- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 6, 2005

‘Shared purpose’

“Though Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan will be remembered as the pope and the president who defeated Communism, the exact nature of their relationship has remained elusive. …

“[F]ormerly top-secret National Security Council files, now available at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif., … reveal … how the U.S.-Vatican relationship evolved during Reagan’s first term. …

“Reagan himself, in his letters to Pope John Paul II, admits to being uniquely inspired by the leadership of the pope. …

“Historians will debate the extent to which Soviet changes were sparked by the insistence, of both Reagan and John Paul, on the fundamental importance of the dignity of the human person. But when the Soviets faced these two leaders of shared purpose and conviction, they faced their worst-case scenario: a moral-political meta-power.”

— Mark Riebling, writing on “Freedom’s Men,” Monday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Nothing new

“Since the November election, the media have been full of observations about the United States being two countries with different ideas and values — the blue (Kerry) and red (Bush) states. Some of the Blues … have even been talking about secession from us ignorant bigots who inhabit the Heartland and South. …

“If the people who run and staff the media knew any American history, which they don’t, they would know that there is nothing new about all of this. The Blue regions are simply the domain of the Yankees. …

“Yankees are a type produced by the Deep North who have been marked throughout American history by their greed, hypocrisy, fanaticism, and desire to lord it over the rest of us Americans — politically, economically, and culturally. …

“There is nothing new about Yankees threatening secession either. Twice during the administrations of Jefferson and Madison, and several times later, they threatened to break up the Union in fits of pique when they failed to get their way.

“The current Blue commentators are using extreme language to characterize the non-Kerry states. To hear them tell it, the red states are dominated by religious maniacs and militarists — i.e., people who actually believe the Bible and love their country. … [T]he South, being the biggest obstacle to Yankee domination, has always been the major recipient of Yankee slander and hate.”

Clyde Wilson, writing on “The Yankee Problem Again,” Monday at ww.lewrockwell.com

Cheer culture

“The modern cheerleader was forged in 1972 when she was waylaid by two distinct cultural forces. First was the passage of Title IX, which invigorated women’s sports programs at colleges and high schools. With more girls drifting toward soccer and volleyball, cheerleading seemed antiquated. Along came Jeff Webb, a former University of Oklahoma cheerleader, who turned his passion into a legitimate athletic pursuit by making it more like gymnastics. …

“The same year Title IX passed, the Dallas Cowboys replaced their high-school cheer squad with seven voluptuous, high-kicking professionals. … The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders … signaled not the sexualization of the cheerleader — she was already plenty sexualized — but her evolution into a sex object that had nothing to do with the sports team.”

— Bryan Curtis, writing on “Cheerleaders,” Friday in Slate at www.slate.com

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