- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 19, 2006

Paging history

“The U.S. congressional-page program should be history. Not because of disgraced former Republican [Rep.] Mark Foley … but simply because it makes no sense to have such a program.

“Mind you, I’m all for civics education. …

“But civics education doesn’t require a congressional-page program. … [T]he chief lesson it teaches them is the less-than-appetizing part of how D.C. works: It’s sometimes all about who you know, sometimes a patronage program for the sons and daughters of the well-connected. …

“[W]hy does a 16-year-old need to be sitting on the House floor during the day? Pols don’t need anyone running back and forth for them as much as they once did. There are BlackBerrys now. If I want to get a congressman, I’ll shoot him an e-mail; certainly his colleagues can do the same.”

— Kathryn Jean Lopez, writing on “Who Needs Pages?” Wednesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

‘Drenched’ in sex

“This is a nation that is absolutely drenched in juvenile sex. I am not sure exactly when it happened, but it sure was going on when I was a teenager, and that was a long time ago in the days of James Dean. The problem is vastly more prevalent now.

“Movies in large part are about teenage sex. Whole TV networks … are largely about teenagers and sex. Music, if you can call it music, is very, very largely about teenagers and sex, and teenagers listen to it incessantly.

“Look at fashions for young girls. They are getting dressed like Parisian streetwalkers from the 1950s. …

“[T]he culture is selling an entire nation on pedophilia and sexualizing children at an explosively early age. It’s long past time something was done to discuss whether this is where we want to go as a nation and a people.”

— Ben Stein, writing on “Pedophile Nation,” Wednesday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

Faded blues

“If the Census Bureau has it right, the 300 millionth American entered the United States kicking and screaming [Tuesday].

“[H]e will probably not have … blue eyes.

“[B]lue eyes have become increasingly rare among American children. …

“About half of Americans born at the turn of the 20th century had blue eyes, according to a 2002 Loyola University study in Chicago. By mid-century that number had dropped to a third. Today only about one 1 of every 6 Americans has blue eyes, said Mark Grant, the epidemiologist who conducted the study.

“Grant was moved to research the subject when he noticed that blue eyes were much more prevalent among his elderly patients in the nursing home where he worked than in the general population. At first he thought blue eyes might be connected to life expectancy, so he began comparing data from early 20th-century health surveys. Turns out it has more to do with marriage patterns.

“A century ago, 80 percent of people married within their ethnic group, Grant said. Blue eyes — a genetically recessive trait — were routinely passed down, especially among people of English, Irish, and Northern European ancestry.

“By mid-century, a person’s level of education — and not ethnicity — became the primary factor in selecting a spouse. As intermarriage between ethnic groups became the norm, blue eyes began to disappear, replaced by brown.”

— Douglas Belkin, writing on “Don’t it make my blue eyes brown,” Tuesday in the Boston Globe

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