Northwest Arkansas Times from Fayetteville, Arkansas on May 20, 1974 · Page 4
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Northwest Arkansas Times from Fayetteville, Arkansas · Page 4

Fayetteville, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Monday, May 20, 1974
Page 4
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J|orti)toe3t Editorial-Opinion Page The Public Interest Is The First Concern Of Th'a Newspaper 4 · MONDAY, MAY 20, 1974 'Phantom Brake' Failures Reported Meters Still Abeggin During World War II, an avalanche of American war material spread around the globe. It won the war, and it also did a good job of exposing the inherent problems of non-interchangeable bolt-head and thread sizes. Most of the world uses the metric system. The U.S. doesn't. Even before W\V 11 it was pretty generally agreed inside U.S. educational and scientific establishments, that evenutal conversion by the U.S. to the metric system was even more desirable than inevitable on a basis of logic, practical application, and case of mastery by young students (to say nothing of international accommodation). To the nation's educational system's credit, most students these days get enough of an introduction to metric measure to understand it, and all the major tool companies of the nation make a selection of metric wrenches, taps, dies and the like. Some major manufacturers, in fact, make metric parts for overseas distribution. Of considerable importance, too, is the fact that all the world's scientists use metric measurements for the simple reason that they are universally comparable, simpler to figure, and more accurate. With this as background, the Congress recently took under consideration a VOLUNTARY conversion lo metric measure, to be phased over 10 years, and with provisions for federal aid in hardship conversion situations. The two salient arguments on behalf of the measure boiled down to the fact that the metric system is overtaking worldwide industry anyway, and seems altogether inevitable, plus the additional consideration that once fhe t r a u m a of conversion is complete the benefit in standardization, as well as ease of engineering, manufacturing and Art Buchwald maintenance, on an international basis, will far outweigh immediate difficulties of a switch. It is pretty certain, too, that a change now will cost less than a year from now -or six -- or 10. Arrayed against this logic, however, are considerations of immediate profit and convenience. A conversion will be inconvenient for many businesses, without question, and it could cost them a little of their profits. To this may be added the view of Rep. H.R. Gross, R-Iowa, who voted against the measure. Gross observes that under the metric system "you won't be able to walk a mile for a Camel." Sad to say, the measure failed on a 153240 vote in the House earlier this month. Casting his vote to defeat the measure was Rep. Hammerschmidt. As a lumberman, maybe he dreaded having to convert 2x4s into 5xlOs (centimeters). But then a 2x4 in Mr. Hammerschmidt's lumber yard isn't a 2x4, either, actually. It's a lot closer to a 1.5x3.5. Maybe the congressman is one of those who favors meters, but voted "nay" because of a lack of broad enough provisions for hardship situation. (The bill was voted on without the availability of amendment). Carpenters, for instance, would not have been specifically eligible for relief funds. But the measure has been in the mill for almost a generation -- longer than Mr. Hammerschmidt has been in Washington, and this is as close as it has come to enactment. It deserved a better fate, we think. Sometimes one step at a time is better than no step at all. Besides, how many perfect bills come out of the House in a given year? Hank Writes A 'Dear Dick' Letter By ART BUCHWALU WASHINGTON -- A man in N.J., writes, "IE Richard Nixon did resign, whom would he resign to?" It's a good question, and my legal counsel informs me that the President would send his letter of resignation to the secretary of state, who happens at this point in lime to be Henry Kjssmgcr. Mr. Kissinger could acknowledge the resignation with a formal receipt, hut I hope lie would enclose a letter of a more persona! nature. From Our Files; How Time Fliesl 70 YEARS AGO News from Washington concerning the closure of the flight service station at Drake Field is not encouraging, with the FAA informing Sen. J. \Y. Fillbright that plans to close the station are proceeding. The Chamber of Com more R drive for $70,000 to purchase 50 VEARS AGO Covering a large crowd of customers with guns, two unmasked bandits at noon t o d a y held up the First National Bank of Prairie Grove. 13 miles southwest of Fayetteville and escaped with S3,550. The robbers bricked out of the bank, jumped into their car. a dilapidated Ford,and drove away. Several hundred Prairie iOO YEARS AGO The war is over, and peace reigns in A r k a n s a s again -- or will in a few days. Brooks has been ousted [rcnn the Slate House by G r a n t ' s bristling bayonets and Baxter is declared Governor. Governor Brooks will brnv 10 the 1 mandate- of t h e President. From the canvass of 1872 up to the present time \ve have land for the Shakespeare company's million dollar m a n u - facturing plant was launched this week. Defense Secretary R o b e r t McNamara announced Monday that Ihe Army had decided to go abend with its decision lo close Fort Chaffce at Fort Smith. Grove citizens joined the posse that was formed. Several hundred doctors are expected on the early trains tomorrow and the noon train to attend the sessions of the Arkansas Medical