- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 12, 2006

Deaf ‘madness’

“Since last May, Gallaudet University, the world’s only university designed entirely for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, has been rocked by protests over the selection of a new president. Jane K. Fernandes was scheduled to take over from I. King Jordan in January.

“Fernandes [is] … to some, ‘not deaf enough.’ She grew up lip-reading and speaking and learned sign language only as a graduate student. … Fernandes herself embraces Deaf culture, but she does not want it to be isolated from the hearing world or exclude those who don’t meet purist standards of ‘Deafness.’ …

“When this sensible view is rejected under pressure from a handful of radicals, it is a testament to the madness that can prevail when oppressed-minority status becomes a weapon to silence critics.”

— Cathy Young, writing on “The Radical Deaf,” Wednesday in Reason Online at www. reason.com

Strategic message

” ‘Strategic communications’ is the current euphemism for propaganda, and … many analysts, here and abroad, [are] arguing forcefully in favor of it these days.

“The only problem is, propaganda by any other name is still propaganda, and while it has its rightful place in the public-diplomacy toolbox, it cannot substitute for certain other tools, such as open-ended educational and cultural exchanges. To be sure, the latter are difficult to measure and evaluate when funding time comes around. But as Albert Einstein once remarked: ‘Many of the things you can count, don’t count. Many of the things you can’t count, really count.’ …

“Today, the chief messages of U.S. public diplomacy — that to fight terrorism, America must occupy Iraq, restrict visas, and suspend legal protections for both prisoners and citizens — are seen as ‘big lies’ by millions of people around the world. We can keep repeating this message, or we can change tack. Either way, our purpose is not well served by political correctness, on the left or on the right.”

— Martha Bayles, writing on “The American Art of Persuasion,” Wednesday in the New York Sun

French ‘delight’

“When it comes to doing favors for Europeans, the Marshall Plan has nothing on the 2006 elections. As a result of the Democratic sweep in the midterms, followed by the bonus toppling of Donald Rumsfeld — a man despised in Europe even more than Bush (but not as much as Cheney) — we’re finally getting the thanks and congratulations we so richly deserve. Europeans are enchanted with the belief … that the elections mean a quick end to American ambitions to do what Bush 41 would have called ‘the democracy thing’ in the Mideast. …

“In France, Le Figaro is ‘delighted’ to see the electoral slap-down of Bush while Le Monde notes with satisfaction that the main strategy of the Bush administration was now reduced to finding a way out of the ‘humiliating conditions’ that all Europeans think now define the Iraqi war.”

— Dennis Boyles, writing on “Velveeta-Eating Surrender Buckeyes,” Friday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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