The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on October 16, 1977 · Page 16
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October 16, 1977

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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 16

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Sunday, October 16, 1977
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DCS jlloincs Sunhay Register AN INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER ' us " 1MS aper GARY Q. GERLACH. Gtnerol Count*! THE REGISTER'S EDITORIALS lowans and corn prices What impact will the current low price of corn have on the people and economy of Iowa? Some answers emerged at the "Corn Conference" convened last week by Gov. Robert Ray. Corn prices in recent weeks have been as much as a dollar a bushel below last fall's levels, and are below SI.70 a bushel at present. The average cost of producing a bushel of corn in Iowa is calculated at $2.21, so many farmers are losing money on this year's crop. Especially hard hit will be the state's younger farmers, who are struggling to meet the heavy costs of getting into farming. Established farmers will have an easier time, but many will have to tighten their belts. Eight out of 10 lowans don't live on farms, but the state's economy is heavily dependent on agriculture. Iowa farmers received about $7 billion from the sale of their farm products in 1976; corn sales accounted for about $1.5 billion of this total. The drop in the price of corn could lower the total value of Iowa's corn crop by as much as $1 billion, and the receipts from cash sales of corn by $500 million. Much of the $500 million would have been pumped into the state's economy in the form of spending by farmers on machinery and other goods and services. This $500 million is a significant proportion of the $20 billion worth of goods and services produced by the Iowa economy each year. Spending by farmers on farm equipment could be off 25 per cent to 30 per cent through the spring of 1978. Other merchants and citizens of the state's smaller towns will also feel the pinch: Four out of 10 lowans live in communities of 2,500 or less. Approximately 35 per cent of all Iowa workers depend directly on agriculture for their jobs, and eight out of 10 have employment directly or indirectly linked to agriculture. The drop in farm income will produce a reduction in state tax revenues that will be felt by every lowan. Iowa's farmers have been through severe drops in the price of their products before. They weathered these crises, and they will weather this one. But when the price of corn drops well below the cost of production, all lowans have reason to be concerned. Sex behind bars An article on page three of this section describes the sexual deprivation of prisoners in the Iowa State Penitentiary at Fort Madison. Prisoners are not asexual, but they are forced either to abstain or become bisexual to satisfy their sex urges. One possible — and inexpensive — solution would be to loosen the furlough policy at the men's institutions. After Ronald Brewer escaped in 1975 fwm the men's 'reformatory at Anamosa while on a trip to teach a class at a high school, furloughs were limited to work release and job seeking. Brewer was convicted of killing two persons after his escape. A liberalized furlough policy would help relieve the sexual frustrations of prisoners and keep families together. Careful screening could minimize the risk. At the women's reformatory in Rockwell City, furloughs are used as de facto conjugal visits, for which most inmates are eligible. A long-range solution would be to provide conjugal visiting at the prisons. California has shown that it can be done without a degrading, dehumanizing atmosphere. The current situation exacerbates homosexuality, which generates fights and disturbances. Estimates put the percentage of prisoners who participate in homosexuality in prisons at from 50 per cent to 90 per cent. Iowa should give prisoners a viable choice about their sexuality. Depriving a person of sex in prison is cruel and — un fortunately — usual punishment. Links to the past Charles Darwin For newspaper readers (and to .some extent scientists) the "missing link" in the Darwinian theory of evolution for the first 100 years was the link between ape and man. Bones of creatures resembling apes and men have been found in abundance, but the earliest ones, the Neanderthals, seemed not to be ancestors of man, but extinct cousins — and the famous Piltdown Man turned out to be a fake. In recent decades, however, so many hominids have been found that the link is no longer missing, though arguments continue over the precise course of evolution. A bigger missing link, from Darwin's time on, was the lack of evidence of life in pre-Cambrian times — that is, earlier than 570 million years ago. The fossil record is abundant from Cambrian rocks on to the present, and the record fits pretty well the Darwinian idea of evolution from simpler forms to more complex ones. But the fossil record began abruptly 570 million years ago, with fossilized shells of shellfish and tracks of jellyfish on what was once sand. The theory called for eons of earlier, simpler forms too soft to get preserved in rock. In the last 12 years, especially the last two, numerous evidences of pre-Cambrian life have been found, in countries all over the world. Latest and most convincing evidence comes from Harvard Professor Elso Barghoorn, who has been making finds since the 1950s. Now Barghoorn has made photomicrographs of one-celled blue- green algae 3.5 billion years old, in the act of dividing or reproducing. These he found at Figtree, in Swaziland, Africa. Cells of blue-green algae are much simpler than the cells