The News Journal from Wilmington, Delaware on December 29, 1990 · Page 6
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The News Journal from Wilmington, Delaware · Page 6

Wilmington, Delaware
Issue Date:
Saturday, December 29, 1990
Page 6
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A6 Wilmington, Del. Saturday, Dec. 29,1990 The News Journal A Gannett newspaper Sal DeVivo President and Publisher Henry M. Freeman Editor John N. Walston Managing Editor U.S. has a chance to make up for botched policies The United States has another chance in Haiti. It has botched several others by backing dictators, derelict despots and "presidents-for-life" on the Caribbean island shared by the Dominican Republic. Two weeks ago, Haiti had its first democratic election for president; ever. In contrast to Panama's election, things went well. The army not only behaved, it protected the process. The people elected the Rev. Jean-Bertrand Aristide by a landslide. Father Aristide is not establishment-America's cup of tea. He is young, black, radical and leftist, a liberation theologian untrained in politics or diplomacy. His own religious order, the Salesians, under pressure from Haiti's powers at the time, defrocked him two years ago because he took his messianic call for revolution to the streets. He escaped exile to a cloister in Rome only because thousands of followers, the cart-pullers, the market women, "the ragged people," blocked his departure from Port au Prince airport . Haiti, the hemisphere's only black nation, is also its poorest. Yet it has substantial natural resources and one of the richest elites. Some senior members of its armed forces allegedly run drugs to the United Staes and guns to South America. Consecutive regimes under father and son "Doc" and "Baby Doc" Duvalier plundered the foreign aid we sent by the millions and subdued the peasantry through a combination of voodoo and their private red-kerchiefed terrorist brigades called the TonTon Macoute. Before Feb. 7, when Father Aristide is scheduled to take office, the United States must clearly show its hand in Haiti. If the priest is assassinated or falls at the hands of the military, the United States will be blamed because of our history of propping up entrenched Haitian scumbags. President Aristide is a big risk. The United States has already made tentative overtures to him. It should make it clear to him that it's not just Haiti's leader, but its people it cares about and it should vow to do what it can to help them. It would seem fitting. This year's Miss America is a Haitian-American. Ogling gets too close for comfort with the great beasts The seas were bloodied at the peak of the whaling industry as society sought rich oil for lamps, bone for corset stays or ornaments, ambergris for perfume. There was greed in counting houses, but the hunters were, in Kipling's summation of maritime gathering, earning their bread on the deep waters. They bore years-long voyages and grave peril. Boats were smashed, primitive rockets killed hunters rather than quarry, weather trapped hundreds on Antarctic ice. It was a bloody game blood spurting dozens of feet into the air but in a sense a fair one. The whales survived. Now some folks still hunt them for meat, but whaling is largely curtailed to preserve these magnificent members of the global family. And we find that love can smother just as greed could decimate. Thousands of the curious and admiring embark from both Atlantic and Pacific ports to watch in awe the great beasts in their element. Fine, but not up to the point a National Marine Fisheries Service official called harassment. As California's whale-watching season began this week, he cited scores of ogler boats trailing, too close, only two whales, to show that such harassment is increasing. Federal rules forbid whale-watchers from following too closely, with stiff penalties for violations, but enforcement resources are scanty. The whales' admirers, on the Pacific or the Atlantic, must prevent harassment and even mortal risk some whales will not survive if separated from their groups. Even in the seas, a measure of privacy is vital to life. Jan. 15 not a deadline for war Jan. 15 is not a deadline for war. The U.N. Security Council authorized use of force but did not require it if Iraq's army is not out of Kuwait by then. . .Lt. Gen. Calvin Waller said U.S. ground forces won't be ready for an offensive by mid-January and ticked off some in the Bush administration who said he undercut U.S. warnings to Iraq's Saddam Hussein and gave ammunition to those who urge restraint. . .In any event. Waller gave President Bush a new political risk. If he orders an attack right after Jan. 15 and it goes badly, critics will rip him apart for not waiting, i Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Jowjpal Dec. 21,1990 John H. Taylor Jr. Editorial Page Editor Norman A. Lockman Associate Editor of Editorial Page rTL JJr-. The messages we send with our gifts One is that the most precious time is with our loved ones As I held an unopened gift in my hand on Christmas morning, I realized I also held an unanswered question in my mind. It had to do with what families and Christmas are often all about. We tell each other little secrets with the gifts we give. Sometimes we even make loud statements. In our house on Christmas, with three generations around the fireplace, I realized how many different messages went with each gift. Love, of course, was the main one. Yet there