Short Takes: News From All Over: October 21, 2004

Rhetoric & Reform
By Rep. Peter Hoekstra, National Review
In a perennially, polemically heated post-9/11 world, it’s no surprise-and undeniably understandable — that academics have rebuked government censorship of any kind, and cried out against an increasingly tense environment for international students. Representative Peter Hoekstra (R., Michigan), author of the International Studies in Higher Education Act (authorized under Title VI of the Higher Education Act), begs to differ with the assumption that these student are actually worse off, however. He points out that colleges and universities were awarded over $90 million for international programs in 2004 — an actual increase since the tragedies on September 11. In fact, unlike his Republican colleagues in the White House, Hoekstra believes support for these programs is essential, since isolationism is bad for national security. The congressman also claims that an advisory panel is necessary in order to see that this congressional largesse is well spent. — Elizabeth Dwoskin

The Rules of Attraction
By Hilary Frey, The Nation
At first, Hilary Frey of The Nation loved the idea of single hood so much that she resolved to never marry. Over the years, however, she experienced what she describes as an unnamed ‘pressure,’ to tie the knot; a pressure that, according to a 2003 study from the National Marriage Project (NMP), is now regularly applied to liberal, upwardly mobile single women who are encouraged to believe that if they focus ‘too much’ on their careers they will miss that golden window of opportunity in which to find good men. As a result, most of the female members of Frey’s generation — which are history’s most educated and career-oriented — are actually ‘itching to get hitched.’ Can we blame it on popular culture (Friends, The Bachlorette, Sex and the City), with its single characters’ obsessive searching for ‘the one’? Or is it the fault of the wedding industry? Whatever the cause, statistics also show that the realities of marriage are stranger (and tougher) than fiction, which leads Frey to conclude that the most time-honored institution is actually too risky to support at all. — Elizabeth Dwoskin

Pigs in the City
By Chris Koentges, Walrus Magazine
Derk Ehlert picks up a handful of dirt and sifts half-eaten root and acorn shells through his fingers, while whispering ominously, ‘They were here.’ Ehlert is not your usual hunter. His prey, the ‘they’ in question, are wild boars — somewhere between five to seven thousand of them, in fact, who have yet to return to the forests that were exposed to West Berlin when the Wall fell. Ehlert and his team of fifty volunteers dutifully patrol the city in search of the boars, rifles in hand. Like the duets between detectives and criminals in many crime novels, though, the pursuers have developed a soft spot in their hearts for their prey. Now the pigs have individual names, and have acclimated so well to the city that some might start to call it a natural habitat. — Elizabeth Dwoskin

No Stolen Elections!
By Staff,
The 2000 election ended not with a bang, but with a whimper — as a stunned-silent public watched the Republicans snatch away Gore’s electoral victory. If the thought of history repeating itself scares you more than one of Tom Ridge’s Code Orange alerts, make sure you’re ready to protect democracy by pledging your time and effort to help ensure that the elections are fair, or, failing that, that Bush can’t steal the presidency without a fight. — Brendan Themes

By Staff, betterPropaganda
Sure, you can find great music criticism and free MP3s on the Internet if you do a little digging. But betterPropaganda puts them all in one place, providing a complete independent music discovery system for the intrepid surfer. This great music dissemination tool will boost your indie credibility through the roof — not only will you have heard of all these great bands, you will have actually heard them. — Brendan Themes

Ads Spark Traditional Medicine Debate in Senegal
By Abdou Faye,
In Dakar, Senegal, a new legal initiative is underway — to stop ‘traditional healers’-cum-radio advertisers from making outlandish claims about their curing powers. One well-known Nigerian ‘healer’ who uses the Senegal airwaves, Papa Magic Pot, claims he can cure AIDs. A bill regulating the practice of traditional medicine has been in the pipeline for over two years, but it has since languished in the cabinet, until a census of the nation’s traditional healers is taken. And on a continent where 80% of people consult traditional healers for their medical needs, and healthcare is unaffordable, it’s no wonder that even a charlatan can offer something like hope. — Elizabeth Dwoskin

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