THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL OPINION FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18,1987 EDITORIAL Do you really |want to know? Would you want to be told, at age 20, that you will suffer from Alzheimer's disease when you reach your 60s? At the birth of a child, would you want to be handed a computer printout listing the physical and mental problems likely to result from your child's genetic makeup? Medical science already can isolate certain genes and predict the probability of a person suffering from a number of ailments, including Alzheimer's and Huntingtpn's diseases, cystic fibrosis, manic depression and muscular dystrophy. Now, scientists in Great Britain have announced the discovery of a genetic defect that contributes to the development of colon cancer. These discoveries offer both good news and frightening prospects. The good news is that physicians and scientists can identify persons who carry genetic defects. What's frightening is that there are no cures for most of these diseases. Thus, the tests raise serious ethical questions. Should persons with known genetic defects be discouraged from having families? Should drug intervention or psychotherapy be used to reduce the chances of persons contracting ailments identified by a genetic test? Should a person tell a prospective spouse about a genetic defect? These are personal decisions that individuals or families must make. But societal issues arise, as well. Who is to determine whether an individual will be tested? Can the tests be mandated? Most important, who will have access to the results? Ethicists have grappled with these dilemmas for 20 years — since doctors first learned to determine a child's gender and to detect Down's syndrome before birth. The search will continue for new tests that could draw a complete genetic blueprint of an individual. Although such tests could be extremely useful in identifying potential victims of heart disease or alcoholism, there are serious drawbacks. Parents of a child with a high probability of contracting a fatal disease could live j '.errible life worrying about their offspring On the other hand, it's almost certain that physicians some day will be able to replace faulty genes and improve and extend the quality of life. But that day is not here. Long before the reality of genetic testing, Ralph Waldo Emerson observed: "God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please; you can never have both." Modern medical science opens the door of truth. As Emerson would have predicted, it won't be easy deciding whether to walk through it. Openness is relative Glasnost, the Soviet Union's avowed policy of openness, won mixed reviews the other day at the sixth biennial Moscow Book Fair. Although Soviet officials confiscated about 50 books from one U.S. publisher, they permitted Soviet and foreign publishers to display several previous banned works by such authors as Boris Pasternak and Anna Akhmatova. Of course, many of the 3,000 pub'ishers from 103 countries sought to avoid confrontation — and some said they selected the books for the fair before glasnost became official policy. Thus, the real test of glasnost may come at the 1989 book fair. Openness is relative, of course. Glasnost notwithstanding, Soviet citizens do not enjoy freedom of speech or expression as we know it in the United States. Nor is such a policy ever likely. Nevertheless, it is heartening to see the Soviet government at least take a small step in that direction. RICHARD REEVES A walk down Broadway NEW YORK — There's a hole in the ground at 87th Street and Broadway. New condominiums, part of a new Manhattan. But the old West Side is still across the street. Feldstein's Kosher Butcher is there, with slabs of liver in the window priced at $2.99 a pound and certified by Rabbi Y. Neiman of the midtown. Board of Kashruth. Early for an appointment downtown, I walked 30 blocks, about one and a half miles, down Broadway to Columbus Circle on a crystal-clear late summer morning. It's a helluva town, beginning at Kim's Korean market, where bne of the Kims was happily popping grapes into the mouth of a tiny blond boy wearing a yarmulke. The boy's baby sitter, a huge black woman, squeezed away nearby in search of the perfect grapefruit. The bus shelter on the corner was plastered with notices, for concerts, psychics, and sofas for sale. But most of the handmade ads, 11 of them, were for movers. New Yorkers move fast and often. A well-dressed old man, on his way to the office in the 1950s, tried to talk to me, but his words wouldn't come. "Don't mind him," said his nurse, a Puerto Rican. "He wants to be friendly, but he can't make sense anymore." I stopped at the Learning