09/10/2006: This is courtesy of Black Flag:
Archive for September 10, 2006
09/10/2006: Move over, Julio Franco! At age 49, Martina Navratilova has won her 59th major championship–the Mixed Doubles championship of the U.S. Open.
While I would take exception to Martina Navratilova on many issues, I’ve always admired her as a tennis player.
She completely changed the landscape of women’s tennis. She went from near-obesity to being the fittest player in the game.
In the early-mid 1980s, Chris Evert was her top challenger. After Martina defeated the U.S. Open demon–soundly defeating Evert in straight sets–she would put up one of the most remarkable runs, at one point winning six straight majors. When Evert would play her, the issue was how close she would make it, not whether Martina would beat her.
Her serve-and-volley style, coupled with her athleticism, made her the most formidable player in the game. She would pave the way for future superathletes in women’s tennis: in particular Steffi Graff, and Venus and Serena Williams.
Today’s women’s stars are fitter, stronger, and faster than the Chris Everts and the Tracy Austins and the Billie Jean Kings were.
That trend began with Martina Navratilova.
09/10/2006: Yesterday, I opined regarding the presence of reactionary theology on the right, an element that Joe Carter of the Evangelical Outpost had witnessed in the actions of Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle.
Lest some think that reactionary theology is specifically a right-wing phenomenon, we have a very prominent left-wing example in Brian McLaren of Cedar Ridge Community Church in Laurel, Maryland.
To be fair to McLaren, he makes some very good observations regarding the dominance of conservatives in the evangelical world.
When we present Jesus as a pro-war, anti-poor, anti-homosexual, anti-environment, pro-nuclear weapons authority figure draped in an American flag, I think we are making a travesty of the portrait of Jesus we find in the gospels.
While I could refute some of the merits of that statement–and will some other time–McLaren is, in fact, reacting to the political activism spawned by the likes of Revs Falwell and Robertson. When political activism supplants the preaching of the Gospel, that’s a serious travesty.
In other blogs, I’ve highlighted the evils of using the pulpit to promote political causes, right or left.
Unfortunately, McLaren appears to have fallen into the same trap that the evangelical right leaders have fallen. When one of his parisioners–Lyndsay Moseley–says (emphasis mine), “He always talks about the environment as a priority when he talks about the church being relevant to the world…He’s leading a [spiritual] conversation that needs to happen, [one that] I’ve been hungry for“, then there is something wrong with that picture.
It seems that the neo-Pagan environmentalist agenda is higher than the Gospel on the McLaren Richter Scale, just as abortion and homosexuality were/are with Robertson and Falwell, or the Christian underpinnings of our Founders are with D. James Kennedy.
The sides may disagree on socio-political matters, but they agree on one thing: the Gospel takes a back seat.
McLaren’s issues are not merely supplanting the Gospel with politics; I could write even more regarding his fundamental approach to Scripture–and some, such as Donald Carson of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School have–but that is beyond the scope of this post.
However, this shows that reactionary theology is no respecter of political persuasions.
09/10/2006: While almost every university–Ivy League and state university alike–allow some academic latitude for “legacy” admissions (sons and daughters of alumni), prestigious universities (such as Brown, Harvard, Duke, Vanderbilt, etc.) have long prided themselves in their high academic standards.
That is one reason why many a student with a 4.0 GPA and high SAT scores–with extracurriculars to boot–has received a rejection from an Ivy League university.
Unfortuntately, there are other reasons: among them lack of wealthy parentage.
In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Daniel Golden reports on how the children of wealthy people are given special breaks for admission to schools such as Brown and Duke. For then-President Terry Sanford, it was an integral part of the fund-raising for Duke: admit the children of the wealthy, and the parents will become generous contributors.
And with Duke, it was purely financial, as Golden reports:
To increase donations and help make Duke a top-tier school, Mr. Sanford turned to an old friend, Croom Beatty, a teacher and fund-raiser at a North Carolina boarding school. Now retired, Mr. Beatty recalls Duke’s student body in the early 1970s being dominated by middle-class public-school students from Northern and mid-Atlantic states. They were admitted largely on the basis of high SAT scores. After graduating, they “didn’t connect with Duke,” and their giving was insufficient, he says.
At Mr. Sanford’s urging, Mr. Beatty scoured the nation’s prep schools for applicants whose families could enrich Duke. “I handled the private schools,” he recalls. “I basically kept a list of people whom it would be in Duke’s best interest to have them come.” For these applicants, Mr. Beatty says, a subpar SAT score was not necessarily a barrier if they showed what he called “other areas of leadership.”
Duke’s recruiting also involved raiding wealthy families traditionally associated with other top universities, especially Yale. The Mars candy-bar clan, the Kohlers (Wisconsin makers of plumbing fixtures) and the Wrigleys of chewing-gum fame started sending their kids to Duke.
Texas oil magnate Robert Bass, a Yale graduate, and his wife Anne, a Smith College alumna, donated $10 million to Duke in 1996, three years after their son enrolled, and another $10 million in 2001. Anne Bass joined Duke’s board in 2003. Through a spokesman, the Basses decline to comment.
So basically, in the 1970s Duke admitted students purely on the basis of merit, and as a result the financial returns were lagging. And they said, “Let’s get some children of rich families in here, and we’ll start stroking the business leaders to bring in the moolah!”
What I find hilarious about this is that these universities are run by very far left-leaning academicians (and politicians) who pretend to “care about the poor”.
And yet they are the very ones who are giving special breaks to the children of the wealthy. The only “poor” who get special breaks are the illegal immigrants.
Remember that next time a politician plays the class warfare card.