly. Noting that blacks and whites "see the same world in drastically different ways" as dramatized by the reactions to the verdict in the O.J. Simpson murder case Mr. Clinton warned that there can be no healing until each race can learn to appreciate the other's perspective. Blacks' outlook is shaped by a long history of unfair treatment that continues today, especially in the criminal justice system and the world of work. Whites see a subculture of violence and irresponsible parenthood. Both are right, but not entirely so. The paradox of the racial divide is that it exists and seems to be widening despite economic and political progress for blacks in recent decades and despite the two races' shared values. Both blacks and whites believe in hard work, love for family, playing by the rules. In short, blacks and whites want the same things out of life. With so much in common, there is no valid excuse for pretending that the races can go their separate ways. Mr. Clinton had little to say about government's role in creating a unity of purpose, except to debunk the myth that affirmative action has given blacks an unfair advantage. If so, he wondered, how is it that blacks on average earn 60 percent of what whites do and college enrollment among blacks is declining? Instead, he emphasized individual responsibility for changing behavior and ending racial division. In so saying, he was carrying the message of the Million Man March. Standards For Missouri9 s Students Nothing would seem to be as simple as drawing up a set of standards and expectations for students and teachers to use as their guide, but the path from idea to reality has become an unexpected minefield. On the national level, standards about how to teach history have turned into a prolonged, bitter battle over basic conceptions of what this country stands for. The debate in Missouri has been less intense so far but equally instructive. ( When the national history standards first surfaced, they became a whipping boy for anyone opposed to what is often lumped together as "multi-culturalism." Complaints that the standards shortchanged traditional American heroes in favor of accomplishments by minorities caused a furor that was in some respects justified. Some groups wanted the standards scrapped altogether; a better course was suggested recently by two independent review panels revise the guidelines to include more classic American figures as well as those who have been given short shrift in the past. In Missouri, the pitfalls in drawing up academic standards have come not so much from what they said but from how they were written. An early draft was rejected during the summer by Robert E. Bart-man, the state's commissioner of elementary and secondary education, so they could be put into language that was easier to understand. The revised results won approval from the Commission on Performance last week and will be considered by the state Board of Education on Thursday. The new and improved standards try to make clear what Missouri students should know, in conceptual terms and in various subject areas, without micromanaging details of the curriculum in any specific district. People may read them and wonder, with good reason, why such broad guidelines need to be set down at all. Isn't it obvious that schools need to help students gain analytical, communication and problem-solving skills needed to function in society? In a sense, yes. Still, setting down such goals in writing not only fulfills the mandates of the Outstanding Schools Act of 1993 but provides a framework to see how well students live up to expectations. Debate in the coming weeks is certain to be spiced by arguments over side issues like outcome-based education whatever that is. But no one should let such red herrings cloud the big picture. In education more than in other fields, the trees too often obstruct the view of the forest. Having goals, broad-based as they may be, is critical to the success that every Missouri child has a right to expect. A Decent Citizen Of The World President Bill Clinton has told the 50th annual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington that he wants to fully fund America's obligations to the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA), the agency that provides loans to the world's poorest countries. Unfortunately, the chances of Mr. Clinton's making good on his desire are slim to none. Congress would have to authorize $1.3 billion this year for the IDA. But the Senate is offering only $775 million, the House $575 million. Congress' determination to balance the budget in seven years precludes higher funding levels. Even delaying balance until 10 years from now, as the administration wants, wouldn't permit full funding of U.S. commitments to the IDA. Indeed, to replenish the resources of the International Monetary Fund, the IDA's parent agency, would require the developed nations to nearly dou ble their contributions over the next decade. If that doesn't happen, the rich nations are asking for trouble. The world's poorest nations will face rising social unrest and political turmoil, which