The Rittenhouse Review

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

Thursday, June 24, 2004  

Items in the News
June 24, 2004

There’s Always Next Year [*]
Martina Navratilova today lost her second-round Ladies’ Singles match at Wimbledon, falling 6-3, 3-6, 3-6 to Gisela Dulko of Argentina.

Distracted [*]
If I seem a bit distracted through the weekend there can only be one explanation: the U.S. Olympic Gymastics Team Trials are underway in Anaheim, Calif. According to the schedule, the all-around preliminaries begin at 10:00 p.m. (EDT) tonight and the all-around finals start at 6:00 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. Oh, and I think the women’s team is being assembled in Anaheim this weekend also.

Fair Trade?
Jason Smathers, 24, an engineer at America Online, was arrested at his home in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., yesterday and charged with stealing 92 million e-mail addresses of AOL customers and selling them to spammers (“AOL Worker Is Accused of Selling 93 Million E-Mail Names,” by Saul Hansell, the New York Times).

What’s that? One e-mail address for every three “Try AOL Free!” CDs the company sends through the post each month?

Bad Headline, Good Article
In today’s New York Times reporters Sara Rimer and Karen W. Arenson ask, “Top Colleges Take More Blacks, but Which Ones?

Hmm . . . Which blacks or which colleges? That question aside (the authors mean “which black students”), here’s a lengthy pull quote from an otherwise interesting article:

While about 8 percent, or about 530, of Harvard’s undergraduates were [Ed.: are?] black, Lani Guinier, a Harvard law professor, and Henry Louis Gates Jr., the chairman of Harvard’s African and African-American studies department, pointed out that the majority of them -- perhaps as many as two-thirds -- were West Indian and African immigrants or their children, or to a lesser extent, children of biracial couples.

They said that only about a third of the students were from families in which all four grandparents were born in this country, descendants of slaves. Many argue that it was students like these, disadvantaged by the legacy of Jim Crow laws, segregation and decades of racism, poverty and inferior schools, who were intended as principal beneficiaries of affirmative action in university admissions.

What concerned the two professors, they said, was that in the high-stakes world of admissions to the most selective colleges -- and with it, entry into the country's inner circles of power, wealth and influence -- African-American students whose families have been in America for generations were being left behind.

“I just want people to be honest enough to talk about it,” Professor Gates, the Yale-educated son of a West Virginia paper-mill worker, said recently, reiterating the questions he has been raising since the black alumni weekend last fall. “What are the implications of this?”

Someday in Paradise
Hey, Vaara, did you see this? “What’s Doing: In Helsinki,” by Lizette Alvarez:

Summers in Helsinki are the perfect salve for the country’s somber winters. The sun hovers in the sky most of the night. Temperatures linger at the pleasant mark -- not too hot, not too cold. And restaurants turn themselves inside out, their tables spilling across city sidewalks.

On sunny days, it seems as if all of Helsinki is biking, boating, walking, picnicking or just lolling about in parks and cafes. The city, a hodgepodge of Art Nouveau, Modernist and Russian architecture, provides free bicycles at stands around the city in the summer while the harborfront is chockablock with boats. Festivals are a summer mainstay, ranging from the traditional (opera) to the cutting edge (electronic music). And into the wee hours, crowds drop in on the flourishing and funky bar scene.”

One day; not any time soon, but someday.

[* Note: Additional items may be posted to “PP&T” after initial publication but only on the day of publication, excluding post-publication addenda.]

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