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Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois • 13

Chicago Tribunei
Chicago, Illinois
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(-- K. Wfl Section 1Paae 13 (Chicago (Tribune. Wednesday, November 25, 1981 A forum ideas, analysis, diverse opinion. Point of View 'Under the vulture's wing' It Li vry -ft By Robert Baker NEARLY HALF a billion people-one or every eight inhabitanU of Earth-suffer the agonies and hopelessness of hunger. Some, barely hanging onto life under the vulture's wing," die.

Each estimated 10,000 human beings in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, many of them children under age 5, die from starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Eyen those who survive are being scarred for life. Legs bowed by rickets will never straighten; a brain stunted by lack of protein will never fully develop. In Guatemala, the mortality rate from measles is about 400 times the rate from the disease in the United States. In Indonesia, vitamin A deficiency, a major cause of blindness in many countries, has been called a national calamity.

In the Sahel, a vast area more than two-thirds the size of the continental U.S., the signs of starvation and death can be seen everywhere: women, covered in rags, shuffling along aimlessly, half-carrying and half-dragging sickly, naked, and starving infants with swollen bellies; skeletal animal carcasses lying where they dropped, left in the sun for the vultures to pick; dusty, bone-dry waterholes; brittle and barren fields once green with crops; and everywhere the faces of mothers and fathers watching their livelihoods and their lives wither away. Robert X. Baker is partner in Baker Bowden, a Chicago public relation and newsletter publishing firm. average American devours a ton, or five times that amount, some of it in the form, of beer and whisky. In fact, tt has been estimated that the grain going into the alcohol that Americans drink could feed 20 million people a year.

A poor Javanese farmer who eats rice, lights his home with coconut oil from a nearby palm tree, and aside from the steel tip of his plow and a few cooking utensils, consumes almost no nonreplen-ishable resources, would undoubtedly be dismayed if he became aware of a busy and affluent U.S. executive consuming 25,000 to 50,000 times, as much energy with his private jet, skyscraper office suite, power launch, air-conditioned mansion, and gas-guzzling limousine. When it comes to doing something specific to alleviate the terrible reality of hunger in the world, many of us are like the nomadic tribesman in Niger, a country afflicted with drought. "It is up to Allah," he said with a shrug of his shoulders. "If he wants us to live we will get rain.

If he wants us to die then we will surely die." OUR HOPE lies in the fact that maa today possesses the desire and the technology to meet the demands of world hunger. Maybe for each of us it's as simple as declining that extra slice of bread and that second cocktail, or as traumatic as fasting for a day and donating the money saved to a "hunger relief organization. Or perhaps when you stop to compare the bulging granaries of our country with the terrific scarcity in other nations, it's simply remembering: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." As one village chieftain said, "I am witnessing the burial of my village." "FAMINE SEEMS to be the last, the most dreadful resource of Robert Mai thus wrote in 1789. "The power of population is so superior to the power of the Earth to provide subsistence that, premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race." Many authorities on population growth and food supply now fear that the world is close to the brink of a Malthusian disaster. In fact, several ominous developments in recent years have brought us closer to the edge of this abyss.

Climatologists now blame recurring droughts and floods on a global cooling trend that could trigger massive tragedies for mankind. Population growth in Third World nations is raging unchecked as it continues to outstrip gains in food production. It has been estimated that one-fourth of all the human beings born since the dawn of recorded history are alive today. THE SO-CALLED "green with its miracle crops may be running into difficulty and few new regions of the. world remain to be cultivated.

Fertilizer production Is lagging behind demand, particularly in developing nations, and prices are up dramatically, further straining the economies of countries already strapped by higher prices for imported fuel. People In developing countries consume roughly 400 pounds of grain per capita a year, barely a pound a day, mostly in the form of bread or gruel. The Bob Wiodrich Striking a bargain for Illinois Michael Kilian Hello, honorarium office hi SPRINGFIELD Look around Chicago's Loop and you'll see evidence of a genuine building boom. At lunchtime, there are hundreds of guys In hard hats ogling passing secretaries from high-rise construction sites. And when that happy hour subsides, the air is filled with the sounds of throbbing diesel engines, creaking cranes, and pounding air hammers as steel, bricks, and mortar inch their way skyward in an architectural symphony.