Society here for the next three days. W. J. Reynolds and Bert Lewis were re-elected city school directors in the election Saturday. not swerved from the course marked out by a rigid adherence to what we conceived to be right in principle and for the best interest of the people of the State of Arkansas. It makes little difference t h a t we have been defeated. It maters no! t h a t the wrong has triumphed -- we are still for the right as we see it. By JACK ANDERSON WASHINGTON -- General Motors hasn't bothered to warn the owners of one million 196812 Cadillacs still on the road that a mysterious brake failure, called "phantom brakes," may plunge them into an accident at any time. Nor has GM notified the federal government. which monitors such defects. Yet the strange brake malady, which can afflict a Cadillac without warning and vanish before it reaches the garage, has been known to GM since 1958. There have also been rarer reports of "Phantom brake" failures in Chevrolels and Olds- mobiles. GM has denied to us that any of its cars have dangerous brakes. Said a spokesman: "The brakes on the Cadillac...are among the most effective in the industry..., tested thoroughly under the most exacting conditions for millions of miles. "Every failure." he added, "has a specific definable cause. Whenever an alleged braking complaint is filed, Cadillac attempts to determine the cause." The same is true, he said, for other GM models. Yet we have had access to documents, which GM seems to have hidden in its deepest files. These reports, which we have made available lo the Center for Auto Safety, dispute the disclaimer from Detroit. Not only have "phantom brakes" caused sudden crashes, according to the documents, hut the GM wizards may not even know what causes the terrifying brake failures. The Washington Merry-Go-Round They'll Do It Every Time It could go something like this: Dear Dick, All of us al good old USA, Inc. were saddened to hear that you were resigning. There is no doubt that you are going lo leave a big hole ' in th« government which even someone like Gerry Ford can't fill. But we understand your reasons for wanting to go. As you put it so succinctly in your letter, you would like to find something more challenging than just being President of ihe United States. Although we hate to lose you, we can't sland in your way of climbing up the ladder to success. We're going to miss your beaming smile, your warm sympathy for your fellow workers and your earthy language. I don't know anyone who called a spade a spade the wny yuu did. W E ' R E ALSO going to miss the prayer breakfasts, the great state dinners, the trips to China and Moscow and San Clemente, not lo mention Ihose fun sessions in the Oval Office when yon let down your hair and regaled us with stories about The Washington Post, The New York Times, the television networks and Chuck Colson. I w a n t you to know, Dick, that thanks to you the good old USA has never been in better shape. Our stock is at an a l l time high, and although we've had to pass up a dividend this year, no one blames you. You didn't know about the oil crisis and you certainly couldn't guess (he rate of inflation, and surely it isn't your fault that the dollar is in trouble abroad. I don't Ihink anyone could have foreseen [he events, and I believe it was very u n f a i r that a few disgruntled stockholders called for your resignation. We also admired you for Ihe way you handled your personal tax problems and real estate deals. The feeling here at USA is that you did the right thing in taking the deductions, and they sEill haven't been able to prove that any of your real estate investments weren't on the up and up. I know they keep harping about [he milk thing and the payments Hoxvard Hughes made to your friends, but this is just jealousy on (he part of people who wanted your job. You were smart to ignore them. THE GANG would also like to thank you for hanging tough over the subpoena from Congress for your records. Heaven knows where USA would be today if they ever got hold of them. As a small token of appreciation, the boy and girls in the office chipped in together and bought you a little gift which I'm sending over by messenger. It's a brand-new Sony recording machine, self-activating, which we're sure will give you lots of pleasure. You could dictate your memoirs or use it to record conversations with your friends. (Heh. heh.) In any any case, every time you turn it on, we hope you'll think of y o u r long - suffering buddies here in Washington. Nancy sends her best. Keep in touch, huh? Sincerely, Henry Kissinger (Secretary of State) fO W4. Ansd" Time* A typical experience was reported by Mrs. Ethel Harris who was driving her Cadillac sedan in New Kensington, Pa., al about 35 miles per hour. Ahead, she saw cars stopped at a light. She pressed on her brake pedal, but to her horror the pedal sank flat on the floor- Thinking quickly, she swerved off the road to avoid injuring those in the cars ahead. Her decision sent h«r to the hospital, with a broken nose and bad bruises. The Cadillac crashed into a house, causing $2,000 damage to the car and $1.000 damage to the home. Police on the scene tested her brakes and reported the pedal "went all the way to the floor." Yet a few days later, a GM representative found a "good b r a k e pedal' and full brake cylinder. The GM man listed the cause of accident vaguely as "brake pedal fade." The GM documents cite "phantom brake failure" as the cause of a crash in Colorado involving a new Cadillac. And in Georgia, a Fleetwood owner reported two "phantom brake failures" before