Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on August 10, 1975 · Page 40
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August 10, 1975

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 40

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Charleston, West Virginia
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Sunday, August 10, 1975
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Page 40
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GAZETTE-MAIL Editorial Skip Frills andDeliver Mail Benjamin F. Bailar, the new postmaster general, sent fliers to postal patrons. The fliers asked: "Help us give you better service by letting us hear from you. One of the fliers wound up in the hands of Jonathan D. Sarna, who cheerfully offered the U. S. Postal Service a few tips which might speed the mails. Sarna's advice was published in the July 5 issue of The Nation. It follows: »· Machines which read zip codes cannot do so unless the zip code numbers are located in particular position on the envelope. Why not mimic the Revamp Pension Plans In New York, a city bus driver whose base pay is $13.000 a year is preparing to retire at the age of 50 on a pension of $15.600 a year. .He is able to do so because of a clause in the city's pension plan which permits pensions to be affected strongly by the retiree's earnings in his final year of work. The bus driver in his final year of work earned enough overtime to more than double his pay. The overtime paid this one driver in one year required trustees of the pension fund to add $100.000 to the fund. In San Francisco, a city policeman contended at the age of 49 that the pressures of his work had caused him to.eat incessantly and drive his weight up to 300 pounds. He was awarded a $700 a month pension. These are the more staggering examples of recent days. There are many, many more examples to illustrate why some cities are in desperate financial straits and why New York is bankrupt. The fault lies in the cowardice of municipal officeholders. When it is plainly impossible to placate municipal workers with salary increases, it is easy to promise lavish pensions to be paid at the expense of the next generation. In New York, of course, the chickens have come home to roost. While the city pays a $15,600 annual pension to a bus driver it is compelled to lay off thousands of municipal workers in an austerity program aimed at financial recovery. Sooner or later all chickens roost. Now is the time for a ruthless revamping of governmental pension plans which are unrealistic. Otherwise chaos lies ahead, and it won't necessarily be bookkeeping chaos. How much longer will taxpayers enrolled in modest private pension plans continue to accept the absurdity illustrated in the New York bus driver's case? Japanese and print zip code boxes on all envelopes so they can be scanned by the machines? Would this take a long time to accomplish? Yes, it would, because of the great backlog of stationery now in use. What, then Give a postal discount to those who use envelopes which can be sorted by machinery. This would be an incentive to buy new stationery. + Can first class mail be "bundled" geographically by the sender, as second and third class mail has been bundled for years? Yes, it can, by corporations which have the computers to do it. Firms using corporate computers thus to speed mail delivery also would be eligible for a postage discount, under the Sarna plan. Sarna concedes that another major problem facing the Postal Service cannot be solved by incentives or machines. That is the time devoted to actual delivery, which is five and one- half hours a day per carrier, whether on a warm August Saturday or a cold Wednesday before Christmas. Because no letter carrier will admit that he could walk his route in less than five and one-half hours, and since inspections embitter employes and waste executive time, a practical solution. Sarna suggests in The Nation, might be the employment of persons on a part-time basis -- college stu- dents and mothers with children in school, for instance -- to deliver mail beyond the 2 p.m. quitting time now in effect. We believe we can endorse the Sarna proposals for using zip code boxes and corporate computers. We have reservations, considering the sacred nature of private communications, about part-time carriers who might not become fully aware of the grave responsibilities of the job. And we have a suggestion of our own. In a way, it duplicates Sarna's proposal for zip code boxes. We would have zip code boxes, too, but on envelopes of one, two, or three standard sizes -- with no other size being acceptable to the post office after a reasonable period during which present stationery stocks could be used. Machines for sorting mail could easily be developed or improved if they were fed material of an unvarying size. Ruthless machine efficiency may not be desirable in all situations. But the Postal Service, unable to keep up with the staggering work load, should mechanize itself as ruthlessly as possible. If this means the end of dainty containers for thank-you notes and no more heart-shaped envelopes for valentines, so be it. The mail must go through. Wondrous to Behold The Congress of the United States operates in ways drous to behoid. Automatic yearly cost-of-livjng pay increases for members of Coagress and top officials of the executive, legislative and judicial branches were manipulated by being tacked on to an