The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, December 04, 1978, Image 2

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The Battalion
Texas A&M University
December 4, 1978
Candidates’ subsidy
way to equalize races
SAN FRANCISCO — Contrary to pub
lic impression, there is too little, not too
much, money being spent on politics in the
United States.
Inordinate attention has been paid in the
press to the relative handful of races in
which exceptionally large sums of money
were spent. We have been told so much
about the "$6 million man” — a reference
to the campaign treasury of Sen. Jesse
Helms (R-N.C.) — that we have come to
believe that such sums are characteristic of
our bloated, dollar-gorged democracy.
It just ain't so. Two years ago, the Fed
eral Election Commission (FEC) asked
pollsters Peter D. Hart and Richard Wirth-
lin to survey the spending by congressional
candidates. They found that the vast major
ity of them had run campaigns that Hart
characterized accurately as “mom and pop”
Fewer than one-third of the House can
didates in 1976 said they had professional
campaign managers and fewer than one-
fifth spent as much as $100,(XX) on then-
entire campaign.
Looking at the FEC records for this
year’s campaign, it appears that, despite
the report of increased giving by corporate
political action committees and political
parties, most House races are still those
“mom and pop" affairs. And, unsurpris
ingly, once again more than nine out often
incumbents on the November ballot won.
According to my highly unofficial calcu
lation, in most congressional districts the
sums available amounted to less than one
inflation-shrunk dollar per voter. Of the
1,662 House candidates who filed with the
FEC, only 301 reported spending more
than $100,000. Those reports cover all the
primaries and the general election up
through Oct. 27. Doubtless, the number of
$100,000 campaigns will increase slightly
in the final accounting, but the general pic
ture of skimpy campaign resources will re
The problem becomes more apparent
when you focus on the money available to
challengers. It appears that only 53 people
in the whole country challenging House
incumbents in November had as much as
$100,000 to spend in the entire 1978 cam
paign. The others in that charmed $100,000
circle included 124 incumbents up for
reelection, 64 candidates for open seats,
and 60 people who spent more than
$100,000 to lose in the primary.
These figures make it clear that the real
goal of any campaign “reform” legislation in
the new Congress should be not to elimi
nate or harass the occasional $6 million
man, but to make it possible for more than a
few dozen challengers to be able to spend a
dollar a voter.
The goal should be not to lower the ceil
ing on a few extravagant spenders, but to
provide a decent campaign base for a lot
more candidates. The best way to do that is
to provide a direct cash subsidy from public
Theoretically, that subsidy should be
available to anyone willing to give up a year
of h is or her life to campaigning. But as a
practical matter, the subsidy probably has
to be limited to candidates strong enough
to receive a major party nomination or
those who can demonstrate by some other
means a broad base of public support.
That kind of subsidy from public funds is
fully merited by the service candidates
provide by injecting a degree of competi
tion into an overly protected congresssional
As everyone knows, the subsidy is really
needed by challengers, not incumbents,
and in an age of tight budgets it should be
limited to those who need it. The incum
bents already enjoy generous public sub
sidies for their staff, district offices, travel,
newsletters, broadcasts and corre
spondence. They also have greater access
to private contributions.
These advantages can be justified, but
only if the incumbents are prepared to vote
for a measure of equity for their opponents
th rough a substantial subsidy of their cam
paign costs as well.
The task before Congress is not difficult,
but it is one that requires a certain degree
of self-sacrifice. The legislators do not have
to write new limits on private contributions
or decide the spending ceiling for congres
sional campaigns. All they have to do is
recognize a clear duty to provide a decent
financial base for the non-incumbents who
now barely keep the competition for House
seats alive.
(c) 1978, The Washington Post Company
Life after kick-off
WASHINGTON — What’s wrong with
this country is that too many people don’t
take football seriously enough.
They laughed when George Allen,
former coach of the Washington Redskins,
said losing was like dying.
It s only a game,” the philosophically
defective scoffed.
That fits right in with what we read about
the prevailing public attitude toward
I must have seen this very year at least a
dozen articles on the same theme — that
people are refusing to face up to their
mortality, changing the subject when it is
mentioned and otherwise trying to sweep
death under the rug.
These undoubtedly are the same people
who try to tell you football is only a game.
There has been in recent months a flurry
of books and magazine pieces about per
sons who supposedly experienced “clini
cal” death and lived to tell about it.
Permit me to quote some descriptions of
dying as recorded in the book “Life After
“I was in an utterly black, dark void. It is
very difficult to explain, but I felt as if I
were moving in. a vacuum.”
I stayed in shock for about a week, and
during that time all of a sudden I just es
caped into this dark void. I was so taken up
with this void that I just didn’t think of
anything else.”
“I had the feeling that I was moving
through a deep, very dark valley.”