a third one sent him jolting into the rear end of a Pontiac, causing two injuries and $2,800 worth of damages. In the limited number of aCd- illac documents we were able to survey, there were 28 "phantom brake" reports. But the documents hint of many more cases. States one Cadillac official: "We have experienced several of these cases and so far have not been able lo diag- nos the cause." . The suppressed facts in the GM documents is supported by additional evidence of our own. The Center for Auto Safety has also received complaints from Cadillac owners. A military officer wrote, for example, that he watched in horror as his wife pumped "th« brakes down to the floor" and the big Cadillac rolled helplessly into a crash. There have been complaints, too, from the owners of other · GM cars. An Illinois lawyer wrote to us about a Chevrolet I m pa la whose "brake pedal went to the floor without any braking action," causing three injuries. Yet mechanics who checked the car shortly before the accident found no defect. The auto safety center received a similar complaint from a driver whose Olds mobile crashed through a store window. GM sent the master cylinders of "phantom brake" cars to brake experts at Delcp Morraine, according to the internal documents. But no final solution io the problem was found. The center is preparing a complaint to the Transportation Department that GM has had more than five years to find out the reason for "phantom brakes 1 ' and to recall the 1M8- 72 Cadillacs for repairs. If the Transportation Department finds that GM purposely concealed the "phantom brake" dangers from the government ?!?!^ogP ·.An=*?K5j tsav.s-J "Four score and seven years ago..." !!%#?!!# M K hip Fe»liir»*Synrl l From The Readers Viewpoint and Cadillac owners, {he center ' wilt call (or federal prosecution. SPYING ON JANE: Two years ago, we began * seriei of exposes, based on FBI tiles, of the federal government's surveillance o f prominent Americans. One or those being spied upon, we revealed, was anti-war activist Jane Fonda. "The secret FBI file on a c t r e s s Jane Fonda," we wrote, " w o u l d choke a hippopotamus." The s l e u t h s had followed her to college campuses and military bases around the world, had confiscated and copied her personal address book under cover o! a customs search, had obtained h e r confidential financial records and had faithfully recorded her conversations on national television. The transcripts were then stamped Top Secret." Jane Fonda asked us for her file and we gave it to her. She subsequently filed suit, naming 22 defendants, including President Nixon. The government has now responded with an admission of virtually all our accusations. Jn addition, however, the Justice Department disclosed "that at various times during the period 1970-1971 some conversations of the plaintiff were incidentally intercepted and overheard during national security electronic surveillance directed at others..." The wiretaps, the government lawyers stated, "were conducted without a prior judicial warrant" but were "authorized by the President...." Coming To Grips With For A Change To the Editor: I've just had your Station (KOAM-TV) tuned in for the six o'clock news. Mr. Boh Sullingcr reporting. 1 believe". As you picked up President Nixon in Phoenix your news easier made Hie comment (hat the most of t h e hand-picked crowd seemed to be for the President. Now. what 1 want to know is how did Mr. Sullinger know that the crowd was hand-picked? Was he there? Did he sland at the gate, or the door, and hear someone question each one as to whether he or she was for or against President Nixon?... and if they were against him were they turned away? You know. 1 can't understand how the news casters, such as Mr. Smith and Mr. Reasoncr and a host of others who make up the news media can generate so much h a t e and still remain in comparatively good health. If I believed in evolution I should imagine Mr. Donaldson might be the "missing link". We wonder what they talked about before Watergate came along. In facl. we wonder if they weren't spawned by Watergate. If so. and if they should all die with it. we could bury them all in the same grave in downtown Washington, or in New York; and. of course, we should wish to include all the senile members of Congress with the news media, even possibly some who are not so senile! It's true there are a multitude of problems facing this country, but we have only a very few men who have the guts lo face up to them. T would say t h a t 90 per cent of them (Congressmen. I mean) are afraid to stand for a n v t h i n s -- afraid they might lose a few votes, I presume -- but we do have President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger; and we all know t h a t Mr. Nixon is long on intestinal fortitude, else he would have been gone a long time ago. 1 admire a man who won't quit. They usually win in the long run, and I am hoping President Nixon will win. Mr. Kissinger must be a highly talented man, and one who gets along well with other people, also a man who keeps trying, inasmuch as he keeps going hack to try and try again. President Nixon has been persecuted, hounded and mentally harrassed as no other person I can think of since Christ was crucified on the cross. It should be enough to make every true American hang his head in shame. One of the biggest problems t h a t is going to give us a big headache in the years ahead is the world population explosion. We have only to look at India. China. Japan, etc. to see that it won't be long imtil they must hang out their sign "Standing Room