- The Washington Times - Monday, July 18, 2005

Famine rockers

“The first time Bono and Madonna got together to save Africa, the unintended consequence was the death of perhaps as many as 100,000 people. That’s aid expert David Rieff’s conclusion in the July 2005 issue of the resolutely liberal American Prospect magazine regarding the end result of Live Aid in 1985. …

“Live Aid was a multi-venue rock concert held on July 13, 1985, in London and Philadelphia in order to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. With an estimated 1.5 billion viewers watching the live broadcast in 100 countries, the event reportedly raised $250 million.

“The money was supposed to go towards relieving hunger. In reality, argues Rieff, the rock stars and well-intentioned donors became unwilling participants in a civil war and unwitting supporters of a Soviet-style resettlement project that vastly increased the severity of the famine.”

—Ralph R. Reiland, writing on “Pave With Good Intentions,” Wednesday in the American Spectator



Privacy ‘penumbras’

“Forty years ago, in Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court … struck down state laws forbidding the sale, distribution and use of contraceptives on the basis of a novel constitutional doctrine known as the ‘right to marital privacy.’

“At the time, the decision appeared to be harmless. After all, Griswold simply allowed married couples to decide whether to use contraceptives. But the Supreme Court soon transformed the ‘right to privacy’ … into a powerful tool for making public policy. …

“In the majority opinion in Griswold, Justice William O. Douglas referred — as comically metaphysical as it sounds — to ‘penumbras formed by emanations’ of specific constitutional guarantees as the source of the new right. He had nothing else to go on. …

“What, then, was the operative ‘principle’ in Griswold? Nothing other than the court’s desire to place its imprimatur on ‘enlightened’ views about human sexuality.”

—Robert P. George and David L. Tubbs, writing on “The Bad Decision that Started It All,” in the July 18 issue of National Review

Predicting crime

“On Wednesday, convicted sex offender Joseph Edward Duncan [III] was charged with kidnapping two small children and murdering their older brother, their mother and her boyfriend. When he was an inmate in 1999 and 2000, forensic psychologists evaluated Duncan using two different tests; both indicated he was likely to carry out a crime after being released from prison. How do psychologists assess the risk that a sex offender will strike again? …

“The simplest tool for evaluating sex offenders is the Rapid Risk Assessment for Sex Offense Recidivism. The RRASOR … includes just four items. A sex offender gets one point for being under the age of 25 at the time of his release from prison, another if any of his victims were male, and a third if he wasn’t related to his victims. He gets up to three more points depending on how many sex crimes he’s been charged with.

“The most dangerous offenders, then, are young adults who have committed multiple sex crimes against boys they’ve never met before. According to the RRASOR’s table of probabilities, these six-point cases have more than a 73 percent chance of committing another crime within 10 years.”

Daniel Engber, writing on “Which Pedophiles Strike Again?” Thursday in Slate at www.slate.com

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