And now the most interesting two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:
Controversy on Campus
Duke University is in the throes of controversy over a woman invited to speak there on the subject of HIV and the AIDS virus in prison. The problem is that the speaker, Laura Whitehorn, developed her interest in the issue when she was serving 14 years in jail for her part in the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Capitol. The Duke Conservative Union says the woman is a convicted terrorist who is unrepentant about her crimes and still advocates violence. Whitehorn denies she's a terrorist, saying the middle-of-the night bombing in the Capitol was intended to avoid casualties. And the university says it doesn't pressure or control the faculty's choice of speakers.
Upset in Idaho
And speaking of people who have done time, the NAACP in Idaho is trying to figure out what to do about Wade Dawson, president of its Boise branch. It seems that Dawson has claimed that he was playing football at the University of Michigan and for the Oakland Raiders at a time when he actually was in prison. In fact, the Idaho Statesman newspaper reports that Dawson has done a stretch in four different states. Dawson was absent from Monday's Martin Luther King Day observances, but NAACP officials say he might be able to remain president of the chapter if he comes clean about his past.
Draft for Equality?
Congressman Charles Rangel wants the military draft to be reinstituted because, he says, blacks now constitute a disproportionate number of front-line combat troops likely to be killed in war. The statistics, according to USA Today, show just the opposite. The newspaper says that while blacks are indeed 20 percent of the military, compared with just 12 percent of the population, they make up less than 5 percent of the combat force. The reason is that black recruits have increasingly chosen non-combat jobs that teach them job skills they can use once they have complete their service.
Calls for Boycott
Democratic Senator John Edwards of North Carolina took his presidential campaign into neighboring South Carolina yesterday for a Martin Luther King Day speech in which he supported the NAACP's call for an economic boycott of that state for allowing the confederate flag to fly at a monument on the state capitol grounds. And how did Edwards manage to support the boycott while visiting the state? By staying in private homes, he said, instead of hotels.