To me, this sounds almost exactly like
how it feels to lose a football game.
I spent Thanksgiving afternoon watching
the Dallas-Washington game with a group
of people who had the proper attitude.
Some of them started dying even before
the opening kickoff. It was beautiful.
By the time Dallas had scored its first 20
points, my friend Phizbeam was, by all
physiological criteria, done for. Eyes
glazed. Pallid flesh. No pulse or other vital
But football also can be marvelously re
storative. When I saw Phizbeam this week
a few days after USC, his alma mater, had
overtaken Notre Dame, he was functioning
at 67.8 percent above normal.
I asked him to describe what football
moribundity was like.
“At first, I felt kind of a sinking sensa
tion," he recalled. "It was like being drawn
down into a black hole. My chest felt tight,
there was a fluttering in my ears like the
beating of plover wings and I was visually
aware of jiggling movements."
George Allen was right. Football truly is
what life is all about.
I suspect, however, that some of the sen
sations Phizbeam described were caused
by televised close-ups of the Dallas cheer
French law curbing drunk motorists
PARIS — The French have two loves
that mix badly — automobiles and alcohol.
But now, in a revolutionary move, the
police here are enforcing a new law that
cracks down severely tipsy motorists.
Hailing the tough measures, which are
already producing salutary consequences
on the roads. Minister of Justice Alain
Peyrefitte recently said: "The French for
merly had the right to roll under the table
and roll along in their cars. Now they can no
longer enjoy both rights simultaneously.”
Predictably, the curbing on drinking and
driving are opposed by the owners of bars
and cafes as well as bv elements of the wine
industry, who complain that the stiff’regu
lations are killing their business. Not long
ago, the head of one wine-growers’ associa
tion proclaimed the law to be a “violation of
civil liberties,” and he threatened to resort
to “illegal” action against it.
Surprisingly, though, opinon surveys
show that the public overwhelmingly ap
proves the effort to improve safety on
France's highway. The largest proportion
of those in favor are young people.
The new law, which was passed by the
French legislature’ in July, authorizes the
police to stop drivers at random and re
quire them to take balloon tests that mea
sure the alcohol content in their blood.
Motorists whose blood contains 0.80
grams or more of alcohol per liter are liable
to lose their licenses and may face prison
terms of up to four years as well as a fine of
nearly $5,000.
The decision to introduce the law stem
med from two factors — the carnage on
French roads and the significant drop in
accidents that followed two earlier innova
The slaughter broke all records in 1973,
when highway fatalities in France reached
15,500, or one death every 20 minutes.
That massacre prompted the government
to make the use of seat belts mandatory and
to impose speed limits, ranging from 54 to
78 miles per hour, depending on the road.
The change was instantaneous. The
number of highway deaths declined to
13,500 in 1974 and to 13,170 in 1975 de
spite an increase in traffic during those two
years of about 7 percent. The lack of prog
ress after that, however, led the govern
ment to consider rigorous steps to prevent
drunken driving.
In studying steps that might be taken,
researchers found that only 3 percent of all
motorists could be classified as excessive
drinkers. Yet they accounted for 40 percent
of fatal accidents in daytime and 50 percent
of road deaths at night.
The answer, quite obviously, was to dis
courage driving and drinking. Hence a bal
loon test of the kind that has long been
common in countries like Sweden, where
tough regulations have drastically reduced
road accidents.
But one problem that has still not been
solved is how much liquor is too much. In
order to dramatize the problem, the Paris
daily newspaper, Le Figaro, invited four
people to a meal designed to assay their
capacity to absorb alcohol.
The quests consisted of a woman weight
ing 112 pounds, a skinny man of 141
pounds, an average Frenchman of 154
pounds and a fat fellow who tipped the
scales at 194 pounds. Their luncheon,
which lasted 90 minutes, featured fish,
meat, cheese and dessert. Each guest was
requested to drink an aperitif beforehand
and two half-bottles of wine, one white and
the other red, during the meal.
An hour later, they were conducted to a
laboratory for blood tests, and the outcome
was astonishing. Only the little lady went
over the legal limit with 0.92 grams of al
cohol per liter of blood. The fat fellow’s
alcohol content, in contrast, was only 0.05
Any physician could have forecast that
rich foods lessen the impact of alcohol. The
results, therefore, would have been differ
ent had the guests simplv eaten steak and
But the experiment, by proving that the
effects of alcohol on individuals vary
widely, has furnished ammunition to those
who argue that the present balloon test is
too liberal. They assert that the critical
level for drinking drivers ought to be low
ered to 0.50 grams of alcohol per liter of
In any case, the new law has demon
strated that monitoring motorists can work
effectively. As early as August, only a
month after the legislation had gone into
effect, the highway accident rate had drop
ped 12.6 percent compared to the same
period a year before, and road fatality 14.2
Nobody regards it as unusual that special
interest groups, like the liquor business,
are squawking. What is unusual, however,
is that France as a nation is adapting to a
radical regulation that, in times gone by,
might have caused culture shock.