of higher one-celled plants and animals and than all multi-cellular life: They have no nucleus, no chromosomes, no sexual reproduction. Here is a missing link indeed. Japanese 'Scotch' The Japanese are selling whisky in London, and Scottish distillers are worried. Scotch whisky, which has been distilled in Scotland since the Middle Ages, has never been duplicated because climate, water, peat smoke and other factors combined to produce a unique flavor. But the Japanese, by blending a malt whisky from Scotland with domestic whiskies, have produced ah imitation with a Scotcto-lifce flavor that could l>e mistaken for «Moe popular Scotch blends. "We see Japan as a real threat to the Scotch industry," said Douglas McDougall, chairman of the Scotch whisky combine. "The Japanese are very adept at imitating and, perhaps, improving a product." So selling the ancient "water of life," as the Scottish highlanders called it, soon may be chalked up as another exporting coup for the Japanese, along with automobiles, television seta, cameras and trinkets lor souvenir shops SECTION B Editorials Commentary Letters Art, music, books OCTOBER 16,1977 Movies Travel ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^••••••••••••••••••••••••ll Crisis in performing arts: Who will pay the pipers? By ROBERT BRUSTEIN ® 1977, New YorK Times News Service Please vetoH Save our ^Symphony I S THERE a crisis in the performing arts? The question is obviously rhetorical, and the various foundation officers, artistic directors, managing directors, board members, advocacy chairmen and agency officials whom I interviewed recently over a period of weeks confirmed an impression that the problem is fast approaching the critical point. Nobody is in disagreement over the cause: Symphony orchestras, dance, and ballet companies, opera companies and theaters are all experiencing an inflationary increase in expenses accompanied by a corresponding decrease in private giving. At the same time that services are multiplying and performing arts groups are proliferating, the gap between income and expenses is steadily widening. (Even though New York audiences pay as much as $22.50 a ticket at the Metropolitan Opera, they are still being substantially subsidized by the arts institutions.) Most important, the traditional sources of support — particularly the private foundations — are Itobert Bnutein is dean of the Yale School of Drama. reducing rather than increasing their subsidies. Take the largest of these, the Ford Foundation, for years the foremost patron of the performing arts in the United States. A shrinking portfolio has reduced Ford's total annual grants by more than half. But its contribution to the arts has been slashed by more than four-fifths, from $20 million annually down to $4 million, with $1.4 million of the total going to nonprofit film distribution. More ominous than these statistics for the future of the arts at the foundation was the tone of Henry Ford's recent letter of resignation from the board of trustees, where he singled out the Office of the Arts as an area which has ceased to be "innovative" and "experimental," instead sticking "with some programs for years and years." Ford also was critical of the foundation's failure to appreciate "private enterprise" and reward "individual" achievement — hardly cheering to the performing arts, which, by their very nature, are essentially communal, cooperative and collaborative public structures. The Rockefeller Foundation — formerly second only to Ford in its annual support for the performing by Hen Um arts — already has begun pursuing a policy of small grants to the "creative person," with only token help going to the institutions that support such persons. Rockefeller, which gave almost $3.5 million to 47 performing arts institutions in 1972, gave, in 1976, only $2 million to 30 such institutions. I found a general apprehension among some foundation officers that Ford or Rockefeller would disburden themselves of responsibility for the arts in the belief that other philanthropies were picking up the tab. But virtually all these officers agreed that federal, state, municipal and corporate money was the only answer to declining private support. Federal, state and municipal contributions to performing arts institutions remain an important component of annual budgets, but the money is not increasing fast enough. It is being spread too thin and, in some cases, it is compounding existing problems. While the federal government's National Endowment for the Arts can proudly point to annual increases in appropriations from Congress, after BRUSTEIN Please turn to page two ter comes out swinging in 'high-risk' first round By JAMES RESIGN © 1977, New York Times News Service T SOME point it was clear that President Carter, with his noble yearnings, gentle manners and political ambitions, would have to decide to yield to his opponents or fight them on energy, arms control and the Middle East. His press conference on Thursday indicates that he has decided to fight, or at least to get his dukes up. He accused the big oil companies of taking advantage of the oil crisis, of "grabbing," "profiteering" and insisting on a policy that "could develop with the passing months as the biggest rip-off in history." This is an interesting switch for the President. He respects and uses the Rnglish language carefully and accurately, so his attack on the oil companies is surely no accident. Every president since the last World War started out promising to cooperate with everybody, but all of them ultimately came to the point of confrontation. Roe&eveit took on ihe bankers. Kennedy look on big steel Eisenhower defied ihe isobttiouisu irt his own party. Nixon, who had vilified the Chinese, finally