innocuous bill authorizing work safety programs for postal workers. And how do you suppose the U.S. Senate went about its business of declaring the disputed New Hampshire Senate seat vacant and ordering a new election? That was done, believe it or not. through an amendment to a resolution providing funds for the select committee on nutrition and human needs. Little wonder the people, as well as members of Congress themselves, have trouble figuring out just what Congress is doing. Who's True Spokesman? Excessive dependence upon government by individuals has been the theme of recent speeches by Sen. Robert C. Byrd. One gathers from the Byrd speeches that he would prefer lesser dependence upon government and a greater degree of individual initiative. Last March 17, Byrd voted to spend $122 million to build military aircraft which the Pentagon hadn't requested. Because the Pentagon hadn't asked for the Fill aircraft that were to be built in Connecticut and Texas, it is reasonable to assume that Byrd voted to build them anyway because he was influenced by the argument that a government aircraft contract would create jobs. Thus the evidence suggests that Byrd doesn't put his vote where his mouth is when he talks about too much dependence upon government. Fortunately the proposal to spend $122 million in tax funds for airplanes not requested by the Pentagon was defeated, but not with the help of a majority of the West Virginia delegation. Only Rep. Ken Hechler voted against the mindless spending pushed not by the Pentagon but by defense industry lobbyists. Rep. Harley Staggers didn't vote. Rep. John Slack, Rep. Robert Mollohan, and Sen. Jennings Randolph all joined Byrd in voting for what can be described only as a $122 million pork barrel project, unnecessary to the national defense, which would have increased the dependence upon government which Byrd says he abhors. By refusing to join the headlong rush to spend for defense whether or not the defense establishment is interested, Hechler increased his unpopularity in Washington but doubtless increased the esteem in which he is held in his district. "War also creates jobs," Hechler said when he was upbraided for a vote that would have put men and women to work on unneeded and unwanted airplanes. Perhaps Hechler, not Byrd, should be the spokesman for those, who are dissatisfied with too much reliance upon government. 'Goodness! How Could Anyone Think Such A Thing?' Richard L. Strout System Needs Changes (3197 r -M-e jes Jenkin Lloyd Jones Land of Ice and Fire (C) Los Angeles Times "- HUSAVIK. I c e l a n d - T h e old skalds ; sang that in the year'874 when Ingolfur Ar* narson. fleeing from a despotic Norwegian -king, came upon the great island he cast ?the sacred wood into the water and fol- ; lowed its slow drift. · : . lAnd so the flotsam bumped ashore at an v amazing place that Ingolfur named the :Bay of Smokes, or Reykjavik. For here. I rising from the ground, were 100 clouds of ^hot vapor, and the returned ship aston- - ished cold Norse families with tales of fire ^amid the ice. of how a man could heat his ' house by directing a steaming rivulet be- "neath its floor, and. above all. of rich meadows upon which sheep and cattle jvould surely thrive. · * TODAY WE KNOW much more about Iceland than Ingolfur Arnarson. and those who followed him so eagerly, could ever know. The fables are in decay, for we doubt that the gaping crater of terrible Hekla is. indeed, the mouth of hell nor do we fear that Iceland's incessant shakes are the work of trolls. But scientific reality is still more wonderful. For we understand, at last, that Iceland is one of the world's newest lands. Unlike neighboring Greenland, which is an extension of the primeval Canadian shield of solid granite, there is not a bit of Iceland that is older than 65 million years -- an eye-blink in the earth's 4'/ 2 billion-year history. ; We "know now that Iceland stands atop 4he mid-Atlantic ridge. ; .;ie 12.000-mile-up- elling of the sea floor stretching from ;the Arctic to the Antarctic and caused by ihe slow separation of the great plates on hich the Americans and the Old World Test. Iceland is a turbulent land-in-the- making. a mixture of extremes -- one- fifth under cinders and lava and one-tenth ·under permanent glaciers. This Kentucky-sized phenomenon, one- more than a square mile of territory in November 1963 when the seas off its southwest coast began boiling and out of the smoking caldron rose Surtsey with its 560-foot hill. BUT NATURE also takes from Iceland. On Jan. 23. 1973. a sudden midnight eruption sent orange-red fingers of iava groping toward the 5.000 people of Heimaey, the only inhabited island of the Westman group. Luckily, nearly the entire fishing fleet was in port and evacuation was swift. Even today half the refugees have not returned. Nowhere in the world does the juxtaposition of eternal cold and capricious heat create such drama. The great glacier. Vatnajokull. is 90 miles by 60 miles with ice 3.000 feet thick. When a fire fissure opens beneath it a grandfather of flash floods comes swiftly. But Iceland is also human beings. Icelanders are among the most homogeneous people on earth -- almost pure Norse with only a trace of Celt and Scot. They speak Icelandic, a fossil language little changed from the days of Erik the Red. and even a schoolboy can read without difficulty the sagas of "800 years ago. With the old lauguage persist the old ways. Like the Norse who ravaged