- The Washington Times - Friday, February 2, 2007

Nobles: Michael McCarthy, who is quite possibly the most courageous 10-year-old you’ll ever meet.

No legs. No problem. Michael, who came from Russia to live with his adopted family in Chicago when he was 4, was born with a debilitating birth defect in both legs that left him unable to walk. After undergoing surgery, Michael was fitted with prosthetic legs and taught himself how to walk. But that wasn’t enough, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

First, it was skateboarding; next, it was karate; and, finally, on Sunday, it was Chicago’s second-tallest building, the Aon Center. Michael was chosen to lead off an 83-story climb in Chicago Children’s Memorial Hospital fund-raiser. With nothing but a crutch and a spotter, Michael — remember, now, two prosthetic legs — climbed 22 stories (520 steps) in 30 minutes. His goal was 500 steps.

“Next time I come, I’m going to do 600 steps,” he said afterward. Does anyone doubt that he will?

For having, as his karate coach said, the “will of a lion,” Michael is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: William Arkin of The Washington Post, who clearly needs an editor.

Mr. Arkin has spent much of his week explaining what he meant in an article he wrote Tuesday on The Post’s Web site. In it, Mr. Arkin said that he took issue with U.S. soldiers in Iraq who had spoken candidly to NBC News about their disappointment with Americans who didn’t support the war.

Specifically, he wrote, “these soldiers should be grateful that the American public, which by all polls overwhelmingly disapproves of the Iraq war and the President’s handling of it, do still offer their support to them, and their respect.” He concluded, “The recent NBC report is just an ugly reminder of the price we pay for a mercenary — oops, sorry, volunteer — force that thinks it is doing the dirty work.”

Really, there’s not much more to say that hasn’t already been said about this garbage. Mr. Arkin, it’s quite clear, has finally dropped the veil of the his own “I support the troops, but don’t support the war” absurdity. He doesn’t support the troops. So, two cheers for honesty.

That said, zero cheers for clarity. As a professional journalist, widely respected for his reports on national and homeland security affairs, Mr. Arkin should know that his article would have been thrown out by any decent writing teacher in any decent high school in the country. A sure sign of poor writing is if it takes the writer two more posts, plus a few interviews, to explain what he originally meant. Let this be a lesson for all English students.

For an all-around rotten article, Mr. Arkin is the Knave of the week.

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