- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 2, 2002

'So what?'
"Christians voiced their outrage when ABC's 'Ellen' featured a lead lesbian character in 1997.
"That outrage, five years later, has dissipated even though there are now more than 20 homosexual characters on television, lamented Focus on the Family's Mike Haley. …
"'The moral standard is being lowered in regards to issues of sexuality,' said Haley, Focus on the Family's director of youth and gender studies. 'We're shrugging our shoulders at the issue of homosexuality.'
"As an example of Christians being desensitized to the issue of homosexuality, Haley compared the fanfare surrounding ABC's 'Ellen' and NBC's 'Will & Grace.' Much controversy surrounded the 'coming out' episode of Ellen in 1997. However, there was much less controversy when NBC's Will & Grace premiered in 1998 with a lead male gay character.
"'While we had Ellen coming out, saying, "I'm gay, deal with it," now we have Will and Grace coming out saying, "I'm gay, so what?"' he said."
Michael Foust, writing on "Christians 'shrugging shoulders' at homosexual characters on TV," Thursday in Baptist Press News

Our fat poor
"The newcomer who sees America for the first time typically experiences emotions that alternate between wonder and delight. Here is a country where everything works. The roads are paper-smooth, the highway signs are clear and accurate, the public toilets function properly, when you pick up the telephone, you get a dial tone. … For the Third World visitor, the American supermarket is a marvel to behold: endless aisles of every imaginable product. …
"The immigrant cannot help noticing that America is a country where the poor live comparatively well. …
"Ordinary people across the Soviet Union saw that the poorest Americans had television sets and cars. They arrived at the same conclusion that I witnessed in a friend of mine from Bombay who has been trying unsuccessfully to move to the United States for nearly a decade. I asked him, 'Why are you so eager to come?' He replied, 'Because I really want to live in a country where the poor people are fat.'"
Dinesh D'Souza in "What's So Great About America?" in the April/May issue of the American Enterprise

Boutique baseball
"The designated-hitter rule doesn't irritate me; $20 million contracts for marquee players seem fair; and the expansion, over the years, of 16 teams to 30 strikes me as a good thing. …
"I do, however, draw the line at boutique stadiums. Baltimore's Oriole Park at Camden Yards started this trend in 1992, with a facility that boasts 72 luxury suites, video-game arcades, waiter service in high-priced sections, a bazaar of souvenir stands and fast-food stalls, and private dining for high-rollers. …
"[T]here is no doubt that the intensity of fan interest in baseball wanes year by year. There is simply too much else going on.
"There is gourmet ice cream, micro-beers, sushi, fresh-squeezed lemonade and insufferable 'classic' rock 'n' roll blaring between innings. There are exploding scoreboards on Diamond vision screens. And in Arizona at least, there is that swimming pool. … No longer can you engage in a sports-filled conversation with your neighbors. It's just too noisy.
"One of baseball's great attractions used to be the chance to spend a few hours outdoors and simply relax. Now, after visiting a faux-museum like Baltimore's manic Camden Yards, I'm a wreck."
Russ Smith, writing on "Amusement Parks," in Friday's Wall Street Journal


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