Cutting Edge: New Ideas / Sharp Opinions
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The local blog Two Political Junkies (www.2politicaljunkies.blogspot.com) asks the question: "Dan Onorato, Allegheny County Executive: Any worries [about] our county's electronic voting machines considering [these two articles]?" The most persuasive of the cited articles was a Jan. 6 New York Times report that focused on problems in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, last November when its vote-counting computer crashed twice and failed to provide 20 percent of the paper printouts needed for a recount. The Ohio Secretary of State now is forcing the county to scrap its touch-screen machines. Several states, including California and Florida, are banning the machines statewide.
"U.S. reproductive-health policies are ... causing women to die or be maimed" around the world, writes Michele Kort in Ms. Magazine (www.msmagazine.com).
"For the past 24 years, except during the Clinton presidency, U.S. administrations have maintained a global gag rule against providing counseling or referrals for abortions at U.S.-funded clinics in developing nations. It's a rule that thwarts only safe abortions, while reducing the already limited availability of other family-planning services. The global gag rule has also led to a pullback in overseas delivery of contraceptives ... "
A rant on www.pittsburghrantsandraves.com scorches landlords in Oakland for not keeping up their properties:
"In an all-student focus group monitored by the Oakland Planning and Development Corp. the complaints surrounding the need for repairs were endless ... Some students have moved into messy apartments infested with fleas or termites, but the landlords did not respond ... One student's bathroom window broke. The student explained:
"It's been like 30 degrees outside and we just don't go in our bathroom and our whole apartment is cold. It was broken for a month ... She finally sent over this dude and he put in like a piece of garbage-bag plastic."
Contributing editor Heather Mac Donald in the winter issue of City Journal (www.city-journal.org/) decries the "campus sexual-assault industry" which operates on the belief that up to one quarter of college females are the victims of rape or attempted rape.
Ms. Mac Donald says the stats are skewed by including sexual encounters that women regret the day after -- especially if they had been drunk or high the night before -- and that even most of the subjects of the studies that purport to show such a high rate of rape themselves say they weren't really raped.
In 2006, violent crime in Detroit, including murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults affected 2.4 percent of the population, Ms. Mac Donald points out. If the campus rape rate was anything close to 25 percent, Ms. Mac Donald says, "such a crime wave would require nothing less than a state of emergency."
So why isn't there one? Because the stats are bogus and serve a radical-feminist agenda is Ms. Mac Donald's conclusion.
In an analysis of U.S. and European textbooks published in the latest issue of Foreign Policy (www.foreignpolicy.com), Stefan Theil finds that European schools are teaching that capitalism is savage, unhealthy and immoral.
"In both France and Germany, schools have helped ingrain a serious aversion to capitalism," Mr. Theil writes in his essay, "Europe's Philosophy of Failure." Bosses and owners appear only as negative, cigar-smoking stereotypes. The successful, modern entrepreneur is nowhere to be found.
Posted by Chad Hermann on his blog, "Teacher. Wordsmith. Madman." (homepage.mac.com/chadhermann/iblog/):
"Of the many great sillinesses that infect local weather reports, perhaps the silliest is the ... dogged insistence with which meteorologists pluck four or five towns, neighborhoods, burbs, burgs, municipalities or trailer parks from the region and tell us the temperatures in each spot.
"Yeah, I know it's a harmless little shout-out to those communities, and I suppose it does capture the lovely local flavor of the hometown meteorological advantage ... but come on, people. A two-degree variation across Allegheny County -- it's 32 in Sharpsburg, but it's 34 in Mt. Lebanon! -- isn't exactly a revelation. If it's ever 32 in Aspinwall and 63 in Robinson, then by all means let me know ... "
First Published January 27, 2008 12:00 am