Annex near 85th Street. Adult education. Americans are the only people in the world who throng to continuing education.. We just keep learning. For $25 to $60, the catalog says, you can learn Spanish, word- processing or hypnosis, real estate appraisal, comedy writing or how to improve your tennis serve. The Euclid Hall Hotel across the street was being gutted. Until last year, it was a single-room- occupancy hotel — an upscale flophouse — with rooms going lor $18 a night, studios for $25 a night. Now it will be condos, with studios beginning at $160,000 and two- bedroom apartments going up to $650,000, the same price as ihc new Broadway ("a 20-siory lux conclo tower") being built at 81st Street. You have to step around the losers who used to live in Euclid Hall. They live on Ihc street now. It's the worst of limes, ihc best of times in the best and worst American city. The Riverside Hardware Store, near 82nd Street, sells used typewriters out from, hardware for the hopeful writers who still come to the big city from everywhere in the world. ART BUCHWALD Phi Beta money WASHINGTON — Word from the old alma mater is that the price of private education is going up faster than the national debt. A recent College Board survey revealed that the price of a diploma at one of the more expensive schools is now $75,000, which does not include gas, oil or ski trips during the school break. Can parents afford to send a kid to college for $75,000 and still find happiness? The answer is most people can't afford to send them for half of that. And yet for some reason the older generation continues to do it. Thanks to their own sacrifice, parents are making the nut and their children are growing up in the rich academic environment everyone has told them they are entitled to. In order to get a better picture of what exactly is going on I talked to those involved in the tuition struggle to see how they felt about it. One student at Georgetown University took the news calmly. "Nobody wants to force our parents to come up with 75,000 big ones, but if that's the price we young Americans have to pay for a good education, I say it's money well spent. Dad had it easy when he went to college so he never knew the cost of a diploma. Now he's learning the hard way, and he'll be better for it." The drama concerning heavy tuition is being played out everywhere. I saw a father at Johns Hopkins say farewell to his son at the gate. As he bade him goodbye, the father gave the young man his cuff links, tie clasp and gold watch. "This is it," the father told the boy. "When they are gone you're on your own." "Where will I find you?" the boy asked. "Your mother and I will be in the basement of a federal housing project in Baltimore. Don't worry, the move has nothing to do with your tuition. We always planned to do it that way." A president at one of the Ivy League schools defended the high-priced costs and said that $75,000 hardly pays for books and a half-baked history teacher. "It's wrong," he said, "to use the figure $75,000 as the cost of a four-year education, because everybody will expect one for that. We have a different plan at our school. We insist that parents throw everything they have in our great rotunda and allow the school to take what it needs." "That would be a fair way of doing it," I said. "Parents mink we make money on $75,000 tuition. There is no way we can get in ihc black by filling our classrooms," the president said. "We don't even make a profit on Shakespeare." "What do you make money on?" I asked. "Towing students' cars away. If it weren't for our police low-away program we would never have been able to construct a new science building." The final person I spoke to was a football player attending a great Texas university. "How do you feel about a college education costing $75,000?" I asked him. "I don't think that's a lot of money to pay a linebacker. After all, we have given up a great deal to play football for our school." "I believe you misread me. The student is expected to pay the school, not the other way around." "Why would a college football player want 10 pay the school anything?" he asked. "Perhaps to gel a belter education." "I'd rather see the $75,000 go into new shoulder pads, where it belongs." Art Buchwald is a syndicated humor columnist. LETTERS Get a handle on 'natural erosion' To The Editor: : Citizens in Mendocino, Lake, and Sonoma; counties have expressed grave concerns over the I potential for increased degradation of Eel and; Russian River water quality in the aftermath of I disastrous forest fires in the Mendocino National I Forest. The timber industry and forest service, J however, are more concerned with salvaging the i remaining timber and drastically