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The IEvemi Reg Murphy Publisher Ray Jenkins Editor of the Editorial Page John M. Lemmon Managing Editor Baltimore, Monday, June 10, 1985 The bishops are back And the climate may be more favorable for their pastoral letter on the economy national welfare standard) it's worth noting that one of their proposals that working people with incomes below the poverty level not have to pay taxes turned up in the president's tax reform proposal. The chairman of the drafting committee, Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee, has issued a summary of the bishops' comments on the first draft. The issue of how specific policy recommendations should be attracted considerable comment. "While" most bishops appear to support the idea of making concrete applications in the letter," Weakland said, "some cautioned against descending to a level of specificity that is too technical.
Many expressed the need to move beyond general moral principles and to engage the substance of major policy issues, but they urged that the treatment of issues not become so specific that it ap-. (Iewas ELECTEPTD CLEAN UPte VTTHE MESS IN WA5HINGT0NJfj (j 1 Catholic prelates want something that is more than pious platitudes and less than a political party platform THIS COMING weekend, the U.S. Catholic bishops will spend a considerable amount of time discussing their upcoming pastoral letter on the American economy. The first draft of the letter issued last November triggered a widespread debate about the moral dimension of economic policy. The draft es- sentially at- Jim tacked the 15 m.
II percent poverty CaStelll rate and 7.5 percent unem- ployment rate in the United States and called for more government action to reduce poverty. It began by stating that "Every perspective on economic life that is human, moral and Christian must be shaped by two questions: What does the economy do for people? What does it do to people?" The pastoral's timeliness was illustrated in early May when the bishops' drafting committee released a new chapter on food and agriculture. Coming at a time of national debate over mounting farm failure and the future of the family farm, the chapter urged strong public measures to preserve "moderate-size" family farms, those with incomes of a year. Last fall, a good deal of the comment on the draft was negative; even liberal Catholics like former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Joseph Calif ano were critical. Much of the opposition was orchestrated by a "Lay Commission" of conservative Catholics with ties to big business; much of the negative comment reflected the fact that the draft was released days after President Reagan's landslide reelection, which was regarded as an endorsement of his policy of reducing the role of government; some of it reflected anger at the attacks some bishops made on the pro-choice policies of Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro.
But as the debate has cooled somewhat and the political landscape changed somewhat more positive comment has emerged. New York Gov. Mario Cuomo has praised the draft and urged his fellow Catholics to pay attention to it; two Nobel Prize-winning economists, James Tobin and Lawrence Klein, have praised it; Rep. John LaFalce chairman of the Congressional Economic Stabilization Committee, said "The bishops' draft letter essentially says that this country can do better. At the very least, I think we need to listen and try." While critics still argue with the draft's specific policy proposals (like government job programs or a Open job door to youth A powerful odor In Tennessee Williams' play, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," Big Daddy, bellows out, "There's a powerful odor of mendacity around here." That memorable line seems appropriate for a play in three acts on the Washington stage in recent days.
Act One: Donald Devine, who as the head of the federal civil service should have maintained CaesarVwife rectitude, concocts a deception to retain by stealth the authority he was legally obliged to relinquish. Only because his assistant has the character to resist an attempt to suborn perjury was Devine denied the fruits of his mendacity another term in office. Act Two: The Federal Aviation Administration admits it has for several years put out cooked statistics on the number of near-collisions of airplanes in midair. At least 352 close calls were never reported, but the FAA promises to be more truthful in the future. The explanation that the reports seemed to "drop into little pockets" might be more plausible had it not been for the fact that the suppression coincided with the air controllers strike of 1981, when there was a felt necessity to assure a nervous public that the skies were safe.
Act Three: William Bradford Reynolds, who has been nominated by President Reagan to be the No. 3 figure in the Justice Department, testifies he took actions widely viewed as inimical to the interests of black voters in the South only after consultation with attorneys representing those voters. The attorneys categorically deny such meetings ever took place, leading Sen. Charles Mathias to demand that Reynolds be recalled to explain the discrepancies in the testimony. Anyone watching this play is bound to detect at least a whiff of suspicion if not "a powerful odor of mendacity." We anxiously await Act Four to see whether Loretta Cornelius, the acting director of the Office of Personnel Management who refused to tell lies to protect Donald Devine, will be considered to fill the post Devine had to relinquish.
Her credentials successful businesswoman, long-time Reagan supporter are unassailable, and last week she won bipartisan praise for her courage to tell the truth. Her appointment could end the play on the upbeat moral that integrity is more valued than mendacity in government. Isolating the panic Thanks to disciplined federal-state effort, a measure of stability has been restored to Maryland's troubled savings and loan institutions to all, at least, but Old Court The institution where the panic started still remains shaky, judge Joseph H.H. Kaplan signed an order last Friday prohibiting Old Court customers from withdrawing any funds deposited before May 1 3, the date the institution went under conservatorship. Now that the panic seems to be isolated pretty much to Old Court, we might as well get something off our chest that has been nagging from the start: Of all the depositors who were injured in the run, Old Court's have the least ground to complain.
