ELITE ONLY NEED APPLY
The story made the front page of the New York Times and other papers. The director of admissions at Princeton was caught sneaking into a special website set up to let Yale applicants know whether they’d been accepted. Although the Princeton official’s motives were not revealed, the break-in was thought to be an academic Watergate, an illicit attempt to filch information on what the competition was up to. It touched off furrowed-brow effusions on “heightened craziness about admissions decisions” and “frantic” competitiveness. The fuss about two elite Ivy League colleges drew national press, but another story on higher education was far more disturbing to those who care about democracy in America. This was a report issued by the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, which found that nearly 170,000 high school graduates who were the brightest in their classes would have to forgo college next fall because they can’t afford rising tuitions and fees. A major reason they can’t is a lack of adequate financial aid because of stagnation or cutbacks in need-based state aid programs and federal Pell grants.
FRIENDS OF BOSCH
Jane Franklin writes: Governor Jeb Bush has appointed an open supporter of terrorism to the Florida Supreme Court. His choice, Raoul Cantero III, is a right-wing Cuban-American of impeccable lineage–grandson of dictator Fulgencio Batista and son of an intelligence officer in Batista’s Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities. Not that he should be judged by his father and grandfather; rather, his own record shows he continues to support terrorism against the Cuban people. This was evident in the way he allied himself with Orlando Bosch, a notorious anti-Castro terrorist, who was cited in FBI and CIA reports for his “willingness to cause indiscriminate injury and death,” including thirty acts of sabotage here and in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Panama from 1961 through 1968. He was charged with the 1976 bombing of a Cuban passenger jet that exploded in midair, killing seventy-three people. In 1989 he was ordered deported, but George Bush Sr. endorsed a campaign to reverse the order, and Bosch was soon out on the streets of Miami. Cantero III was one of Bosch’s lawyers and a prominent defender of his actions. The St. Petersburg Times found a radio-show tape on which he calls Bosch a “Cuban patriot” and describes one of Bosch’s capers–firing a bazooka at a Polish ship docked in Miami–as a “political statement” that “didn’t hurt anybody and it didn’t cause any damage.” Is Cantero going to condone terrorist acts of Bosch and others who come before him? And are the Democratic candidates currently vying to run against Jeb Bush in the gubernatorial election going to ask the Governor about his own prominent role in the campaign to free Bosch?
BIG PHARMA GREASES PALMS
Ouch!, a bulletin (www.ouch.org) issued by Public Campaign, the finance reform group, notes that George W. Bush ostentatiously thanked Robert Ingram for his fine work chairing a fundraising dinner that garnered $30 million for the Republican Congressional Committee. Ouch! further notes that Ingram is CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, which markets Lanoxin, a drug widely used by seniors to avert congestive heart failure. Lanoxin’s price has risen 58.1 percent since 1997, or almost five times the rate of inflation. The rising cost of drugs is the reason a prescription drug benefit should be added to Medicare, yet the Bush Administration opposes such legislation. So do Glaxo and the other big pharmaceutical companies, and they’ve contributed $11.3 million to the 2002 election–three-fourths of that to the Republicans–to make sure it doesn’t happen. Follow the $$$.
PEACENIK ADDRESS CORRECTION
The correct web address for Brit Tzedek v’Shalom (Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace) is www.brittzedek.org.
THE YEARS WITH HITCH
Twenty years ago this month there appeared in this magazine a column called “Minority Report,” by Christopher Hitchens. At that time our stable of columnists numbered exactly one–Calvin Trillin. Already a frequent Nation contributor from Britain, Christopher moved to the United States and, after a short stint in New York, settled in Washington to launch his new column. Salud, comrade!–valued contributor and burr under the nation’s (and The Nation‘s) saddle.
New York lefties of a certain age may remember Camp Wo-Chi-Ca, a progressive, interracial children’s camp in New Jersey from 1935 through 1954. Some may even have enjoyed a summer there and listened to Claude McKay read poems or danced with Pearl Primus or heard Paul Robeson boom out “Shenandoah.” In the fifties, McCarthyite thugs attacked the camp as communistic. Now June Levine and Gene Gordon have written a history of Camp Wo-Chi-Ca (stands for Workers Children’s Camp), which is a delight (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for info).
NEWS OF THE WEAK IN REVIEW
While the market was seriously tanking, Treasury Secretary O’Neill was tracked down in Kyrgyzstan. Asked why he wasn’t at his post in Washington, O’Neill said, “I’m constantly amazed that anybody cares what I do.”