On the dems, viagra, hydro cars, ivy ROTC, etc.

Ross Mackenzie
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Posted: Aug 07, 2003 12:00 AM

Cleaning out more files...

How do the national Democrats continue to draw overwhelming support from African-Americans and Hispanics, given their adamant opposition to elevating first Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, and now Miguel Estrada to the D.C. Court of Appeals?

The Air Force Academy, under investigation for at least 54 reported cases of sexual assault or rape during the past decade, confronts massive public outrage. This may do to the Air Force what the Tailhook convention did to the Navy in the early '90s. Awful as it is, the issue raises (among others) two questions about what so easily can happen in coeducational environments consisting of late adolescents - as Eddie Murphy so memorably reminded us - in their "sexual prime." (1) Is there more such sexual activity at the service academies than at civilian schools? (2) Is there an issue at, e.g., the Air Force Academy because students at the service academies are held to higher standards of sexual behavior?

This just in: Viagra may be contributing to the AIDS epidemic. The Wall Street Journal notes that in San Francisco, where Viagra is common in "gay sex clubs," there were 43 new cases of syphilis and 14 new HIV infections "diagnosed in Viagra users" since last year. The city's director of sexually-transmitted disease prevention believes - in The Journal's words - that "men who take Viagra are especially at risk for sexually-transmitted disease because it allows them to have multiple erections with a minimal recovery period in between. That means that at sex clubs and in party settings, Viagra users can have several sex partners, increasing the possibility that disease will spread. Epidemiologists call this 'the multiplier effect.'"

A prudent President Bush has proposed $1.7 billion to promote hydrogen technology for automobiles. General Motors already has a hydrogen fuel-cell car, the Hy-wire, it hopes to offer for sale within seven years; BMW, Honda and Toyota also have prototypes. Federal money would aim efforts at the right target - a pollution-free car rendering the nation and much of the world energy-independent. Let's advance the technology and make hydrogen cars efficient and affordable, so when we run out of gas America can drive on water.

Talk about beating a dead horse: Two Philadelphia museums are battling over the disposition of the preserved head of Old Baldy - Union General George Meade's steed at Gettysburg. One museum lent Baldy to the other in the 1970s and wants him back. The other says it has had Baldy so long it considers him its own. As so often happens these days, the dispute has gone to litigation.

Russia - that's RUSSIA - may be showing the way on taxes. Last year the Putin government (1) closed a multiplicity of loopholes and trashed the Byzantine tax code, (2) cut corporate taxes by one-third (to 24 percent), and (3) imposed on individual income a flat tax of 13 percent. Result? As a percentage of Russia's gross domestic product, revenues from income taxes have gone up. As The Wall Street Journal puts it: "The tax reforms have provided a solid basis for economic growth and investment. Message to Congress and the Bush administration: "Please note the Russian example, especially on the flat tax."

There's good news in cancer statistics, as there often is when one re-centers the data. The traditional, or "cohort," method calculates how many patients diagnosed with a particular cancer have survived X number of years since their diagnosis. The newer, or "period," method more heavily weights patients undergoing the latest therapies - thereby diminishing the biostatistical influence of those diagnosed many years ago who underwent less advanced treatment. For many cancers, the newer - and better - technique shows dramatically higher survival rates.

And what's with Harry Belafonte, out there ripping African-Americans in the Bush administration - namely Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice? Belafonte, long a crooner on the leftist edge, blasted the two earlier this year for, in effect, daring to be Republican - terming Powell, e.g., an administration "house slave." Both responded, National Security Adviser Rice saying, "I don't need Harry Belafonte to tell me what it means to be black." Evidently, as with so many black entertainers and swamis, Belafonte deems it unacceptable for any leading African-Americans to think for themselves and not be slaves to the mandated Democratic/leftist creed. How is it any less racist to say, for instance, that a black woman cannot be a Republican or conservative, than to say a black woman cannot be believed because she is black?

Partly because of federal statute provisions affecting the low end of the FM spectrum generally reserved for noncommercial, educational stations, full-power evangelical stations are bumping "translator" stations - the core of National Public Radio. Left-leaning NPR, federally subsidized against private competition and long largely alone on that part of the FM spectrum, is understandably upset. One NPR general manager told The New York Times the new competition from evangelical radio "is, like, nuts." Which raises the question: Where is the sense in a free nation financing stations or networks - in competition with the private sector - through entities such as the government-funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting?

Short of sufficient oxygen? Yes, indeed - particularly in the lofty Ivy League. Of the eight Ivy colleges, only one - Cornell - offers Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC; Yale, Harvard, Brown, Columbia and Dartmouth offer none. In addition to Cornell, only Princeton offers Army ROTC and only Pennsylvania offers Navy ROTC; no Ivy college besides Cornell offers Air Force ROTC. Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Penn, Columbia and Brown allow students to participate in at least one of the service ROTC programs at a nearby ROTC-affiliated college. One of these days, the peacenik children running the non-Cornell Ivies should take some deep breaths and grow up.