The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, July 10, 1986, Image 2

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Page 2/The Battalion/Thursday, July 10, 1986 Opinion Better than tents Texas Department of Corrections Chairman A1 Hughes’ proposal to use “pre-release centers” to cut down on prison overcrowding makes much more sense than previous sugges tions for solving the problem. Hughes says he will push for at least four pre-released cen ters, designed for housing inmates serving the last six to 12 months of their sentences or low-risk offenders such as drug abusers. The centers would have industrial operations and pos sibly work-release programs. Hughes hopes to make a formal presentation to the Texas Legislature during its next session. Pre-release centers are a more effective solution to over crowding than releasing prisoners before their sentences have been served completely or housing them in tents. The 500-in mate units would ensure prisoners do not have years trimmed off their sentences merely because of lack of cell space. But the centers also would meet prison reform requirements. The in dustrial operations and work-release programs would tie in with current rehabilitative programs offered by the TDC. The total cost for the construction and land acquisition would be between $8.5 million and $10 million, Hughes says. But the TDC chairman plans to compare the cost of a state-built facility with private bids. Private construction would take some of the financial burden off the state, making the proposal all the more appealing in these times of declining oil revenues. In addi tion, profits from the industrial operations would be returned to prison-system funds. The four proposed units could be a much-needed release valve for the rising overcrowding pressures which currently plague Texas prisons. While the proposed facilities may not be the ideal solution to the prison problem, they certainly make previous suggestions seem pleasantly ridiculous by comparison. After all, justice based on cell vacancy is not only ineffective, it’s embarrassing. The Battalion Editorial Board Reagan’s press limits The Reagan YV h i t e House, whose managers prefer decorum to the sometimes un ruliness of a free Michael Putzel News Analysis —and sometimes free-wheeling—press, is more and more off-limits to reporters. They're small steps, to be sure, each one bv itself hardly worth mentioning outside the grounds. But as they are added one after another, they begin to f orm a pattern of exclusion. Item: The Secret Service, ostensibly for reasons of security, begins barring the small “pool” of reporters and pho tographers that usually accompanies the president from following him into and through hotels and places where he goes to make speeches. As a result, news people no longer can get close enough to the president to talk to him when he is traveling. Item: Still photographers, once ac companied by reporters and television crews whenever they took pictures of the president, are quietIv escorted into some meetings without their inquisitive colleagues along. Begun on an experi mental basis, purportedlv to increase opportunities for candid photos of Rea- uan. these “stills onlv” events are now Michael Putzel is a White House corre spondent for The Associated Press. 'Coqqo 0000 yd fr The new discrimination: affirmative action quotas One sympa thizes with the Supreme Court’s ruling against the sheet metal work ers union in New York City b e - cause the union had flagrantly discriminated against minori ties. But the court’s sanction We do not have the current figures, but it is unklikely that anyone would charge that there is anti-Semitic discrim ination at Yale today, either at the fac ulty or at the student level. Quite the contrary would certainly appear to be the case in the student body: 3 percent of Americans are Jewish, and probably 25 percent of the student body of Har vard and Yale are Jewish. William F. Buckley Jr. frequent substitutes for the larger ses sions that customarily include reporters. Item: The president, who once en tered the East Room through the main door to address assembled guests, now slips in through a side entrance beyond the reach — and questions — of report ers covering such events. None of these steps would be cause for concern if there were regular access to President Reagan and his top lieuten ants. But for years members of the news media have been prohibited from walk ing unescorted through the working areas of the White House and generally see the president only at his pleasure or the inclination of his staff. Reagan, in particular, exhibits little desire for informal or unrehearsed meetings with reporters. And as a practical matter, no other outside observers have regular opportu nities to question him about his policies or issues of national concern. The president’s business is, after all, the public’s business. And while most would acknowledge he has the privilege of conducting much of his work behind closed doors, there will continue to be demands for open scrutiny of his thoughts, his decisions and his