O U R R E A D E R S W R I T E
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Cerebral thinker or "dangerous fool"?
I was confused by your Briefing (April) on the departure of Paul Wolfowitz to the Bush Administration ("Wolfowitz heads to the Pentagon"). It seems to me that a person devoted to a "national missile defense system" could hardly be described as a "cerebral" thinker. It is a conclusion of simple common sense that a defensive missile defense system, aka "Star Wars," can never work. This conclusion has been verified by any number of space physicists or defense analysts [who are not] members of a Republican Administration. This then begs the question of how a person who pushes such a system could ever be described as anything less than a dangerous fool.
I am glad this person is gone from the Hopkins faculty, albeit
distressed that he has a place to go. I suggest that he begin
work immediately on a much more rational way to improve our
military, by increasing the pay and benefits to service
personnel, another campaign pledge that his new boss seems intent
Regarding your thought-provoking article "Tales from the Crust" in the April issue, the article's key underlying assumption is that evolution is true for human origins--but is it?
If one can get past the dogma and fervor of evolutionists, and objectively examine the evidence with an open mind, the theory of evolution has too many critical holes in it to be even marginally credible.
In fact, current biological research supports intelligent design
and the creation of fully formed, complex organisms. So, the real
question is not what slime pit are we related to, but who made
us? Wouldn't that make a very interesting article in your next
After all these years, is there still someone naíve enough to divide the world into big bad business and government with corruption, cronyism, and greed on the one hand, and brave investigative journalists on the other hand ("An 'i' Toward Tough Journalism," November 2000)?
At least we learn from the piece on Charles Lewis (SAIS '77) that he "was almost embarrassed to name [his organization] the Center for Public Integrity." Better still he would be embarrassed every day he walks by the nameplate. I will call my next fraudulent outfit "The Honesty Corporation" and then nobody will be the wiser.
So we are invited to make Mr. Lewis our hero, who "built up a brand name" in the business of pissing people off "on a weekly basis." I think SAIS can do better than that.
Anyone working his people "80- to 90-hour weeks" and depriving
them of their private lives (for his own vanity) should not
bother about what any other "bastards are doing to us." More harm
is done to the public good in the U.S. through the scandalization
of politics than through the scandals themselves.
I received your February issue just a few days before my son was born, and it is only the frenetic pace of first-time parenthood that has kept me from responding sooner to your long-overdue coverage of Coach Oles ("The Right Touch"). I fenced for Coach for four years and, like many other JHU fencers, I consider him to be the single greatest influence during my years at Hopkins. Quite simply, Coach is the sort of teacher who changes your life if you're willing to tough out the hard work.
That Coach can take novices year in and year out and turn them into champions is a testament to his skill at teaching much more than just fancy bladework. It is in the tireless teaching of mental discipline and agility that Coach excels.
Like many fencing alumni, I continue to follow the team closely
and have friendships with fencers whose time at Hopkins never
overlapped with mine. If my son should end up at Hopkins one day,
I can think of no finer teacher for him than Coach Oles--and I
don't doubt that Coach will still be there, immune as he is to
the passage of time.
Dale Keiger's essay ("Historic Obligations," April) is surely one of your best, and his paragraphs on C. Vann Woodward are notably excellent (except for a slip: The Strange Career of Jim Crow was published in 1951, not 1989). Woodward was one of Hopkins's great professors, and I was sorry that he was lost to Yale.
I was at Hopkins from 1939 to 1951 for graduate work in English.
I continually hope to see the [magazine] give attention to some
of the great professors of those years--Hazelton Spencer, Raymond
Havens, and that distinguished teacher of linguistics, Kemp
Malone. Maybe in the fullness of time?
Especially for readers who enjoyed Solomon Golomb's "Letter Interchanges" (April), I have an interesting question about the two words in the last row below.
Isn't t where c should be, and isn't c where t should be? According to Noah Webster, the two words are short forms of Latin spatialis and beneficialis, adjectives derived from the nouns spatium and beneficium, from which space and benefit come.
So why is space not spate or spat, and
benefit not benefic or maybe benefick? When
orthographic disorientation becomes "spacial," what treatment is
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