The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on September 14, 1999 · Page 15
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September 14, 1999

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 15

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Tuesday, September 14, 1999
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THE PALM BEACH POST TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 1999 17A gliding below legal radar: That's the Clintons for you It is as if Bill Clinton looked us directly in the eye and, waggling his finger, said: I want you to listen to me. I never discussed clemency for terrorists with that woman, Ms. Clinton. Not a single time; never. .JHE CLINTONS OOKT HAVE I KtiOJ anv actual monfy, but thev I - J esSt-OO HAVE OFFERED TO THROW YOU I ; William Satire S That is in essence his line in pre- 3 SC"-1 ft ; tending he was not using the power of the presidency to help get the first lady a job JJnNewYork. another tangled web of deceit, the president plunged in deeper, suggesting that the enablers of terror had been wrongly convicted in his words, "in effect by guilt by association." Those familiar with the McCarthy investigations of the early 1950s know what the phrase guilt by association means. It has the clear meaning of "smear." Those attacked for their friendships with the guilty are in themselves innocent unfairly besmeared by those using the sneaky technique of "guilt by association." That gives us this spectacle: Surprised by the widespread disgust at his pandering to an ethnic group to boost his wife's candidacy, the president then struck back by demeaning police, prosecutors and jurors who put these criminals in jail. Those apostles of armed struggle, Mr. Clinton would have us believe, were merely victims of "guilt by association" with those incited to carry out the bombings. That's typical Bill Clinton: brazen it out. And Hillary will stick by his story that they never discussed it at all. They will claim to be "not discussing" the timing of Jonathan Pollard's release. What they cannot deny discussing, because both are famously familiar with influencing banks, is their $1.35 million mortgage assistance loan from the Democratic fund-raiser Terry McAuliffe. This financial angel is a witness in a criminal investigation in the teamsters' fraudulent swap of funds with the DNC. Mr. McAuliffe's continued close association with the president and potential senator is of value to him. He deposits $1.35 million in Bankers Trust at a low interest rate. The bank then profits by lending that Mr. McAuliffe deposit to others at a much higher interest rate. It shares that profit with the Clintons by reducing the interest on their mortgage loan, reportedly saving them about a thousand a month on carrying charges. "In effect," to use the Clinton phrase, Bankers Trust is the Clintons' money laundry for private largesse. J The IRS may not consider this benefit a gift, and the Office of Government Ethics happily goes into the tank for the boss. But federal employees are forbidden to accept even a lunch from outsiders lest they be influenced; what are they to think when the president and first lady can go on the take for a grand a month? Both "never-discussed" political clemency and the sleazy mortgage are ethical outrages. But the greater outrage is the way so many shrug and say: That's the Clintons for you. 1 William Safire is a columnist for The New York Times. ! ! "'" A strong Hispanic vote in the city is vital to her election. His departing political counsel, Charles Ruff, cooked up a brief to spring the ringleaders of an '80s terrorist campaign. Many Puerto Ricans who condemn their violence and cause feel sympathy for them. Although a charge of "sedition" has been an abomination in America since 1801, these were no mere protesters exercising free speech. These convicted gunrunners incited followers to "armed struggle" that resulted in 130 bombings that killed six people and maimed scores more. Ienorine ooDosition bv law enforce- When Hillary saw she was losing more upstate and suburban votes than would come from New York City Hispanics, she frantically reversed field. Too late; most of the convicts grabbed the deal to walk and are now hailed as heroes. "I did not discuss it with her," insists the president who discusses every political angle with her. Try that for credibil ity: He supposedly panders to an ethnic group his wife needs without even a hint from her, and when the misuse of his pardon power to shore up her campaign becomes a front-page controversy they never talk. He did it all for Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu. Even as Clintonites got the queasy feeling that both Clintons were weaving ''inent officials, the least clement president in recent history who turned down 3,000 other pleas OK'd this one. Then his political ploy backfired. An evolving battle over creationism it i In Land Down Under, Internet is getting over MELBOURNE, Australia There is a club here in Melbourne, the Kelvin Club, where they have a rule that really appeals to me: If you are at the bar and your cell phone goes off, you have to buy everyone in the bar a drink. ' The reason they need such a rule here is that Australia has become one of the most wired countries in the world, with both the Internet and cell phones. America is first in PC's per capita; Australia is second. America is fourth in Internet usage; Australia is sixth (Iceland is first!). The premier of the Australian state of Victoria, Jeff Kennett, campaigned so heavily on the Internet that he is now best known to voters by his domain name, Jeff.com. Thomas L. Friedman One way to make sense of the tenacious and sincere fight against teaching evolution in the schools is to understand that the anxiety about the origin of human life is really anxiety