- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 7, 2011


Hold a bell in each hand and begin ringing.

Shake the first in the face of the president of the United States, Barack Obama, under whose leadership one of our foremost public health agencies excluded the nation’s capital and the entire state of California from its first multiyear surveillance of new HIV cases.

Ring the other bell in the faces of people such as philanthropist Katherine Bradley, who advises D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray on educational matters and is pushing the theory that Johnny can’t read, write or calculate because, like many war veterans, he is afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Liberals don’t get it — even when they write in The Washington Post.

Mrs. Bradley surmised in an Aug. 5 op-ed piece in The Post that transforming “high-poverty schools is the grittiest task educators face” and that poverty leads to academic failure.

You don’t have to eat a hot bowl of grits and red-eye gravy each morning to know the opposite is true.

We need to stop force feeding the theory that our children can only get a head start in life if bleeding-heart policies replace parents’ guiding light.

Mrs. Bradley, president of the CityBridge Foundation, piled on in her conclusion: “[P]sychologist Marty Seligman … has been working with the U.S. Army to ‘inoculate’ soldiers against post-traumatic stress disorder. His results show that increased resilience to wartime trauma can be taught, just like algebra. With mental health training and increased expression of traits such as self-control, everyone can become more ‘trauma-resilient,’ stronger in the face of adversity.

“The Army is all over these results,” she continued, “and the potential for high-poverty schools, as Seligman enthusiastically acknowledges, is immense.”

OK. The duh factor kicks in again.

America’s children don’t need to be inoculated against PTSD, but they do need inoculation against education policies that focus more on teachers’ pay than whether a child has indeed learned algebra.

Regarding HIV/AIDS, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Aug. 3 that the incidence of new HIV infections from 2006 to 2009 has appeared to level off at 50,000 a year, but D.C. stats don’t figure into the equation.

Because the feds don’t urge abstinence, fidelity and other such morally conscientious preventive measures, it’s frightening enough to know that 50,000 of our neighbors are tempting fate by becoming HIV positive on a yearly basis.

What’s also troublesome is that the District is home to the nation’s highest HIV rates but the CDC didn’t see fit to include it or California, another high-HIV morbidity area, in its study.

The CDC’s explanation: “Because HIV incidence in an area is driven by both risk behavior and HIV prevalence, the HIV incidence estimate may have been higher if these areas had been included.”

In other words, the Obama administration is deliberately painting a false picture of our HIV/AIDS epidemic.

False picture, false hope.

It will be interesting to hear what Mr. Gray and D.C. Council member David A. Catania, chairman of the Health Committee for more than four years, have to say.

- - - - -

Congrats to No. 55: Former Washington Redskin Chris Hanburger, the nine-time Pro Bowl linebacker was inducted over the weekend into the NFL’s Hall of Fame and actually dished some remarkable words of wisdom before his enshrinement.

He told Joseph White of the Associated Press:

“I had a job to do, and I tried to do it to the best of my ability.”

What a winner.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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