An Inclusive Litany
[Ed.: On my tube, the warning appears next to another note that reads: "For best results, squeeze from the bottom and flatten as you go up."]
In the gaudy mansions of Clinton's mind there are many rooms with heavy doors, workroom and playrooms, room stuffed with trophies, rooms to stash scandals and regrets. He walks lightly amid the ironies of his talents and behavior, just by consigning them to different cubbies of his brain. It's an almost scary mind, that of a multitasking wizard who plays hearts while he talks on the phone with a head of state, who sits through a dense briefing on chemical weapons intently doing a crossword puzzle, only to take reporters' questions hours later and repeat whole sections of the briefing word for word.
They are dismayed, of course. Disgusted even. But many women across America continue to stand by President Clinton, saying that at least he seems to understand that no means no.
Even as they shared their own stories of sexual harassment in the workplace, the women who made passes from men who are predators. Even in the worst version, they noted, Clinton backed off when refused by his accusers, behavior that marks him as clumsy and crude, but also sets him apart from executives who continue to prey on or penalize women who reject them.
"It's reality, and we shouldn't expect Clinton to be any different," said Susan Nassberg, a marketing and advertising executive in Los Angeles. "Right now it's 'he said, she said,' and God knows if we're ever going to get to the truth. But the bottom line is: If someone says no, it's no, and Clinton seems to get that. These women's careers don't seem to have been hurt because of it."
The fourth-grade sample assessment test question on the Feb. 26 front page is a horrific example of a badly constructed test question. It not only requires a sophistication in English grammar beyond many 9-year-olds and thus misses a chance to truly test their mathematical understanding (the point of the question), but it is biased toward children growing up in sophisticated English-speaking, middle- or upper-middle-income homes.
The question was: "By how much would the value of 5,647 be decreased if the 5 were replaced by a 2?"
This could easily be stated more plainly and measure arithmetic skills more accurately. "In the number 5,647, if you took out the 5 and replaced it with a 2, how much less would the new number be worth?"
Jerome Kagan, a Princeton psychologist, deconstructed many such test questions in his 1970s research to identify cultural bias and show that white and financially well-off students usually perform better than others on standardized tests because of the unconscious biases of test constructors.
On the basis of one test item, I do not want to assume bias in an entire test. Yet it is certainly worth a look by educators trained in avoiding cultural, racial, and socioeconomic bias. We owe it to our society to help all children reach their fullest potential.
[Ed.: A test question is relatively difficult, therefore unfair to those minorities who do not do as well on tests. For the test to be made "fair" by this measure, we must thus make it easier to pass. Note that standardized tests were originally set up as a progressive, meritocratic device designed to objectively evaluate the performance of immigrant children in an era when WASPs kept elite academies ethnically exclusive.]
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has published the first guidelines used to determine whether sex discrimination exists in the compensation of athletic coaches at the nation's colleges and high schools.
The essence of the 29-page document ... is that salary packages for men and women coaches don't have to be the same but an institution must prove that the reason for any difference is not based on a coach's sex. An institution cannot defend a differential by arguing, for instance, that men's sports produce more revenue.
Writing in the New York Times to mark the anniversary of the Manifesto's publication, Columbia University professor Steven Marcus downplayed the book's failed prophecies and instead praised its artfulness, noting that it "possesses a structural complexity and a denseness of thematic play that we ordinarily associate with great works of the literary imagination." The book, he says, opens as Gothic tale, but its metaphors quickly segue to those of fairy tales, then to the Arabian Nights, then, by a "generative fecundity," to intimations of "Goethe's Faust, Byron's Manfred, Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, and a host of other modern and mythological dramatizations." According to Marcus, "Such trains of metaphoric figures and images are part of the dense local intertwinements that constitute the microstructure of the Manifesto's linguistic fabric and argument."
[Ed.: The book's cover art features a dramatic painting of a red flag against a black background that the artist intended as ironic mockery of the Social Realist style of art made popular under Stalin's regime. The artist is reportedly baffled at its use in promoting communism's source text.]
UMD President Lawrence Ianni agreed, ordering campus police to remove the photograph. But the two professors sued Ianni for $1.2 million on First Amendment grounds, and a federal appeals court recently ruled that the case could proceed and that the professors could collect from Ianni personally in the event of victory.
There are now support groups devoted to the trend, along with at least one restaurant and a cable TV show. Raw-food chefs, who do not like to be called cooks, process food through soaking and chopping, but not by using heat. Journalist Ellen Knickmeyer reported from a live-food potluck, "You could take a drinking straw to much of the plate, like a vegetable Slurpee." Also on the menu that evening: a "lasagna" made of sprouted buckwheat, almonds, mushrooms, tomatoes, and figs; a "cheese" made of pulverized almonds; and a "champagne" of "something sprouted and fermented."
