THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL OPINION TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15,1987 EDITORIAL Don't come up short A quarter-billion Americans are expected to be counted in.the 1990 census. But if the Office of Management and Budget has its way, the country will leam much less about itself than it has become used to finding out every 10 years, and less tfian it needs to know. With appalling short-sightedness, the OMB has directed that about 30 questions be trimmed from the long version of the 1990 census form. That's the one that only about 17 percent of U.S. households will have to fill put. But it includes many demographic and socioeconomic details without which the census would be seriously incomplete. The OMB's move to cut the long form almost in half is apparently intended to save respondents time — the full-length questionnaire would take about 45 minutes to answer. But that's a weak excuse for such a far-reaching action. The OMB would deprive society of basic data essential to a variety of public and private programs. The nation's need for up-to-date statistics on population, housing and economic trends is too great to allow the directive to stand. It must be reversed. The directive supposedly applies only to next year's "dress rehearsal" census. But its effect would almost certainly extend to the 1990 count. Among the questions OMB would delete are those having to do with home values, rents and mortgage payments, fuel and heating costs, real estate taxes, residence and job changes, hours worked per week, and travel to and from work. Local governments are especially alarmed. After cutbacks in federal aid to cities, the OMB proposes to curtail the flow of information that enables local officials to identify ahd understand the problems they must address. This is a classic example of penny-wisdom and pound-foolishness. Unfortunately, it's not an isolated example. In other areas, the federal government under the Carter and Reagan administrations has been cutting back on its gathering of economic and other data. The resulting decline in the nation |s statistical base threatens to blind government and the private sector to serious natipnal problems — perhaps even opportunities. The nation cannot afford to cut back on a basic source of information, especially not for reasons of inconvenience. The OMB should reverse its directive and let the census proceed, long form and all. Byrd vs. Byrd Could that be the senior senator from West Virginia, the Senate majority leader himself, rolling around in the dirt, his right hand gripped tightly around his neck while his left tries desperately to break the death grip? Perhaps it was something we ate, but that's the image that came to mind when we read about Sen. Robert Byrd's schizoid impulses on campaign-finance reform. Byrd, the man leading the Senate effort to limit the amount of campaign funds congressional candidates may accept from political action committees, has raised more than twice the amount of PAC money he would be permitted to accept were the bill enacted. It's money he will use for his own 1988 re-election bid. Throughout the long and fractious debate over campaign-finance reform, Byrd has said that he intends to play by the current rules, which do not limit the aggregate amount of money that candidates may accept from PACs. He has said he will need as much as $2 million from all sources to run next year; he has raised a total of $493,329 from PACs since January 1983, when he was sworn in after his last re-election. Meanwhile, Byrd still is trying to break a Republican-orchestrated filibuster against Senate Bill 2, the measure designed to limit the amount that Senate candidates spend in elections and to reduce the role that PACs play in both House and Senate campaigns. We presume that Byrd will press the fight to reduce PAC influence, no matter how long.it takes — that is, if he can raise enough PAC money to help ensure his re-election. T A shori rep talk •exhorting themtordnfirnj Bark, fund the Contras and not to raise taxes, and tf\eyre ready to LETTERS QEORQE WILL Romanticizing of the missile crisis WASHINGTON — Clio, the muse of history, is in bed with a splitting headache, prostrated by the tksk of trying to correct the still multiplying misunderstandings of the Cuban missile crisis. Most Americans believe 'twas a famous victory won by a resolute President prepired to take the world to the brink of nuclear war. Actually, there 1 was not much of a brink, and no Humph worth celebrating. In last Sunday's New York Times magazine, J. Anthony Lukas repoited on a reunion of former Kennedy administration participants in the crisis. The meeting was last April at a Florida resort with the wonderfully inapt name of Hawk's Cay. Because the crisis began when the Soviet Union began putting missiles in Cuba and ended when the missiles were removed, it was considered an unambiguous triumph achieved by a President more hawkish than some dovish advisers. (The terms "hawks" and "doves" were popularized by this crisis.) Now much is being made of a letter from former Secretary of State Dean Rusk, a letter read at the April reunion. The letter is said to show that Kennedy was a dove. In the crisis, Robert Kennedy