was more, much more, than simple love. I discovered years ago that part of giving is concealed messages. We tell each other how we'd like to live together, be together and (sometimes) think together. So the question that hovered over the wrapping and good cheer was deeper. What might my loved ones be telling me this year through gifts? I write in my studio on the day after Christmas in a wonderfully warm, all-enveloping terry-cloth robe that says, "Please stay home more." As if to reinforce that, several gifts suggested what to do with more time at home. Read, for example. There were volumes that demand time and reflection. What was I to make, for example, of a book called "Marking Time" by Herbert Rappaport, a Philadelphia psychologist? The simplest explanation of the book is that it explains how we use (and often misuse) time and how time, in turn, uses us. My favorite chapter so far is called "Precious Time," because it talks of the value of time to those of an age such as mine. But my favorite quote comes later. Bob Maynard is a Universal Press Syndicate columnist. Why don't folks mean what they say? "Andy Rooney of the CBS '60 minutes' show," said Nesbit, cryptically. "What about Mr. Rooney?" I asked. "Did you ever notice, he might say, that people don't mean what they say?" "Why might he say that?" "Because," said the rabbit, "people don't mean what they say. Did you ever notice that people will say things like, 'There's nothing worse than. . .' when they really don't mean that in the slightest. They will say, 'There's nothing worse than thinking you have picked out a caramel from the box of chocolates and biting into a butter cream.' It trivializes both a noble language and the project of logical thought." "If we are going to get into the logical thought business," I observed, "it is going to put this weekly screed on an entirely different level. Besides, I like butter creams." "There was a handsome woman in a pre-Christmas television commercial," the bunny went on, ignoring me, "who was just pleased as the dickens at the notion that she could obtain several items of a certain kind and give them to her friends and relations. 'If I could do that,' she said, 'I wouldn't have anything to worry about.' " "Blithe spirit," I applauded. "She shows a gay, carefree disposition." "Did she really mean," the coney asked, "that if she could just hurry home with these treasures in time for her holiday she no longer would have to worry about Joe Hanson is a Njwvs Journal editorial writer. 31 it- BOB MAYNARD A man speaks approvingly in Rappaport's book of the idea that more and more people should take time to smell the roses. "I hope," he then says, "that while so many are out smelling the flowers, someone is taking the time to plant some." That, I think, was the message of hope and possibility from a loved one: We should take time to smell, but we also need to plant. When time comes for smelling the roses this season, the family gave me plenty to sample. There was Paul Auster's new novel, "The Music of Chance." It is about two men and a fence. If you know Auster, you know that is all he needs to make an allegory reach majestic heights. Reading Auster is like eating the richest dessert ever encountered. One 10-word Auster sentence can take an hour to read. Nuance, cadence, promise and delivery are exquisite. One of the great regrets of my life, and it might have changed the course of my life, concerns Professor Bernard Bailyn. I had the opportunity to study history with him at Harvard, and I passed it up to concentrate on the "dismal science" of economics. I have often regretted that. My family helps assuage my disappointment 1 JL JOE HANSON income taxes? Or the threatening situation in the Persian Gulf? Or finding a cure for cancer? Or finding something else for people to die from if there ever is a cure for cancer? Or the Leap Second?" "I'm willing to take her at her word," I said. "What is the Leap Second.?" "On New Year's Eve," the cottontail explained, "we come to fl That Young- Kid Better Get Here Quick by presenting me with such gifts as "Faces of Revolution." "Faces" explores some of the principal personalities who made the American revolution. Among them are John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. He also identifies and discourses on some of the major themes of the revolution. I have no doubt my family is reminding me to remember history even while I mostly think and write about the present and the future. To reinforce that, along comes Eliot Asinof s "1919: America's Loss of Innocence." You might remember 1919 was the year of the "Black Sox" scandal, labor-management violence and collapse of the League of Nations. It is that last topic that must have caught someone's eye in my family. I say so because of this passage, an aphorism of the period: "Little nation against little nation? No peace. Little nation against big nation? No little nation. Big nation against big nation? No league." That first was written more than 70 years ago. Someone in my family was reminding me why the National Archives slogan says, "The past is prologue." Finally, there is "The House of God," a magnificent appraisal of ecclesiastical architecture through the ages. My family has been hearing for years about the photo book on that subject I want to do someday. The gift seemed to ask, "When, Dad?" All of which returns us through the joy of gifts to the subject of time, its uses and its pleasures. What we told each again this