- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Big Easy blunder

“A Washington Post poll revealed 55 percent of Americans do not blame President Bush for the debacle in the Big Easy.

“Perhaps that is because the American people intuit it is not the federal response that should be monitored but that of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. …

“In accordance with the ‘City of New Orleans Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan’ … all ‘Authority to issue evacuations of elements of the population is vested in the Mayor.’ …

“Charged with so heavy a responsibility, Mayor Nagin punted, then passed the buck. The National Hurricane Center called Nagin [Aug. 27] asking him to evacuate New Orleans, and President Bush also begged him to get his people to safety. …

“[A] chaotic situation [was] created by Mayor Nagin’s herding people into the Superdome, without adequate provisions for the long haul, with the resultant murder, rape, and looting a byproduct of poor, or non-existent, planning. …

“Mayor Ray Nagin coped with the high pressure of the situation he created by launching into a profanity-laden radio interview [criticizing federal relief efforts]. … This at a time when helicopters bearing federal relief were being shot at.”

—Ben Johnson, writing on “The Mayor Who Failed His City,” Tuesday in Front Page at www.frontpagemag.com

Feminist folly

“A well-known feminist novelist, Fay Weldon, admitted in a recent Sunday Times article that British feminists have failed ‘the Muslim sisters.’ …

“[T]he silliest paragraph in the article was this one: ‘The situation of a Muslim woman in Britain today is not so different from that of an English woman in the 1950s. In the era of “no wife of mine works,” when virginity was at a premium, when to be a “spinster” over the age of 25 was a humiliation, to be barren was a “tragedy,” when contraception was largely unavailable; when a woman was defined as a person who had babies and to whom many professions were closed.’ …

“If there is no real difference between the oppressive practices of Muslims, including forced marriage on pain of death, and the treatment of women in the West only 50 years ago — and if any difference between the lot of Western and Muslim women of today is ascribable solely to the recent efforts of a handful of feminists — then there cannot be much to choose between Western and Islamic culture.

“Moral equivalence, it seems, springs eternal.”

—Theodore Dalrymple, writing on “Further Feminist Foolishness,” Aug. 29 in City Journal at www.city-journal.org

His better half

“The marriage between Mozart and Constanze was unquestionably a success. … [T]hey adored each other unreservedly and cared for one another tenderly in their respective illnesses. … Mozart shielded her from the reality of his developing financial crises. When, in 1790, Constanze became aware of them, she took them in hand. While Mozart was on a trip to Germany … Constanze organized a house move, and negotiated loans and publications. Mozart on his travels was aware of her activities on his behalf, and his letters home suggest immense gratitude and relief, in addition to his habitual longing for her.

“When Mozart died in 1791, Constanze was only 29. She had a 7-year-old son and a 4-month-old baby. … And she was also determined to keep alive the reputation of her late husband.”

—Jane Glover, writing on “Dear Constanze,” Friday in the British newspaper the Guardian

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