policies. of the lower court’s remedy introduces us to the surrealism of the court’s logic. By Aug. 31, 19K7, the union in ques tion is supposed to have in its work force 29-23 percent black or Hispanic. The figure itself is a metaphorical reproach of the kind of logic the court has per mitted itself to engage in. I doubt that Einstein would have specified 29.23 parts uranium in an atom bomb with any confidence, and certainly Maxim's would not specify 29.23 minutes in the oven for a Baked Alaska. The idea of U.S. courts spending their time measur ing in hemidemisemiquavers compli ance with anti-discrimination statutes gets to the shaky empirical question, and we are still left with the moral question. Now what are we to conclude f rom this, if we fix attention only to the rea soning of the Supreme Court? At what chronological point can a white Anglo- Saxon Protestant protest a pattern of discrimination against him? If it is said to him that it as simple as that lie was less Well-qualified than the Jewish appli cant, he has recourse — doesn’t he? — to the argument that subjective criteria are relied on heavily in any situation in which there are eight or H) applicants for any single opening, and individual qualifications tend to become redun dant. Will the courts be asked to regu late school admissions policies, given that at the same time the New York sheet metal workers union was discrimi nating against blacks and Hispanics, Yale was discriminating against Jews? holding is a narrow one . . ..N» noritv employees therefore renuI. to challenge the race-conscioii'H sin es contemplated In a propost'H sent decree as violative of iliti!® under Sec. 703 or the Mth Ik ment. Even if non-minoritv empB do not object to the consent dc« court should not approve a tonscl cree, a court should not approve E sent decree that on its face provitl-B racially preferential treatmertp would clearly violate Sec. 703B 14th Amendment.” That is what one might call,if concurrent opinion, but it exprewl reservations held by many whoiJ one hand wish to stamp out (lisuiil tion and on the fear that ther taken by the Supreme Court tnev fights discrimination with theweaj discrimination. Daniel Oren, a fairly recent graduate of Yale University, has written a book. Joining the Club, documenting what ev eryone knew, not about discrimination against blacks and Hispanics by Yale (and by other Ivy League colleges), but against Jews. It was onlv after World War II that, in most faculty depart ments at these nerve centers of liber alism, a Jew could get a tenured ap pointment. There were implicit quotas limiting Jewish and Catholic students. The Supreme Court appears to have sanctioned a promotion schedule in Cleveland by firefighters that provides for promoting a white on Monday, a black or Hispanic on Tuesday, a white on Wednesday, a B/H on Thursday — the idea being to undertake, in the name of affirmative action, something on the order of quotas that represent demographic distribution. In voting with the majority, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was visibly unhappy. “I write separately to emphasize that the court’s The majority of Americans haul very docile, submitting to the mol ton of the Supreme Court. You almost anything to the Christiannj ity — take away their right topii ! schools, tell them they can’t keepf 1 tier off the neighborhood netvsstB direct them to send their chiklrB schools ten miles away. But the® eye is going to go on one of theseB when an American who has neve* gaged in discrimination discover® he can get promoted only by pent® of a federal judge. The New Yo® Cleveland rulings of the court are fragile than their rooters make the I' to be. Af f irmative action is noisii® stitutionalized as the new instiun«| discrimination. Somewhere line there may lie another court White vs. Board of Education. Copyright 19S6, Universal Press Syndic^ Problems of the farmers also plague Farm Aid c aid wh grt of bu SUl tin YV< th< no th< dir re; tio wi fo Mi tin su 7 f dej Un she nat We the tioi When the edi- tors determined that I was to cover farm Aid II. most of the staf f w as en- v ions. I w a s thrilled at the chance to get to hang out with Wil lie Nelson a n cl friends and get paid for it to boot. Karl Pallmeyer I should have realized there might be problems when it took W illie's people six hours to get the press passes ready and I was required to make a S50 “dona tion" before I could pic k up passes for me. and linttnlion photographer Tom ()wnbe\. When we arrived at farm Aid II we were told In "Those in Charge” that we couldn't go anvwhere but the press tent and the audience. Thev also told us that then would ti\ to organize groups to take' up to the' photogj aphers' platform just below the stage so that we could get pic ture’s. It took forever for " I hose in Charge" to organize these groups, so we took our chances with the crowd. Aftet we got some shots of the crowd, we went back to the press tent and waited around for the stars who just got off stage and were supposed to come back and talk to the press. None of the currently popular stars made it