- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Corporate clothing

“What was supposed to be simple has turned out to be wildly complex. Are short-sleeved shirts permitted? Denim skirts? Capri pants? And if a golf shirt is OK, why not a collared soccer jersey?

“The business-casual trend has created entire companies of people who are unsure of what to put on in the morning. Too often, they make the wrong choice. People think ‘it’s OK to wear a tank top with bra straps showing because the tank’s Dolce & Gabbana,’ says Alicia Kan, global head of communications for Synovate, a market-research unit of London’s Aegis Group PLC.

“Little wonder that Rachel Donaldson, a Denver image consultant whose clients pay her for work-wear advice, calls business casual ‘the black hole of style.’

“If you work in a corporate environment, it’s just as important to get business casual right as it is to nail traditional business dress. Maybe more important: Savvy corporate politicians know that casual days are the times when their appearance will be most closely watched. …

“Sandy Dumont, a Norfolk, Va., image consultant, says she gets regular calls from corporate clients asking her to do workshops explaining proper business-casual attire. ‘I say, “No,” because there is no such thing,’ Ms. Dumont says. ‘You are either dressed for business or for casual activities.’ ”

Christina Binkley, writing on “Business Casual: All Business, Never Casual,” Thursday in the Wall Street Journal

States’ rights

“States’ rights are back in fashion, and this time it’s liberals singing the praises of federalism.

“‘States’ rights, particularly in the last century, were regarded as the most regressive kind of policies,’ said Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kansas). ‘The federal government would set a high bar on civil rights, or safety net issues. And states’ rights was going to drag that back, to claim the opportunity to have a lower bar at the states. I want to suggest that in the 21st century this has been flipped.’

“She expanded on that theme in an interview: ‘When I was young, states’ rights was a pejorative term. But the federal government has been very laissez-faire in all sort of areas, so states are stepping up to fill the void.’ [New Jersey] Gov. [Jon] Corzine noted ‘a vacuum in Washington with regard to leadership on the issue of climate change,’ and apparently New Jersey, like nature, abhors a vacuum, since Corzine has been on the forefront of state-based carbon regulation.”

Katherine Mangu-Ward, writing on “Arnold Among the Lilliputians,” yesterday at Reason Online (www.reason.com)

Irritating scientists

“I like rebels, especially ones who go against type. Take Ben Stein in his latest film, ‘Expelled.’ … Dressed in a sport coat, tie, and tennis shoes, he’s not who you expect — the deadpan, monotone-voiced but ever-likable teacher he portrays in ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ and ‘The Wonder Years.’

“Stein retains his characteristic deadpan effect, but this time he’s playing himself — a deceptively erudite and well-educated interviewer, who is passionately skeptical of evolutionary biology and its leading proponents.

“The film’s endeavor is to respond to one simple question: ‘Were we designed, or are we simply the end result of an ancient mud puddle struck by lightning?’

“Big science doesn’t like that question because they can’t answer it. Underneath their antagonism toward explanations that suggest an intelligent cause lies a fundamental egoism. Science wants to deny any evidence of a supreme being precisely because it wants to be a supreme being. Moreover, representatives of big science in the film are unsettlingly snippy, suggesting that they feel threatened by rival opinions, rather than assured of their own.

“To make this point, the film introduces teachers and scientists who are shunned, denied tenure, and fired for questioning dogmatic Darwinism. The film’s producers spent two years traveling the world, talking with more than 150 educators and scientists who say they have been persecuted for questioning Darwin’s theory of natural selection.”

Dave Berg, writing on “Intelligent critique,” Friday at National Review Online (www.national


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