Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on September 17, 1987 · Page 4
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 4

Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Thursday, September 17, 1987
Page 4
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THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL OPINION EDITORIAL Freedoms we share Two hundred years ago, on September 17, 1787, the United States Constitution was put forth to the American people by 12 of the original states that made up the 13 original colonies of this nation. The Constitution, which was not finally adopted until May 20,1790, did not solve all the problems that faced those original states. But it provided a framework around which this nation has grown into the most powerful country in the world. It took four months to write the document. The states sending representataives to Philadelphia where New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Caroline, South Carolina and Georgia. The one state that boycotted the Grand Convention was Rhode Island. The other states were so exasperated at the tiny state that some editorials of that day suggested it be sold to pay off the national debt Rhode Island was the last state to ratify the Constitution, finally agreeing to it by a vote of 34 to 32 on May 20, 1790. While the Constitution was submitted on Sept, 17, it was not available to the public until Sept 19, 1787. The Convention asked John Dunlap, publisher of the Pennsylvania Packet to print the new Constitution. He devoted the entire four pages of his daily newspaper to the document, running no ads or other news on that day. The draft of the document was given to him in the morning on Monday, Sept 17, but it was not distributed until early Wednesday, Sept 19 because it took 26 hours for the ink to dry. (Newspapers still have ink drying problems today. That's why ink rubs off on your hands—it . isn't dry and newspapers still have not found an ink that permits them to print your newspaper quickly and not have mis ruboff.) The newspaper sold for four pence. At the time there were 75 newspapers, with six being dailies, 10 semiweeklies and the rest small weeklies. Immediately the debate started The Federalists promoted a strong federal government while the anti-federalists stood for states' rights. The argument divided the Federal Convention, led to a civil war, and is still very much alive today. j Several states including Virigiria, New York and Massachusetts deplored the labk of a Bill of Rights in the Constitution and urged amendments even though such rights were included in state constitutions. Of course, this led to the Bill of Rights being introduced as the first 10 amendments. The amendments were introduced by James Madison in June, 1789, and were ratified two years later. Most people today, when asked about the Constitution, will quote the Bill of Rights, which was not a part of the original document. As we observe the 200th anniversary of this great document, perhaps the greatest lesson to be learned is that, while it does not solve all our problems, in provides a framework in which we can debate the issues, proposing solutions which eventually can help solve the problems. The only time the Constitution did not solve the problem was the Civil War, which was the bloodest war this nation has ever been engaged in. The lesson to be learned is that while there are many differences of opinions on the issues facing the nation, the the social contract, which we call the Constitution, provides a way for all of us to be heard. Every person has a right to know what the issues are, to know what the arguments are, and to participate in the process of arriving at a solution. That's why the news media prizes its freedom so highly. We believe that you have a right to know everything that government is doing in your name. You are the final authority in this governmental process — not the president, congress, governor, supervisor, city council member, school board member, nor certainly not the employees of the various governments. Without knowledge how can you function in today's society? The Journal pledges its news columns are open to all the issues facing Ukiah and Mendocino County today. If you want your viewpoint read, send a letter to the editor of the Journal. The only limitations are length, it cannot be libelous (a legal restriction), and that it not be a personal attack. ihe freedoms we share is what makes the United States different than other nations. Our Constitution has created a great society and it provides a framework in which we can continue to be a great society. GORKI JJi-^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^w . A JACK ANDERSON Prisoners have own congressman WASHINGTON — There will be sighs of relief and sighs of sadness when former Rep. George Hansen is released from prison next month. Elated will be the prison officials he has been censuring for over a year; dejected will be his fellow inmates, for whom he has acted as an ardent ombudsman. The Idaho Republican is finishing up his second stint at the Petersburg (Va.) federal prison camp. After his 1984 conviction for filing false financial disclosure statements, he served six months last year. When he ventured too far from Washington and refused to disclose details about his personal finances, he