Grapevine: College textbook rips Reagan

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...

Required Reading

Required reading for a course at the University of South Carolina is raising some red flags for students there by calling former president Ronald Reagan a sexist and defining conservatives as pessimists resistant to change.

The textbook "Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare" paints a less than flattering portrait of the Gipper claiming he -- quote -- "Ascribed to women 'primarily domestic functions' and failed to appoint many women to significant positions of power during his presidency."

In fact, President Reagan appointed Sandra Day O'Connor the first female Supreme Court Justice and Jeane Kirkpatrick the first female ambassador to the United Nations.

The school says it is committed to academic freedom -- quote -- "Our faculty are free to select texts for their courses and our students are encouraged to raise questions."

Normal Business Hours

If Switzerland ever has to fend off attackers we can only hope the invasion comes during normal business hours, while its air force is on duty.

It is a lesson learned yesterday, as a hijacked Ethiopian Airlines plane headed for that country.

The Swiss did not scramble any fighter jets because it was the middle of the night and its fighter pilots were asleep.

Switzerland's Air Force only operates from eight to five with a generous hour and a half lunch break in the middle.

And weekends? They're closed then too.

A spokesperson tells AFP the hours are limited due to budget and staffing.

Luckily, Switzerland has good neighbors. France and Italy stepped in, escorting the hijacked plane to Geneva.

Close Quarters

And finally, bigger is not always better.

Cramped tanks and other equipment problems in China are being blamed on heftier soldiers.

The military says personnel have grown about three quarters of an inch taller and two inches wider since the tanks were designed.

This problem is not limited to the Chinese, however.

Studies show American service members are also carrying more weight than they did a couple decades ago.