about the meaning of human life. I probably shouldn't get back into this. But the last time I wrote about evolution and creationism I got an awful lot of folks praying for my soul. So I'm probably still safe. lit Ii -1, 41 J" they will find no purpose in life. Eugenie Scott, the executive director of the National Center for Science Education, has been fighting against creationist takeovers long enough to be respectful of the power of their appeal. "Their view is that God created the whole universe for humankind and therefore humans are very special to God. What evolution tells us, regardless of Whodunit, is that we're part of the same process that created liverworts and musk oxen. "The idea is out there that unless you believe you were specially created by God in our present form life has no meaning. Unless you believe you were created by God, you have no reason to behave. You will go out and rape and pillage and mutilate." Or as a writer from Meridian, Idaho, warned me ominously: "Hitler also believed the theory of evolution." Now, I am neither a theologian nor a scientist I resist the inquisitions into faith that have become as routine in public life as inquiries into drug use. But in the debate over school curriculum, it seems clear that the supporters of evolution often end up arguing about science, while the creationists are really arguing about meaning and value. Is it any wonder that the argument remains stuck? If the choice between God or evolution is a false one, so is the notion that only believers can find meaning or behave morally. The world is full of religions with different stories of creation. It's full of people, secular and religious, who search for and find meaning in their lives. Until we get to the heart of this debate, well go on wrangling over die teachers and textbooks. We can't teach children religion in the schools. But we can teach them about religion its role in American life, politics, history and the search for meaning. That's the real place for a unit on creationism. Take it, if you must, from a witless crone. Ellen Goodman is a columnist for The Boston Globe. Ellen Goodman Last month, when the Kansas school board decided to dump evolution off the science curriculum, I rued the survival of the fittest creationists. Giving credit where it's due, this is a movement with a remarkable staying power. I was inundated with letters and e-mails calling me a "godless atheist," an "agent of Satan" and as a change of pace a "witless crone." In the words of one reader, "I can only assume you are in an extremely challenged mental state or suffered a serious head injury." A lot of the writers assumed that the best defense of creationism was a good offense against evolution. They attacked the scientific holes in evolution without, of course, applying the same criteria to the creation story. But never mind. The strength of the creationist movement was never in its science. Indeed, there is one way to make sense of the tenacious and sincere fight against teaching evolution in the schools. It's to understand that the anxiety about the origin of human life is really anxiety about the meaning of human life. A reader from Gray, Maine, states this view of the problem forthrightly, "The real issue is not creationism vs. Darwinism. The real issue is 'Does God The Internet has been adopted here with such zeal for a simple reason: Australia is a million miles from everywhere, and sparsely populated across a vast continent The Internet can shrink that distance between Australia and the world, and between Aussies and Aussies, for almost no cost "For years we have been praying for faster airplanes we thought that would be our salvation," says Annie Hayes, an Australian conference organizer. "With the Internet, we can be so much more in touch with the world now, without actually leaving here." i , , Reaching for the Web with gusto ; ' : Paul Gilding, the former head of Greenpeace, has an environmental consulting firm in Sydney: 'Two years ago, we thought we were going to have to leave Australia because you just couldn't operate a global business from here," he said. "Clients would say, We'd love to have you as advisers, butyou can't service us from Australia.' Nowwe're not only advising DuPont in Delaware, but we're able to attract experts to come live in Sydney from all over the world because they feel they can have the best of our lifestyle and be connected." Jim Bacon, the premier of Tasmania, the remote island off Australia's south coast, has reached for the Web with gusto. And no wonder. Tasmania has long been known as either "the beginning of the end of the world" or "the gateway to Antarctica." Says Bacon: "Suddenly, we are connected. We have a little resort on the coast of Tasmania called Killynaught Cottages. The owners were telling me the other day they are getting all sorts of bookings now over the Internet, and just got one from Saudi Arabia." Australians will often tell you that theirs has been a "derivative country." They would wait for tilings to be invented in the United States or United Kingdom and then adapt them. That may change, said Matthew Symons, director of Schoolsnet Australia. "The Internet got adopted here for education very early because we have all these far-flung schools where you had, say, one art teacher, working in total isolation so there was a real need to wire them all in. Once they were wired together, though, they started forming communities, and instead of looking for some American solution to their problems, they started sharing with one another and coming up with organic Australian solutions. It is a fascinating study in network ef- exist?' " He then adds, "We cannot sit idly by and let the children of our nation and world end up in the flames of hell because of evolutionists." Someone from Dayton, Ohio, has his own