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Nobles and Knaves

- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 21, 2007

Noble: Norman Borlaug, the most recent recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal, whose advancements in agriculture helped save people from starvation.

On Tuesday, the 93-year-old scientist was praised by President Bush for his achievements in erasing world hunger. Mr. Borlaug is credited with saving perhaps 1 billion lives when he started the "Green Revolution," the term used to describe the agricultural advances he made while researching in Mexico. The disease-resistant varieties of wheat that he created helped stave off starvation in Mexico, India and Pakistan. Later, his work was applied in Africa and other parts of Asia.

As a child growing up in Iowa, Mr. Borlaug worked on his family farm. He studied forestry at the University of Minnesota and later received a master's degree and Ph.D. in plant pathology and genetics. He went to Mexico in the early 1940s and along with the genetic strides he took with wheat production, he also found a way to substantially increase crops by planting during two seasons. In 1970 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and in 1977 was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

For helping to stamp out world hunger, Norman Borlaug is the Noble of the week.

Knave: Michael Vick, quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, who was indicted this week in an illegal dog-fighting venture.

According to the indictment, which was filed Tuesday in Richmond, Mr. Vick purchased property that he and three co-defendants used as their home base for Bad Newz Kennels. They allegedly trained pit bulls and hosted illegal dog fights where the winner would take away sometimes tens of thousands of dollars. Mr. Vick is also accused of transporting dogs across state lines to compete in other fights.

There has been much public outcry, however, surrounding the information about the treatment of Mr. Vick's dogs. The details are gruesome, but suffice it to say that dogs which did not perform well in their fights were tortured and often killed.

The National Football League is weighing a suspension of Mr. Vick and Nike has postponed the release of a new product line in his name.

For standing in the center of such an illegal and cruel enterprise, Michael Vick is the Knave of the week.