Statesman Journal from Salem, Oregon on November 14, 1987 · Page 8
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Statesman Journal from Salem, Oregon · Page 8

Salem, Oregon
Issue Date:
Saturday, November 14, 1987
Page 8
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Statesman-Journal, Salem, Oregon Saturday, November 14, 1987 pinion Page8A. Editorials ew veterans department Who reaps the benefits? Emotional issues discourage rational thought and reasoned decisions. When those issues become subject to political competition and posturing, all hope for inquiry and discussion is rTTI lost. 01 The latest example is f " President Reagan's I ' ; I endorsement of a V ' Department of Veterans VI I Affairs, a new cabinent-level . j position. I A H' """"l Reagan made the proposal j . V j on Wednesday, Veterans L4 w.-iJi Day, eclipsing a delegation President Reagan 0f veterans and congressmen who had come to the White House to lobby for the same idea. Creating the new post may have merit, but, unfortunately, we probably won't get much of a debate. Who will have the political fortitude to ask the tough questions? Why, for example, does a Department of Veterans have merit now, when it was ignored for years by presidents, all veterans, who otherwise were fully supportive of their former comrades in arms? Reagan has twice campaigned successfully on the theme of cutting back the size of government. Never mind, of course, that staff of the executive branch soared the past seven years. After he took office in 1981, Reagan tried, and failed, to eliminate the Departments of Education and Energy. The president proposes what has been described as a symbolic elevation of the status of veterans affairs at the same time his White House has proposed cuts in actual services and programs for veterans. The Veterans Administration is headed by an administrator, who would become a Cabinet secretary with the change in status. The Veterans Administration is a major piece of government, regardless of its position in the hierarchy of official Washington. The agency operates with a $27 billion budget and employs 240,000 people, a figure that is second only to the Defense Department. More than half of its budget is spent on benefit programs for veterans and their dependents. A centerpiece of the veterans program is a health-care system that features 172 hospitals, 117 nursing homes and 230 outpatient clinics. Administration and other direct services for vets are handled through regional offices and centers. In addition, the VA maintains 11 national cemeteries. This is all very big government. Let the Reagan administration and its allies in Congress apply the same scrutiny and skepticism to a Department of Veterans Affairs that were applied to the departments of Education and Energy. Why does this idea make sense where the others did not? Who really benefits? Does the president get a public relations boost during trouble times? Yes. Does the proposal attempt to paper over service and program cuts with a fancy letterhead on new stationery? Perhaps. Solar-powered car U.S. win gives ray of hope It was an amazing achievement a solar-power vehicle travelling from Darwin to Adelaide in Australia, a distance of 1,864 miles, at an average speed of 43.5 miles an hour. General Motors' S8-million Sunraycer, called the ''Flying Cockroach," won the inaugural World Solar Challenge, according to the Associated Press. It beat its nearest rivals by more than 600 miles. The race, which attracted worldwide interest, drew 25 entries from the United States, Japan, Denmark, West Germany, Switzerland, Pakistan and Australia. The contest was the brainchild of Hans Tholstrup, an Australian adventurer who, in 1983, became the first person to drive a solar-powered car from Perth to Sydney. GM's lightweight winner contains 7,200 solar cells. By braking it the driver can feed power back into the batteries. Despite the victory, a solar-powered car is not in the immediate future. John Harvey, the leader of GM's six drivers, called the race "a great leap forward" but said production of such cars may not happen for another 20 years. Nevertheless, the race demonstrates some of the possibilities of solar power for transportation as well as stationary energy. While Oregon may not be a prime candidate for solar vehicles, the U.S. sun belt could be. Research and development will continue on these exotic vehicles and who knows, perhaps they will become common means of transportation in the decades ahead. Think how the renewable resource fuel for such a vehicle would reduce air pollution as well as noise. The solar-powered car has a future fueled by more than a ray of hope. Statesman-Journal The Statesman-Journal strives to publish accurate, unbiased information on its news pages. On Wis page, and wnere noted by the words opinion, commentary, or analysis, the newspaper's ecitona: board, along with readers and columnists, offers opinions on events and people The obiective of the opinion page is to promote discussion of issues affecting our community The Statesman-Journal is the successor to the Oregon Statesman, founded March 28, 1851, and the Capital Journal, founded March 1, 1888. Editorial board members William R. Stone William Florence