After all, when a bank consistently offers interest rates significantly higher than those offered by all others, don't the depositors have some duty to ask questions? Isn't it the cardinal rule of investment that the greater the promise of return, the greater the presumed risk? The interest rates" offered by Old Court more resembled the return an investor might expect on common stock than on a bank deposit. It's not likely that the more prudent depositors of more cautious institutions will have great sympathy for Old Court depositors who are still feeling the cold. U.S. Jewish history Among highlights of the Jewish Heritage Weekend in session through today are a first-ever look at Convention City by some 500 delegates to this annual conference of the American Jewish Historical Society, and Baltimore's first look at the rehabilitated B'nai Israel Synagogue, on Lloyd Street. A proud moment, for members of the Jewish Historical Society of Maryland, headed by E.B.
Hirsh and Robert L. Weinberg; an instructive weekend, the hope is, for AJHS, headed by Ruth B. Fein and Bernard Wax. The three-part Jewish Heritage Center that memorializes the long and valued Jewish presence in Baltimore is adding significantly to this city's tour values Lloyd Street Synagogue itself, Maryland's first synagogue building; the still-unfinished museum-gallery-library, which will be headquarters for JHSM; and orthodox B'nai Israel, in use since 1876 and the one east-side synagogue remaining where there used to be all of 100. As to "Immigration and the American Jewish Experience," the conference theme, reminder of the contrasts in ethnic attitudes, in one nation and another over the years, is periodically necessary even in the nation of the golden door.
DESPITE THE economic recovery, the labor market seems to have shut down for young people. While it is estimated that five to six million part-time jobs will become available this summer, this number falls far short of demand and will have only a limited impact on the mounting year-round job-Franklin less rate for youth. While total Thomas pears to endorse a particular programmatic blueprint." In other words, the bishops want something that is more than pious platitudes and less than a political party platform or a piece of legislation. The bishops' comments parallel the type of comments they made two-and-a-half years ago as they wrote their pastoral letter "The Challenge of they want a shorter, simpler document that will deal with more and more complicated issues; they want a more positive tone. Weakland and other committee members may be forgiven if they feel, on occasion, that they've taken on an impossible task.
But the pro-, cess they are going through is remarkably similar to the one the, bishops went through with their, peace pastoral. That final product was well received by Catholics and non-Catholics alike, helped shift the terms of public debate and confounded those who predicted the bishops would ultimately issue a conservative document. There's no reason to believe this long, grinding process, aimed at a final vote sometime in 1986, won't produce the same result for the economics pastoral. public lands. President Reagan vetoed that bill.
The strongest leadership on behalf of youth service, however, has come from states and municipalities. Consider: The New York City Volunteer Corps. Many participants in this city-funded organization are high school dropouts. Members earn $80 a week staffing a shelter for the homeless, rehabilitating city parks and taking oral histories from residents of a geriatric center. Those completing the 12-month program are awarded cash and educational vouchers to provide free schooling.
The California Conservation Corps. Assignments for this $35 million-a-year program funded by California's Natural Resources Department range from repairing dams to clearing salmon streams to assisting forest-fire brigades. The Northwest Youth Corps. This summer-only environmental program in Eugene, has a unique feature: roving crews of young workers hired directly by private businesses for short-term tasks. The logging industry has used the corps to assist in replanting forests after timber harvests.
Not only do these programs help develop values and attitudes that go with responsible adulthood, but studies show that work experience -even part-time jobs together with education and skill training can significantly improve a young person's long-term employment and earnings. The federal government should study the successful examples of local youth service programs to de- sign a national program. Clearly, a number of concerns would have to be considered: for example, pro-s gram design, the extra costs imposed on a deficit-burdened budget, the impact on military recruitment, rural vs. urban settings, attitudes of organized labor, etc. Franklin Thomas is president of the Ford Foundation.
national unem- ployment hovers near 7.2 percent, youth joblessness stands at 16 percent for whites, 24 percent for Hispanics, 43 percent for blacks. The reasons for this failure to absorb young workers are familiar: industrial and technological changes generate fewer entry-level jobs; manufacturing has fled the inner city for suburbs and now, increasingly, for other shores; many youngsters are not taught workplace skills and attitudes. This summer, before more teenagers are abandoned to the ranks of the unempoyable, let us renew the idea of national youth service. Proponents of such a program share the conviction that young people represent a vastly underused resource that should be encouraged to offer itself in the service of our society, economy and national defense. They believe a system of youth service might help dampen the incidence among youth of drug and alcohol abuse, crime and vandalism, unwanted pregnancies and other symptoms of alienation.
Most important, national service could be more than a repair shop for social damage or a means of keeping youngsters occupied: it could help them sort out their identities, build lifetime principles and develop a greater respect for self and society. Congress last year passed a bill that would have created an American Conservation Corps to put youngsters to work in parks and Why everything is on sale tion rate and the strength of the economy to the evolution of new types of 1 retailing. Some of the most extreme discounting this past winter occurred because stores suddenly found they had too much stock on hand. Price slashing has also been encouraged by staggering inflation-adjusted interest rates, which make it prohibitively expensive to hold on to goods that aren't selling The combination of high interest rates and falling inflation has also caused the dollar to soar, making imported goods cheaper and choking price increases on domestic products. Michael Sivy in Money maga- zine.
