Five mistakes in a single sentence must be some kind of record
for America's greatest newspaper. On August 17, in an article
about the new White House roles of Sidney Blumenthal and Paul
Begala ("Clinton Looks for Inspiration From the Left"),
the New York Times quoted the New Republic as saying
about Blumenthal, "A beat is just an assignment but a slut
is who you've become maybe."
The next day the Times admitted the following:
The statement had not appeared in the New Republic.
As public broadcasting has long shown, there is a thin line between philanthropy and advertising that is well on its way to being completely erased. Consider the recent proliferation of corporate logos on endowed professorships, as reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Stanford has a Yahoo! chair of information systems technology; the University of Arizona has a Coca Cola distinguished professor of marketing; and Washington State has a Taco Bell distinguished professor of hotel and restaurant administration.
I'm impressed by what companies have done so far, but I'm waiting for William Bennett to get the General Electric Chair in Philosophy.
Early demand for Viagra, the new potency pill from Pfizer, has been so enormous that it has caused worries about an unexpected rise in health care expenses. Newspapers have reported the weekly sales of Viagra the way they earlier reported the gross for Titanic. In April one urologist was quoted by the Washington Post as saying, "If we were in the military, I think we would call in and say our position is being overrun."
For liberals, it's the lost crusade. For conservatives, it's the emblematic case of overweening big government. Perhaps more clearly than in any other issue, federal action to achieve universal health coverage brings out ideological and partisan differences in America. In the early 1990s, health care became a defining conflict for the nation, and so it remains today. The uninsured figure prominently in the debates between Al Gore and Bill Bradley, but they're only a marginal issue for the Republican presidential candidates.
In Washington, it could have been much worse. As a military strike, while the terrorists' attack succeeded in New York, it failed in the capital -- but for reasons that we cannot depend upon to protect us in the future. The bravery of a few passengers on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania prevented it from reaching its target, and for reasons as yet unknown the plane originating at Dulles that was streaking toward the White House veered and struck the Pentagon, killing a large number of people but failing to hit any command-related functions.