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Dec. 23, 1996

By Mari Maldonado

Television rating

system questionable

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Although highly questionable about its effectiveness, the TV industry
has proposed a rating system for classifying all television programs.

This is being done so that parents can better monitor the television
shows their children watch.

Unfortunately, the system already seems tainted as the producers of the
shows themselves are the ones who will be doing the rating.

People have to wonder if they're being lenient on their own shows.

And then there's the fact that the scores are based on age instead of

I think it's safe to say that we've all tuned in to a pretty steamy
scene while surfing the networks. Shouldn't the shows be rated on that
sort of thing?

I'm quite the couch potato when given the opportunity, and as I flip
through the channels I really can't see parents successfully rearing
children in a responsble fashion and still allowing them to watch
television unsupervised.

It hardly leaves anything to the imagination. I'm especially shocked at
several primetime series. And hopelessley, the more notorious shows, I
noticed are the ones bringing in the Emmy nominations.

Don't get me wrong, I'm hardly conservative when it comes to television
programming. I love ER, Chicago Hope and New York Undercover, X Files,

I don't have kids. I don't have to worry about the scenes that come up
on my television screen. But they do make me wonder how I'd handle the
situation if I did.

I know a couple that chose to cut their cable service to basic and
allow their children to only watch videos.

Their system seems to be working, only I can't see myself living on
basic cable.

Call me selfish.

Anyhow, being the Monday before Christmas and all, I'd like to take
this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Hope everyone can share the joy and happines that I'll be enjoying this
year and that all will continue to realize the blessed miracle that
makes all this possible.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mari Maldonado is an Enterprise reporter whose column
appears each Monday.


Independent counsel

bites hand that made it

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The independent counsel law is starting to come in for some heavy
criticism from its former strong supporters in the Democratic Party and
the media. ...

This demonstrates that what goes around comes around. When Congress
renewed the law in 1993 - with President Clinton's support - they never
dreamed it would be turned against them.

The new president was promising ``the most ethical administration in
history'' and Democrats believed they would control Congress forever.
... Until Clinton's elections, Democrats found this a useful weapon with
which to beat up on the Republican White House.

Then came 1994. For the first time in decades, the GOP took
congressional control - at a time when the Clinton administration was up
to its neck in Whitewater. The shoe was on the other foot. Four
independent counsels have been called into being: three investigating
Cabinet members, and one, Kenneth Starr, with an ever-widening mandate
to probe the president and first lady.

With their own on the receiving end of the independent counsel statute,
the law's new critics are saying what Republicans said when Ronald
Reagan and George Bush were in the White House: that the independent
counsel's unlimited resources in money and manpower forces the targets
of probes - even those who are not convicted or indicted - to go broke
defending themselves. It's too much power in the hands of one person.

To be sure, there are imperfections in the law. Former attorneys
general from both Democrat and Republican administrations were unanimous
in urging Congress not to renew the statute three years ago. That advice
was ignored.

To try to ``fine-tune'' the statute now, as many liberals want, reeks
of cynicism. ...
-- The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle


Cash for used clothes

eases income tax pain

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Right after Christmas, the Grinch will send out his annual invitations
to remit your income taxes for 1996. This year, you can relieve the pain
of giving somewhat by deducting your charitable gifts of clothing.

You took a load clothes to the Salvation Army, some to the Christian
Home and donated to your church's benevolence closet. But how do you
estimate the value of those cast-offs?

William R. Lewis has some experience along that line as a certified
public accountant, and he has written a booklet to help you get the
biggest deduction possible without getting into trouble.

Cash For Your Used Clothing, now in its sixth year, lists values for
more than 750 items of clothing and household goods commonly donated to
charity. The values are obtained from annul surveys of consignment and
thrift stores, conforming to IRS requirements for valuing donated items.
It is guaranteed to save at least $200 on your tax bill or your money
back. Secondly, Williams will pay any interest and penalties if the IRS
disallows the deduction.

To get a book, send $27 to Client Valuation Services, P.O. Box 22031,
Lincoln, NE 68542-2031, or call 800-875-5927 for credit card orders.

-Peggy McCracken


Politicans could use a little prayer

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WASHINGTON - The nation enjoys a brief window of opportunity to invoke
post election bi-partisan cooperation to address three critical
challenges which, given the political balance of power that prevails,
neither party can handle on its own: balancing the budget, saving
Medicare and reforming campaign finance.

This bi-partisanship must be predicated upon acceptance of a
conservative tide in the country with which many have yet to come to
terms. Indeed, some commentators are insisting the election was a muddle
that reflects general disenchantment with the political process, and
nothing more. By and large. these are the people who were surprised by
the political upheaval of 1994, and who were predicting the 1996
election would bring an overwhelming reaction against the alleged
"extremism" of Congress's new conservative majority. But the
conservative majority in Congress survived and President Clinton won
reelection only after embracing a conservative agenda that was almost
indistinguishable from that of his Republican opponent. This election
may have been a reaction against extremism, but * was not a reaction
against conservatism.

The American people want no more great adventures in big government
such as President Clinton's ill-fated health care reform plan. The
outrages of big government - unnecessary regulations, excessive
paperwork, oppressive taxes, takings of private property - remain a
major source of voter indignation. The American people want sensible
government that handles core responsibilities efficiently but otherwise
leaves people alone.

The first test of bi-partisanship ~between President Clinton and the
105th Congress must be balancing the budget. The president and leaders
of Congress are committed to this goal. but differ sharply on how to
achieve it. A good beginning would be the balanced budget amendment
which will force fiscal discipline upon all branches of government.

Medicare will be broke by 2002 or sooner - every new analysis shortens
the deadline - if something isn't done. The Republicans courageously
attempted to grapple with this explosive issue last year, but the
Democrats responded with demagoguery. Thus, President Clinton and the
Democrats must take the lead in proposing a solution and be willing to
accept a fair share of the political fallout that ensues. If we can do
something sensible with Medicare, perhaps it will set the stage for an
equally sensible approach to Social Security and other government
retirement programs. Controlling growth of entitlements is key to
balancing the budget and putting the nation's fiscal house in order.

Finally, the need for campaign finance reform was made abundantly clear
in the recent election and it, like balancing the budget and saving
Medicare, can only be achieved through serious bi-partisanship. Many
feel it is outrageous that foreign nationals are pouring vast bums into
our campaigns. Reform is overdue.

The complexity of Medicare and campaign finance reforms may require
appointment of presidential commissions. If so. it should be done - as
with the commission on military base closings - with a commitment from
Congress and the White House to follow through on the commission's
recommendations. Bi-partisanship can help us resolve these tough issues,
but only if we act quickly.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Dr. Lesher is president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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