Point your car Downstate, however, toward the corn fields and grain elevators of central Illinois, and you'll soon find a different picture in towns like Springfield, Peoria, Decatur, and Bloomington. There, the construction industry in 44 counties is down by 20 to 25 per cent from last year. An equal percentage of the 45,000 construction workers in the area is unemployed. And predictions for 1982 are Just as grim. THAT DISMAL FORECAST is what prompted the 50 general contractor members of the Central Illinois Builders to gather here under the general theme of "Surviving in a Depressed Economy." It also prompted them to start discussing the failure of the Illinois General Assembly to provide incentives to stem the tide of industry to those Sun Belt states where the economic climate is even more enticing than the weather.

And after these fellows had worked themselves into an. Intellectually indignant sweat, their board of directors adopted a resolution extending to the building trades unions of Illinois an offer they probably won't In essence, what they proposed is to change the method of computing workers compensation insurance premiums to equalize such costs between general contractors employing union labor and the growing number of those operating nonunion shops. WERE THE PLAN to be adopted, it would help. unionized contractors io remain competitive with nonunion counterparts. It also would help union members retain their jobs.

And in exchange for that, the general contractors would expect union leaders to throw their full political resources behind a drive to wrestle the General Assembly Into taking' positive steps to improve the state's economic climate. In some ways, the proposal is Machiavellian. But if It works, conditions might Improve in central Illinois, where $250 million worth of general construction work this year represents a 20 to 25 per cent decline from 1980. According to William Mehlenbeck, executive vice presi- dent of the Central Illinois Builders, 60 per cent of his membership's work represents commercial, Industrial, and institutional construction generated by the private sector, that sector hardest hit by economic recession. "LAST YEAR PROBABLY was the last year of full employment for the 45,000 construction workers In this part of the state," he said.

"Probably 20 per cent were unemployed this year. And It will be worse in 1982. And those 45,000 workers represent close to a $1 billion-a-year payroll. "In Illinois, manufacturers, who are the primary customers of the construction industry, have been given every incentive under the 1981 federal tax act to build and imn prove through capital investment. The act provided the' incentive for manufacturers to create new facilities with which to produce better products at a lower unit cost in order to meet foreign competition.

"Industry in Illinois, however, has no incentive to stay in Illinois, based on anything the General Assembly ever has done. Some companies have elected to move those new federal tax incentives out of state. In the Sun Belt, they give them free water, tax relief, and even will train their work force. Illinois offers nothing. "Members of the legislature had better address themselves'' soon to the problems of workers compensation and unemployment benefits and industrial revenue bonds.

They had better work to create a climate that is conducive to keeping those federal tax incentives in Illinois. "IF THE LEGISLATURE does nothing, there will be more welfare and unemployment and the tax base for supporting those programs will continue to shrink. It is a simple economic situation. But how do you reform the legislature? To date, their so-called reforms have just been window dressing." Here is how Mehlenbeck explains the builders' scheme to enlist union muscle in a drive to get the General Assembly off dead center: Today, contractors pay insurance premiums based on the number of payroll dollars. They are proposing that premiums be based instead on the total number of hours' worked by employes.

As he explains it, the workers compensation laws now are a financial yoke around the necks of unionized employers and a benefit to nonunion contractors. Under the present system, workers compensation premiums are based on payroll costs. So a nonunion contractor pays less because his payroll costs are less due to nonunion' wage scales. The benefits are the same to employes. But the unionized employer contributes more through higher insurance premiums because of larger payroll expenses; -l "IF YOU FIGURE premiums by hours of exposure tof hazards on the job site, you start to equalize workers compensation premiums, regardless of whether they are for union or nonunion employes," Mehlenbeck explained.

"What we're trying to do Is eliminate the difference in cost to construction customers. "In my opinion, this idea will not lower costs to customers of unionized contractors. But it will raise the costs of nonunion contractors. "What we want to do is create a bargaining chip we can' use with responsible labor leaders to assure that unionized contractors can continue to compete with nonunion firms. And that will assure the union members jobs and 'the union leaders their personal security.

"In exchange for that; we want labor's best efforts in convincing the legislature to adopt (the improvement oO the Illinois economic climate as its No. 1 concern. "It is time that, we jointly sit down and work together for' the betterment of the Illinois economy to keep businesses here and to attract others. Business pays taxes. Business creates jobs.

And that is what needs now desperately." nary. We were wondering if Lyn Nofziger could come out and expand upon his statement about how Ronald Reagan is God." "Lyn Nofzlger'U cost you a fiver and a case of Bombay Kin." "Right. Do I send it to the archives?" "Send the fiver to the archives. Send the Bombay gin to Nofziger." Ring, ring. "Hello there.

