- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 28, 2002

Don't think twice
"The last concert of Bob Dylan's current tour of North America on Nov. 22 felt like prom night because, much of the time, Bob Dylan and his musicians sounded like a prom band.
"Bob Dylan was memorable, as always. But memories are not always good. Save for a few highlights the great Bob Dylan dabbled at piano and guitar, and as usual disconnected his singing from his words, which comprise the richest treasure chest of lyrics ever written.
"It is not hard to admire Dylan, but after years of sitting through shows like this one, it is hard to hide frustration. The getting-old guy rarely makes any attempt to add coherent expression to his singing.
"Dylan fans are accustomed to it by now. Bob Dylan is either bored or he just doesn't care anymore, and critics (and fans, for that matter) don't help things by tea-leaf reading grand purpose into some mumbled performance."
Michael Long, writing on "There's Always Next Time," Monday in National Review Online

Day care agenda
"A textbook example of how sociology is used in the service of political and ideological agendas occurred early in 1999 with the release of a study analyzing the effects of maternal employment on child development. Immediately upon its publication in the Journal of the American Psychological Association, the study was given prominent coverage in major news media. Typical of the coverage was a story on the CBS 'Evening News' which began, 'A new study shows children of women who work outside the home do just as well as those with stay-at-home moms.' Other headlines echoed that rosy assessment: The Washington Post proclaimed 'Mothers' Employment Works for Children'; the Boston Globe announced 'Study Says Working Mothers Don't Cause Children Harm.'
"In fact, the study showed nothing of the sort. Its author had used data heavily skewed toward mothers who were young, poor, ill-educated, and members of minority groups. Compared with the general population, the mothers involved in the study were twice as likely to be black or Hispanic and twice as likely to be single mothers, their family income was less than half the national norm, and they were significantly below average in intelligence.
"Clearly, the findings could not be applied to American society as a whole yet this is precisely what the media claimed."
Brian C. Robertson, from his new book, "Forced Labor: What's Wrong With Balancing Work and Family"

French heroes
"When it comes to the United States, the favorite adjectives of much of French anti-Americans include 'giant, mammoth, leviathan, and behemoth.' For some, anti-Americanism plays a useful role in filling the vacuum left by the evaporation of 19th-century ideologies. Those too lazy to do their homework on any issue could still espouse an opinion simply by looking at what the U.S. says and then saying the opposite. The arrangement is simple: Where America is, there I shall not be.
"Through much of the Cold War, the Soviet Union enjoyed some sympathy and support among French elites simply because it was not America. Many French intellectuals loved Stalin because he was not Franklin Roosevelt. They supported Kim Il-sung in the Korean War because he was fighting the Americans. In Vietnam, they sided with the Vietcong because America was on the opposite side. They adored the Khmer Rouge for the same reason. Today they have adopted Saddam Hussein as cult figure in their latest quixotic attempt at stopping 'the American giant.'
"Anti-Americanism has become the last refuge of the scoundrel."
Amir Taheri, writing on "Not Normal," Tuesday in National Review Online, at www. national-review.com


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