Opinion The Salina Journal Monday, January 20,1986 Page! ^^^^^^% • • *\ £• \ 11111711 ^») ^f m I I c^folilllKllfll I I I he Journal Founded in 1871 HARRIS RAYL, Editor and Publisher KAY BERENSON, Executive Editor SCOTT SEIRER, News Editor LARRY MATHEWS, Assistant News Editor LORI BRACK, Weekend Editor JIM HAAG, Night Editor MARY JO PROCHAZKA, Associate Editor A cordial non-invitation We don't mean to be overly cynical, but we have to question the motives behind a Republican invitation to Democratic Lt. Gov. Tom Docking to speak to the Kansas House. First, 16 House Republicans introduced a resolution inviting Docking to address the House on what he thinks about Gov. John Carlin's proposed budget and whether he agrees with Carlin's call for a 1-cent increase in the state's sales tax. Republicans thus could have put the Democratic front-runner for this year's gubernatorial election on the spot and used whatever Docking said against him. If he agreed with Carlin's plan, he could be depicted as an unoriginal, more-of-the-same candidate who wants to raise taxes by a whopping $190 million. If he disagreed, then we'd have a lieutenant governor who weakened his own political partner's state agenda. If Docking didn't agree with Carlin's tax plan, why should anyone else? But something happened that caught resolution sponsor Kerry Patrick, R-Leawood, and his cronies off guard. Docking said he'd be "delighted" to offer his views to the lawmakers. House Speaker Mike Hayden, an announced Republican candidate for governor, quickly buried the embarrassing resolution, sending it to a loyal guard's committee to languish. If Docking wants to talk, he can talk to the committee, Hayden said. That's not surprising. What name recognition and notoriety Hayden has gained have come from his being kingpin of the House. It just wouldn't look good for him to be upstaged in his own show by an opponent. Ah, politics. For the approximate $19,000 we pay in salaries and expenses each day the 165 lawmakers meet, what more could we expect? Let's do something Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's latest arms-control initiative intrigues the Reagan administration and Western observers. It calls for everything from a timetable to eliminate nuclear weapons within 15 years to on-site inspections and other measures to verify compliance with agreements. "We're very grateful for the offer," President Reagan told reporters. That's quite a statement from a man who often seems to view the Soviet Union as the source of most evil in the world. The Soviet proposal and the president's open-minded response are encouraging. We don't know how serious the Soviets are. That won't be known until the two sides' negotiators get down to hard bargaining in Geneva. But how serious is the Reagan administration? Needed is some confidence- building. Each side needs to do something tangible to assure the other that it is serious about arms control, that it views its own arms proposals as more than just propaganda designed to sway public opinion in the United States and Europe. One thing the United States could do: Suspend, unilaterally but temporarily, U.S. testing of new nuclear- weapons systems. The Soviets have had a self-imposed ban on their testing since last summer. We could respond with one of our own. Officials in Washington pooh-pooh the Soviet ban, saying the Soviets have no need now for tests and that Moscow would not have scheduled new tests until spring in any event. But so what? How could we possibly upset the balance of nuclear terror by stopping our own tests for six months or so? We would, of course, expect the Soviets to reciprocate by continuing their ban on tests. Eventually, if both sides agreed, a mutual ban might become permanent — a good beginning toward real arms limits. The United States would have little to lose if its gesture failed. We have many times the firepower needed to destroy the Soviet Union. A six-month moratorium on U.S. tests would not change that. We have much to gain if we can move arms-control talk out of the realm of propaganda and into serious negotiation. What others say It hurts to laugh The late Will Rogers, humorist par excellence, explained his success at poking fun at politicians with: "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." The first session of the 99th Congress... was a year dominated by struggles over budget deficits, taxes and foreign policy disputes. Congress went home ... having failed to pass a deficit-reduction package. Then there was the failure to provide vital tax reform. Spokesmen for the nation's legislators will attempt to point to all the "hidden achieve- ments" by themselves and their colleagues, but the fact remains there again has been too much politicking, and not enough hard-core action to benefit the country. As Rogers commented, the facts alone generate the jokes. Except, it is