The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on January 28, 1996 · Page 4
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 4

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Salina, Kansas
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Sunday, January 28, 1996
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Ai4 SUNDAY. JANUARY 28, 1996 THE SALINA JOURNAL George B. Pyle editorial page editor Opinions expressed on this page are those of the identified writers. To join the conversation, write a letter to the Journal at: P.O. Box 740 Salina, KS 67402 Fax: (913) 827-6363 E-mail: SalJournal ©aol.com Quote of the day "We've got someone out there talking about how a flat tax will cure everything — headaches, bunions, any problem you've ever had." Sen. Bob Dole campaigning in Iowa, talking about rival Steve Forbes T BY GEORGE By GEORGE B. PYLE / The Salina Journal Whose party is it anyway? THE ISSUE Kansas Republicans THE ARGUMENT They can make headlines, or win elections A s the cream of the Kansas Republican Party gathered in Topeka this weekend for the annual Kansas Day festivities, they may have been wondering which Republican Party they were. The one that makes headlines? Or the one that wins elections? The standard bearer of the latter, clearly, is Gov. Bill Graves, who said Friday that the party hierarchy was shooting itself in the foot by insisting on drafting a party platform that stresses the divisions among Republicans rather than the ideas that unite them. In the Graves camp, you can count retiring Sen. Nancy Kassebaum and her likely replacement, Rep. Pat Roberts., But those people only run the government. The people who run the party these days are of a more so-called conservative bent, eager to give up on government as anything that has any useful purpose — except to ban abortion and hand out tax credits for private schools. Graves notes, correctly, that while he is all in favor of smaller government, the platform drafted by party officers is not the platform he was elected on. One might think that, as governor, Graves would be, or would select, the head of the state Republican Party. But that is not the case. It is not the case because Graves was elected by the great mass of the Kansas electorate, generally a common-sense bunch of folks who don't want big government but do expect to have a gpvern- ment and that it will do its job. Party Chairman David Miller and his associates, on the other hand, were elected by a much smaller group of activists, activists excited enough by the prospect of trashing the most American of institutions — the public schools — and enslaving our most cherished icon — our mothers — to get out and attend county and district conventions. This year, Kansas Republicans have a chance to grab some national limelight by going to the Republican National Convention to nominate one of their own for the presidency. It would greatly diminish Bob Dole's pleasure, and his chances of victory, if the Kansas delegation was not led by the image of their future hopes — its own Republican governor. Get Gore warming up GEORGE B. PYLE The Salina Journal Someone has to be getting ready to take over for Clinton M ost conspiracy theories live in the minds of those who see evil forces at work. I am clinging to a conspiracy theory that gives me hope. While the scandal known as Whitewater has never amounted to more than a trickle of real * facts, the combination of a hostile electorate and an unprincipled opposition could still bring down Bill Clinton's presidency, before or after the election. I am hoping that a quiet cabal of unknown bureaucrats and friends of the family is already preparing an orderly transfer of power to Vice President Al Gore — just in case — perhaps even soon enough that the election can be about the nation's future and not Hillary's past. "The Final Days," Woodward's and Bernstein's account of the end of the Nixon administration, is usually remembered for its image of a broken Richard Nixon speaking to the paintings of dead presidents. We policy wonks remember something different. Philip Buchen called it the Whitehead Project. Clay Whitehead called it the Buchen Project. Buchen was an old law partner of then-Vice President Gerald Ford. Whitehead was a White House aide who had, by May 1974, given up on Nixon. Both were appalled that, with Nixon's grip on power almost gone, Ford had done nothing to prepare to take over. So they made the preparations for him. They enlisted, quietly, the help of other friends and aides, unknowns all. They figured which Nixon aides should stay on and which ones must go. They choreographed the swearing-in. They made sure Ford was ready, without appearing eager. No one knew what the Ford group was doing, not even Ford. If word leaked, it would appear as though Ford were plotting some kind of a Beer Hall Putsch. The group thought it had until early September to put its plan together. It turned out to be about a month less than that. Hardly the Founding Fathers, this group nonetheless did the dirty work that gave this nation what it most needed in one of its darkest hours — a smooth transition of power. Given more time, they might have kept Ford from pardoning Nixon, therefore dooming his own administration to become one of our history's shortest. The difference between then and now is that then Peter Rodino was defending the Constitution and now Al D'Amato is clearing the way for Bob Dole's inauguration. Even if the worst is true, the Republicans only care because they fear this president might block their attempts to use the government as a way to rob from the poor to give to the rich. But there is no reason Al Gore could not do Clinton's job, and do it better. Gore, after all, presents Clinton's good qualities with none of the baggage. Like Clinton, Gore is a Southern white boy whose civil rights credentials are unquestioned. Gore has broader experience on defense and foreign policy issues. There is no scandal • attached to Gore's name. He is too smart, and too rich, to have any small-state graft in his closet. Gore served in Vietnam. Gore inhaled. And he knows the most crucial issue facing the world — the environment. As unfortunate as it would be for the bums who are pursuing Clinton to win, Clinton is not important. The things Clinton was elected to do are important. The efforts to make government a friend of the honest working person, rather than the footstool of the wealthy, are important. Even if Clinton has given his enemies the weapon they need to destroy him, his enemies do not deserve to profit by it. Al Gore must be ready to take his place. CAN SHE SAY THAT? Economy does better; people don't Clinton made a good campaign speech, but he didn't say much about the state of the union A s a re-election campaign speech, President Clinton's State of the Union was a pip, but it didn't tell us much about the state of the union. I liked increasing the minimum wage, keeping lobbyists from writing the environmental and safety laws, campaign finance reform and the education ideas, "but the rest of it was pretty much campaign blah-blah-blah. Except for the minimum wage, nothing addressed the economic winter of our discontent. Not that Clinton was wrong about this weird economy (it is growing — more jobs, better trade, happy campers on Wall Street and all that), but this is more than just an argument about whether our glass is half-empty or half-full. The maldistribution of the rewards of the long economic recovery is what is so troubling. The economy is doing better, but most people aren't. The middle class is shrinking. Productivity increases, but wages don't. Profits are at an all-time high, but the corporations keep firing people. The Haves and the Have Nots are now separated by a gulf worthy of pre-revolutionary France. We seem to be developing into a corporate oligarchy. It's eerie, almost creepy, because none of the politicians wants to talk about this. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, speaking for the Republicans, naturally offered the old pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps philosophy, which is so helpful to the bootless. Dole paints Clinton as one who defends the old "elites." Medicaid never struck me as a program for the elite, but I figure that Dole should know from elites, since a look at his record shows he spends more time with them than the T SUNDAY FUNNIES MOLLY IVINS Fort Wjfrth Star-Telegram ( Medicaid never struck me as 0 a program for the elite, but I figure that Bob Dole should know from elites, since a look at his record shows he spends more time with them than the regulars at Waco's Elite Cafe. regulars at Waco's Elite Cafe. His main booster is the Ernest & Julio Gallo Winery, for which Dole passed a special tax break in 1986 that saved the heirs of the two founding brothers $104 million when Ernest and Julio died. Dole is also a backer of one of the largest agricultural subsidy programs, the Market Promotion Program, and it ain't about Kansas wheat. The Gallo winery benefited from this egregious example of corporate welfare to the tune of $23.8 million between 1986 and 1994. The nifty new book "The Buying of the President," put out by the Center for Public Integrity, details Dole's maneuvering to keep the MPP intact. Gallo has contributed $381,000 to Dole's campaigns. ("The Buying of the President" is just as good on the other candidates, including Clinton.) Dole's connection with Archer-Daniels-Midland is better-known and involves just as much quid for the pro quo. The old "supermarket to the world" has been investigated for everything from price-fixing to paying its executives in Swiss accounts. Head honcho Dwayne Andreas is a major political player; those of you with long memories will recall the $25,000 check he gave to Richard Nixon's CREEP, which figured in Watergate. Dole is not only a frequent flyer on ADM's corporate jet but a major advocate of ADM's infamous ethanol subsidy, a bit of corporate welfare worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Without the subsidy, there would be no ethanol market, and ADM controls 60 percent of it. According to Common Cause, ADM and the Andreas family have given $453,000 to Dole's various purses. In addition, Dole supports the Export Enhancement Program, which is such a rank, piece of corporate welfare that even the conservative Heritage Foundation is against, it.' According to the Center for Public Integrity, ADM received more than $134 million from the. program between 1985 and 1995. Another major Dole backer is Koch Industries ($245,000), now the country's second- largest family-owned industry, and the Koch brothers are among the wealthiest men in the world (estimated worth: $4.7 billion). Among, other right-wing groups, the Roches support, the libertarian Cato Institute and Citizens for a Sound Economy, which should be called. Rich Guys for Big Bidness. CSE wants to phase, out Medicare completely, and Dole's regulatory reform bill — the one that would effectively repeal most of our health, safety and environ-, mental regulations — is straight out of the CSE play book. '••".,<• Lots of corporate money is funneled to Dole '. through his Better America Foundation and the Dole Foundation and through "soft money" to the Republican Party. For example,, ADM has given $1,572,268 in soft money to the Republican Party and $100,000 to the BAF.' ADM is almost an equal-opportunity giver, having contributed $814,000 in soft money to, the Democrats. ADM is on the public teat not only through, the ethanol subsidy and the Export Enhance-,, ment Program but also through the peanut subsidy and the sugar subsidy, which benefits their corn sweetener market. Well, there are all kinds of "elites" in this'-; country, and I'm a little unclear on which ones •'•• Dole thinks Clinton is trying to help. Poor chil- *' dren? Downsized workers? Young people will- -; ing to join AmeriCorps to get a college