was cited for parole violations and tossed in the can again in April of this year. Always the maverick, the 6-foot-6 arch-conservative has bombarded the press and his former colleagues on Capitol Hill with complaints about prison food, safety and sanitation problems, waste of government property, and the arbitrary treatment of inmates. The Petersburg prison camp is a minimum-security facility that holds about 200 inmates, including former public officials, businessmen, brokers, lawyers, and judges. Hansen's impassioned and fearless defense of the interests of these new and otherwise voiceless friends has earned him their heartfelt gratitude. As one example, take the case of Tom Williams, an inmate from Mechanicsville, Va. A management consultant, Williams is serving a five-year sentence for tax evasion. He is husky, healthy and during the first two years of his incarceration, never mmissed a day of work in the compound. This past spring, his 18-year-old son, Joseph, suffered severe kidney failure,' and Williams offered to donate one of his to his son. He obtained permission from the camp director, he told us, to take an unsupervised leave of about a month for medical tests and the operation. The transplant was performed by Dr. Vemon Smith of the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond on June 24. When Tom Williams was allowed to leave the hospital, he went home—five minutes away — for a short period of recuperation. This was done — with the verbal concurrence of the camp director, according to Williams — to facilitate post-operative hospital visits and to avoid the physical exertions he would have had to endure at the camp. Tom Williams' stitches were removed on Monday, July 6. He reported to the prison the same day and learned that the previous camp director had left. There was no written record of approval for his stay at home,' and he was therefore absent without permission. He was given an "incident report" (a "shot" Editorial Sampler THURSDAY, i SEPTEMBER 17,1987' QIORQI WILL Airline smoking ban right on in prison parlance) and placed in solitary confinement. It was well over 100 degrees in "the hole" in July, Williams told us. The sink was full of fecal matter. The thin foam mattress was soaked through with the sweat of the previous occupant. And Tom Williams had a recently healed wound in his side, but that apparently mattered little to the prison authorities. He remained in the hole for 13 days. He was examined by his doctor nine days after he got out and learned that he had somehow avoided infection. Williams was expecting to have his sentence reduced by eight months and to spend four months in a halfway house. After the "incident," however, he was hauled before a parole board in shackles and his early departure was canceled. Since we started asking questions about the Williams case, the "shot" has been expunged from his record, but his sentence adjustments have not been restored. As far as he knows at this point, in short, donating a kidney to his son cost him another year behind bars. Footnote: A prison spokesman said that Williams was supposed to report back to the institution upon his release from the hospital, failed to do so, and was placed in "administrative detention" upon his arrival at the facility. Sept. 3 The Hammond (Ind.) Times on AIDS and the Arcadias: It's been said children are incredibly resilient; that they are capable of recovering from horribly painful physical and emotional shocks. and their children. ... Their home was destroyed by a fire of suspicious origin. ... Thankfully, people of another Arcadia have shown we are capable of not letting an unreasonable fear of AIDS become ugly. Ryan White, We hope that's true, for the sake a is.year-old boy with AIDS, was *U._ —._.— *. r*f ^llfF/vB-xl nn/t T rvniCA < _» „ _ »_; l_:_l_ A «1_ nA 1 !« of the sons of Clifford and Louise Ray. The boys, ages 8,9 and 10, were born with hemophilia. ... Then the boys became infected with the AIDS virus after receiving lifesaving blood transfusions. ... The boys' parents won a federal court order requiring the school to admit their sons. But the people of Arcadia (Fla.) weren't prepared to accept the letter of the law. Instead, they horribly persecuted the Rays welcomed to his new high school in Arcadia, Ind., with open arms, not clenched fists. Hopefully, a similar happy outcome is in store for the Ray boys, who've spent too much time in the dark corner of life. Sept. 5 The Daily Tribune, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., on airline performance: The federal order for some airlines to produce their on-time performance and lost-baggage data falls short of what is needed to help the flying public choose an airline. The U.S. Department of Transportation ... ordered 14 of the largest airlines to provide flight- delay information and their record on lost baggage. The percentage of on-time arrivals for each flight also must be included in the computer reservation systems used by most travel agents. The information is intended to I have never seen Richard Longshore, but I like to imagine that the California assemblyman is ruggedly built for the physical defense of liberty and florid from the rhetorical defense of it During the debate on a bill to ban smoking on public transportation in California, the chain-smoking legislator said: : "I think