The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, June 21, 2004  

Items in the News
June 21, 2004

Looking Great Over 40
At the All-England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon today Martina Navratilova, age 47, easily defeated (just 46 minutes) Colombia Castano, age 24, 6-1, 6-0. The first-round match marked Navratilova’s first appearance in the women’s singles draw at Wimbledon in 10 years, and she is the oldest woman to play the singles tournament in 82 years. (Additional coverage from the official Wimbledon web site: “Martina Sprints to Victory,” by Mike Donovan; and the New York Times: “Navratilova, 47, Wins at Wimbledon,” by Chritopher Clarey.)

Clinton’s Memoirs: Is My Life the Last Word?
Dee Dee Myers, a former press secretary to President Bill Clinton, thinks My Life was published 10 years too early. The Associated Press reports: “Myers suggested Clinton might have given shortshrift treatment to the historical record relating to his policies in a book in which he spends considerable energy discussing his early life, his conflicts, personal torment and lapses in judgment. She said Clinton’s account ‘would have been better, more integrated, more interesting, if he’d given it more time.’” Possibly, but who’s to say My Life is President Clinton’s last word on the subject? Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher wrote two hefty volumes. At last count former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had written three.

Old-Fashioned Campaigning
Union members in Pennsylvania are campaigning the old-fashioned way: door to door. And it appears that are no lack of rank-and-file members willing to help. The Washington Post reports: “Saturday morning [in Erie, Pa.], AFL-CIO organizers set out doughnuts and coffee and held a meeting for workers willing to give up half a weekend to save union jobs. Their task would be to knock on members’ doors to get the word out that this year’s presidential election is crucial for jobs and health care, not to mention that the Democrat, Sen. John F. Kerry, is their friend. The hope was that 40 to 50 workers might show up. Instead, 90 people crowded a meeting room with faded walls and warped floors.”

Perp Walk in Paris
From the Associated Press: “Jean-Marie Messier, the former chief executive of Vivendi Universal, was taken into police custody Monday in an investigation into financial wrongdoing during his time at the media and telecommunications giant, police said. Police said Messier was being held by the financial crime brigade and could remain in custody for questioning for up to 48 hours.”

We Love Torture!
What is it about torturing prisoners that got so many Bush administration officials so excited? Tom Engelhardt examines the question in the Daily MoJo, published by Mother Jones magazine (“Water-boarding,” June 18): “[T]he Bush administration had torture on the brain. Its officials were fixated on the subject, which went so naturally with the President’s new-style, no-holds-barred, we’re-the-only-law-in-town, dead-or-alive, assassination-and-kidnapping ‘war on terrorism.’ It’s no longer a matter of whether knowledge of the acts committed at Abu Ghraib prison reach the President and his advisors, but of what can only be termed a complete obsession with the subject of torture among those figures. The highest officials at the Pentagon, in the military, in the CIA, and at the Justice Department clearly couldn’t stop thinking about torture -- as over the course of more than a year they requested legal memorandum after memorandum, all chewing over how to define torture so that various inhumane acts involving the infliction of mental and physical pain would not be considered such; over how far to go when too far was never quite far enough. In this sense, whether they were aware of the individual acts of horror at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere (and a number of them evidently were), they were certainly intensely aware that acts of this nature and worse were a ‘necessity’ of their war (even if photos of them were not).”

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Care”
You're paying for this: “Even with concerns growing about military troop strength, 770 people were discharged for homosexuality last year under the military's ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, a new study shows. . . . Hundreds of those discharged held high-level job specialties that required years of training and expertise, including 90 nuclear power engineers, 150 rocket and missile specialists and 49 nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare specialists. Eighty-eight linguists were discharged, including at least seven Arab language specialists.”

“Simpsons” Fan, “Simpsons” Star?
Producers of “The Simpsons” have asked Rowan Williams, better known at the Archbishop of Canterbury, to participate in an upcoming episode of the program. The archbishop is reported to be a longtime fan of the popular animated series. Who isn’t?

[Note: Items may be added to PP&T after initial publication.]

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