Saturday, March 19, 2005

Today's Miscellany

ACLU Off-track: Anil Adyanthaya, a lawyer, has a column in the Boston Globe today. He discussed the recent ACLU lawsuit filed against Donald Rumsfeld:

The American Civil Liberties Union has long trumpeted itself as the protector of America's freedoms. But in a bizarre tactical decision, it has decided to abdicate that self-appointed role in exchange for membership in the shrill chorus of Bush administration opponents. The decision to file suit against Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in connection with the alleged abuse of foreign detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan places the ACLU outside of its stated mission. It also places the group firmly in opposition to an organization -- the US military -- that is actually working for what the ACLU purports to be about -- the protection of American freedoms.

Adyanthaya makes the point that in filing this lawsuit, the ACLU is way off-track in terms of its own charter, in addition to having filed a very ill-advised suit. I've always admired the ACLU for its dedication to challenging government in defense of citizens' rights. I often disagree with the causes they defend, but if I ever find the government howling for my hide, I'd kind of like to see them enter the fight on my side. This time, however, I'm wondering if they've lost their minds.

Condimania: In her March 17 column in the Washington Times, Suzanne Fields discussed the growing popularity of Condolleeza Rice and the possibility that she might run for president.

Call it Condimania. Her fans call themselves "Condistas." A team of teens who will be barely old enough to vote in 2008 have already opened the campaign, distributing "Condi for President" buttons.

The Germans call her "coquettish," the French admire her chic pointy shoes. When I stepped into a beauty salon in Madrid the other day, the hairdresser curled the coif in back, handed me a mirror and told me proudly: "That's the Condi flip."

The new star in Washington says her job now requires "a willingness to stand firm and to hold positions that are not always popular, but that are right." Whether she likes it or not, that's the stuff presidential candidates are sometimes made of.

Fields speculates on the possibility of a Condi-Hillary contest in 2008. What a delicious prospect! Personally, I think Condi would beat the pants off Hillary, certainly in fashion if not in vote count.

A Liberal View on Wolfowitz: Colbert I. King is a columnist and Deputy Editor of the Washington Post Editorial Page. He's also a liberal who most often focuses on politics and social issues in Washington, D.C. Some may not know that he was also an officer in the U.S. Army, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, and a member of the World Bank board serving as U.S. Executive Director. In my experience, his opinions are worth considering. In his column in the Post today, he discussed the nomination of Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank. While he's certainly no fan of Wolfowitz, he compares the controversy over this nomination with that of Robert McNamara, when President Johnson nominated him to head the Bank in 1968. McNamara went on to lead the Bank for 13 years, generally succeeding in a difficult job subject to many diverse pressures. King's position on Wolfowitz is best summarized by this quote from his column:

If Wolfowitz is the talented, compassionate, intellectual force and skilled manager that his supporters say he is, the World Bank could end up in good hands. That is, if Wolfowitz -- as touted -- approaches the job in the right frame of mind.

That's good enough for me.

Travails of Harvard's President: Walter E. Williams, a conservative economist at George Mason University, wrote a column published in the Washington Times today. His commentaries are often delightfully funny, curmudgeonly, and right on target. His column takes up the case of Harvard President Lawrence Summers, who has been besieged by liberal feminists since he made certain politically incorrect comments in January. He mentions MIT biologist Nancy Hopkins, who reported that she was so offended by Summers' comments that she had to rush from the lecture, afraid she would either swoon or vomit. He then recounts how a similar exaggerated response profited Hopkins immensely in the past. Some of his reaction to what Summers said:

The only debate among scholars isn't if these patterns exist but whether they reflect acculturation or genetics. A substantial body of work suggests genetics. The fact is we do differ genetically by race and sex, not only in intelligence and aptitude, but in physical ways as well.

Why in the world would we deny these differences and deny their effects on observed outcomes, particularly in an academic setting where there's supposed to be open inquiry? ...

If there's a legitimate criticism about Mr. Summers' NBER comments, it is his failure to be discreet. Some things are best left unsaid in front of children, who have little understanding and can be easily offended by unvarnished truths.

Defend Our Cheerleaders: The Austin American-Statesman carried an AP report yesterday that says the Texas legislature is considering a bill that would end cheerleaders' "sexually suggestive performances at athletic events and other extracurricular competitions." Now wait a minute. This is going way too far! I don't mind religious conservatives putting the Ten Commandments on lawns and in courthouses, any more than I care whether money has "In God We Trust" on it or the Pledge of Allegiance includes the words "under God." But leave the damn cheerleaders alone! Some American traditions are worth defending, and this one is near the top of my list.


Blogger Gindy said...

I am surprised that Rumsfield article came from the Boston Globe.

1:27 PM, March 19, 2005  
Blogger Junebugg said...

Wow, you're all over the place with this list! Cheerleaders everywhere thank you for your support.
I cana't believe all the sites on Condi!! Everything from songs to so-called "Condi Sex Videos". One thing for sure, she's in the public eye, and it's imagination!!

7:40 AM, March 20, 2005  
Blogger Esther said...

Wasn't Summers just hypothisizing -- to be thought-provoking? I guess freedom of speech is only fought for on college campuses if you attack Jews and Israel.

1:29 PM, March 20, 2005  
Blogger invadesoda said...

On November 12 of last year, I ran a blog poll that said, "Early voting for Election 2008 has started. Please indicate your choice for the next U.S. president."

The results:
Hillary Clinton 48% (16 votes)
Condoleeza Rice 52% (17 votes)

Not very scientific, but viva las Condolistas!

2:56 PM, March 25, 2005  

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