(Dupuis writes on social issues for Le
Nouvel Observateur, the French weekly.)
Letters to the Editor
Other schools deserve Highway 6ers
I finally decided that it was time to join
the prestiged rank of mindless idiots who
write letters to the editor of the Battalion.
Making the last statement (one that is de
rogatory to the Ag tradition of writing unin
telligent letters to the editor) entitles me to
join yet another prestigious rank: Those
who are directed to that bastion of knowl
edge in Austin by way of the infamous bi
directional Highway 6.
Which brings me to make a minor criti
cism, Ags. Why must you be so repititous
when instructing two-percenters where to
go? Why always tell them to go to t.u.?
Why not o.u.? Or u.s.c., m.i.t., l.s.u., or
Come on, 102 percenters, there’s plenty
of other schools that these bad Ags can
reach via Highway 6 so that we needn’t
bombard the halls of t.u. with all of them?
Let’s show some of that Ag creativity,
—Mickey McDermott, ’78.5
Editor’s note: Jeff Hancock, head yell
leader, participated in the “ransom.”
Need a friend
Thanksgiving spirit
S\JZ, , Sue
Dear: Sue Hodge, assistant area coor
Pam Freeman, Mosher Hall treasurer,
Joanne Xavier, Mosher Hall president
On behalf of the 12 needy families that
you helped with your generous donation of
Thanksgiving grocery items, please accept
our most grateful and sincere thanks. You
cannot imagine the joy and happiness that
yoU brought to these less fortunate families
that would not have had a blessed and
happy Thanksgiving Day, had it not been
for the energetic efforts of the residents of
Mosher Hall and the good-natuled kinness
of the Aggie yell leader who agreed to be
“kidnapped for ransom.”
Our most grateful thanks to this young
man as well. We do not know his name, but
please convey to him our sincere gratitude.
I am truly proud to be a former student
knowing that TAMU students are so very
concerned about the needy children and
families in this area.
Again, thank you all from the bottom of
our hearts.
—Irma A. Benavides, ’73
Social Services Worker II
State Department of Human Resources
My name is Duane P. Harris, I am 29
years old and my residence is the Southern
Ohio Correctional facility.
I am writing you this letter as an agent of
appeal for correspondence and friendship.
Loneliness in a place like this is almost
unbearable. It is very much like a quiet
drama that keeps building and building,
seemingly without end.
The experience of such a feeling has to be
felt to be fully understood. I have no wish to
remain just a faint echo of a hidden soul. In
a desperate effort to emerge from the
internal prison of lost despair, I have writ
ten you this letter in an attempt to
reaquaint myself with the outside world,
and to become associated in a more honest
and valid relationship with reality.
I am seriously at work on qualifying my
self and consciously working minute by
minute to assemble, coordinate and bal
ance out the bits and pieces needed to con
struct and maintain a progressive personal
ity devoid of unreality and complacency.
I would like to correspond with anyone
who is lonely and in need of affection and
understanding and possible love.
—Duane P. Harris
Box 45699
Lucasville, Ohio 45699
Top of the News
Western artist featured here
An exhibit by sculptor George Lundeen will go on display today in
Texas A&M University’s Memorial Student Center Gallery. The free
exhibit will run through Dec. 13. The Texas A&M artist-in-residence
described himself as a western artist, and believes his work represents
the western art of today. In conjunction with his duties as artist-in
residence, Ludeen also teaches a basic design course and will teach a
class in sculpting during the spring semester. MSC Gallery hours are 8
a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.
University pledges $34,000
Texas A&M University fund-raising efforts on behalf of the College
Station United Fund and the Bryan-Brazos County United Way have
yielded contributions of $34,246.29 at campaign’s end, according to
campus chairman Chuck Cargill. Of contributions received through
last week, $16,547.33 was designated for the Bryan campaign and
$17,698.96 was donated to the College Station campaign. Cargii
requests that unit representatives check that all contributions have
been turned in to campus treasurer Robert Smith.
Assistant science dean named
Dr. Omer C. Jenkins will assume duties Jan. 16 as assistant deanin
Texas A&M University’s College of Science. Jenkins will retain his
academic rank of associate professor of statistics in addition to his new
duties. University officials said. A member of the faculty since 1965, he
earned bachelor's and master’s degrees from North Texas State Uni
versity and his doctorate from Texas A&M in 1972. Jenkins fills the
position formerly held by Dr. Carlton J. Maxson, who recently was
named to head the Mathematics Department.