increasing logging ! levels on the remainder of the forest. i The timber industry forest service has justified 1 the use of wholesale clearcutting on the grounds that! it emulates the "natural process" of a forest fire. In : addition, they assure us that logging does not harm ', water quality. « Louisiana Pacific spokesperson, Glenys Sim-; mons, has been quoted as saying "logging does not ', cause siltation." Paul Schuller, Timber Manage- : mcnt Officer for the Mendocino National Forest, •! speaking at the annual timber operator's meeting in : Willits last April, assured concerned citizens that : ihc siltation in Lake Pillsbury was not caused by : logging. : According to Schuller, the forest service con- : ducted a "study" which determined the siltation in ; Lake Pillsbury was due to "natural erosion" from the vicinity of High Glade. To prove the point, the forest service plans to log four million board feet of timber from High Glade in 1990. Since the forest fires were essentially large "natural clcarcuts," and since timber industry forest service officials assure us that clearcutting does not cause siltalion, we can be confident that the water quality in the Eel and Russian rivers will remain in a pristine condition — if only we can gel a handle on that "natural erosion." Don Morris Willits Almanac Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Friday, Sept. 18, the 261st day of 1987. There arc 104 days left in the year. Today's Highlight in History: Sixty years ago, on Sept. 18,1927, the Columbia Phonograph Broadcasting System (later CBS) made its debut with a basic network of 16 radio stations. On this date: In 1759, the French formalu!2cd Quebec to the British. In 1769, the Boston Gazette reported on the first piano built in the U.S., a spinet with a three- to four- octave range. In 1793, President George Washington laid the cornerstone of the Capitol building in Washington. In 1810, Chile declared its independence from Spain. In 1850, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, which allowed slaveowners to reclaim slaves who had escaped into other states. hi 1851, The New York Times published its first issue. In 1947, the United States Air Force was established as a separate branch of the military. In 1971, United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold died in a plane crash in northern Rhodesia. In 1975, newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was captured by the ^BI in San Francisco, 19 months alier she was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army. In 1976, close to 1 million Chinese gathered in the center of Beijing to mourn their late leader, Mao Tsc-tung. Ten years ago: The U.S. yacht Courageous, skip- pered by Ted Turner, completed a four-race sweep of the Australia to win the America's Cup series off Newport, R.I. Five years ago: Reports surfaced of the massacre of Palestinians at the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps in west Beirut at the hands of Lebanese Christian militiamen. President Reagan issued a statement saying he was "horrified" at the news. One year ago: In his first public comment on the matter, Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev said U.S. reporter Nicholas Daniloff was a spy caught in' ihc act, and that Washington was exploiting the case to spoil superpower relations. Today's Birthdays: Actress Greta Garbo is 82. Actor Rossano Bra/./.i is 71. Actor Jack Warden is 67. Singer Frankic Avalon is 47. Thought for Today: "We suffer primarily not from our vices or our weaknesses, but from our illusions." — Daniel J. Boorstin, retired Librarian of Congress. Letter policy The Journal welcomes letters from our readers, However, we reserve the right not to pr.int Ihos? letters we consider may be libelous, in bad taste or a personal attack. Letters must not exceed 300 words in lenght and should be typed and double-spaced;. All letters must be signed and include an address and phone number for verification. Anonymous letters will not be printed. Addresses will not be printed, but the writer's name will appear. Ukiah Daily %J Merfdocino County, California Donald W. Reynolds, Chairman of the Board Thomas W. Reeves, Qeneral Manager John Anastasio Managing Editor Deniae Hall Bruce Schlabaugh Advertising Director Victor Martinez Eddie Sequeira Display Advertising Manager Yvonne Bell Claire Booker Circulation Manager Member Audit Bureau of Circulations LOCALLY OPERATED MEMBER OONREY MEDIA GROUP Composing Supervisor Press Supervisor Officer Manager —DOONESBURY OKAY, LETS JUST SAY FOR TH& SAK£ OF ARGUMENT THAT A WHAT SORT OF A6&NPA IHOULD PONALP TRUMP GOOP QUESTION' COULP I HAVE. 7H& FIRST GRAPHIC, PL£AS£ ?
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