- The Washington Times - Friday, February 10, 2006

Nobles: Dr. Ward Casscells — or Col. Casscells, depending — for doing something a bit different for the “mid-life crisis.”

Actually, it’s unfair to describe Dr. Casscells’ decision, at 53, to join the Army Reserves as a mid-life crisis, considering all the negative connotations with the term. Still, when the world-renowned cardiologist and university vice president was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2001, something happened. “After I went through that, I wanted to do things I hadn’t done before,” he told the American Forces Press Service.

“I saw my dad’s tattered old uniform. He served four years with [Gen. George] Patton in World War II. I figured if he could give four years of his life, I could give three months a year as a reservist.”

So, Dr. Casscells signed up in June 2005 and entered the Reserves as a colonel. Almost immediately, the new recruit was out in the field helping the Army’s efforts to combat avian flu — a virus he had spent years studying. In less than six months, Dr. Casscells traveled to Cairo, Beijing and Bangkok. In January, he entered the highly intensive Officer Basic Course at Fort Sam Houston, which is designed for medical professionals, but treated as another round of basic training. Having graduated Feb. 3, Dr. Casscells reflects, “I haven’t been this tired and intimidated since I was an intern.”

Fatigue is probably something he should get used to. Next stop? “I volunteered to go to Iraq,” he said.

For proving the idiom “you’re never too old,” Col. Casscells is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: Jimmy Carter and the Rev. Joseph Lowery, for doing their best to politicize the funeral of Coretta Scott King.

With all the former and current presidents in attendance, one might have thought the funeral for the late civil rights activist and widow of Martin Luther King would be a solemn, bipartisan affair. And for the most part it was — no thanks to Messrs. Carter and Lowery.

The celebratory and reverential tone of the funeral was interrupted when Mr. Lowery delivered his antiwar “eulogy” for Mrs. King. “We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there, but Coretta knew and we knew that there are weapons of misdirection right down here,” Mr. Lowery said. The reverend must have been slightly taken aback when President Bush, who was sitting behind him while he spoke, rose to embrace him in a hug.

Mr. Carter had no need for outward displays of emotion. First, he refused to shake Mr. Bush’s hand, then he launched into his screed on the podium. “It was difficult for [Mr. and Mrs. King] personally with the civil liberties of both husband and wife violated as they became the target of secret government wiretaps,” Mr. Carter said, in an obvious reference to current events.

For never missing a political opportunity, Messrs. Carter and Lowery are the Knaves of the week.


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