England and put their brand on Normandy, modern Icelanders have no family names. Nils Petursson has a son. Ami. who becomes Arni Nilsson. In time Ami has two children, if Arni names the son for his father he becomes Nils Arnarson. Helga. his daughter, becomes Helga Arnadottir. *· AN ICELANDIC wife does not take her husband's name, which causes lifted eyebrows among hotel clerks throughout the world, and in the Icelandic phone book you look for first names. The spirit of independence is strong among Iceland's fair and often handsome of 220.000 nations. Holy to them is Thi- ngvellir. a mound rising against vertical lava cliffs overlooking a meadow bordered by a trout-rich stream. For there parliaments began to be held in the year 930. They were crude at first. Almost no one could write. But the chiefs shouted to the assembled families with the cliffs as a sounding board, and the household heads shouted back yeas and nays and thus were laws made and democracy born. Exploited and mismanaged, first by Norwegian kings and later by distant Denmark, it was a proud day in 1944 when the Danish flag came down and the blue banner with the thin red cross stood alone. »· So the old ways have been jolted, but not toppled. Young Iceland speaks an amazing amount of English with a Yank accent. A few paved roads fan out from the capital and. as in most other countries, there has been a desertion of marginal farms and a movement toward urban jobs. Half of Iceland's population now lives in Reykjavik. But this is not a country to be tamed in a rush, as was Oklahoma. Not that, it is so cold. In January Iceland is a little warmer than New York City. But when the October snows come and the roads vanish the country children must be boarded near the schools. In the remotest districts the schoolmaster treks to each house on skis, teaches for a few days, gives assignments and returns weeks later. · THUS, ICELAND seethes, steams, smokes and shivers, but it also basks in nightless summers and warm sunshine. These are the prcious days when the widgeons and teal beat takeoff wakes on the blue waters, when the salmon dare everything but the stunning waterfalls, and the WASHINGTON-House Republican leader John Rhodes had a sore throat a year ago--or at least his secretary said he had: it wouldn't allow him to hold a scheduled press conferenece on Aug. 5 at which he had planned to announce how he would vote on impeachment. He never announced; he never had to. When the day was over his throat was well again, and everybody knew what he knew--that one of the Oval Office taped conversations, which the Supreme Court had ordered turned over, to Judge Sirica, showed that six days after Watergate President Nixon knew about the break-in and .was conspir- . ing to cover it up. He told Haldeman to order the FBI: "Don't go further into this case. Period!" That did it. It was what we. in that far-off, innocent time, millions of years ago. last August, had called "the smoking pistol." For two years Mr. Nixon lived under a secret threat that was the greatest threat to any president in history; a threat that seemed insignificant at first but that grew and grew till in the end it warped his judgment about everybody and dominated everything. Here was the President of the" world's richest nation, with the technology to make himself instantly visible to the world, and with the explosives instantly to blow it up, living under the daily threat of exposure. The New York Times's eight- column, triple-bank headlines Aug. 6 read, Nixon Admits Order To Halt Inquiry On Watergate 6 Days After Break-In Expects Impeachment: Support Ebbs--And three days later the brutal business was over; Nixon Resigns * He Urges A Time Of 'Healing': Ford Will Take Office Today.- HAS THE UNITED STATES learned the lesson of Watergate? I don't think so, though perhaps a year is too short a time to come to grips with it. Many people, even now do not want to face it. The statements on the anniversary tend to be star- ryeyed. American institutions proved themselves the "System worked", no one will ever try that again! Of course the fact is just the opposite; while one lawless president by lunatic care lessness did not burn up the taped conversations that destroyed him what likelihood is there in that occurring again. Yet the capacity of a future president, whose office is sanctified and whose role is defied to usurp powers is visible to everyone. It was said after the 1974 election that Congress might reassert itself but how little of that there has been! We need a strong President and a strong Congress, but Congress, as'Hubert Humphrey says, "can't govern." The problem of the presidency goes deeper than personality. Attractive presidential aspirant Terry Sanford of North Carolina was here last week and it all seemed so simple to him: just put the right man in the White House and the problem of Watergate would cease. But how do you know the right man? Richard Nixon, the "lift-of-a-driving-dream" man, now an exile, was re-elected by one of the greatest majorities in history. Pressures all over the world are pushing toward a strong president and the nation needs one to survive, but it needs a strong Congress, too, and all the extra mechanisms that Madison mentioned in Federalist No. 51 as "auxiliary precautions." It needs strong courts, strong legislators, strong newspapers, strong traditions. advantages of the role, unfettered access to prime time television and a huge propaganda