logic: "Ii there is no God, and the Bible is not His Word, then we are just 'animals.' So if we are just animals why are we shocked at murders, rapes, robberies?" And a woman from Pine River, Wise, echoes this sentiment: "Where does this plague of low self-esteem come from? Straight from the atheistic evolutionary view of man with which society has indoctrinated our young people." Among my correspondents, there are missing links of logic but not emotion. Many in the creation movement start with a stark and troubling choice. They state that you can believe in God or in evolution. Of course, this would be news to many, many religious leaders including, for example, the pope. But creationists not only set up a false dichotomy Cre-ationionism or Godless Atheism? but then go on to assert that unless humans were directly created by God for a purpose, lects. McDonald's in France? Vive la difference "ZZT'fZZ Three years ago, Pauline Hanson, a xenophobic, anti- By Lucian K. Truscott IV , As bistros blossom in Brooklyn, foies gras For Lilly, diving into Le Meal Happy was a welcome respite from grilled cepes. And McDonald's playground, happily, wore her out globalization politician, gained popularity here. One way the Australian government sought to combat her influence was by wiring the whole country. "Hanson gained popularity because rural Australia felt it was being left behind banks were closing, telephone boxes were being removed. Rural communities felt there was unequal access to the new economy," said Education Minister David Kemp. "So the government decided in 1998 to include access to Internet technology in the basic service package offered to everyone by the state phone company. She was taking our supporters, and this was one way for us to win them back." -,-' The only problem, of course, is that being wired is always a two-way street. The Australian mining company Western Minerals took advantage of the stock market's obsession with "dot.com" companies by abandoning the mining business and relisting itself on the stock exchange as a sex products store Adultshop.com, offering sexy lingerie. Years ago, the Australian government set up an ethnic TV station called Imparja, to give a cultural voice to remote, outback Aboriginal communities. However, the station developed a taste for American sitcoms, particularly Seinfeld. People from all over Australia including the Aborigines started watching it to soak up the worst of Americana rather than the best of the Aboriginal. Thomas L Friedman is a columnist for The New York Times. i i y For Lilly, diving into Le Meal Happy was a welcome respite from pintade roti and grilled cepes. Plus, we made a pact that every time we stopped, Lilly could stay at the McDonald's playground as long as she wanted. Parents sat in the sun sipping beer, surrounded by the universal chatter of children playing. In a land where a stiff formality is still the rule between strangers, we found the patios at McDonald's to be some of the friendliest places around. I've got some advice for those in France who want to dig a culinary Maginot line: Wake up and smell the watered-down McDonald's coffee and look at the upside of Les Arches Goldenes. Exhausted children, stuffed with greasy, sugary food, sleep in the backseat all the way home. When you get home, put the children to bed and repair to the kitchen. Pour a big glass of Cornas, stick some confii de canard in the oven, slice up a slab of pate, toast a few slices of baguette, throw together me salade verte, put something soft on the stereo and enjoy a nice, romantic dinner courtesy of your friendly cultural imperialists, les Americains. B Lucian K Truscott IV is the author of the forth-comingThe Boys of St Julien. He wrote this article for The New York, Times. waddle to market in the Napa Valley, les omelets d$ champignons are gobbled in midwestern diners and Champagne is hoarded across the land for the millennium, our democratic kin in France are dumping rotting fruit and vegetables at the doorstep of McDonald's. They have even ransacked outposts of the American restaurant chain in the French Southwest all to protest the domination of a global, market-driven culinary culture over traditional French tastes. - What's next? Burning blue jeans? Banning "le rock"? Boycotting Jerry Lewis? j My family and I spend a month every other year in southwestern France, where we stay at a 16th-century farmhouse in the foothills above the Dordogne River. ; Our visits have one purpose: We forage through the local street markets, buying wild strawberries and Cavaillon melons and haricots verts and fresh-killed farm chickens and guinea hens and rabbits and pigeons and artisan farm cheeses and local wines. We load up on daily provisions, pause to visit a castle or a 12th-century country church and graveyard, stop and have lunch at a routier (the French equivalent of a truck stop), and then we drive straight home and start cooking. The foods and wines of France are our passion, one shared by our 5-year-old daughter, Lilly up to a point Even a mini-gourmand like Lilly needs some taste-bud relief. We've been to a grand total of three McDonald's restaurants in France. They were heavily advertised by road signs with directions that were nearly impossible to follow. We finally found them by circling through commercial districts at the edge of larger cities, well away from the historic town centers. Unlike American McDonald's, the French outlets were staffed by older, experienced employees who ran them more like small restaurants than fast-food joints. They serve ice-cold French draft beer. And in a land where the restrooms in many restaurants still feature a sloping hole in the floor and a communal sink in the hall, McDonald's bathrooms are spotless, modern and private.

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