- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 21, 2001

Modern manners
"The arrest of the 19-year-old Bush twins for drinking liquor in an Austin restaurant gave the news-starved (and starved-brained) press something to cackle over.
"The girls, clearly in a state of arrested adolescent rebellion, checked their Secret Service agents at the door, and, even after the restaurant rejected Jenna's fake ID, succeeded in getting their (what else?) margaritas. Compounding the 'irony' is the fact that their father, as governor of Texas, had signed into law the zero-tolerance standard on underage drinking. …
"Americans are apparently horrified to discover that many college girls drink and that some of them occasionally drink too much. I, too, am disgusted to see young women ordering drinks and making fools of themselves as if they were young men. …
"Alcohol, per se, is not the problem. Because of certain well-known differences between the sexes, young women have a duty never to fall under the control of young men, whether as a result of drinking too much or merely from infatuation. …
"The problem with the president's charming daughters is not that they drink or lack discretion, but that they seem to care so little for their father's happiness."
Thomas Fleming, writing on "Wasted Away Again in Margaritaville" in the August issue of Chronicles

Child-free cities?
"America's cities grew up as enclaves that harbored working families. In recent decades, some became neglected wastelands. Now they are again recasting themselves, this time as adult theme parks brimming with bistros, boutiques, and corner cafes. But while they're attracting a new urban elite, all the upper-class amenities are starting to crowd out families.
"The urban evolution is most obvious, perhaps, in San Francisco. …
"At its heart is a tectonic sociological shift, as an unprecedented number of young, affluent people delay or forgo having children. … In these emerging adult playgrounds, few families have the means to stay, leaving cities effectively childless. …
"'I don't think there's ever been a case with so many people choosing to not have kids in times of prosperity,'" says [author Joel] Kotkin. …
"In fact, San Francisco has more dogs than children, and the two groups have frequently clashed over access to the city's parks. When dog owners have been asked to leash their hounds for children's safety, some have responded with quips like 'Leash your toddler.'"
Mark Sappenfield, writing on "Bright lights, big city … and few kids," yesterday in the Christian Science Monitor

Beginnings of evil
"I wish I could say that the president's speech to the nation on stem cells was as good as I had hoped. … At the end, though, my heart sank.
"The president tried to maintain a position of principle, but what he ended up doing, despite his best effort, was giving away the principle. He put the full faith and credit of the U.S. government behind the principle of using human beings as a means, albeit for noble ends. …
"The problem is that when this source of stem cells runs out soon then those on the other side will demand more stem cells from more embryos. The demand for usable stem cells will swell enormously. … Be alert to the beginnings of evil. It never comes under the appearance of evil, but always under the appearance of the beautiful, the promising, the idealistic, the pleasant. …
"I have enormous sympathy for Christopher Reeve, and profoundly hope that, by some miracle of medicine or grace, he is suddenly healed. Yet I am also disappointed by how earnestly one whom I still think of as Superman wants to have other human beings killed, so that he might be cured."
Michael Novak, writing on "The Stem Cell Slide" in the Sept. 3 issue of National Review


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