President and Publisher Van Eisenhut Executive Editor John Ericksen Managing Editor Lance Dickie Editorial Page Editor Kenneth Sherman Jr. Community Representative Senior Editor Don Scarborough Night News Editor Theresa Novak Reporter Keela Lauderdale Community Representative Letters Gay sex education Program wastes dollars WASHINGTON - On May 1, 1986, the National Centers for Disease Control made a grant of $239,962 in public funds to the Gay Men's Health Crisis Inc. of New York. This past May the grant was renewed for another $434,717, making a total of almost $675,000 for the two years. American taxpayers often wonder what in the world the government does with their money. The two grants are instructive. They tell us something about how our nation has run up a debt of $2 trillion. These particular dollars were poured out in an effort to promote safe sodomy among male homosexuals. The story came to light last month when Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina offered an amendment to a pending appropriation bill. The senator's purpose was to put a halt to outlays for this purpose. After a spirited debate, in which Sen. Lowell Weicker of Connecticut "yelled" (his verb) his opposition to any such restriction, the amendment passed by a vote of 94-2. The other opposing vote came from Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York. The Gay Men's Health Crisis Inc. proposed to spend the $675,000 in part upon a manual for conducting "Eroticizing Safer Sex Workshops." These workshops, according to the grant application, are intended to help participants "discover and share information on how to be sexually r"wim!mwtp'''' i"T i 1 jftt-ajaij. .jLiWT.lU irk,. .Jj Commentary James Kilpatrick active in low-risk ways." Another purpose is to help participants "improve levels of sexual functioning." This is "education"? In the jargon beloved of Ph.D.s who specialize in federal grants-manship, the applicants contend that "with demonstrated replica-bility, these programs should be generalizable across diverse groups." Sen. Helms is rarely speechless. P'ew of his colleagues have ever seen him tongue-tied. But on Oct. 14, when he pressed his amendment to adoption, the gentleman from North Carolina suffered a handicap. He could not put into the Congressional Record the more startling recommendations for improving "sexual intimacy" that were contained in the material at hand. The Senate was in agreement on one point: The disease known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is indeed a dreadful affliction. An estimated 43,000 persons are thought to be actively infected; another 1.4 mil- Worker sacrifices Your recent editorial on facing the budget was enlightening. But more should be said about the way budget adjustments and trade balancing will affect working people. Everyone agrees it is the workers who will have to make most sacrifices. The question is: How much can workers sacrifice and still be good producers? Unlike most other nationalities, Americans are expected to be not only good producers but heavy consumers as well. This mode of life is both fashionable and obligatory. It is what makes our system work. But can we happily consume the usual quota or maybe a little more while at the same time increasing our work pace? Or will the coming economic adjustments put a crimp in our incentive? People who buy things expect to enjoy them. But fatigue is the enemy of active play. Overly tired workers cannot fully enjoy their gadgets, and the acquisitive factor alone is not enough to keep us grinding. Perhaps the grand illusion we call incentive should not be messed with at all. Let us remember that tired, debt-beleaguered workers have been known to give up everything. Some have abandoned all and gone to live in missions or jails. The word austerity is a handy term favored by burden-shifters. Let them practice it more. Not the word, but the way of life it defines. Jim Larsen Salem Drug abuse I agree with Larry Didier's preventionintervention manager for the state Department of Human Resources: that keeping children from using drugs is very important. But I disagree with him about Oregon's reputation hurting the drug fight. In Oregon we know there is a difference between soft drugs (alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, marijuana) and hard drugs (heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, etc.) and we aren't soft on hard drugs. We also see a difference between use and abuse of soft drugs, and feel abusers need help but users should be left alone. Only a small percentage of adults who use soft drugs abuse them. These people will abuse them whether they are legal or not. By making soft drugs illegal you turn many people into criminals and do nothing to help the abuser. Our financial and human resources are wasted arresting, locking up and prosecuting users. By not using money in this manner we free it for use in fighting hard drugs, finding the causes and cures for drug abuse and for better education of our children about drugs. With this approach we have a better chance of getting drug abuse in adults and drug use in children under control. Art Mack Lyons About letters The Statesman-Journal welcomes letters from readers. Letters