- The Washington Times - Monday, September 24, 2007

Teaching temptation

The parent of a 7-year-old pupil at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Alexandria couldn’t believe her eyes when she looked into her child’s homework assignment Web site and saw who was advertising.

“Get Your Excused Absence: Looking for a Fake Doctor’s Note? Get a Fake Doctor’s Note Instantly,” reads one of several ads posted adjacent to the second-grade teacher’s homework assignments for Sept. 20.

“Online Homework Helper,” the ad below it read. “Pay Someone to do your homework!”

Like other private and public schools around the country, St. Mary’s utilizes “SchoolNotes,” a school-to-home Web site operated by Connecticut-based Education World. Teachers use the Web site to post up-to-date homework assignments and other messages for students and parents.

Education World explains that in order to keep its site “free” for all users, it is supported by corporate sponsors and advertisers — some of whom obviously should be better screened.

50 so soon

We’re told that Fran Drescher, TV’s “Nanny,” will celebrate her 50th birthday Wednesday night at Teatro Goldoni on K Street Northwest with a group of friends and congressional types.

Most women wouldn’t be advertising the milestone, but, having survived uterine cancer, Miss Drescher says she’s grateful to be alive and not a statistic. She just started a national campaign to galvanize women to take better care of themselves and get more help.

“We need to take control of our bodies, become greater partners with our physicians,” she said, and “galvanize as one to let our legislators know that the collective female vote is louder and more powerful than that of the richest corporate lobbyists.”

With the national health care debate heating up in Congress and on the 2008 presidential campaign trail, Miss Drescher says she will be pressing the better health care issue this week with everybody from Georgetown University students to Capitol Hill lawmakers.

Ignoring ‘mammy’

Ask one black Republican leader, and he will say it’s about time that black Democrats started applying pressure on Louisiana’s elected officials to drop “frivolous” charges against the so-called Jena 6.

“I frankly feel some disgust with the black Democrats and their timidity regarding this issue,” writes Bill Calhoun, chairman of the Texas Federation of Black Republicans.

The point being that Mr. Calhoun is curious where black Democrats were “when Democratic Party operatives in the 2006 election depicted Maryland’s then-Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele as a ‘simple sambo,’ with a pitch-black face and big red lips, reminiscent of how Democrats portrayed blacks during Jim Crow days.”

“No Democrat official came to the defense of [Secretary of State] Condoleezza Rice when she was being vilified as a barefoot ‘ignorant mammy,’ in the vile way that black women were depicted by the Democrats during the era of Jim Crow,” he adds.

For whatever reason, Mr. Calhoun says that for “40 years, blacks have given nearly 90 percent of their votes to Democrats, with little to show for their loyalty and investment. When are black Americans going to wake up and stop having their vote taken for granted?”

As for the Jena 6 — six black students originally accused of attempted second-degree murder after fighting a white student in the wake of “intimidation,” including hangman’s nooses in an oak tree on the Jena High School campus — Mr. Calhoun for once agrees with the black Democrats.

“The 14th Amendment to our Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law for all citizens. Hanging nooses in the school courtyard is akin to screaming ‘fire’ in a crowded theater: both deserve condemnation and punishment,” he said.

Come on back

When it comes to making a case for human rights, what a difference 20 years makes.

All eyes are on an Oct. 17 ceremony — in the hallowed U.S. Capitol Rotunda — in which one of the nation’s highest honors, the Congressional Gold Medal, will be presented to the Dalai Lama.

When Tenzin Gyatso, Tibet’s head of state and spiritual leader, came to the District in October 1987 to call attention to systematic human rights abuses by China, he “did not have much success,” recalls Rep. Tom Lantos, California Democrat.

“For fear of offending the People’s Republic of China, President Reagan chose not to meet with him. At the Department of State, it was the same story,” says the congressman, who is founder of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.

John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes .com.

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