Third man charged in murder
The last of three 18-year-old McKinney, Texas, men charged in the
shooting death last summer of country music promoter has been
returned to Richmond, Mo., and was expected to be arraigned today.
Stewart Stripling is charged with capital murder in the July 23 shooting
death of George Barnett, 49. A warrant for Stripling's arrest was issued
last summer, but he fought extradition until last week. Capital murder
charges also have been filed against Kenneth Welbom and Jeffrey
Hunter. Authorities said Barnett was shot to death as he slept in a
trailer in rural Ray County.
A child
ade, s
tion C
pectin g
Tornadoes hit Mississippi
At least three tornadoes touched down in the Mississippi Delta
Sunday, causing some property damage but apparently resulting in
only one injury. At least two house trailers were overturned and
several tenant houses and a cotton gin were damaged in Coahoma
County. Sheriffs deputies in Sunflower County said what appeared
to be a tornado turned over several trailers, downed light poles and
caused roof damage to a farm shop when it touched down about 2:15
p.m. EST betweeen Indianola and Moorhead. No injuries were re
lay to <
Hen D«
rder vi
II infori
ack Str
National Guard subs for firemen
National Guardsmen filling in for striking firemen in Lake Charles,
La., responded to several calls Sunday in their second day of duty.
Mayor William Boyer said the next step in the strike will come today
when he and union representatives meet for negotiations with a federal
mediator. Sixty guardsmen, none of them trained in firefighting, were
dispatched to the city early Saturday by Gov. Edwin Edwards at
Boyer’s request. Before they arrived, one house burned to the ground
before a makeshift crew of firefighters, filling in for the regulars, could
extinguish what started as a small fire.
Search continues for survivors
Air Force rescue units Sunday continued their grim search near
Cottageville, S.C., for more victims of the crash of a C-130 Hercules
cargo plane that went down in flames by a soybean field Thursday. No
survivors are expected to be found, said Maj. T. W. King, spokesman
for the Carleston Air Force Base. Six crewmen were aboard the
four-engine, turboprop transport plane. The aircraft crashed and burst
into flames after being hit by lightning. No passengers or cargo wereon
board the plane. King said.
Nuclear plant to be protested
Former Pentagon specialist Daniel Ellsberg said the Rocky Flats
nuclear weapons plant, 15 miles northwest of Denver, will be the
central target among the nation’s seven nuclear bomb plants for major
protest demonstrations. Ellsberg, one of 10 demonstrators convicted
last week of criminal trespassing as a result of protests staged near
Rocky Flats duimg the past six months, said it would be harder to
organize at the other plants because of their remote location. Speaking
in Golden, Colo., he said other facilities in the nuclear weapons
complex are in Missouri, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia and Amarillo
We are experiencing a cold front with a low today of 31 and a
high of 53. We will have mostly cloudy skies decreasing
tonight. Winds will be northerly at 5 to 10 mph.
The Battalion
Letter* to the editor should not exceed 300 words and are
subject to heinn cot to that length or less if longer. The
editorial staff reserves the ri^ht to edit such letters and does
Hot guarantee to finbllsh any letter. Each letter must he
sinned, show the address of the writer and list a telephone
number for verification.
Address correspondence to Letters to the Editor, The
Battalion, Boom 216, Bred McDonald Build inn, Collenc
Station, Texas 77843.
Represented nationally by National Educational Adver
tising Services, Inc., New York City, Chicago and Los
Tlie Battalion is published Monday through Friday from
September through May except during exam and holiduy
periods and the summer, when it is published on Tuesday
through Thursday.
Mail subscriptions are $16.75 per semester; $33.25 per
school year; $35.00 per full year. Advertising rates furnished
on request. Address: The Battalion, Boom 216, Reed
McDonald Building, College Station, Texas 77843.
United Press International is entitled exclusively to the
use for reproduction of all news dispatches credited to it.
Bights of reproduction of all other matter herein reserved.
Second-Class postage paid at College Station, TX 77843.
Texas Press Association
Southwest Journalism CongreK
Editor Kin 1
Managing Editor Ui
Assistant Managing Editor Andy"
Sports Editor
City Editor Janus 1
Campus Editor Sle (
News Editors Debbie ft ^
Beth Calhoun
Staff Writers Karen
Patterson, Scott Pell* !
Sean Petty, Michelle ft 1
Diane Blake, Lee Roy If-
Jr., Dillard Stone
...Dongfr I
....Ed» *
Lynn Blanco
Focus section editor Can " I
Opinions expressed in The Battalion are
those of the editor or of the writer of the
article and are not necessarily those of the
University administration or the Board of
Regents. The Battalion is a non-, ,
supporting enterprise Operalctl l>H^
as a university and conwniiiilij unf
Editorial policy is deteniiiiiallHjlhi fi