notified Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin that U.S. missiles in Turkey would be withdrawn within months of withdrawal of Soviet missiles from Cuba, but it was imperative (obviously for domestic American political reasons) that the linkage of the withdrawals not be announced. Rusk's letter reveals that if the Soviet Union had insisted on public linkage, Kennedy would have complied. That historical morsel is only redundant evidence of what should by now be patent: Kennedy succeeded because his military advantage was huge and his goal was tiny. The Soviet Union was not going to war at a time when U.S. advantages were three to one in long- range bombers, six to one in long- range missiles and 16 to one in warheads. The Kremlin must have been astonished — and elated — when Kennedy, in spite of advantages that would have enabled him to insist on severance of Soviet military connections with Cuba, sought only removal of the missiles. He thereby licensed all other Soviet uses of Cuba. The stunning revelation in Lukas' report is not Rusk's letter; it is something said at the reunion by Ted Sorensen, the aide closest to Kennedy. On Aug. 31, 1962. five weeks before the administration discovered the missiles, New York's Republican Sen. Kenneth Keating, trusting information received from intelligence and refugee sources, said offensive missiles were going into Cuba. Republicans were making an election issue out of Soviet shipments to Cuba. In September, Kennedy warned the Soviets, with interesting preciseness, not to put in Cuba "offensive ground-to-ground missiles." Now, Sorensen says that the President drew a line where he soon — in October — wished he had not drawn it: "I believe the President drew the line precisely where he thought the Soviets were not and would not be. That is to say, if we had known the Soviets were putting 40 missiles in Cuba, we might under this hypothesis have drawn the line at 100, and said with great fanfare thai we would absolutely not tolerate the presence of more than 100 missiles »J Sorensen is a member of the McGovernite wing of the virtually one-wing Democratic Party. But he also is an assiduous keeper of the Camelot flame. Thus it is fascinating that he says, in praise of Kennedy, that Kennedy wanted to practice appeasement but calculated incorrectly. This is amusing in light of Arthur Schlesinger Jr.'s rhapsodizing about Kennedy's handling of the crisis that Kennedy, according to Sorensen, wanted to define away: "He coolly and exactly measured .... He moved with mathematical precision .... This combination of toughness and restraint, of will, nerve and wisdom, so brilliantly controlled, so matchlessly calibrated ...." Even assuming Sorensen is wrong, Schlcsingcr's romanticizing is not right. In 1978, MIG-23s (nuclear-delivery vehicles far more menacing than the 1962 missiles) were introduced into Cuba. Kennedy's non-invasion pledge, given as part of the crisis-ending deal, guaranteed the survival of this hemisphere's first communist regime and makes attempts to remove or reform the second seem disproportionate. The Reagan administration, which began by talking about dealing with Nicaragua by "going to the source" — Cuba, is reduced to clawing for piddling sums for the contras, a recipe for another protracted failure. Today, most "peace plans" for Central America postulate the moral equivalence of U.S. and Soviet involvements in the region, another legacy of the missile-crisis "triumph" that killed the Monroe Doctrine. A few more such triumphs and we shall be undone. The romanticizing of the missile crisis makes such triumphs more likely. Almanac By The Associated Press Today is Tuesday, Sept. 15, the 258th day of 1987. There are 107 days left in the year. Today's Highlight in History: One hundred years ago, on Sept. 15,1887, the city of Philadelphia launched a three-day celebration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the Constitution of the United States. On this date: In 1776, British forces occupied New York City during the American Revolution. In 1789, the Department of Foreign Affairs was renamed the Department of State. In 1821, independence was proclaimed for Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. In 1857, William Howard Taft, who would serve as President of the United States .and as chief justice, was born in Cincinnati. In 1917, Russia was proclaimed a republic by Alexander Kerensky, the head of the provisional government that came to power following the abdication of Czar Nicholas II. In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws deprived German Jews of their citizenship and made the swastika the official symbol of Na/.i Germany. In 1940, during the Battle of Britain in World War II, the tide turned as Royal Air Force planes inflicted heavy losses on the Luftwaffe. The fringes of lunacy To The Editor: When someone sits down in front of a gigantic, moving train, someone has to be on the fringes of lunacy. When Brian Willson set himself in front of a train coming from the Concord Weapons Depot he was not using his God-given brain. I lived "near the tracks" of Southern Pacific, Western Pacific and Sacramento Northern in Marysville, Calif, for many years. I had the greatest respect for a moving train as an instrument