Governor Hugh Carey of New York sometimes speaks before he thinks, which may be why he is considered by some as a possible presidential candidate. In late December, for example, Carey announced that Maurice Nadjari, a special prosecutor assigned to root out corruption in New York City's criminal justice system, had been dismissed. Nadjari refused to depart as requested and has stayed on the job to the embarrassment of the governor.
Now Carey has bumbled again, this time in a case of national significance. Last week he told the press that he wants Ogden Reid, his Commissioner of Environmental Conservation, to ease up on two General Electric plants which have been polluting the Hudson River with PCBs, chemical compounds that are poisonous to a wide range of life, including humans (SI, Dec. 1).
Governor Carey's timing could not have been more inappropriate. G.E.'s discharge of PCBs into the river has been the subject of a lengthy inquiry ordered under state law by Reid, who is seeking zero discharge by this September. The governor contends zero discharge might cause the plants to move outside New York State. The decision of the hearing officer, Abraham Sofaer of Columbia University Law School, is expected presently, and the governor's pronouncements are injudicious, to say the least. Moreover, statements by a close aide of the governor and by John Dyson, his Commerce Commissioner, indicate that Carey does not have a glimmer of the issues in the case. Indeed, Dyson recently admitted that he himself was "a little vague" about PCBs.
February 9, 1976
Reid has refused to bend to Carey's wind. In a brief statement Reid said, "The current hearing concerning discharges of PCBs by the General Electric Company before Professor Abraham Sofaer is an essential part of the judicial process and, as such, the integrity of the hearing process must be fully respected and will be totally upheld. If Professor Sofaer finds that G.E. has violated the law, the hearings will continue to determine appropriate relief."
A REAL CARD
For baseball-card collectors, the choicest item of all is a head-and-shoulders shot of Honus Wagner put out by Sweet Caporal cigarettes circa 1910. Only about a dozen are known to exist and a single card fetches $1,000 or more. The story goes that Wagner, an anti-smoker, threatened to sue Sweet Caporal unless the company withdrew the cards from the market.
Now the Wagner to top all Wagners has been discovered in Winston-Salem, N.C. This card, issued by Piedmont cigarettes, shows Wagner in an action pose. No Piedmont Wagner had previously been known. The three owners of the card are Thomas Wickman and Richard Reuss of Manassas, Va., and Bob Rathgeber, director of publications for the Cincinnati Reds. For some time the three have been in partnership scouring the East for old cards. They discovered the Wagner in a collection of several hundred cards they bought for 40¢ apiece from an antique dealer.
The three were not immediately excited because Caramel Candy Company had put out a card showing Wagner in the same pose, but they flipped when they turned the card over and saw the name Piedmont. The chance existed that a counterfeiter might have skillfully pasted the Caramel Wagner picture on a Piedmont card, but a test by the Library of Congress showed this was not so. The card is now in a safe-deposit box in Washington, and its estimated value is $3,000.
WOODY UNDER FIRE
Ever since the New Year's Day defeat to UCLA that cost Ohio State the national football championship, Coach Woody Hayes has been acting oddly. A week ago Monday he dismissed Defensive Tackle Nick Buonamici from the team without saying why. In fact, Hayes did not even tell Buonamici he was dismissed; instead, he told a Columbus sportswriter and then left town on a recruiting trip. "A hit-skip proposition," says one Ohio State observer. "This is no way to handle a situation this serious."
In midweek, Co-captain and Linebacker Ken Kuhn, who happens to be Buonamici's roommate, went public with criticism of Hayes, a rare act for an Ohio State player. Kuhn chided Hayes for his refusal to comment on the loss to UCLA. "I simply can't go along with his cop-out toward the public, fans and even his own players after our bitter Rose Bowl loss," Kuhn is reported to have said. "Hayes has always been a humble winner. But when we lose, he must also be a humble loser. Why should we be subjected to the Hayes silence when we have so many questions that must be answered?"
At week's end, the Ohio State Lantern, the student newspaper, said university officials should ask Hayes for his resignation. In a long editorial, the Lantern said, "He is embarrassing because his fans have made him a god, and he has begun to believe it."
CHICO AND THE DOC
A Long Island optometrist named Leon Revien says he has developed a training program that will improve the eyesight of athletes. That doesn't mean he expects to get rid of myopia or astigmatism or other structural or pathological conditions.
"Usually, an optometrist deals with abnormalities," he says. "What I have done is take people with normal levels of visual performance and improve the level of visual skill. Seeing is many-faceted. Speed of recognition. Span of recognition. Judgment of depth. Visual acuity. Visual concentration."
To demonstrate what he meant, Revien projected a string of numbers on a bare wall—for 1-100th of a second. "What did you see?" he asked.
"A series of numbers," was the answer.
"What were they?"
"One, two, three...."
"Like hell they were," Revien said.
The numbers, projected again, turned out to be a random series, yet Revien said Goalie Glenn (Chico) Resch of the New York Islanders, one of the athletes he had worked with, not only could read the sequence of numbers in 1-100th of a second, he could read them backward, too.
"That's after training," Revien said, explaining that Resch had been working with him for several months, using projectors, multicolor rotators and other aids to learn how to use his eyes more efficiently. "You can't take a kid off the street and make him a major league player, but take five guys of equal ability and give one of them visual training, and he's going to be that much better."
