U.S. may escalate bombing of Iraq

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It appears that some members of the Clinton administration just can’t rest easy unless the US is dropping bombs on at least one impoverished and defenseless, yet defiant, foe. According to the NEW YORK TIMES, senior administration officials are considering escalating the bombing of Iraq, which has been occurring on a constant basis for the past eight months. THE TIMES reports that American and British planes have fired some 1,100 missiles against 359 targets in Iraq this year.

On Tuesday, the Iraqi news agency reported that several people were wounded when missiles struck a fourth century monastery outside the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The victims were reportedly gathered to watch the solar eclipse. The Department of Defense confirmed that US planes had come under fire that day, and attacked two targets near Mosul in response. A Department spokesman said the church had not been one of the targets hit. He was confident that the Iraqi report was false, because “Saddam is a characteristic liar.”



Kansas schools gut evolution standard

Aug. 12, 1999

THE KANSAS CITY STAR reports on the Kansas State Board of Education’s decision to delete key aspects of the theory of evolution from the state’s science standards. Under the new regulations, Kansas science teachers will no longer be required to teach their students about “macroevolution” — the process by which one species evolves into another. This concept forms the basis of the theory that all organisms share a common origin. Students will still be required to learn about changes within species via natural selection.

Critics of the change fear it will open the door for teaching Creationism — which explains the origins of life according to the book of Genesis — in Kansas “science” classrooms. According to the ASSOCIATED PRESS Kansas Governor Bill Graves called the Board’s action “a terrible, tragic, embarrassing solution to a problem that didn’t exist.”



Can you be too feminist?

Aug. 11, 1999

Yep, say the administrators of Boston College.

Radical feminist professor Mary Daly had said she would rather resign than accept men in her classes after the Jesuit school’s administrators told her she had to. Boston College officials assumed she meant what she said, so when she came back to campus for the new school year her office door’s locks had been changed and her name and courses expunged from the college’s class schedule. Sexist jerks — taking a woman at her word.

Daly, who has fought this battle many times before, told NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO that having men in her feminist theory classes made it difficult for her women students to think straight. In a class with men, women students feel they “have to be sexy, and they can’t really think.”This is feminism?



Study: Legal abortion reduces crime

Aug. 10, 1999

An unpublished study may give abortion-rights activists a surprising new reason to fight to keep Roe vs. Wade intact. But the reason may be as controversial as the abortion issue itself. A Stanford law professor and University of Chicago economist have concluded that the legalization of abortion in the 1970s may be responsible for the precipitous drop in crime rates in the 1990s, says the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Relying on studies indicating that unwanted children are more likely to grow up to commit crimes, the researchers suggest that the legalization of abortion reduced the sheer number of potential criminals. Even when controlling for other factors such as the economy, the researchers conclude that legalized abortion may account for as much as half of the reduction in crime over the past 20 years.

The explanation has activists on the right and the left screaming, well, bloody murder. The study’s critics argue that such a conclusion smacks of racism and eugenics. Researchers defend the study, pointing out that their conclusion is only about planned pregnancies and has nothing to do with class and race.



Puerto Rico to Navy: Get out of Vieques

Aug. 9, 1999

Residents of the small Puerto Rican island of Vieques are fed up with the US Navy — and they’re not the only ones. The July issue of THE VIEQUES TIMES announces proudly that “‘Navy Out of Vieques’ is now officially the public policy of the Puerto Rican government.” According to the paper, the governor has accepted recommendations made by his Vieques Commission, including an “immediate and permanent cease and desist of all Navy activities” on the island, and the return of Navy-possessed lands to the people of Vieques. The United States has operated a bombing range on the island since World War II, and admitted to using both depleted uranium and napalm there in recent years.

Opposition to the Naval presence there has grown since last April, when a bomb missed its target by more than a mile and killed a civilian security guard and wounded four others. In fact, last week Puerto Rico’s attorney general threatened to sue the Navy if it continues to use the island for bombing runs, saying the US military branch is violating clear air, endangered species, and hazardous waste laws. Meanwhile, the Navy insists the site is the only place where its Atlantic fleet forces can train simultaneously with live ammunition. A panel is investigating the issue and will report its findings to President Clinton later this year.




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