difficult to laugh at such tomfoolery in view of the fact the country could go broke if such "humorous" performances continue much longer. —The Lawrence Journal-World The nation's first It was a distinction Kansas could have done without. On Jan. 9, the nation's first bank closing of the new year occurred in White City, a small town in Morris County. In 1985, 13 banks failed in Kansas, and insiders warned of more during the next 12 months. At least one federal bank official blames the state's banking laws for the high number of failures. Several communities were left without banking services last year because state law prevents banks from owning branches in other communities. The disruption created by a bank closing can nearly destroy a community, according to some of the people who have been affected. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation assumes what are supposedly bad or questionable loans when a bank closes. Officials of that agency have been accused of not understanding rural banks and of being unreasonable when it comes to collecting the loans assumed from failed banks. Many state leaders have asked the FDIC to The mail generally brings interesting messages The mail is always interesting. I get nice letters, angry letters and letters from people trying to say something I don't understand. It's touching to hear from so many people in their 80s and 90s who are still in there fighting and still interested and concerned about their world. I don't know how old June Brennan is. She wrote me a sweet fan letter: "Dear Sir, I read your opinions in the Rocky Mountain News once in a while and I don't like the way you write. Anyway, get a new picture of your face, perhaps smiling. Am writing this with a broken wrist in a fall on Colorado's ice covered sidewalks. Lake to join me?" Thanks a lot for your letter, June. We must get together for lunch next time I come to Denver. * * * Felix Ferraris in Palm Beach writes: "In your essay on obituaries you forgot to mention the Ozark Mountain epitaph: 'WENT TO BED FEELING FINE WOKE UP DEAD.'" * * * Nancy Hartzenbusch of Arlington, Va., corrects me in a reference I made to "translators" in Geneva: "While the dictionaries do not make a distinction, we interpreters do. "Interpreters' do it orally. "Translators' do it in writing." I stand corrected. * * * Andy Rooney CHICAGO TRIBUNE NEW YORK NEWS Leroy Hornaday says, "You and I always think the same until today (underlined). "The very mention of Jimmy Carter always ruins my day. To think you would like him blows my mind." I'm always surprised at how vitriolic nice, kind people can be when they talk about a politician whose policies they disagree with. All I ever said was that I liked Jimmy Carter as a person and as a president because he was a decent, smart human being who had some bad luck in office. I'll bet even President Reagan would agree with that. Not Leroy Hornaday, though. Leroy's tough when it comes to Jimmy Carter. * * * Predictably, there was a lot of mail regarding the column I wrote about the insurance company which was reluctant to renew my car insurance policy because I'd made two claims in the previous year. I pointed out that in the years I'd been insured with them, I'd paid a total of $9,379 and collected $1,216.10. Ray Thomas wrote from Salt Lake City to say: "You consider your premium to be in the category of an investment and if you get back less than you put into it, you have made a poor investment. "You should be aware that the rationale of insurance is that the many pay for the losses of the few and you should feel good that you have been privileged to make a contribution to the system." Well, thanks for those reassuring words, Mr. Thomas, but like the old joke says, "I'd have felt just as good for half the price." * * * An insurance agent in Wisconsin, who will probably be just as pleased if I don't mention his name, writes: "Your error was in not becoming an elected representative of your state legislature. In some states, with some companies, automobile insurance claims do not increase the rates for legislative representatives." * * * Jeffrey Blumengold writes from Freehold, N.J., about a problem he had with his insurance: "I found out that the insurance company involved not only counted incidents where payment was made on a claim, but additionally counted against me inquiries that I had made to their claims department for informational purposes ... the mere inquiry was counted against me." * * * Newell H. Laskey writes from San Diego: "The insurance industry exemption from the anti-trust laws is the reason you have premium problems. It is the only industry enjoying this government-established anti- competitive advantage ...." You can't trust your body, as testimony shows be more understanding in dealing with agricultural banks. During the 1985 session of the Legislature, a new law was approved