this is really a civil-rights issue. First you say, 'Smokers get to the back of the bus!' And now you're telling smokers to get off the bus." •_ This analogy was not received politely by anti-smoking activists. They increasingly resemble the man Joseph Epstein, the essayist, says could not be described as irascible because he was pernub nently irasced. But opponents of smoking on airlines are right The science is clear and so, therefore, is the ethics of the matter. The most hazardous aspect of air travel (aside from the drives to and from airports) is breathing cabin air. Inhalation of smoke by smokers is the nation's largest single preventable cause of deaui and disability. For non-smokers closely confine^ with smokers, as in airplanes, smoke exhaled by smokers is bad. Even worse is "sidestream smoke' that comes from a cigarette's burning tip between puffs. The temperature of combustion that produces "sidestream smoke" is lower than during puffing and produces more pollutants. Smoking on airplanes intensifies in bursts when the "no smoking" light goes off, thereby producing high concentrations of pollutants. The separation of smokers and non-smokers in planes where air is recirculated does little to protect non-smokers: Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide — both increased by smoking — accumulate in the dry cabin air. To counter the effects of "passiv£ smoking," a passenger needs 50 to 75 cubic feet of clean air per minute. Passengers generally get a maximum of 20. Flight attendants are inhaling smoke at the rate of a person living with a pack-a-day smoker. They are beginning to file workers' compensation claims and suits about ailments caused by long-term exposure to cabin smoke. The legal vulnerability of airlines will increase after forthcoming studies of the metabolized residue of nicotine in non-smoking flight attendants. Smoking also increases airlines' maintenance costs. Tar from smoke—up to 200 pounds a year -4- clogs valves and instruments. A Ifr-year-old jumbo jet bums thousands of extra gallons of fuel a year because of the weight of the glup. Rep. Dick Durbin (D-JJ1.) shoved through the House a measure that would ban smoking on flights of two hours or less — 80 percent of domestic flights. His measure would do this good deed by denying development funds for airports that permit landings of airplanes that allow smoking on such flights. Durbin had to use an appropriations amendment rather than a straightforward prohibition on smoking because a prohibition would have had fo pass the Public Works and Transportation Commil- tee. It is chaired by an opponent of Durbinls measure, Jim Howard (D-N.J.) who, Durbin says, has been a heavy smoker and is fighting the habit, but believes that two-hour smokeless flights would be too much torment for smokers. I Durbin's measure barely passed (198-193), even though the organization representing flight attendants endorsed it. The tobacco lobby enlisted trie outdoor advertising lobby (the folks who put trie Marlboro man between, you and the scenery) ui opposition, and both were joined by the pilots, wlto ostensibly are worried about crazed smokers causing fire in lavatories. Another reason may be that some pilots want to smoke. A more important reason, says Durbin, is that the pilots do not want Co give offense to the senator who chairs the Corn- merce Committee's aviation subcommittee -4- Wendell Ford of tobacco-growing Kentucky. : Durbin's measure, and a more comprehensive ban favored by Utah's Sen. Orin Hatch, face the formidable opposition of North Carolina's Jesse Helms. He presumably will manage to support tobacco interests without presenting himself as the Martin Luther King of downtrodden smokers. Alas, in most American arguments the language df fundamental rights is as thick as the smoke in airplanes. In 1905, Pennsylvania's governor vetoed restriction on public spitting: "It is a gentleman's right to expectorate." Spitting, a once-sacred right now long since abridged, is only obnoxious and unhygienic. Smoking inflicts on non-smokers 94 known carcinogens. > True, you can not swing a cat by the tail these days without banging its head against someone wljb wants to regulate or ban behavior that he disajj- of. But the anti-smoking movement ~ allow the public to pick an airline proves ot. But the anti-smoking movement MS with a good on-time record. Air- merely self-defense by innocent bystanders. Were jt lines are expected to begin compel- .M *" »"*<* on toe unaesthetic, the movemeijt ing by improving their on-time per- would be broadened to advocate a ban on chewing formance, thus easing many of the gum. However, no moderate person wants to bap complaints leveled by passengers. chewing gum, except Juicy Fruit. Ukiah Daily * Californii, Donald W. Reynolds, Chairman of the Board Thomas W. Reeves, General Manager John AituUsio Brace Schlabaugh Advertiaing Director Eddie Scqueir* Display Advertiaing Manager Claire Booker Circulation Manager Dtnte Hall Victor Martinet Yvonne B*U Supervise frail Superviior Officer Manager /' "~\ Member Audit Bureau of Circulations LOCALLY OPERATED MEMBER DONREY MEDIA GROUP -DOONESBURY MR. WMF! YOUR P£NIAU5 NOT, DON'T THE APS TOOK OUT5U66eSTA 1&T//V<5 OF THZPOUTKM. AT THIS TIM?, J HAVe NO, R&&V NO, POLITICAL, AMWTIWS WHATSOEVER! \

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