back, but Roger McGuinn, one of the found ing members of the Byrds, and John Brine did. I enjoyed talking to Brine and McGuinn, but I couldn’t get much that would be of interest to the MTV genera tion of today. I would much rather spend the afternoon talking to McG uinn than John Cougar Mellencamp but I, and about 100 other reporters, was sent to get a story of today’s music, not the music of 20 years ago. Right before John Cougar Mellen camp hit the stage, “Those in Charge” decided that photographers couldn't go up on stage because we were not follow ing the rules thev had made up. Appar ent Iv, thev decided it would be a lot less work on them if thev would refuse to co operate with the press and claim that someone else was responsible. After much arguing with “Those in Charge,” thev finally agreed to take us on stage so that we could get some pic tures. They said we could have onlv 10 minutes, but we would have to wait until some "hardcore professionals” were through shooting. Those “hardcore professionals” were about 13 y ears old and were taking pic tures with Bolaroids and Kodak Disc- Cameras. For some reason there were tons of the 13-year-olds that had full run of the concert because their passes said “Willie’s friends.” Basses that said “Media" were pretty much useless. We got up on stage just in time for Neil Young's set. I was a good little jour nalist, got some shots of Neil and, when mv time was up. got off the stage and waited to be led back to the press tent. “ Those in Charge” who led us up to the stage were no w here to be seen. One of “ Those in Charge" at the stage looked at me in confusion and thought the best wav to deal with the problem was to send me bac k on stage. I didn’t mind. After Stev ie Rav Vaughan played we decided to call it quits and grab a bus back to the hotel. We had had enough of the heat, the dust, the crowd, the mu sic and the hassels of trying to get a storv. The problems of Farm Aid II and the problems of the farmers are somewhat similar. Farm Aid II was a disorganized mess — thev weren't even sure where it was going to be held until a week before the concert. Bless problems were the re sult of poor planning, lack of cooper ation and special interests getting in the way of the greater objective. No one was sure of what needed to be done or how to do it. The music was fantastic but the show brought in only $1.4 million for the farmers and some of that money w ill have to go to pay for the concert. The biggest benefit from the Farm Aid con certs is not the money they bring in but the publicity given to the farm problem. Many farmers are losing the farms because they can no longer afford to keep them running and make enough money to keep themselves alive. Al though the farm industry is vital to this nation’s economy few people seem to re alize that farmers are in trouble. Even fewer people are aware that they need to do something to help the farmers. Bart of the farmers’ problems stem from the fact that most recent govern ment legislation has favored big busi ness over small businesses such as farms. Big businessmen have a powerf ul lobby and are able to get almost anything they want out of their senators and congress men. The biggest and most powerful lobby of farmers is the tobacco farmers. Most other farmers aren’t rich enough to buy food and clothing for their fami lies, much less buy a congessman to put in their pockets. Farmers need to get organized. They need to work together to get programs that will benef it all farmers and not just specific groups. You can’t feed a nation tobacco. Farm owners also need to work to gether to make the rest of the country understand the problem so that® in the cities w ill help farmers. B country won’t be able to survive wi® them. Karl Pallmeyer is a senior journtw' major and a columnist for The Bif' ion. The Battalion (USPS 045 360) Member of Texas Press Association Southwest Journalism Confercnic | The Battalion Editorial Board i Michelle Powe, Editor Loren Stef t v, Opinion Page Editor I Scott Sutherland, Cit\ Editor Kay Mallett. News Editor Ken Surv, Sports Editor • Editorial Policy The Battalion is ;i nun-jiiolii. .s(7/-.M//;/;t)/i//itf/h 1 ^! pci opemted ns ;/ tonununilv sci vicc in Icxus .MT | Bi xun-Collcgc Station. Opinions r\pi cssrd in The Battalion ;//e lliiM'td * I Editorial Hoard oi the ant hoi. and do not ncci'ssurib'f 1 resent the opinions of I exas .\£:\l administmloixW | or the Boat (I ol Regents. The Battalion also set t r.s as a lahoratoi) ncnsjy.0' I students in reporting, editing and phoi<)gini)l^ w ithin the Denamncnt o/ Journalism. The Battalion is published Mdnda\ t/imuifh dining Texas \X-.\/ legulai semeslcis. except and examination neriods. Mail subscriptions me l per semester. S.'I.'LUJ pet school war and vear. Advertising t ales Turnished on request. I On, address: Hie Battalion. L>l() Reed StdKl Building. Texas A&M i'niversitv. College StulioH- % 77B4B. V Second class postage paid at College Station. lXdi‘‘ j TOS T.MAS I TR: Send address changes /o HkT 1 l ion. 2IB Reed M( Donald. Texas .LVL\/ l 'ni\eisit\d ,h " l Station I X 77S-4S.