White House speakers bureau here. What can we do for you? How about an interview with George' Bush for your travel section? "This not newspaper. We want not Bush. We want- David Stockman." "Listen, we wouldn't let David Stockman near a speaker's podium for all the tea In China." "That what we want offer you. This is Peking Office of People's Glorious Management and Budget.

We offer you all our tea for economic brains of David Stockman. We want know how to get unemployment down to 8 per cent and interest rates down to 17 per cent." "Well, let me think that over. I'm not sure all the tea In China will fit In the office safe here." Ring, ring, ring. "HI, White House speakers bureau. Interested in a round table discussion with Ed Meese, Jim Baker, and Mike Deavers on how to play Three Card Monte?" "No, we'd like to have a discussion with Richard Allen." Let's talk a Uttle turkey.

Is this Godzilla Industries of Japan?" "No, this is the Justice Department of the United States ot America." "It is? Mr. Allen isn't here. You might try the National Archives," i Ring, ring, ring 1 "Hello, White House speakers bureau. We arrange speeches, interviews, ribbon 1 cuttings, and photo opportunities. How, may we help "This Kamikaze Industries in Japan.

We like arrange interview with Mrs. Nancy Keagan tor our magazine, We doing special issue on 40th anniversary; Pearl Harbor and we like Mrs. Reagan comment on wardrobe she wore in movie Hellcats of Navy." "No problem. Mrs. Reagan loves to comment on her wardrobe.

But there win have to be a little something, you know, up front." "Oh yes. Ancient Japanese business practice. We be Insulted if you not take a little something as honorable gift. How much little something you want?" "Let's see. For Mrs.

Reagan, that'll be thousand bucks, a lacquered box, and two Seiko wrist watches, one gold, one silver." "Thousand bucks?" "It's for the archives. Put it in an envelope marked $10,000. That way I won't forget It when I put it in my safe." "Okey dokey. Sayanara." Ring, ring, ring. "Hello, White House speakers bureau.

We have VIPs for every occasion. May I help you?" "Yes, darling. This Is the West Elkhart Junior League. We'd Just absolutely love to have White House social secretary' Muffy Brandon come out and help us teach Indiana slum children how to make watercress sandwiches." "You got a deal. That'll be a C-note, a 10-speed bicycle, and a Mickey Mouse wrist watch." "If by that gross term, you mean, a hundred dollars, that will be no problem.

But why a bicycle and a Mickey Mouse watch?" "It's for the archives. I mean, this Is the West Elkhart Little League, isn't it? We don't want to put the arm on a lot of little tykes." "No, no. This Is the Junior League. You know, high society. Rich lades, helping the downtrodden." "In that case, make It a G-note, and an Aston-Martin with red leather seats and quadraphonic stereo.

For the archives. And, let me tell ya, the President appreciates what you people in the private sector are doing to help the truly needy." Ring, ring, ring, ring. "Hi there, White House speakers bureau here. We offer gifts of gab for a bag of gifts. Can I help you?" "Yeah, this is the East Columbus chapter of Old Americans for Freedom.

We were wondering if President Reagan could come out to OAF Hall here and tell us how he wants to turn American back to 1789 and let everybody carry muskets again." "For President Reagan, it'll cost you $1,000, a lacquered box, a gold Seiko wrist watch, a silver Seiko wrist watch, and a Rolex. And put a little something in the lacquered box. The archives needs all it can get." Ring, ring, ring. "White House speakers bureau Can I help yon? We've got a special this week on Ltbby Dole recounting her adventures during the 1976 vice presidential campaign." "This is the Rev. Ike Theological Semi Vernon Jarrett 1 J1 uviiu lewiiuuse explains ins ueai STATE 8EN.

Richard H. Newhouse -jvi-: v. Chicago) decided to "come right out and tell the truth" last Saturday morning and he seemed to feel better for it. 7 fornia House by Republican votes, New-house said. "WE'RE REALLY talking about blood Issues," Newhouse explained.

"We're talking about the heart of partisan politics. We're talking about the heart of the manipulative process. We're also talking about how Democrats commandeer money and power by the misuses of black communities and other communities while keeping us under their feet." The Newhouse-Braun court action charges that the Democratic map shortchanges the black population of Chicago, a charge echoed in other court action against the Democratic Party's congressional remap, and re-echoed in probable court action against the city's ward remap being pushed by Mayor Byrne. Newhouse said black independents went to the Democrats first in their demand that the nunfber of Chicago's predominantly black senatorial districts be expanded to seven, in keeping with the Increased black percentage of the population. "They responded by their silence and later with a flat Newhouse said.

