- The Washington Times - Monday, November 29, 2004

Out with a boom

“What has the baby boom to show for itself? What have its legions contributed to the world of their fathers? …

“Boomers are coming full circle as they try to go out with a bang. Therein lies the fear factor for the rest of us. Here’s where the drama started:

“Act 1: As teens in the ‘60s and ‘70s, they protested the ‘Establishment’ in an effort to tear it down.

“Act 2: By the ‘80s, they had given up ideals for ambition. Success became a drive for prestigious homes, family vacations and important friends.

“Act 3: Boomers are back to protesting their innocence and value. …

“Act 3 is a repetition of Act 1: There is the return of the feeling that ‘the whole world is watching’ and that God is watching, too. Being the center of all of this presumed attention inspires deeds of ego-inflation and violent grandiosity, expressing itself in destructive acts. Throughout their careers, from the streets to the boardroom, boomers have — true to their name — exulted in destruction. Call them the Ka-boomers.”

Harriet Rubin, writing on “For boomers, it’s all about them,” Nov. 22 in USA Today

Marlboro Marine

“Talk about early Christmas presents. At a time when smokers are considered barely more tolerable than convicted child molesters, a Los Angeles Times photographer snapped a young Marine in Fallujah with a cigarette dangling from his battle-scarred mug, and instantly we’re back in Marlboro Country again. The picture was printed … in more than 100 newspapers, and subsequently the 20-year-old Kentucky native, James Blake Miller, is the object of female adoration and gung-ho partisans of the war in Iraq. …

“It’s a safe bet that Philip Morris has already sent a plane filled with cigs for Miller and his buddies.

“The photographer, Luis Sinco, certainly deserves a Pulitzer for the iconic image, but I suspect that the Chateau Margaux-sniffers who pick the winners each spring won’t go near it.”

Russ Smith, writing on “Pulitzer Time for the Marlboro Man,” in the Nov. 16 issue of the New York Press

CSI America

“As confirmed addicts of the various ‘Crime Scene Investigation’ television police procedurals well know, people are constantly shedding DNA as they go through life. Microscopic amounts of skin, hair, blood, and saliva containing our individually unique DNA stick to toothpicks, eyelashes and hat sweatbands. …

“Earlier this month, voters in California passed Proposition 69, which authorized California law enforcement officials to collect DNA samples from anyone arrested for any felony crime. Before the passage of Proposition 69, collection of DNA samples in California was essentially limited to felons who had been convicted of violent crimes. Proposition 69 was opposed by a wide array of privacy advocates, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the League of Women Voters and the Libertarian Party. …

“Does the new California DNA Databank violate anyone’s constitutional rights? The fact is that DNA profiles are probably not any more constitutionally suspect than fingerprints. …

“[A]ny difference between fingerprinting and DNA profiles may soon be moot anyway since researchers can now extract DNA from fingerprints. For better or worse, we all now live in a ‘CSI’ world.”

Ronald Bailey, writing on “DNA Nation,” Nov. 22 in Reason Online at www.reason.com

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