The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 9, 1996 · Page 9
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 9

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Wednesday, October 9, 1996
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B2 WEDNESDAY. OCTOBER 9, 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 "Pessimists said viewers would forsake the debate forfootball. Optimists said viewers would forsake it for baseball." William Saletan The Horse Race, www.slate.com OPINION By GEORGE B. PYLE / The Salina Journal It's your money 1WBSUE Saving the people's money THE ARGUMBVT Government is not the only villain B ob Dole says he wants us to be able to keep more of our own money. That sounds nice. But, to hear the Republican presidential nominee talk, you would think that the only creature out there taking your money is the big, bad federal government. If Dole really wants to protect every person's private pocketbook, he might extend his vision to a few of the other things that threaten it. For example: • Bankers are staying up late at night thinking of new ways to charge you money for using their services while they use your money. They charge fees for using machines, fees for talking to a human being, fees for withdrawals, fees for transfers, fees for fees. And, with fewer and fewer companies owning more and more banks, there is far too little competitive pressure to keep fees from rising even higher- • Credit card companies, having flooded the market with plastic debt-creation devices, have suddenly realized that not everyone who has been issued a VISA or MasterCard has the desire or ability to pay the bill. So, have they stopped inviting everyone with a mailing address to apply for a card? No, they have announced plans to charge their good customers mof e fees to make up for the money they lose extending credit to deadbeats. • Insurance companies are happy to take your money at premium time, but if you dare have a claim they suddenly come down with a severe case of selective amnesia. Their goal in life quickly becomes to pull every string available to make sure none of the money they take in in premiums has to go out again in benefits. The Clinton administration shares Dole's blind spot about banks and credit card companies. It demonstrates little interest in limiting these absurd abuses. But the president has supported and helped bring about changes that see to it that the insurance industry actually takes care of its customers instead of, only its stockholders. The government does take a great deal of your money. Maybe too much. But, once the government has your money, it can at least be directed in what to do with it, given that the people who make those decisions are elected by the people. The same cannot be said for the people who run banks, credit cards companies or insurance companies. That is why any president who is really concerned about letting us keep more of our money has got to train his sights at more than just the federal government. It is not the only huge bureaucracy that is standing with its hand out, palm up, eager to relieve you of your hard- earned dollars. LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL P.O. BOX 740, SALINA, KANSAS 67402 Wages are not enough to make ends meet I am responding to the Sept. 29 Salina Journal article "Wage hike affects few Salinans." The Salina business owners, Kevin Boyd, and the writer of the article, Alf Abuhajleh, talk of how the minimum wage increase will not affect most employees' salaries because they are already paid over that amount and are paid high competitive wages. You call making $5.15 to $6 an hour a high wage? Give me a break! How can a family possibly make ends meet when an area business like Target and McDonald's pay only $4.80 to $5.15 an hour? The cost of housing and rent in Salina make living on-that kind of salary very hard. People also have to be able to afford a good car to get them to work. I'm also sure that these businesses do not pay their employees any benefits so most of them cannot afford health insurance. This is what is wrong with America today. Its not just Salina, it is everywhere. I know that a billion-dollar business like Wal-Mart can afford to pay its employees much more money than it does. I know, too, that if Doug Kemp, who was mentioned in the article, owns five McDonald's in Salina that he could afford to pay his employees a higher wage and still make a killing himself. Since I am in support of unions and higher wages, I would be surprised if my letter is printed because I know that the Salina Jour- nal and other fat cats in the city are not. After all, the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer. — BRENT ANDERSON Salina Pot arrests