to the editor must give the writer's address and must be signed. They must include street address or post office box number (not for publication, but for verification). Copies of letters to other individuals or publications will not be published. Writers are limited to one letter a month. So more letters to the editor can be published and so they can be printed in a timely fashion, letters should not exceed 150 words. Longer letters may be published at our option, condensed or returned to the writer for condensation. Letters should be sent to Letters to the Editor, Statesman-Journal, P.O. Box 13009, Salem, Ore. 97309-1036. Additional rules governing letters may be obtained upon request. -',"iii liiihniiTsrni'il' II r 'I V SB " 1 WAVE A NEW STOECOURT NOMINEE, BUT HE WON'T CONE OUT..., " Governor's mansion Get ready, ghostbusters lion persons are carrying the virus. Between January 1982 and September 1987, roughly 25,000 persons died of the disease. By way of perspective: In 1986, some 768,000 persons died of heart diseases, 466,000 of cancer, 48,560 of automobile accidents, and 8,200 of AIDS. Helms did not raise the question, but an inquiry is in order: Why have Congress and the media become so obsessed with the "plague" or "epidemic" known as AIDS? Half the victims are said to be promiscuous homosexuals; another 35 percent or 40 percent are drug addicts who become infected through contaminated needles. The rest are bisexuals or heterosexuals (or innocents who die through transfusions of contaminated blood). One can weep for the children, but it is hard to work up much sympathy for the sodomists and addicts who have brought this on themselves. In any event, to return to the main theme, how can such frivolous grants be justified? Even Weicker acknowledged that "there is no better educated community than the homosexual community." If these people haven't heard about "safe sex" by this time, no happy little workshops will teach them. James Kilpatrick, former editor ol the Richmond (Va.) News Leader, Is a newspaper and television commentator. 1 Before the governor of Oregon moves into a spooky old house who's he gonna call? Ghostbusters! Seriously. Neil Goldschmidt and family move into the official governor's mansion in December. But before they do, they might want to check out a couple of things: Like one former owner who says a ghost regularly parked on his bedstead. D And another who says there were strange fluttering sounds in the house and that frequently the foot of his bed shook until he turned on the lights. Private purchase of the 10,000-square-foot South Salem residence on fashionable Fairmont Hill was completed in late October. The house was built in 1925 by Thomas A. Livesly, a former Salem mayor and millionaire hop broker who died in 1947. The most recent owners, the Iral Barretts, who sold the house for $600,000, were out of the country and unavailable for comment about possible spirit life in the sprawling building. W. Gordon Allen, a former Salem radio station owner now residing in Woodburn, owned and lived in the house from 1961 to 1965. He says T.A. Livesly's ghost regularly visited himin the second ' : " I; Commentary Ron Blankenbaker floor master bedroom. "The old guy would sit on the foot of my bed regularly, every third or fourth day the entire time I lived in the house," Allen said. "Conversation with the ghost was telepathic," Allen said, adding that his wife in a nearby bed never saw the ghost. "He wore a black robe and seemed very sad," Allen said. "There was a real weight to him when he sat upon the bed." Allen, who at one time owned eight radio stations in the Northwest, is now retired. He said he's been talking about his experiences with the Livesly ghost for years. "I wondered if the old guy was still there," was Allen's reaction when he heard the house had been purchased for the governor. Ben Colbath, a Salem real estate broker, sold the house to Allen. Colbath said he never saw any ghosts when he owned and lived in the house from 1958 to 1961. . But often something would shake the foot of Colbath's bed until he or his wife turned on the light. Allen's ghost sightings and Colbath's bedshaking experiences occurred in the same room. It was the only bedroom in the house with a fireplace. But Colbath also tells of strange sounds in the kitchen, fluttering sounds that he could hear over the house intercom in his bedroom as well as when he was in the kitchen. "W7e called the police once but they found nothing," Colbath said. Thinking the noise might have been made by birds flying down a chimney flue, no longer used, Colbath said he had the flue sealed. "But we still heard the fluttering noises once in a while. They could really creep you if you were alone in the house," he said. While Allen swears he frequently saw the ghost of T.A. Livesly, Colbath isn't sure what he heard or what it was that shook his bed. "But I don't rule anything out," Colbath said. "Livesly was devoted to the house. It was his pride and joy." So, when Neil and Margie hear things that go bump in the night they now know who to call. Ron Blankenbaker is a Statesman-Journal writer. His column appears regularly. THE AKBITRWOR.

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