which could do me great harm. There are other ways to protest in this great country, and anyone with a brain can figure the same out, without subjecting your body to a multi-ton, moving missile which is, allegedly, transporting munitions to United States .Armed Forces and should not be interfered with. I could determine other ways of protesting, many of which would receive maximum publicity, both local and national, without becoming absolutely irresponsible and stupid. You'll all note the treatment the young man received in the Soviet Union when all he did was fly a light, unarmed plane into Moscow's Red Square — a prison term — and we don't hear people in the U.S.S.R. lamenting over the treatment and sentence. You can imagine what any dissident in "mother Russia" would receive if they sal down in front of a train — possibly shot on the spol. Dissidents won't change national policy the way they are going. They only make people and civilian and military leaders more determined, especially since we arc not now at war, but arc trying to curtail nuls with one hand tied. Henry M. Plymire Willits The Constitution's anniversary To The Editor: The following remarks appeared in the Mcndo- cino County Library Adult Literacy Program newsletter. This country's celebration of the 200th year of the Constilulion will occur Scpl. 17.1 have taken a moment to reflect out-loud on the meaning of the Conslilulion to me, especially in relation to the literacy work I do with adults throughout Mendocino County. "We the People" ... that phrase elicits many thoughts and feelings in all of us. I think of the United States and its relatively brief history and its broad reaching effects on people here and globally. "We the People ..." conjures up feelings of pride, unity, justice and differences; the same phrase kindles some contradictory sentiments. We the People of the United States have come so far, done so much and have so much further to go and so much more to learn. Working with adults who want and need to learn better reading and writing skills reminds me that many people may not feel the freedom that good readers enjoy. Readers can go many places and do many things. Non-readers cannot. Readers may feel relatively safe because they can decipher product labels, bank statements, warning signs and bus schedules. People who read can be informed about local ordinances, laws and legal decisions which affect their lives. Readers can escape into the world of vampires, lost love, history and futuristic worlds — non-readers do not have that freedom. If you are a tutor, you are opening up the possibilities to your student. If you arc a student in the literacy program, I am certain you realize the importance of learning to read and we applaud your efforts. If you are a community member, support the library literacy program in the county. Call and find out what needs to be done. In Ukiah, Thursday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m., the Ukiah literacy center is sponsoring a mini Constitutional Convention. Come and join us in exploring what "We the People" meant to the framers of the Constitution of Ihe United States. We will teach and leam with each other what the U.S. Constitution is and what it means to all of us. Tutors, adult new readers and the general public are invited. Call 468-8083 for more information. Roberta M. Valdez Director, Adult Literacy Program Subsequent to the above article appearing in the Adult Literacy Program newsletter, a student in the program wrote the following letter. She asked if 1 would submit it to the paper for publication. For and to everyone who cares or has feelings: For We the People of the Adult Literacy Program and the United States of America: I myself am one of the students through our Adult Literacy Program. Lmyself with endless "pride" and feelings was born a USA citizen with the fullest understanding of our "Constitution" saying for "we the people" having "rights" as well as freedom of speech. To learn reading to the fullest needs and understanding therefore, we the people have got to set our "pride" aside and make a difference out of our injustices. By doing so we will grow and benefit from our efforts to overcome ourinjustices. For "we the people" have pride and unused efforts. So why not benefit from them. We the people say, "Read on Mendocino County!" with the Adult Literacy Program. Come as you are. Thank you all, with USA pride. Linda Putter Adult Literacy Program Student Ukiah Daily "Journal %r tlltndocino County, Cahfor ndocino County, California Donald W. Reynolds, Chairman of the Board Thomas W. Reeves, General Manager John Anastasio Managing Editor Denise Hall Bruce Schlabaugh Advertising Director victor Martinez Eddie Sequeira Display Advertising Manager Yvonne Bell Claire Booker Circulation Manager /' ^ Member Audit Bureau *>~5j ot Circulations LOCALLY OPERATED MEMBER OONREY MEDIA GROUP Composing Supervisor Press Supervisor Officer Manager DOONESBURY HAVB /NG POLITICAL APS IN THE UH-HUH. STATURB ENHANCING, AR£NT 7H&? ANPONLY FIVE MONTHS TO THE PRJ- &4(L OH.C'MON. ACONPO FOR P&SI- VZNT* HB'S GOT US TALKING ABOUT IT. WGHT? WHAT'S THIS NECK'S OFFERING* "WHYWAI&P ATiAST! A&CK£7ARf P&S6UIATEP OFIMXURY HOUSING."
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