were a travesty of justice Regarding, the Sept. 28 Journal article, "3 Salina teens caught harvesting marijuana." What a travesty of justice. It is unlawful to grow marijuana by cultivation or permit it to grow wild in the state of Kansas. If the harvester is guilty, then the owner/renter/county/state of the property are equally liable for permitting the narcotic to have been grown. Also, the person reporting such harvesting, if that person suspected what was being done, knew the marijuana was there prior to the reporting — hence, such a person is guilty of not reporting that the law was being broken by the growing prior to such action of harvesting. Our laws have a purpose; the travesty of justice comes with unequal enforcement and constant legal haranguing by the legal profession. Our nation utterly failed to control alcohol by outlawing booze. The amendment had to be repealed. We are doing the same with marijuana. When will we wake up and smell the coffee, er, marijuana? — GLENN MUELLER Sylvan Grove President Clinton's Asian connection The president's foreign contributors are coming through for him W ASHINGTON — On April 12, 1993, Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell received a call from the Indonesian businessman James Riady, a former client, and the Arkansas lawyer and Clinton golfing "* partner Mark Grobmyer. Both men had, a month before, been seen in Indonesia's East Timor, a human-rights hellhole. Hubbell's log shows Riady called again the next day, this time from the Washington number 456-2684. That is the Office of Presidential Personnel, then supervised by Bruce Lindsey, Clinton confidential aide. James Riady is the son of '•"» • Mochtar Riady, the ethnic Chi- •nese at the head of the Lippo Group, a $6 billion conglomerate with great commercial and political influence throughout Asia. Both Hubbell and President Clinton knew the Riadys well. During the 1980s, the Riadys held an interest with the Little Rock financier Jackson Stephens in the Clinton-friendly Worthen Bank, which retained lawyer Webster Hubbell. During the 1992 race for president, James Riady and his wife overtly contributed close to $200,000 in "soft money" to the Democratic campaign. The Democratic finance chairman, WILLIAM SAFIRE The New York Times Marvin Rosen, tells me he was informed that Riady' employee John Huang "helped a lot in raising money in '92." The Riadys were then able to boast of placing their man in a position of influence in the Clinton administration. Huang, 46, was named deputy assistant secretary of Commerce for international economic policy. Just before taking this job, Huang was paid almost a million dollars in salary, bonus and severance from the Lippo Group, $788,750 from Hip King Holdings, operator of a parking lot in Los Angeles owned by the Riadys. Huang left the Commerce Department late last year to become a vice chairman of the Democratic Finance Committee. Clinton praised "my longtime friend John Huang" on July 22,1996, for "his aggressive efforts to help our cause." Aggressive is putting it mildly. Three months before, the Riadys' man Huang introduced, Clinton to a South Korean magnate who made a $250,000 contribution to the Democrats through a subsidiary of a South Korean corporation. Such a contribution is clearly against the law, which finance chief Rosen admits; only when The Los Angeles Times began asking about it was the quarter million hastily given back. Thus, for the first time, a president of the United States was personally involved in the solicitation of a major illegal contribution, but the Democratic Finance Committee has not had one call on this from the Federal Election Commission. If foreigners want to slip U.S. politicians "soft money," the best conduit is a U.S. citizen or a resident alien. One of the largest Democ- ratic contributions — $425,000 — is from an Indonesian gardener named Arief Wiriandinata, a green-card holder no longer in the U.S., whose wife's father helped run several Lippo ventures for the Riadys. The Riadys gained much face in Indonesia in 1993, helping the Clinton administration lose interest in labor abuses in East Timor; in 1994, as an Asian conference was to be held in Indonesia's capital, they were eager to impress China's leaders with their American influence. Again they turned to Webster Hubbell. By that time, the associate attorney general who had loyally kept Whitewater files hidden in his basement had quit Justice because he was about to be indicted for defrauding law clients. Who would hire a man facing ruination at a time when his silence was golden to the Clintons? The Riadys did. I'm told that between resignation and indictment, a Lippo affiliate paid Hubbell over $250,000. He went to Indonesia for them