The week (September 1st): Nobody asked me, but…

With a tip of the cap to Jimmy Cannon, nobody asked me, but…

“THE CHIEF EXECUTIVES OF corporations making big profits from the war on terror are enjoying far bigger pay increases than CEOs of nondefense companies, according to a study by two liberal groups,” reported the Associated Press, and there really is no palatable spin on this one.

What to do about it? The AP quoted a critic of the CEO windfalls who seems to get it right:

“Why not say that if it’s a contract with taxpayer dollars, they can’t go to excessive CEO pay,” said Betsy Leondar-Wright of United for a Fair Economy. “In past wars, there were efforts to limit war profiteering. We’re having the reverse here. We’re having people treating it as their own little bonanza.”

And spare us the baloney about the CEOs only being paid huge sums as a reflection of their market-value—even professors at Harvard Business School don’t buy that old chestnut.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS has been proved right about the Plame Affair, or at least that’s the conclusion a reasonable person would come to have after reading the quite pointed and blunt editorial in the Washington Post on the matter after Richard Armitrage (Colin Powell’s deputy at the State Department and an opponent of the Bush Iraq policy) was revealed as the source for Robert Novak’s column “outing” Valerie Plame as a CIA official. The Post editorialized thusly:

Nevertheless, it now appears that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame’s CIA career is Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming — falsely, as it turned out — that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials. He ought to have expected that both those officials and journalists such as Mr. Novak would ask why a retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission and that the answer would point to his wife. He diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush’s closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It’s unfortunate that so many people took him seriously.

Hitchins does get the last word in his Slate column: “Plame Out: The ridiculous end to the scandal that distracted Washington.”

THAT SOME SMALL SELECTIVE COLLEGES (Mount Holyoke, Middlebury, Hamilton, Union, Dickinson, George Mason, Providence College, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges in addition to Bates and Bowdoin) are dropping their SAT requirement for admissions, or making reporting its results voluntary, is hailed by the anti-testing critics who question the validity of the test (and see it skewed to wealthier students who can afford test-prep). The irony, of course, is that European and Asian countries don’t share American skittishness about high-stake testing. In response to the New York Times story highlighting the trend, College Board president Gaston Caperton tried to make that point, but somehow got sidetracked:

“At a time when the United States is vying internationally for excellence,” Mr. Caperton said, “it’s very contrary to any decision-making process, in business or education, not to use the data that’s available. If I were a parent, applying to a selective school, I would prefer them to use all the data they possibly can.”

Strange. I thought the student was applying, not the parent. Why Caperton felt he had to appeal to parental anxiety about selective schools admissions is anyone’s guess…especially since the vast majority of American colleges and universities will continue to use the SAT (and ACT) for admissions.

MANY JAPANESE WOMEN NOW SEE Korean men as ideal, (or so we are told by the Washington Post) based on the South Korean male movie and pop stars who are the rage in much of Asia. It’s particularly intriguing to find the Japanese open to out-marriage, as the island nation’s clannish is legendary. Another unforeseen consequence of globalization.

SPEAKING OF GLOBALIZATION, the win by Greece over the United States in basketball is tremendously upsetting to American hoops fans (like me). How can a team with three of the best players in the world—Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony—lose? Easy–shoot under 60% from the free throw line and under 40% from beyond the arc, and fail to defend the basic pick-and-roll play (a staple of any YMCA lunchtime pick-up game).

THE AWFUL AWFUL ® ice cream milkshake (“Awful Big, Awful Good) of my childhood remains available only at Newport Creamery restaurants in Rhode Island and Masschusetts—with the same offer if you can drink 3 at one sitting, you can get the fourth free! The Awful Awful was trademarked by Bond’s Ice Cream (in New Jersey) in 1948 and licensed to the Newport Creamery, which bought the name outright in the early 1970s when Bond’s went bankrupt.

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Copyright © 2006 Jefferson Flanders
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