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Dec. 31, 1996

By Peggy McCracken

Tighten family ties

to brighten New Year

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Another year has come and gone, and what has changed? Looking back
through the Enterprise to recap the year, I found a lot happened; some
of it affecting lots of people. The one story (not front page) of most
interest to me was the birth of my great-granddaughter. Actually, it
should have been a front-page story, but my editor has a funny idea of
what is big news.

If I were to ask you what you found most interesting in the paper, I'll
bet you would also pick something about your family. Why? Because that's
closest to your heart. Nothing else touches us like joy or tragedy
affecting our loved ones.

If I were to make New Year's resolutions, I would first resolve to
spend more time with family; to plan for times when we can share
activities, big and little. Not just my kids and grands and
great-grands, but sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, in-laws and

My baby brother is due in the states sometime this year. He married a
girl from England and has retired there after careers with the Air Force
and Mobile Radio. We hope to have a family reunion while he is here. We
have seen little of him since he joined the Air Force right out of high
school, and a recent letter bringing us up to date on his six kids and
grands covered a lot of ground.

How do we get so out of touch with people? I got Christmas cards from a
bunch of people I don't hear from at any other time. And answering with
my annual New Years letters will be a chore. I guess I get all the
writing I want right here at this computer.

My brother said he has a computer and will hook up to the Internet if
any of us are interested in e-mail. I aim to tell him, yes, do it!
Sending e-mail is so easy, and it doesn't cost a thing if you have local
Internet access. And he can read the Enterprise every day to see what
brilliant stories and columns I am writing.

I gave my husband Internet access for Christmas, along with some
computer upgrades to make it work. He is not even slightly interested in
it, but I gave him what I wanted him to have. Did you do that to anyone?

Maybe our New Year's resolution should be to consider what our loved
ones really want and try to supply it, instead of trying to make them
fit into our mold.

"Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your
power to act." Proverbs 3:27, NIV.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is an Enterprise writer and editor whose
column appears each Tuesday.


Is Gingrich naive or devious crook?

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House Speaker Newt Gingrich no longer claims quite to be innocent of
the principal ethics charges that have stood against him for two years.
Rather, he says, he was naive. But the suspect system that was set up
and that is at the heart of the charges does not strike us as reflecting
naivete - anything but.

The basic accusation against the speaker ... is that he set up an
elaborate structure for converting ostensibly charitable contributions
to political purposes ...

In the world of campaign finance ... defenders and critics alike marvel
at its sophistication. It's awfully hard to accept ``naivete'' as a
defense ... Is it believable that neither Mr. Gingrich nor anyone else
who had a role in establishing the structure understood the law that it
was so skilfully circumventing?

In arguing naivete as well as failure to consult the right kind of
specialists, Mr. Gingrich offers a kind of variation on the now familiar
Clinton administration defenses that all sorts of politically enriching
but questionable things came its way as a result of inattention,
inexperience, simple snafus, unwittingness and other forms of innocent
oblivion of the dubious way it was achieving its desired ends. ...
The Washington Post, on Speaker Newt Gingrich's response to ethics

Representative Newt Gingrich's defenders did not seem to have much wind
in their sails yesterday, and it is easy to see why. They have been left
with a very weak case for his re-election as Speaker of the House. As
laid out by Representative Dick Armey, that case is that Mr. Gingrich
was so busy following the 1994 elections that he failed to check with
tax attorneys to see that his political and educational expenditures
were legal.

The Internal Revenue Service is very tough on citizens who try this
I-forgot defense, and it seems naive of the Republicans to expect that
their party and its leader can get by saying whoops. As Mr. Gingrich
asserted a few years back when Jim Wright's job was on the line, the
Speaker of the House ought to be held to the highest standards. It was
true then, and it is true now.

That said, it would be premature to call for Mr. Gingrich's immediate
resignation. It will be healthier to let the process play out at least
to the next step. That ought to be a meeting of the full House Ethics
Committee and a decision on an appopriate punishment before the House
members vote on the speakership on Jan. 7. ...

-- The New York Times

So, finally, thanks to a vote of an ethics subcommittee, we learn what
Newt Gingrich is charged with. By his own admission, Speaker Gingrich
failed to distinguish between a 501(c)3, (c)4, and (c)5. Moreover, he
has been videotaped driving through yellow lights near the Capitol, and
is a sociopathic jaywalker. So he deserves to be ousted as Speaker to
offset Whitewatergate, Travelgate, Filegate, Paulagate, Indogate and all
future transgressions by the Clinton White House.

For the triple motive of distracting from the Clinton scandals, trying
to discredit their 1994 defeat and exacting retribution for the ouster
of Speaker Jim Wright, Democrats have filed 74 ethics charges against
Mr. Gingrich. Most of these have been dismissed outright, and a few
settled with trivial apologies. But with 73 charges disposed of,
Democrats came away with a special counsel on one; in that investigation
Mr. Gingrich and his lawyers slipped on a procedural banana peel, and
are now eating much humble pie.

... Now, the Speaker handled this controversy poorly. Whatever blame
his lawyers deserve, for example, he hired them. And by refusing to go
up front with the real issues, like the Clinton White House, he
engendered the suspicion that something serious was being hidden. With
this following the book deal and the seminal political defeat over the
government shutdown, Mr. Gingrich seems prone to blunders. He is by far
the most imaginative and creative major political figure around today,
but it's time for him to finish growing up.

Still, the whole campaign against him is based on double standards, and
for Republicans to defect over the charges we now see would be a
disproportion of monstrous dimensions.

-- The Wall Street Journal
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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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