Questions regarding events near and far

Ross Mackenzie
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Posted: Mar 14, 2002 12:00 AM
The mind wants to know.... Will it rain or shine? Who will win? How long will it take? What will the future bring? Herewith - regarding recent events - questions sometimes idle, sometimes implying an answer, sometimes suggesting double standards, sometimes seemingly disconnected (but not).... - Where are all the Old Glories going? - Why doesn't the president use the new but evanescing sense of national pride to push an anti-flag-burning amendment to the Constitution NOW? - Is Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, who presides by something other than a democratic mandate, the "moderate Arab leader" of routine description if he believes - as he said March 5 - that Middle Eastern "peace will be achieved only through ending the Israeli occupation of all territory occupied since June, 1967"? - Do you still lie awake at night worrying about prisoner rights at Guantanamo Bay? - How many of those upset about American treatment of al-Qaida and Taliban prisoners are blaming the Enron scandal on the Bush administration? - Is it merely a coincidence that companies with meaningless names, such as Enron, often don't seem to do anything any outsider understands? - Isn't it contradictory that Nobel PEACE Prize winner Yasser Arafat packs heat? - What's with Brazil, possessing the world's largest black population outside Africa, contemplating racial quotas in universities, TV soap operas and civil service jobs? - What do affirmative-actionists here at home think about the early March ruling by Federal District Judge Royce Lamberth that Army procedures for promoting officers are unconstitutional because - in favoring women and minorities - they could discriminate against white males? - How does the face-lift fashion among TV "news" personalities (most recently Fox News' Greta Van Susteren) go down with feminist prudes supposedly fed up with the use of sexed-up objectified women to boost TV viewership? - And speaking of television: Despite the outpouring of supercilious pomposity, didn't ABC's flirtation with replacing Ted Koppel's "Nightline" with boffo entertainer David Letterman verify that hard-driving TV journalism has become, in fact, a joke? - What could be funnier than Barbara Walters' criticism of her network's handling of Koppel in these words: "To be treated as dispensable and irrelevant (by one's employer) is thoughtless and hurtful?" - In more and more of the positions it is taking these days, for instance, urging strict limits on tribunals for terrorism cases, is the American Bar Association - the ABA - becoming more and more a lookalike and soundalike twin of the ACLU? - Was Russian disappointment in Russian athletes' performance at the Winter Olympics a consequence of (a) biased judging (as the Russians contended), or (b) government resources for athletic training diminishing from the days when athletic performance was a major manifestation of the success of Communist Man, and (c) the flight of key Russian coaches to the West? - With more than 1,000 settlements in cases involving sexual abuse by Catholic priests during the past 20 years - clearly reflecting a mere fraction of the true number of such cases nationwide - is the developing crisis for American Catholicism an epidemic of anything less than epic proportions? - And if pedophilia and pederasty are devastating for the Catholic Church, how can they not be equally devastating for the movement to legalize them - even merely to tolerate them - for the nation at large? - Isn't the tough sell President Bush is experiencing in his efforts to enlist volunteers for his Freedom Corps yet another indicator of the need to make public and community service, with a military component, compulsory - notably for the young? - How on Earth will Switzerland be better off as the 190th member of the United Nations after disdaining, resisting and rejecting membership for more than 50 years? - If "Camelot" was the embraced drama of an hour when the nation was in what John Kennedy declared in his inaugural to be "a long twilight struggle," what better drama for President Bush to embrace as defining his administration than "Lord of the Rings" - a compelling fantasy not of despair and defeat as "Camelot" is, but of determined hope and ultimate victory? - Given that John Walker Lindh, Abdul Hamid and Sulayman al-Faris are one and the same - what's in a name? - What Arab/Islamic regimes are members of the anti-terror coalition, when the seven countries assisting Afghans and the United States with forces in the war's just-concluded largest battle - near Gardez - were Britain, Norway, Canada, Australia, Germany, Denmark and France? - Noting (a) that at Harvard "around half of all course grades nowadays are A or A-" and (b) that "last year 91 percent of seniors graduated with honors" - how is Forbes writer Daniel Seligman wrong in concluding that Harvard's current grading system erases "the distinction between the truly gifted and the merely bright"? - Similarly, how is British historian Paul Johnson off the money with his inquiry, "What happens when a Communist pseudo-market-state (such as today's China) goes into economic free fall?" - And who will dispute that, when asked if there is room for forgiveness toward those who aided the 9/11 terrorists, Norman Schwartzkopf offered the answer of the year: "I believe that forgiving them is God's function; our job is simply to arrange the meeting"?