On good Bush, the Middle East, the scandal, etc.

Posted: May 16, 2002 12:00 AM
Loping around the bases.... President Bush continues to please. (1) By reversing three decades of federal Title IX enforcement, his administration now will encourage creation of single-gender public schools. The nation boasts, precisely, 11 - 10 for girls and one with separate classes for each gender. Notes Brian Jones, general counsel for the U.S. Department of Education: Single-gender schools are "one more option we think ought to be made available to parents." (2) Bush's Justice Department is seeking to broaden longtime federal interpretation of the Second Amendment. The prevailing view has been that the Second Amendment guarantees individuals the right to own guns principally in connection with the states' rights to maintain militias. Now, in two briefs filed last week with the Supreme Court, the administration argues that the Second Amendment confers the right of ownership - "to keep and bear arms" - in most cases, exclusive of state needs for militias. And once more (3) the president has blasted the Senate for its laggard pace of action - i.e., hearings and votes - on judicial nominations. Ten days ago he said the Democrats have aggravated a "vacancy crisis" on the federal bench, and "endangered the administration of justice in America." He added: "Justice is at risk in America, and the Senate must act for the good of the country. All judicial nominees deserve a timely hearing, and they deserve a vote." About 100 judicial nominations languish while some of the nation's worst senators play their mischievous, malignant, ideological games. In the realm of the ridiculous, three things: (a) The ever-helpful ACLU is suing in Louisiana to kill a federally funded program that teaches sexual abstinence until marriage. (b) A bunch of news companies - The New York Times, Time, CBS, NBC, and Disney (owner of ABC) - all supposedly neutral ideologically, have routinely bought tables ($500 to $600 per seat) at New York City fundraising dinners for the kook-left People for the American Way. (c) The Illinois state legislature has passed a resolution condemning Abercrombie and Fitch's catalogues - urging "a public stand" against A&F's "marketing techniques promoting an obscene lifestyle." The Wall Street Journal notes that "the latest issue of 'A&F Quarterly' ... looks more like a 300-page soft-core porn magazine than the mail-order catalogue it purports to be." And the young need to show an ID to get one. Oh, and one more: (d) Roger Kimball, editor of New Criterion, passes along this - from the Berkeley (California) English Department's fall catalogue - promoting English R1A, "The Politics and Poetics of Palestinian Resistance": "The brutal Israeli military occupation of Palestine, since 1948, has systematically displaced, killed and maimed millions of Palestinian people. ... This class will examine the history of the (resistance) and the way that it is narrated by Palestinians in order to produce an understanding of the intifada. ... This class takes as its starting point the right of Palestinians to fight for their own self-determination. Conservative thinkers are encouraged to seek other sections." Regarding the Arab/Islamist war against Israel: The Israelis have withdrawn from Ramallah and let Comrade Arafat go. They have let Palestinian terrorists in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity depart for Gaza and Cyprus. They have released documents testifying to the terrorist complicity of Arafat himself as well as the encouragement and funding of anti-Israeli terrorists by Saudis. And they have acquiesced in American plans for a Middle East peace conference this summer. Yet precisely when Ariel Sharon was meeting with President Bush in Washington, a Palestinian suicide bomber killed more than a dozen Israelis and maimed about five dozen. Israel is setting up physical barriers in key areas of the West Bank to wall it off from Israel proper. No wonder. In all the talk of terrorism, let us not forget Colombia. There, a serious war proceeds between the government and drug-running Communist guerrillas - many of the latter's key terrorists trained by Northern Ireland's IRA. Their most egregious act occurred May 2, with a rocket attack on the only church in the hamlet of Bellavista (Beautiful View), killing 117 (including 40 children). A New York Times reporter described the scene: "Four bullet-scarred walls. The roof was blown off. The wooden pews are splintered. The floor is covered with blood and maggots, evidence of the worst loss of civilian life in a single day in Colombia's seemingly endless civil conflict." Incidentally, last year - despite diligent effort and billions in American money to reduce it - the area of Colombia planted with coca GREW 24.7 percent. A new study has made the sensible finding that given the higher nutritional value of mother's milk, babies breast-fed for seven to nine months are likely to be smarter - specifically, to have six more points of IQ - than babies breast-fed a month or less. Commercial pilots want pistols in their cockpits. Stewardesses and stewards want stun guns in their cabins. Why not both? Last week, in San Diego, police arrested the Rev. Paul Shanley, 71 - a Boston priest figuring prominently in the worsening Catholic sexual abuse scandal. At about the time of the arrest, one of Shanley's apparent victims, now 24, came forward - alleging Shanley raped him repeatedly from 1983 to 1990 in a Newton, Mass., church bathroom, across the street in the rectory and in the confessional.