- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 5, 2004

Oops

“I think Larry will make a superb governor — excuse me, congressman. And Mike Rounds, of course, is here as your governor.”

— Vice President Dick Cheney at a Sioux Falls, S.D., reception this week for congressional (at least for now) candidate Larry Diedrich.

Start your roaches

It’s almost time once again for the famed “Cockroach Derby,” staged annually by the New Jersey Pest Management Association.

This year the derby pits two giant Madagascar “hissing” roaches — named Bush and Kerry — against each other in an effort to predict the outcome of the Nov. 2 presidential election.

The Aug. 19 derby is a highlight of the association’s 57th annual trade show and clambake held on the Rutgers University Cook College campus.

“We have had an 80 percent accuracy rate in previous election-year races,” says Leonard Douglen, the association’s executive director. “In 2000, however, the race between the Gore roach and the Bush roach was so close it was run a second time with no conclusive decision which roach had won.”

More than 600 of the state’s pest management professionals are signed up for the series of educational seminars and other events that feature a full day of lectures by specialists from across the nation. More importantly, the official starter of the race will be Phil Cooper of Cooper Pest Control, who maintains the 6-foot-long, plastic-enclosed “racetrack” upon which the hissing roaches will vie for victory.

Gone by morning

A most ear-opening interview this week with John Kerry’s former commanding officer in Vietnam, who told the Kevin McCullough Show in New York that he had asked Mr. Kerry to leave his unit in Vietnam after the issuance of his third Purple Heart.

Former Navy Lt. Thomas Wright said he frequently was forced to confront Mr. Kerry over willful disobedience to orders while aboard Swift Boat patrols.

He told radio host Kevin McCullough that on frequent occasions Mr. Kerry would randomly fire at “things he thought were moving” along the shoreline. The lieutenant stated that protocol was to fire only when the unit was receiving hostile fire. He explained that part of the patrol’s goal was to develop contacts with noncombatants living along the rivers.

He said when confronted about his defiance, Mr. Kerry would either claim he didn’t hear the orders or insist that he thought “he saw something” moving.

The former commanding officer’s boldest claim was that after Mr. Kerry received his third Purple Heart, he and two other ranking officers flat-out asked the now Democratic presidential candidate to leave his unit because his behavior put the group in greater vulnerability and danger.

Mr. Kerry, he said, replied that he would not leave, “but was out of there by morning.”

Writing right

Unfortunately for the two top-ranked liberals in the land — Democratic presidential and vice-presidential hopefuls John Kerry and John Edwards — college students won’t be steering the country further left anytime soon.

An intriguing story in the current issue of Editor & Publisher finds that certain universities remain liberal bastions. Take Northwestern University, where assistant professor Michele Weldon estimates as many as 80 percent of the school’s journalism students are politically liberal.

Bob Zelnick, who is chairman of the journalism department at Boston University, also weighs in that most of his students “lean more liberal than the general population.”

But there are the exceptions, which help balance out the political landscape of young voters. At Central Michigan University, journalism department head Maria Marron reports that her students are “a fairly conservative bunch.” Similar findings are also culled from St. Bonaventure University in Olean, N.Y., where journalism dean Lee Coppola says the majority of his budding reporters are “moderate to right.”

And how many of these students are influenced by their teachers — statistically a liberal bunch?

David Rubin, dean of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, says he doesn’t buy into the notion that professors indoctrinate their students on certain issues.

But Ken Chandler, the Boston Herald’s editorial director (who must have attended a Massachusetts institute of higher education) disagrees: “A lot of people who teach are left-wing, and they fill their heads with a lot of crap.”

Politics aside

“In ‘Four Trials,’ John Edwards has written movingly of people who were terribly wronged and whom he helped seek some measure of justice with great skill, determination and genuine compassion.”

— Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, in his glowing review appearing on the back cover of Democratic vice-presidential nominee John Edwards’ new paperback book, “Four Trials,” in which the senator from North Carolina writes about his years as a lawyer.

Purchase John McCaslin’s new book at BarnesandNoble.com.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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