- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 6, 2000

Define 'night'

"The government deployed a total of 151 people [in the April 22 raid to seize Elian Gonzalez in Miami]; 131 from the Immigration and Naturalization Service and 20 from the U.S. Marshals… .

"Why the case was so important … is a question the agency has yet to answer… .

" 'You wouldn't send a SWAT team in the dark of night to kidnap the child, in effect?' Tim Russert asked Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder on 'Meet the Press' nearly two weeks before the raid. 'No,' answered Holder. 'We don't expect anything like that to happen.'

"The day after the seizure, Mr. Holder appeared again with Mr. Russert, who asked, 'Why such a dramatic change in position?' Mr. Holder stood by his words; his original statement was true, he explained, because 'We waited 'til 5 in the morning, just before dawn.' "

Byron York, writing on "Illegal Elian," in the June issue of the American Spectator

Changing faces

"Twenty years ago, [Silicon Valley] felt like a suburban nowhere, sleepy and homogenous; today, it feels like a giant, nonvirtual eBay, where everyone is consumed with making the big score… .

"The biggest change prosperity has wrought, however, is in the faces of the people who live here. For most of the 20th century, the population of Santa Clara County [Calif.] … was about 80 percent white. Today, thanks largely to a wave that has brought nearly 160,000 immigrants into the area in the last decade, whites are now a minority.

"The 1.6 million people who live in the county are 49 percent white, 24 percent Hispanic, 23 percent Asian and 4 percent black. The defining character of Silicon Valley today is not the pasty-faced plaid-shirt-wearing aerospace engineer, but a young geek from Taipei [in Taiwan] or Bangalore [in India] with an H-1B visa and a fondness for American pop culture.

"These new immigrants … are attracted to the valley by its reputation as a digital meritocracy, where nobody cares what color your skin is as long as you can speak the global language of entrepreneurs. Although most of these new immigrants are highly educated and technologically savvy, they have at least one thing in common with the waves of dreamers who came through Ellis Island a hundred years ago they believe America is a land of opportunity, a place where they can build better lives."

Jeff Goodell, writing on "The Venture Capitalist in My Bedroom," in the May 28 New York Times Magazine

Facile filmmaking

"No film from last year garnered so much, and deserved so little, critical praise as 'American Beauty.' … A closer look at 'American Beauty' reveals very little that's of value… .

" 'American Beauty' seems as if it was written for no other reason than to have people hail it as an ambitious and penetrating expose of What's Wrong with America Today. It's anti-hero, Lester Burnham, is a self-admitted loser; he has lost something exactly what, he is not sure but he resolves that 'it's never too late to get it back.'

"A promising beginning, but unfortunately it's never developed. Lester's existential crusade degenerates immediately into a puerile campaign of self-improvement: disregarding social niceties, rediscovering the joys of smoking high-grade marijuana, and plotting to bed his daughter's schoolmate, Angela… .

"By killing Lester, the filmmakers forgo their chance to say anything profound and instead resort to cheap moralizing, attributing the death to the one character the viewer has been systematically programmed to despise … and thus pressing home their facile flamed-out hippie ethos. Do we really need to see another free spirit snuffed out by The Man to know that hatred is bad?"

J.A. Hanson, writing on "Only Skin Deep," in Re:Generation Quarterly

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