machine: he exploited the doctrine of inherent power and executive privilege to circumvent executive oversight by Congress, he humbled and shriveled the cabinet and the individual bureaucracies and developed a bloated executive office of the president where the "presidency" is found. He fed into these institutional changes the consequences of his own personal idiosyricracies; his suspicion, his isolation and his gathering fear of exposure; he carried on politics as though it were warfare with a private White House gesta- po and a variety of illegal activities. Let us be fair, he did hot originate the distortion of FBI and CIA or, indeed, the growth of the. White House as the expanse of Congress; he merely speeded it up, added variants and hinted at where the process might sometime lead. His money raisers Fanny Seller Is On Vacation at one point virtually tithed big corporations for political contributions, concealed from stockholders; he identified groups of Americans as the real threat to the country, not enemies abroad; he carried on the Vietnam War (like his predecessors) with little check from a subservient legislature; he denounced the powers of "big government" (like his predecessors) even while he used and expanded them, and he repeatedly showed the almost unrestricted power to make potentially dangerous international commitments secretly bombing Cambodia with B52's for over 13 months, and giving President Thieu a private, secret pledge to intervene with "full force" if he were threatened. : *· IN THESE circumstances what needs to be done? Sam Ervin, that'after-day Founding Father, left a series of legislative proposals when he wound up his Senate investigation, and America will neglect them at its peril: Letters to the Editor Police Pay Raise Not $200 Monthly third of the way along the Great Circle 220.000 inhabitants, and they say of them- stunted birch and alder display their litlte bewteen «otland and Labrador. addej^ selves that they are a country compos^ leaves against a salting of wildflowersljr, NOT WITH ANY venom but with clinical interest let us set down quickly what might be called "the Nixon problem" of the presidency: He used and expanded the Sunday Gaxette'Mail C.hnrlprlnn. B.f'n. Page2D August 10,1975 tA Editor: I am writing in regard to an article that appeared in the Sunday Gazette-Mail, Aug. 3. This article contained information that referred to a statement made by Nick Zervos, president of the Tyler County Education Assn. that the state police were given a $200 per month pay increase by the last legislature. This is false information. The state police did get a raise of $55 per month. I am writing this in order to let the citizens of West Virginia know the true facts. As to which is the most important, 1 won't attempt to debate the question, however, I don't believe there could be a school .open anywhere that would be safe for our children if the state police did not work the long hazardous hours they do. The state police usualy work twice the number of hours per day that our teachers work, so all can enjoy a certain amount of security. Mrs. Wilda Burner, Webster Springs Sunday Ruined Editor: My Sunday afternoon was ruined (Aug. 3). No puzzle. Shame! Shame! Helen B. Nottingham, 718 Second Ave., Marlinton- Medalfor Burglars Editor: The editors of the Sunday Gazette-Mail asked for a definition of national security. Any fourth grader should know national security is the ability of a nation to win wars, to survive an invasion by a foreign foe. When individual's rights become more important than national security, that nation is doomed. This is something critics of the CIA and the FBI should think long and hard about. If individual's rights were more important thatvnational security then no soldiers could be asked to go to war. Who gives more to national security -- a soldier who loses his life or a privat^eiti- zen who has his files investigated or his conversation bugged. Incidentally the plumbers who burglarized Daniel Ellsburg's office should have been given a .medal instead of jailed. D.C. McDowell, Aurora Does He Get Paid? Editor: I was pleased to read a letter to the edi- ·tor from a lady who-shares my feelings about B. S. Palausky's column. Do you pay him for the space he takes on Sunday? After 34 years of reading newspapers around the country I admit to never having read more limited subject matter, sarcastically and negatively presented week after week. I said" to myself it might be just me--it wasn't. Frankly, I can't find anyone who enjoys the sardonic trash he puts out. Long ago F stopped reading the column and now only scan the article to be certain nothing has changed. Same subjects--the same sour outlook. Mr. Palausky impresses me like many citizens and parents who sit back and sharp shoot others, are quick to criticize and usually are too busy to shoulder their responsibility through active positive participation. If he depended on his writing ability, creativity and varied subject matter to provide his income -- he'd starve. Jim Lyons, 2034 Stratford Rd.. South Charleston Where A re Puzzles ? Editor: All right, where are the puzzles? I have searched the entire Sunday Gazette-Mail -- no cryptoquips. no crossword puzzle. I have defended the Gazette from all sorts of criticism for many years, but now I am unhappy. The least you can do is make sure the regular features are published. Alice Moore, Buckeye t

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