ONLY" -- and when this happens the United States won't be far behind. For years we have had a comfortable surplus of food and almost of everything else. Farmers were even paid by the government NOT to plant crops. Now we are all encouraged to become farmers in our small hack yards. Did you know that foreign countries are coming to the United States and buying land? That fifteen Arabs could buy all of the cattle ranches in Texas. that there is reclamation going on in Florida of some 70.000 acres, that there is talk of elevators being built to store grain and hold it for shipment hack to the Mother country (to feed THEIR people); and that we arc letting immigrants come into our country at an alarming rate? I recall all of this in order to point out that Congress is lagging behind in doing their job. The President put it aptly when he said they were dragging their feet . . . but. Mr. Voter, we can do something about this when we go to tfie polls, and for one I certainly intend to do so. All problems have a solution; some may be rather drastic. Certainly we believe in helping the old people and the young too if they are m e n t a l l y incapacitated, o r otherwise handicapped, but we don't believe in supporting able- bodied, lazy people. As I see it, if there is one child in a family and that family is on relief, how is it justifiable for such people to keep on h a y i n g children? Why not sterilize them? as well as those who twice or more times have broken the law in a criminal manner. It would help solve t h e food shortage, the population problem, and maybe deter some of the current or potential criminals. Apparently, though, there is no one in Congress with the guts to sponsor such a bill, even though any half-wit can see the handwriting on the wall! Isn't it, therefore, about time to quit feeling sorry for the Cubans (they already have Miami and are heading North)? Certainly, in my opinion, we are badly in need o( a change -- not of a President, but of CONGRESSMEN! Isn't this need imminently evident? I would urge that you make your stand evident when you vote! Charles B. DavU BentonvHle Death PITTSBURGH (ERR) -- The Dying Patient and His Family" Is one of Ihe topics to be discussed at the University of Pittsburgh medical school's annual symposium on critical cars medicine. May 23-35. THE HISTORY of philosophy and literature is filled with suggestions on how to overcome the limits of human mortality. From Beowulf to Thomas Wolfe, two of the most-suggested ways have been through the permanence of art and through the fame achieved by acts of heroism and nobility- But most people are neither uniquely lalented nor exceptionally heroic, and those who receive little recognition in their lives have the toughest timo facing the thought of death and human impcrmanence. Like the title character in Tolstoy's short story, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, they come face to face with the pointlessness of [heir existence when confronted with the notion of nxjrtality. For this reason, and others, most people deliberately refuse to think about death, thereby avoiding the anxiety generated by fear and uncertainty. ALL Of THIS m a y be changing, however. People are beginning to discuss questions of death with their friends and families more fequcntly. Terminally ill patients are becoming more open with themselves and are learning to face their illnesses with greater courage and insight. One such patient is Orvilla E. Kelly, a Burlington. Iowa, resident suffering from permanent lymphoma (cancer of the lymphoid tissues), high blood pressure and excess uric acid in his system. In an interview with a National Observer reporter, Kelly told why he decided to change his attitude: "I didn't want to have cancer, but then it suddenly occurred to me I didn't have any choice. So 1 said to myself. 'What did ] have to lose by trying to b» happy?" Eager to share his philosophy. Kelly has organized terminally ill persons into a group for open, informal dialogue about positive approaches to what remains of their lives. The group's slogan is "Make Today Counf'(MTC). So f a r , MTC chapters have sprung up in more than a dozen cities across the country. IF SOME people are turning to group therapy for assistance, others are turning to education in an attempt lo understand the mysteries of death. Time magazine noted last year that more than 70 colleges and schools throughout Ihe United Stales were offering courses in than- alolngy -- Ihe study of death (from thanatos, the Greek word for death.) Class activities include visits to funeral homes and listening to tape-recorded interviews of people who are dying. Some students go so far as to try out coffins for size. Among the standard textbooks are such works as On Death and Dying, by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, and the Meaning of Death, by Herman Feifel. Sociologist Robert Fulton of the University of Minnesota explained the purpose of thanato- logy courses this way: "The point is to bring a new perspective to death; to show that it is natural and lo counter some of the euphemistic devices our society uses to hide death and dying." In the end. man may come to terms with his own mortality by accepting the cyclical facts of life. One need not profess a religion to believe that life moves forward as individual links in the chain are replaced by others. As Orvill Kelly expresses it, people must begin to realize that death is a part of life. "I don't know anyone that's escaped." he says "If they have, they've kept it a ·ecret."

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