could explode into a series of bankruptcies that would set off a financial crisis affecting everyone. Though private investment has a major role to play in developing the world's poorest economies, public aid is essential. Unless the World Bank has the money to continue to finance the construction of roads, bridges and ports at the same time the IMF helps poor nations to establish sound financial and regulatory policies private investors won't risk investing their money. What's more, although America has an obligation to help its own poor first, it cannot be a decent citizen of the world while altogether neglecting the needs of the poor abroad. After all, we do live on the sanie planet. ,., Simplicity, Anyone? it ru t h r LETTERS FROM THE PEOPLE Medicare Porridge: Is It Just Right? In this season of high voltage rhetoric surrounding the current debate over the future of Medicare, Rep. Richard Gephardt must feel like Goldilocks sampling porridge. Which Medicare plan is just right? Gephardt must choose the right bowl before the bears come home in November 1996. "Too cold" would be to leave the Medicare debate alone. Learning a painful lesson from President Bill Clinton's initial refusal to offer a balanced budget strategy, Gephardt had deduced it is far too cold politically to stay on the sidelines. "Too hot" would be the House Republican plan. The Republicans' fresh and thoroughly insightful look at how Medicare must be revamped to ensure its long-term stability must burn Gephardt's mouth. A slowed rate of projected increased spending in Medicare that reduces the American taxpayers' burden by an estimated $270 billion over seven years and guarantees system solvency (as well as a balanced budget by 2002) is illogical to "tax-and-spend Dick." Naturally, "just right," is the Gephardt plan. Ranting against the GOP plan with all the hysteria he can muster, Gephardt offers a reduction of future spending increases by "only" $90 billion over seven years. This Gephardt deems sufficient to ensure the long-term solvency of Medicare. Of course, in presenting this plan, Gephardt ignores the "too lukewarm" plan of that master fence straddler, Bill Clinton. After all, it was Clinton's own Medicare trustees who were the ones who presented the bad news of system bankruptcy that has stirred up all this trouble. And this is the same trustee report to which the president has responded with a $190 billion reduction from projected future spending growth plan of his own an amount obviously much closer to the plan of House Republicans than to Gephardt's. It is a fact that all of these Medicare plans slow projected future spending growth. The question is then: Which plan is going to work in ensuring the long-term solvency that Medicare requires and our seniors deserve? Gephardt defends his plan on the grounds that the Democrats are the only ones who understand what it takes to remedy Medicare. Over the last 30 years, the Democrats have "fixed" the program nine times. Is it any wonder Medicare is nearly bankrupt? Time and again, Gephardt has proven capable of submitting only - one solution to problems such as Medicare maximum taxes for the American public. Gephardt should seriously consider retiring from Congress to a "new forest." The bears are coming home to visit him November of 1996, and they want their porridge back. James Orlopp St. Louis Segregated Rails Howard F. Baer's Oct. 1 letter protests a lawsuit filed against the St. Louis Zoo to make the Zoo train accessible to the disabled. Although Paraquad is not a party to the suit, as the group's president, I feel it is important to understand why this suit has been filed. In his letter, Baer commented that "nature has a way of limiting us, and such limitations cannot be overcome by attorneys." It is true that disability is a natural part of life. But it is important for Baer to remember that trains are not a naturally occurring phenomenon. Neither are buses or stairs. These examples of human technology were developed precisely be- . cause all people are limited. In 1990, President, George Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act, which says that Americans should redesign institutional practices and structures that segregate people and foster discrimination. One of every five Americans has a disability, and we should take care not to exclude any part of the population. According to Baer, "a transportation system was badly needed because both the aged and the children wanted to get around our 80 acres in comfort." The Zoo train, then, is not a ride or a game. It is a form of transportation that has carried "30 million passengers." History has taught us that segregated transportation is discriminatory; it is wrong. If an inaccessible Zoo train says anything about our social values, it is that public goods are there only for those who are not "different." It teaches that discrimination is natural. In my opinion, discrimination and segregation are not natural. People have created these practices, and it is through human effort that segregation and discrimination will be eliminated. Max Starklof f St. Louis TV