Christmas across the generations is that the most precious gift of all is time well spent with those you love. Happy New Year. Leap Second adjustment time. You either are supposed to adjust your clocks ahead one second or adjust them back one second. I'm not sure which, but by golly you had better not forget it or your time will be warped." "There are other things that I plan to do on New Year's Eve," I mentioned. "Not to excess and not with any intention of being on the public highways, of course. If I may, however, I'd like to proceed with our birthday list at this point." "Proceed away," the lagomorph assented. "Today is the birthday," I proceeded, "of our 17th president." "Andy Johnson of Tennessee?" the rabbit asked. "He was known as Tennessee Johnson," I conceded, "although he was born in Raleigh, N.C., in 1808. He's the fellow who had been vice president and who succeeded to the presidency after Mr. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated." "A sad time," the bunny commented. "Next," I continued, "we come to the birthday of one of our favorite macho authors. Rudyard Kipling would be celebrating his 125th birthday tomorrow if he had lived this long. Then, turning to local personalities, we observe, also tomorrow, the birthday of the lovely Betty Thomas." "Good for her," said the coney. "On Monday we mark the birthday of Peter P. Keogh the convivial," I reported, "and that's all that's on our list for the week." "Well let us have a hearty toast to all of them," said Njps. So we did. t "1 I -L FOR OPENERS: MONITOR FAMILY COURT As a devoted mother who "lost" custody of three children due to what I consider arbitrary reasoning, I applaud Gov. Michael Castle, -chief sponsor Katharine. Jester and those on the Family Law Commission who supported House Bill 301, which sets standards for. custody decisions. Before this ruling last June, no guidelines governed such, critical decisions. Family Court proceedings and results should be monitored by an objective agency. Without guidelines, ruling from a whim is too; great a possibility. No judge, should have the power, without due process, to seri-, ously alter parentchild rela-' tionships for life. Criminals in Delaware get quick trial and disposition," while families are involved in long administrative pro-, cesses that take years to set- tie (if ever) important issues. Rep. Jester acknowledged that someone must take re-; sponsibility for procedures in Family Court. Devoted and diligent work by her and Steve Amick concerning this issue should not go unrecognized. ,-; Those who have experienced unfair treatment hr Family Court should make, their voices heard through; the Family Law Commission and elected officials. It's time we who've been deeply' scarred by this unjust system make our voices heard! V Catherine Mason ' Newark ADDICTS NEED LONG-TERM CARE I am a recovering alcoholic A lot of people don't realize that alcoholism is a disease. It can take six months to two years to get the alcohol outTof your system, even though it may not show up on blood tests and, physically, you're clean. Emotionally it can take a real toll on your life and affect the way you think, coordination and memory. Alcoholics and drug addicts don't belong in jail. They need to be where they can recover. Prison only makes you angrier and more apt to drink when you are back on the streets. Prison takes away any chance of feeling good about yourself. Judges and district attorneys should open up their eyes. Prisons are full of good people who are sick, bound by a disease. More rehabilitation centers, not prisons, are needed to give alcoholics and drug addicts a chance to . be productive. " r For severe alcoholics and drug addicts, a 28-day rehab is not the answer. A long-term rehabilitation center is the answer. You should tell a repeat offender:" I understand you have a real problem. That's why I'm sending you to a long-term rehabilitation program so you can have a chance to get well. Patsy L. Barclay Elkton, Md. CHANGE EXHAUST SYSTEMS I am a smoker (over 41 years). I am trying to stop this addictive habit and agree that secondhand smoke is dangerous. But a more serious problem has existed since the advent of gasoline-driven and diesel-driven vehicles. Delaware and the other 49 states should enact a law to change the exhaust system on all motor vehicles, whereby the exhaust pipe or pipes will rise , on the left or right or both sides of the vehicle above its roof. Passengers in vehicles behind a motor vehicle breathe in toxic vapors from its ground-level exhaust system. The vapors make their way into the air-venting system of the motor vehicle behind. Did you ever breathe in vapors of spent fuel from a diesel bus or car? They are more carcinogenic than is second-hand smoke from cigarettes, pipes and cigars! The federal government could mandate automobile manufacturers to install such exhaust systems. If Delaware, as a lone state, implements such a law, then have the U.S. government mandate that motor vehicles be built by automobile manufacturers to these specifications, the same way particular vehicle devices on motor vehicles are mandated by California and sanctioned by the U.S. government. Eighteen-wheelers have their exhaust pipes above the cab roof. Bravo! Why not all motor vehicles? Christopher Z. Zaferis Milford The News Journal welcomes letters. Please address them to Letters to the Editor, P0. Box 15505, mington, DE 19j3.

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