compromised with Peking. And Carter is now fighting, not only the oil companies and big steel, but auto the blacks and the labor unions who helped elect him, and even the congressional leaders of his own party. There has been a serious debate within the Carter administration for several weeks now about what is called "high-risk" politics — whether to face up to the oil, gas, welfare, tax, pro-Israeli and other special interest lobbies. This debate has not yet been resolved, but Carter has clearly decided to take some risks. He is now concentrating on energy policy at home and arms control abroad, and risking the opposition of the Israelis to get a Geneva conference on the Middle East. Carter's energy policy, which he emphasized in his press conference last week and will take to the nation soon, is central to both his domestic and foreign policy. If he lows on this, he will clearly be in deep trouble. Likewise, having agreed with the Soviet Union OQ a process for going to a Geneva conference, he has committed the authority of his government and risked his prestige. He is also playing high-risk politics with his Panama Canal treaties. And if he is rejected by the Congress on Panama, arms control and on a Geneva conference, then he will clearly have the first major crisis of his administration Carter apparently has recognized that if he cannot get the consent of his own party on pressing domestic and foreign issues, then there will be no way that he can negotiate effectively with Moscow, Peking and other major world capitals. Accordingly, he has finally decided to face up to all this and appeal to the American people over the head of Congress. He apparently has done so with the greatest reluctance. But the authority and respect of his administration is now at stake. Within Carter's Cabinet, there ut doubt that he is making the right gamble. But alter months of doubt, the President has clearly decided to take the risk of confrontation rather titan to compromise «s he has been doing with everybody I watch, therefore lam Over the coffee By DONALD KAUL The recent case of Ronny Zamora, the Miami 15-year-old who claimed that watching TV for six hours to eight hours a day for years had so desensitized him to violence that he shot an 83-year-old neighbor without thinking twice abou' it, was a fascinating one, not so nwct. for its detail as for its implications) The jury found the lad guilty whicl is, I suppose, fair. After all, when tot One Great TV Critic comes to mark against your name, he'll mark no? how many times you thought about shooting someone, he'll mark whetbei you shot to kill or maim. Still, one cannot dismiss the defense out of hand. There is nr denying that television is a powerful force in our lives, moving us in directions we know not. I am reminded of the case of the Iowa legislator who watched "Strategic Mr Command" on television and, under its influence, went to Carter Lake and got bombed. Then there is the even more tragic story of the poor woman who became addicted to the "Dinah Shore Show" and died of terminal grin. I myself once watched the finals of the Girls' Basketball tournament, then went out the next day and bought a medicine ball, even though I was not ill at the time. And let us not forget that Richard Nixon was elected president at a time when the nation had suffered several years of exposure to "Dark Shadows," the first program to make vampires socially acceptable. But perhaps the saddest case of television-induced madness in my experience was that of Jesse Grobny, a kid in my neighborhood who was a few years behind me in school. Jesse went through his entire junior year in high school under the impression that he was Bert Parks. Every time he'd see a pretty girl walking toward him in the hall, he'd start singing: "There she is, Miss America—" It got so the pretty girls were afraid to walk down the halls. Finally, a few of the guys on the football team got together and explained things to him, chipping his front tooth in the process. He listened to reason. Then he went through a Frank Sinatra period in which he refused to give interviews and went around carrying a raincoat over his shoulder, even when it was raining. That stopped after he went into the corner malt shop and ordered milk shakes all around, then didn't have any money to pay for them. The football guys again. The last time I saw him, years later, he was watching "General Hospital" a lot and wearing a white coat and a pained expression. "Life is hard, O.T.," he told me over a cup of coffee. "My girl is having an affair with my best friend." "You don't have a girl, Jesse," I told him. "You don't even have a best friend." "You noticed, eh? Well, if I had them, they'd be having an affair. What's wrong with me, O.T.? Why don't I ever have any happy endings? Is it my shampoo? My deodorant? Should I change to a toothpaste with whitener?" "Jesse," I said as gently as I could, "I think maybe you watch too much television. Your life is broken into 15-minute segment*. You should get out more." "What do you mean? I live life with gusto. I drink Schlitz." "That's what I mean, Jesse. You think everything is the way it is on TV. You don't get gusto from drinking beer, and a gorgeous blonde doesn't lie on your fender and purr just because you buy toe right car. You've got to get off the television kick," He looked at me with wide, moist eyes and said: "O.T., living in Detroit and not watching television is like being in jail and not looking out of the window." I suppose he was right, in a way The last I heard of him, he was walking around Detroit dressed likt a chicken, hoping he'd be chosen w a contestant on "Let's Make A Deal.' Television will do that to you.

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