In an interesting twist, there are also live-food omnivores who have no problem eating meat, so long as it isn't cooked. There are also "fruitarians" who regard vegetarians as murderers and eat only raw fruit, and "sproutarians" who eat only live sprouts, as well as non-violent fruitarians "who eat only fruits off the ground, not those that have been picked," Rhio also insists that there are "breatharians" who aim to get "all the nutrition they need from the air.... I've met some people doing it occasionally, but they're not at 100 percent. Yet."
[Ed.: Note that many vegetarians forswear eating food that it is ostensibly alive, while others shun food that is dead. The spokesman for the "breatharians," by the way, was photographed several years ago, presumably during a lapse, wolfing down a full meal at a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet. At the same time, another imaginative soul floated a trial balloon for the "Neanderthal Diet," word of which seeped into print and which I recount despite the distinct possibility that it, too, was a media hoax. Dieters were presumed to be more in tune with their health needs if they ate fresh, raw meat, to be accompanied perhaps by the exercise of chasing after and killing their prey with only the aid of primitive tools. Starvation probably helps, too. The Neanderthals, of course, are extinct.]
Because two former legislators who lost elections had a "right to hold office," their attorney argues, a state business group injured them by running ads criticizing their voting records before last November's elections.
Radio and TV ads run by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce hurt the "property rights" of ex-Reps. David Plombon (D-Stanley) and Michael Wilder (D-Chippewa Falls) to those offices, according to their lawyer, Paul Gordon.
Gordon said Tuesday the two legal terms he used in his new legal brief—"right to hold office" and "property rights"—were taken from court cases nationally that involved campaign-finance and election-law cases.
School board member Steve Phillips, co-author of the multicultural initiative, called the change "long overdue," adding that it would make school work more "relevant" to public school students, only 11.8 percent of whom are white. "We recognize that public education has been failing African-American and Latino students," Phillips said. "Part of the reason is that the curriculum is not engaging them. Students get more interested in reading and language when they see themselves in the curriculum."
Other board members said the proposal would correct certain biases found in traditional high school reading lists. Board member Dan Kelly told the San Francisco Examiner that Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn was biased against African Americans, and that Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, while a great work, characterized people based on their class.
With the birth of every child, the world becomes new again. Within each new infant lies enormous potential—potential for loving, for learning, and for making life better for others. But this potential must be nurtured. Just as seeds need fertile soil, warm sunshine, and gentle rain to grow, so do our children need a caring environment, the security of knowing they are loved, and the encouragement and opportunity to make the most of their God-given talents. There is no more urgent task before us, as a people and as a nation, than creating such an environment for America's children.On October 10, forty minutes after that statement was released to the public, President Bill Clinton issued another proclamation: his veto of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.
Hasmat Alert: Nine artists examine how we continue to suffer from technology we originally created to help ourselves in the group show "Biohazard." Results include Stomach Acid Dream, painter Mia Brownell's series on synthetic food production and consumption created with symbolic and pop art imagery. Audible Mello Dronic Studio founder Cari Campbell, meanwhile, meditates on the way we sully our own air in a repetitive five-minute audio piece featuring the sounds of one person breathing interrupted by short blasts from aerosol spray cans.
Dear Governor Hunt,
I recently learned of your decision about the DOT [Department of Transportation] and Wildlife [Resources Commission] appointments. We have never had anything like this happen before.
Attached is a copy of the letter I mailed to Jim Bennett. It explains what happened and the promise you and Jim made. Jim told us several times that Allen would get the wildlife appointment and I would get the DOT appointment.
When I read in the Wilmington paper that Michael Mills had been appointed to the DOT, I lost all confidence in the system.
We gave money and would have given more if you had asked. We gave you the money and have supported you all through your career. You misrepresented the truth to us. We are very disappointed and feel that our money should be returned.
J. A. Cartrette
The addition of ethanol to gasoline (in a one-to-ten blend known as "gasohol") helps reduce carbon monoxide emissions by as much as 22 percent by increasing the fuel's oxygen content, while reducing fuel mileage by only 2 percent. However, since ethanol is more volatile (prone to evaporative hydrocarbon emissions), use of gasohol would increase emissions of volatile organic compounds (an important urban smog precursor) by as much as 20 percent and nitrogen dioxide emissions by about 8 to 15 percent. Ethanol is also water-soluble and cannot be transported by pipeline, and would substantially increase the emission of other pollutants such as aldehydes, which are believed to be potent carcinogens. Without subsidies, ethanol costs about a dollar more than gasoline per gallon, and gasohol costs 10 to 20 cents more. The Congressional Research Service also estimated that ethanol production sufficient to displace 5 percent of gasoline consumption would require a corresponding displacement in the agricultural market, leading to $13 billion increases in food prices annually, or over $2 per gallon of ethanol produced.
[Ed.: David Pimentel of Cornell University determined that it takes 1.7 times as much energy to make a gallon of ethanol than is supplied by the fuel.]