- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Pretty ugly

“Nils Ringdal (author of a new history of prostitution, ‘Love for Sale’) seems to subscribe to the ‘Pretty Woman’ theory of prostitution — that selling sex is a pretty good career for a stylish woman.

“As he moves through the ages, from Greek hetaerae to modern call girls, the prostitutes he likes to spend most time with are always ‘elegant.’ We learn about the ‘elegant dinners’ where prostitutes in Athens received their clients … and especially about the ‘elegantly made-up’ prostitutes of 18th-century Japan, who lived in ‘elegant … enclaves’ or an ‘elegant hotel’ — and even committed hara kiri ‘elegantly.’ …

“That is not to say that Ringdal never deals with the nastiness and violence that can accompany prostitution. He discusses the comfort women forced by the Japanese to provide sex for the army and the prevalence of gang rapes in Europe in the 1400s and 1500s. But you sense a sort of relief when he returns to his anecdotes of beautiful geishas and well-educated New York call girls with their ‘fabulous undergarments … and sheer stockings.’”

Natasha Walter, writing on “Elegantly empty,” Saturday in Britain’s Guardian newspaper

‘Anti-racist’ math

“The [Newton, Mass.] school department was recently forced to publicly admit that the sixth-grade [Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System] math scores have steadily declined over the past three years to the point where 32 percent of sixth-graders are now in the ‘warning’ or ‘needs improvement’ category. …

“Between 1999 and 2001 … the math curriculum was redesigned to emphasize ‘Newton’s commitment to active anti-racist education’ for the elementary and middle schools. This meant that no longer were division, multiplication, fractions and decimals the first priority for teaching math. For that matter, the teaching of math was no longer the first priority for math teachers. …

“Nowhere among the first priorities for the math curriculum guidelines is the actual teaching of math. That’s a distant second. … [M]athematical problem-solving is of secondary importance to anti-racist/anti-bias math.

“Meanwhile, the sixth-grade MCAS math scores keep going down. …

“When a school department determines that ideology should take priority over academics, standardized test scores gradually decline and educational standards suffer.”

Tom Mountain, writing on “Math curriculum doesn’t add up,” Jan. 12 in the Newton (Mass.) Tab

Forever offended

“Atheist Michael Newdow went to court yet again in an effort to keep himself from being offended. …

“Newdow said that [President] Bush intended to ‘use the machinery of the state to advocate his religious beliefs’ [at the inauguration]. Newdow takes up so much taxpayer-funded court time that he has put enough energy into the relationship to be considered the 9th Circuit [Court of Appeals’] common-law spouse, and he’s accusing somebody of abusing ‘the machinery of the state’? …

“The simple conclusion is this: Michael Newdow is Joan Crawford and the world is a wire hanger. He’ll never reach a point of satisfaction. All we can do is pray that soon he realizes that his crusade has become a regular visit to the Church of the Non-Believer. … In other words, Newdow’s quest has become everything he stands against — a religion practiced in public.”

Doug Powers, writing on “No atheists in foxholes, but there are at inaugurations,” Monday in WorldNetDaily at www.worldnetdaily.com

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