Violence I have one concern with the Sept. 21 article, "Movies, Children's TV Are Most Violent Study Finds." The report found that 1111 1 ju y WV - ii i i man in 1 ' 1 1 1 in many of the children's shows were the most violent, yet the suggest-, ed solution was "scheduling programs with violent themes or images at 9 p.m. or later." Children in the survey included third graders to 12th graders. Children of these ages do not often watch television after 9. Therefore, what would be the purpose in changing the times? Why not change the amount of violent content to solve the problem? Kristin Bryant Chesterfield I am completely outraged by the Oct. 7 editorial, "Clean Up TV Violence Voluntarily." I thought the Post-Dispatch was a defender of freedom and free speech as guaranteed in the First Amendment. It appears the Post-Dispatch has aligned itself with the hand of Big Brother as detailed in George Orwell's "1984." First, if you accept the premise that TV causes violence, then you are saying a person cannot distinguish between fact and fantasy. Second, why weren't Baby Boomers in the '60s and '70s out causing violent crimes like some of the youth today? We watched TV and even played army with toy guns. Third, I don't give a whole lot of credence to many of these so-called scientific studies and polls. These studies, polls and surveys are manipulated with their questions, and the creators of these are selling a service and a product. Fourth, some idiots cause accidents on our highways, especially drunk drivers, and we don't punish everybody for the sins of a few. Last and most important of all, where do we stop with censorship? What's next? Cleaning up books and magazines? Beware censorship and demagogues! Chris Liming St. Charles Don't Pollute I am writing in response to the Post-Dispatch article about Sierra Club ads attacking Sen. Christopher Bond. Bond called these ads , "totally insane, simply untrue." He also said the ads misrepresent, . his efforts to balance the budget while protecting the environment. , I disagree. . " ; This bill would devastate many , environmental and public health , . protections and make it harder tp ' , enforce these laws. The EPA's , budget is already less than 1 per cent of the federal budget, and ,. : Bond wants to cut 23 percent of it. ; If he wanted to balance the bud- get, he could find many other ; ,. . places to find that extra 0.23 per-. ; cent of the budget. - - ' -: Second, the Senate has added , II non-budgetary policy items de- ,', signed to limit existing environ-mental and public health proted- , -tions. These are called riders. ' The riders to the bill would do such things as specifically bar cen tralized vehicle inspections pro- -' ' grams; forbid issuing drinking wa- ; ter standards for arsenic, radon,'' ; sulfates and Cryptosporidium (the contaminate responsible for more than 100 deaths in Milwaukee in' - . the summer of 1993); and com-pletely exempt cement kilns and ' -other hazardous waste incinera-tors from air toxics regulations! 1 '; Why would someone, want to ' -forbid the EPA from issuing stan-' ' dards on arsenic in drinking water? 1 Maybe some special interest wanted that to happen. , The one thing Bond said that I do agree with is that the Senate ; version is better than the House -version. That's true,, but every- ' . thing I've listed above: has to do '. i ". with the Senate bill. Imagine what ; the House bill looks like. Bond is on the conference com-mittee that will reconcile these two horrible bills. He needs to stand up for clean air and environmental protection, and say no to the polluters that threaten our .'. . health by stopping this assault on the environment. Todd M. Foreman Organizing Director Missouri Public Interest Research Group St. Louis' Forget Eco Arch The Oct. 7 front-page article regarding the "Eco Arch" for East St. Louis demonstrates how misguided and self-serving some of , our "visionaries" can be. The planners suggest $1.5 billion to $2 billion of taxpayer money, although "they could start with as little as $50 million." Unfortunately, time, energy and front-page coverage are wasted on a ridiculous fantasy by people who don't understand basic priorities. Do they realize what impact $50 million, much less $1.5 billion, would have on the East St. Louis school system and the future of those students and their contribution to our community compared to the benefit of the Eco Arch? East St. Louis needs a great many things that will be more helpful than the Eco Arch. Ronald E. Henges Townand Country .1 mil We want to know what our read- ers think. Mail your opinions to Letters From The People, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 900 North Tucker Blvd., St. Louis, Mo. 63101, contact us by e-mail at letterspd.stlnet.com, or fax your opinions to (31 4) 340-31 39. Please keep letters short and to , ' the point; they may be edited for -length or clarity. Letters must in- . elude name, address and daytime phone number for verification. Be-. cause we receive so much mail, , we cannot acknowledge or return letters. , , ' , t

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