in October 1994. One month later, at a conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, that included China's Jiang Zemin, Clinton surprised U.S. Embassy officials by holding a private meeting with James Riady. This duly impressed Asian leaders, who put great weight on connections in high places. Clinton's foreign contributors are coming through for him in this campaign. Does Hubbell, his lip zipped in jail, expect to be sprung before his time? Will he then be made financially whole by the Clinton Asian connection? "Nobody's promised me a damn thing," the felon insisted at a Senate hearing. We'll soon see. SPEAKING ENGLISH There is no reason to live your life based on the stereotypes of your age ( walked into the laundromat with a hamper of dirty clothes, a plastic bottle of Tide and a small sack of quarters. Ho hum. An armful of boredom for a lazy Tuesday morning. Then I spotted the video game machine, complete with chipped paint and a sticky joystick that looked more stub- • born than a whiny 4-year-old. I * knew the latest issue of Rolling Stone I had brought to pass the time would go unread. The Dig Dug machine glowed at me, begging me to throw in a quarter and bring it to life. It was made in 1982,' which is somewhere around the Ice Age in video game land. Dig Dug, for those of you who have never entered a video arcade, is a simple game. I call it the family values game be- $ cause there's no blood and hardly any violence. You are a blue creature that looks exactly like a Smurf (also big in 1982) dressed in a white spacesuit. Your objective is to blow up evil cartoon dragons and evil cartoon orange blobs that look like rejects from "Attack of the you do, don't act your age fQ Killer Tomatoes." ry trees. Children, like bun: You don't use a semi-automatic Uzi, or a break. V\/\TV»!^ /iv* t\trfin r» l/^ViVxTriei^ ft»rtfvt 4*11 A Mri *!«»•» ol "Qii4- T 4-V»'l>^ly i4-*o J-iwts^ **m n4 DAN ENGLAND The Salina Journal Killer Tomatoes." You don't use a semi-automatic Uzi, or a bomb, or even a lobbyist from the National Rifle Association to blow them up. You use a tire pump. Get it? Cute, huh? You earn some points by blowing up the creatures, more points for dropping rocks on them and lots of points for collecting bonus fruit. The laundry was a joy to do that day. Dig Dug was my favorite game back in 1982, and it reminded me how much I've left behind. I think we all need that reminder. I've noticed something about growing up.We deprive ourselves of the things we loved when we were younger only because others deem us, or we deem ourselves, too old to enjoy them. No, I can't watch Bugs Bunny. No, I can't swing on the playground. No, I can't eat chocolate cake for dinner. I'm too old. Bullspit. Mom can't understand why I ask for Sega games for my birthday. It's because they're so much fun. No, I haven't outgrown them. Why have you? I can understand why some things are best left to children. I can understand why we don't ride Big Wheels anymore. They're too low to the ground, and they probably can't support our girth since we no longer weigh 70 pounds. I can understand why we don't play hopscotch. When we bend too far, we don't bend back. I can understand why we don't climb 10-sto- DOONESBURY ry trees. Children, like bumbles, bounce. We break. But I think it's time we stopped putting an age label on everything. The way it is now, you ride tricycles at age 3, you play video games at 10, you cruise at age 17, you raise kids at ages 21-45, you bowl at age 46, you play Bingo at 65 and you die at 75. Sorry, but I'm tired of it. I'm not going to play the stock market. I'm not going to talk about the weather. I'm not going to sit at a table with depressed people and sigh about my job, my spouse and my children. I'm not going to watch reruns of "The Facts of Life." I'm not going to dust every week. I'm not going to check the oil every 500 miles. I don't care if that's what adults are supposed to do. I love video games — they're my vice — and I'm playing them until I either die or my hands are too arthritic to move the controller. I'm going to watch cartoqns, and I'm going to eat cotton candy at the fair. I'm not going to play bingo, but that's only because I don't enjoy the game. I'm going to free myself of the age bonds that we have lashed ourselves to our lives with. You know what? I don't know if I'll ever have a child. But if I do, I won't hesitate to buy him or her a brand spanking-new video game system with all the neat gadgets and stuff. The system will teach them an important lesson. He or she will have to learn how to share. By G.B. TRUDEAU yOU WOW. THtPIGtTAir AMU& HI&PU570 X&6N6AMBS FOR. GO:BUZZ! I'MSORJW, w/ff&Nwr OFineioop* \

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