- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 8, 2000

Gay watershed

"At the outset of the anti-Dr. Laura [Schlessinger] campaign, even the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said it wasn't trying to kill her [television] show, claiming it only wanted to ensure Paramount kept her on a short leash and gave play to alternative views… .

"In fact, they still claim they're not censoring, arguing that since the campaign is not directed at an agency of government, Dr. Laura's First Amendment rights are intact. Indeed, GLAAD's leaders protest that they themselves are merely exercising their free-speech rights.

"But they're not fooling anyone. 'If Proctor & Gamble has [sponsored] this show,' warned a GLAAD statement shortly before P&G;'s decision to cut and run, 'then it has bought trouble.' …

"In fact, the goal [of GLAAD] is not mere equity but unquestioned acceptance, a general understanding that any characterization of gay life and sexual behavior as anything other than healthy and normal is, by definition, discriminatory.

"In that sense, the campaign against Dr. Laura is a watershed. If one of the most popular radio hosts in America can be silenced, who will dare challenge the orthodoxy of the self-appointed censors again?"

Harry Stein, writing on "You May Hate Dr. Laura, But Don't Try to Censor Her," in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal

Sour grapes?

"Home-schooled kids hogged the headlines as finalists and winners at both the National Spelling Bee and National Geographic Bee. And more acclaim may be ahead: One of the home-schooled spelling bee finalists is off to a national math competition in which she was a finalist last year… .

"But along with the accolades has come an ugly undercurrent of resentment from critics of home schooling. Last week, a St. Paul Pioneer columnist suggested that the current crop of home-school contest winners came from families who are home schooling expressly to groom future competition winners.

"A Fox News Channel report pondered whether 'the odds are stacked in favor' of home-schooled spelling whizzes who spend hours a day poring over dictionaries, unencumbered by school bells. The program warned that recent home-school triumphs … may 'reignite the home-schooling debate.' …

"Well, speaking as an outraged home-schooling mom of two, I'm here to say … yes, home-schooled children have plenty of time and flexibility to focus on a talent or interest… .

"But a lot of home-schooling advantages aren't necessarily off-limits to schooled kids. Do you honestly believe that spelling champ George Thampy was the only finalist who spent three hours a day studying for the competition? They all did, regardless of where they went to school."

Helen Cordes, on "Sour grapes, anyone?" in the on-line magazine Salon at www.salon.com

Forbidden speech

"When I was a little boy, I spoke Yiddish … as fluently as I did English… . This accent created a problem when at the age of 5 I was sent to the local public school… . A teacher came upon me climbing alone up a staircase, apparently lost …

" 'Where are you going, little boy?' this teacher asked. 'I goink op de stez,' I am reputed to have replied. At this, the teacher instantly marched me off to the principal's office and had me placed in a remedial-speech class …

"In the age of multiculturalism that dawned on America a half-century later, any teacher doing to a black or Latino or Asian kid what that teacher did to me would … have been surrounded in a trice by federal marshals materializing out of the very walls of the school, arrested for attempted cultural genocide, read her Miranda rights and carted off in handcuffs to the applause of the child's parents and sundry liberal spokesmen …"

Norman Podhoretz in his new book, "My Love Affair with America"

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