that allows bank holding companies to own more than one bank. Proposals will be made during this session to allow a bank to purchase a failed bank and operate it as a branch, if no other buyer can be found. The Kansas Independent Bankers Association and the Kansas Bankers Association each have backed different versions of the proposal, differing mainly over whether to limit the purchase to banks in the immediate area of the failed bank. It is unlikely that the state of Kansas can continue to support more than 600 banks, and it would make sense to allow some easing of the restrictions. Branches are cheaper to operate than full banks, and would allow residents of communities with closed banks to maintain some kind of service. —The Parsons Sun When Hitler and Stalin flourished, Americans were horrified by stories about good Nazi and good communist children betraying their parents to the police. "That can never happen here," we said. To make sure it couldn't, we made war upon Hitler and have since devoted much of our national treasure to resisting communism. Looking back, I don't know why it seemed so awful, having children send the old folks off to jail. It was probably an old-fashioned sense of fair play, which made Americans believe some relationships were too intimate for cops to interfere with, even when doing their duty to the state. Turning children into stool pigeons against their folks perverted a uniquely intimate relationship so grotesquely that it made the whole society repugnant. Perhaps that's why the idea was so revolting, but who can say? That was a long time ago, and we have changed since then. Today anything seems to go with the authorities whose business it is to get the goods on people. If the old-timers thought it immoral for cops to encourage children to betray their parents, how would they have felt about letting police use your own breathing against you? This is what the so-called lie detector does, and the White House, encouraged by the director of central intelligence, William Casey, recently proposed strapping bat- allions of government workers to lie detectors to see if their pulse rates have any secrets to tell. ..Russell ^ * Baker NEW YORK TIMES If it came to a choice, I'd rather have my children tell Casey I'd been saying "To hell with the flag" than have my pulse rate spill the beans. When children sell you out, even if it means hard time in Lewisburg instead of one of those sweetie-pie federal playpens they run for convicted politicians, you can sell the car before going in and have the satisfaction of telling the little rat, "O.K., sonny boy, next time you want a car for the weekend, ask CIA director Casey to let you use his." On the other hand, if your breathing, your pulse rate, your skin temperature or your blood pressure do the squealing, you can't even hope for revenge. What are you going to do, have some friendly hoods beat them up? Maybe you say, "Well the pulse rate and blood pressure are going to have to do hard time in Lewisburg, too." Let's face it. They don't care. Having nothing to lose by betraying you, they are ideal witnesses for the modern American cop to cultivate when trying to turn your most intimate relationships into fertile ground for the double-cross. Then there's your urine. Have you noticed how many newspaper stories there have been lately about ballplayers who resent turning their urine over to various sports commissioners? They object because the commissioners want to give it to the cops who have ways of making it talk. "You're wasting your time, commissioner," urine can say. Or it can say, "Just between us, he's using beer, bourbon, brandy, coffee with real sugar, cocaine and a mineral water chaser, gazeuse style, imported from France." It's easy to imagine a sports commissioner saying, "How can he afford it on a salary of only $360,000 a year; maybe he's selling secrets to the Russians. This is a case for Casey." Whereupon, having been betrayed by his urine, the ballplayer winds up strapped to a machine determined to wheedle something out of his breathing and sweating apparatus. The latest technique for making the body destroy the man is a blood test that's supposed to reveal whether the person whose blood is testifying against him may have a tendency to become afflicted with AIDS. Here we are close to the ultimate in modern police state bodily fluid betrayal technique. You know the panic generated by the term AIDS. Imagine what can happen to the party whose blood says, "This bird has the tendency, all right." Not the illness; just the tendency. Well, he doesn't have to take the test, you say? Of course not, if he never wants to work again. Doonesbury A SOUL-SEARING 5CF&IM UHERB THE SECRET WK OF 0WALHEFVOM OF HAITI.. VODOUN ARE PRACTICED MUCH AS TH&UI&e TOO Y£ARS AGO PORT-AU-PRINCE ..HARCW RAISES AN&BBKM.
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