"In two caucus sessions we came close to fisticuffs. "THAT'S WHEN we contacted the Republican Party, sat down with them, and drew maps that would produce for us what we thought was appropriate," Newhouse explained. I asked him if the Republicans had exacted from him or Braun a promise of "cooperation on other issues" that may come up in the Illinois General Assembly, "No. Absolutely not," he declared. "You must understand that in this state 'the Republican Party is In a weak position.

We (blacks) are in a rather strata-gic or strong position. The only reason that they (the Republicans) are dealing with us is because they need us. The question should be asked the other way: Did we exact promises from them?" Newhouse quickly explained that "on the other hand, the Repubicans are getting much more value than what they're putting into this in cash. There is a quid pro quo here and it's clear. AS NEWHOUSE spoke I thought of two black freshman state representatives who were accused recently of "selling out to the Reagan Republicans" when they struck a deal with the Republican leadership on'the congressional State Reps.

Monica Faith Stewart and Arthur Turner, both Chicago Democrats, caucused with Speaker of the House George H. Ryan Kankakee) and pro-: duced a map that would assure the return of at least three blacks to Congress. Stewart and Turner are independent Democrats. Oddly, not too many independents came to their defense. Stewart and Turner only did what white Republicans and Democrats have done for years.

Exhibit "A is the deal hatched two weeks ago by former Republican Gov. Richard Ogilvie and former Illinois Secretary of State Michael Howlett. The Ogilvle-Howlett scheme had the approval of two distinguished leaders ot the Polish community, Rep. Daniel D. Chicago) and Rep.

Edward J. Derwlnski Flossmoor). Both have been cooperating in Congress since 1958. 1 J' When a hideout is a safe house I i Newhouse, 57, who has represented the 24th District on Chicago's Southeast Side for nearly four terms, said candidly, don't apologize. Yes, the Republicans are putting up most of the money for our court challenge of the Democratic Party's new Illinois legislative map." who Ts black.Ts ah Independent Democrat.

He has Joined State Rep. Carol Moseley Braun, also black and also an: independent Democrat in his district, in a federal suit filed Monday against the' reapportionment map designed by the Party. "I don't UK it," Newhouse said. "But don't apologize." NEWHOUSE SAID blacks should be able "in these kinds of situations to pay the entire freight" and that he had insisted the Republicans "charge us something." He agreed to personally raise $25,000 to help cover the court cost, whichi estimated could run close to $200,000., a 'However wants the public to understand that this temporary coalition of black Independent Democrats and Republicans represents a "growth in sophis-. Ucatlon" for the black Chicago politician.

"We blacks In Chicago are catching up with our brothers and sisters in other parts of the country." Newhouse pointed to the 'recent election of Willie Brown as speaker of the California House of Representatives as an example of the "new sophistication." Brown is black Democrat but he was ejected Democratic speaker ot the Cali By William Satire" -s JUST ABOUT EVERY newspaper in the country carried the etymology of 'A line in a Bob Dylan song, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows," became the basis for then some women members objected to the male-sounding ending, and the name was changed to when some members stormed about that, "Weather Underground" was adopted, with Its immediate overtones of World War II resistance fighters and a deeper etymology from Dostoyevsky's "Notes From the Underground." Some reporters, however, were entrapped by the language of political activism' and did not treat the holdup of a Brink's1 miHaro Safin writes a column on ionflua0tor the New York Timet. truck as a heist: "I say it's a bank Job," writes Thomas Allen of Betheada, Md. "I also say that newspapers and the police- ('Law-enforcement personnel') should stop elevating crime' to political activity The CIA may question agents in safe' houses, but outlaws scram to hideouts. Politicr'is politic, and. crime is crime.

There are no political crimes in this country, but there are criminals who are adding their crimes by-robbing words of their meaning." The Americanism "hideout" was first cited in 1885, derived' from "hiding place." Safe house is a term that former CIA director Richard Helms tells me probably originated in World' War II: an address to which agents being dropped into France place where defectors are kept." The elevation of hideout to safe place where defectors are kept." he elevation of hideout tolafe house in the Weather Underground story was an unconscious! acceptance of the inherently political, rather than primarily criminal, nature ot the act..

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