educa- -• tion? If Dole thinks the people he's helping —;! and who are, of course, helping him — are not J . elites, maybe we should send him a dictionary.'; Are lobsters really just big insects? Scientists finally get around to answering some of the really important questions I am pleased to report that the scientific community has finaly stopped wasting time on the origins of the universe and started dealing with the important question, which is: Are lobsters really just big insects? I have always maintained that they are. I personally see no significant difference between a lobster and, say, a giant Madagascar hissing cockroach, which is a «, type of cockroach that grows to approximately the size of William Howard Taft (18571930). If a group of diners were sitting in a nice restaurant and the waiter were to bring them each a freshly killed, steaming- hot Madagascar hissing cockroach, they would not put on silly bibs and eat it with butter. No, they would run, retching, directly from the restaurant to the All-Nite Drive-Thru * Lawsuit Center. And yet these very same people will pay $24.95 apiece to eat a lobster, despite the fact that it displays all three of the classic lobster biological characteristics of an insect, namely: 1. It has way more legs than necessary. 2. There is no way you would ever pet it. 3. It does not respond to simple commands such as, "Here, boy!" I do not eat eat lobsters, although I once had a close call, i was visiting my good friends Tom and Pat Schroth, who live in Maine (state motto: "Cold, But Damp"). Being generous and hospitable people, Tom and Pat went out and purchased, as a special treat for me, the largest lobster in the history of the Atlantic Ocean, a lobster that had probably been responsible for sinking many commercial vessels before it was finally apprehended by nuclear submarines. This lobster was big enough to feed a DAVE BARRY The Miami Herald coastal Maine village for a year, and there it was, sprawling all over my plate, with scary insectoid legs and eyeballs shooting out in all directions, while Tom and Pat, my gracious hosts, smiled happily at me, waiting for me to put this thing in my mouth. Remember when you were a child, and your mom wouldn't let you leave the dinner table until you ate all your Brussel's sprouts, and so you took your fork and mashed them into smaller and smaller pieces in hopes of eventually reducing them to individual Brussel's- sprout molecules that would be absorbed into the atmosphere and disappear? That was similar to the approach I took with the giant lobster. "Mmmm-MMMM!" I said, hacking away at the thing on my plate, and when nobody was looking, concealing my pieces under my dinner roll, in the salad, in my napkin, anywhere I could find. Tom and Pat: I love you dearly, and if you should ever have an electrical problem that turns out to be caused by a seven-pound wad of old lobster pieces stuffed into the dining room wall socket, I am truly sorry. Anyway, my point is that lobsters have long been suspected, by me at least, of being closet insects, which is why I was very pleased recently when my alert journalism colleague Steve Doig referred me to an Associated Press article concerning a discovery by scientists at the University of Wisconsin. The article, headlined GENE LINKS SPIDERS AND FLIES TO LOBSTERS, states that not only do lobsters, flies, spiders, millipedes, etc., contain THE EXACT SAME GENE, but they also are all descended from a single common ancestor: Howard Stern. No, seriously, the article states that the ancestor "probably was a wormlike creature." Yum! Fetch the melted butter! And that is not all. According to articles sent in by alert readers (this was on the FRONT PAGE of The New York Times), scientists in Denmark recently discovered that some lobsters have a weird little pervert organism living ON THEIR LIPS. Yes. I didn't even know that lobsters HAD lips, but it turns out that they do, and these lips are the stomping ground of a tiny creature called "Symbion Pandora" (literally, "a couple of Greek words"). The zoology community, which does not get out a lot, is extremely excited about Symbion Pandora, because it reproduces differently from all other life forms. According to various articles, when Symbion Pandora is ready to have a baby, its digestive system "collapses and is reconstituted into a larva," which the parent then gives birth to by "extruding" it from its "posterior." In other words — correct me if I am wrong here — this thing basically reproduces by pooping. So to summarize: If you're looking for a hearty entree that (1) is related to spiders; (2) is descended from a worm; and (3) has mutant baby-poopers walking around on its lips; then you definitely want a lobster. I myself plan to continue avoiding them, just as I avoid oysters, which are clearly — scientists should look into this next — members of the phlegm family. Have you ever seen oysters reproduce? Neither have I, but I would not be surprised to learn that the process involves giant undersea nostrils. And don't get me started on clams. Recently I sat across from a person who was deliberately eating clams; she'd open up a shell, and there, in plain view, would be this stark naked clam, brazenly showing its organs, like a high- school biology experiment. My feeling is that if a restaurant is going to serve those things, it should put little loincloths on them. I believe that Mother Nature gave us eyes because she did not want us to eat this type of food. Mother Nature clearly intended for us to get our food from the "patty" group, which includes hamburgers, fish sticks and McNuggets — foods that have had all of their organs safely removed someplace far away, such as Nebraska. That is where I stand on this issue, arid if any qualified member of the lobster, clam or phlegnvin-a-shell industry wishes to present^ rebuttal, I hereby extend this offer: Get own column. I if *! tj it r! y- ro V I

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