FOR THOSE born to buy, for those whose pulses quicken at the mere whisper of the word sale, for those whose hearts leap at the glimmering of a quality purchase at a good price, this is truly the year of living deli-ciously. Bargains, it seems, are suddenly everywhere. Discounting has become so commonplace that consumers now barely blink at a product's full retail price. For their part, retailers are marking down prices with militant single-mindedness and producing what may be the greatest buyer's market in memory. In fact, this barrage of bargains is the result of an unusual conflux of factors ranging from the low infla How 'most dreadful Hurry Cane' devastated the Chesapeake in 1667 spelled out the dimensions of the disaster, in that one day and night, "the most dismal time I ever knew or heard about." He continued: "The nearest computation is at least 10,000 houses blown down, all the Indian grain laid flat on the ground, all the tobacco in the fields torn to pieces and most of that which was in the houses perished with them." There was no estimate as to lives lost but many persons must have perished.
French fleet set to attack the new Spanish fort at St. Augustine was wiped out by a hurricane, perhaps changing the course of North American history. Twenty years later, a settlement on Roanoke Island was simply washed away. Curiously, the 1667 blow was probably the first hurricane actually predicted by a European. A Captain Langford of the Royal Navy picked up signs of the impending storm and was able to help a British fleet near Nevis in the West Indies maneuver and escape its main blast What evidence there is suggests that hurricanes were about as common in the 17th century as they are in our times.
What the early settlers of the Chesapeake learned was that the most certain iact of their weather was its very uncertainty. Mariners from the first explorer, Capt. John Smith, tell of sudden squalls on the bay, of winds shifting direction suddenly. Reports also tell further of warm spells followed by cold snaps that devastated the orchards in some of those early years, just as in 1985. Information then was passed individually, not electronically, but many of the topics were the same, prices and depression, the weather and the threat ofJ storms.
as "a most violent raine" came with with the winds while this was "mixed with the continual cracks of falling houses." A pamphlet, "Strange News from Virginia," printed at the end of the year in London, added some details omitted by Ludwell. It told of houses not only overturned but also buried in the ground, of cattle being blown out in the rivers and the bay, of giant trees being torn out by their roots and "in many places whole Woods blown down, so that they cannot go from Plantation to Plantation." This report described 12-foot waves "drowning the land and many of the Inhabitants" with "the rest being forced to save themselves in the Mountains where they were forced to remain many days in great want." Many ships sank or vanished, while others were blown safely onto land. The 1667 hurricane may have been the strongest that ever struck the Chesapeake. It was the first major hurricane recorded in the region, though others had struck New England or Long Island earlier in the century- The early settlers were aware of these fierce storms that raged up the coast from the West Indies. Columbus on his second voyage described one of them.
In 1565, a storm of hail, many of them as big as turkey eggs, which destroyed most of our young mast and cattle." War having meantime broken out with the Dutch, their raiders plundered the young Maryland and Virginia settlements. Before they left in early June, the rains came and continued for 40 consecutive days, "which spoiled much of what the April hail had left of our English grain." All this was but a prelude to the Great Tempest, "the most dreadful Hurry Cane" of August 27, 1667, which left the Chesapeake in "general Desolation." The storm had swept the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Its center was likely to have been north and east of Jamestown. It swirled northward and two days later rumpled Manhattan Island. The damage that it inflicted, on the still young province of Maryland is not recorded.
Lord Baltimore's palatinate had a population of perhaps 7,500 then, scattered along the shores of the bay and by its rivers. There is no reason to doubt that Maryland had as severe damage as Virginia though no detailed records have been left Two Virginia Reports on the Great Tem- pest were preserved in London. One, a formal report by Ludwell to Lord Berkeley, ADVANCED AS we may think we are in our modern 20th century, we remain as vulnerable as early Marylanders were to those two mysterious perils, economic depression and terror from the heavens. It was a slump in tobacco prices that brought hardships severe enough to drive Maryland and Virginia into an extraordinary agreement in 1666. lake the New Deal experi- Peter ment of "killing little mm pigs" or more recent Klimpa schemes to pay farmers to take acreage out of cultivation, they made a deal to end the tobacco glut and raise prices to a profitable level.
The agreement called for both colonies to stop growing tobacco for an entire year. Governmental fiddling with the economy was an early colonial experience. On well-' reasoned grounds that the plan would help only the large planters, however, Lord Baltimore vetoed the solemn agreement His action made little difference, for the surpluses vanished the following year with what may have been the most devastating weather ever for the Chesapeake country. "In April," wrote Thomas Ludwell, the Vir- ginia secretary, "we had a most prodigious According to one account, 10,000 houses were blown down "The waves were impetuously beaten against the shores and by that violence forced and as it were crowded into all creeks, rivers and bays to such prodigious height that it hazarded the drownding many people who lived not in sight of the rivers, yet were forced to climb to the top of their houses to Iqeep themselves above water." Ludwell added that there was a most "confused noise" during that night of horror.
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