Resch says there is no question in his mind that his visual skills have improved. "I see the puck better," the goalie says. "It has slowed down for me. When a guy shoots a puck at you at 100 mph it's almost a blur. Now I see the puck coming at me. I can't read the label, but I have time to react to it. It's a fraction of a second, but that's a great advantage. The shots don't seem so overpowering."
STOP WATCHING THE CLOCK
For three years the Big Eight played its conference basketball games under an experimental rule calling for the use of a 30-second clock. This season the Big Eight abandoned the experiment, partly because conference teams, their style geared to the clock, found themselves at a disadvantage whenever they competed outside the Big Eight. At the Big Eight tournament last month, game scores averaged 18 points less than in the 1974 tournament, leading many to believe that the 30-second clock led to higher scoring and more exciting play.
Not so, says Bob Hentzen, sports editor of the Topeka Capital-Journal and president of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. At a recent Kansas State-Colorado game Hentzen had an assistant operate a stopwatch. Kansas State's longest possession of the ball was 26 seconds, which occurred once in each half. On nearly 75% of its possessions, Kansas State put the ball up within 10 seconds. Colorado's longest possession was 31 seconds, the only time the old 30-second rule would have been violated. On 70% of its possessions, Colorado shot within 10 seconds.
Of course, what the 30-second clock does is prevent stalling, which is another story and another argument.
THE TWO BEARS
Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus, two of the most famous of the old Chicago Bears, have diametrically opposite answers to the question of whether or not they are bitter because their careers ended prematurely. Sayers, the amazingly graceful running back, suffered cataclysmic knee injuries. Butkus, a powerful, destructive linebacker, had knee damage, too, but his seemed more cumulative, a sort of devastating wearing down.
"I'm not bitter at all," says Sayers. "I got what I wanted out of football. I went back to Kansas and got my degree and I made job contacts. When football was over, I said goodby and let it go. I try to tell this to juniors and seniors at Kansas who look to pro careers. Half of them don't listen. They see high-heeled shoes and mink coats and the contracts they hope to sign."
Butkus, now a movie actor, says, "I'm very bitter. I should have had surgery sooner." Blaming the Bears for his ultimate condition, Butkus has instituted a suit against the club and the team physician. "I'm supposed to play dead about it, like about 15 other guys have done. Or be bought off. Well, I won't."
Sayers is much the more active now. He plays handball, paddle ball and tennis, and can ski and dance. Butkus is not nearly so mobile. "I tried water skiing," he says. "No good. I tried shooting baskets and the knee blew up."
There is another difference. Sayers says he gets in touch with George Halas, the Bears owner, whenever he visits Chicago. Butkus says, "I remember the day Halas said, '——you! Get a lawyer!' So I got a lawyer, and he and I haven't spoken since."
North Carolina State has admitted so many students in the past few years that the school is in danger of running out of beds. As a result, dorm officials, who go by the collective bureaucratic name of the Department of Residence Life, recently announced that if there are more students than beds, students will have to take part in a lottery for beds next fall. Returning students will draw for 3,550 beds and freshmen for 2,000.
At first, the athletic department argued that athletes should be given priority. Voted down, the department was not out. It turned to the NCSU Student Aid Association, Inc., commonly known as the Wolfpack Club. Extremely successful at fund-raising, the club gave $1.5 million for Carter Stadium and $800,000 for Case Athletic Center. Getting housing for the athletes proved no problem. The club bought a 126-room motel, the College Inn, for $1,255,000. "We have done well the last few years," says Warren Carroll, the club director, "and people have been asking what to do with the money. Now we have done something."
Some students have objected to the club's partiality for athletes, but Debbie Beckwith, a senior sociology major, says, "It's a good idea. Most of the jocks are in Bragaw and Sullivan [dormitories], and they should definitely all be put together—off campus."
NO RED HERRING
The passage by the Senate last week of a bill to extend U.S. jurisdiction over fishing to 200 miles off the coasts is a sane measure, even though the Senate version, as opposed to the House bill voted last fall, defers activation to July 1, 1977, instead of this year. We hope that House-Senate conferees who meet next month can agree on this year and we certainly hope that President Ford will sign the bill into law.
The present 12-mile limit is a farce, and American sports and commercial fishing interests suffer heavily as a result. The East Coast continental shelf is one of the richest fishing grounds in the world, but since the early 1960s, when fleets of Soviet trawlers and factory ships began working off Cape Cod, fisheries have taken a battering. Vessels from Poland, East Germany, Rumania, Bulgaria and Spain soon joined in the assault, using a technique called ' "pulse" fishing, which zeroes in on a particular species until the supply is depleted. Within the space of a few years, the New England stock of sea herring was 10% of normal and haddock fell to 3%.
Passage of the Senate bill last week may have been prompted in part by the recent appearance of more than 100 foreign vessels, mainly Russian and Polish, off Long Island and New Jersey and incidents involving American fishermen. The party boat Star stream II out of Free-port, N.Y., anchor light on, whistle blasting, was nearly struck by a trawler which tore off an anchor line. In another instance Ron Onorato, out alone, had to cut both his fishing and anchor lines when foreign trawlers headed toward his boat. A call to the Coast Guard brought no action since Onorato was 14 miles out in what may soon no longer be a "no man's land."