Headlines @ U.Va.
U.S., Vietnam finding common ground
International politics makes for strange bedfellows. Witness the
U.S. and communist Vietnam, which are set to explore military
cooperation in the coming months. The new ties are motivated by
a desire to contain terrorism in Southeast Asia and to limit Chinas
regional influence. The efforts will also reinforce the nations
growing trade relationship, notes Brantly Womack, an Asia expert
in U.Va.s politics department. Thirty years after
American troops pulled out of Vietnam, there is still a vein of
hostility in American attitudes toward Vietnam, and the [Vietnamese]
government will seize any opportunity to reduce that hostility
and stabilize a peaceful relationship with the U.S., Womack
San Jose [Calif.] Mercury News, Oct. 3
Ask an ignorant American what a Muslim person is like, and youll
likely get a stereotyped image of a bearded Middle Eastern man
in a flowing robe and head scarf screaming anti-American slogans,
or of a veiled, submissive woman hiding in the shadows. Farzaneh
Milani, professor of Middle Eastern languages and cultures, spends
much of her time combating those images. She recently addressed
audiences at U.Va.s College at Wise, and noted that there
are 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide one in every five people.
In view of such a magnificent number and the vast
number of cultures how can you talk about a typical Muslim
man or woman? Such a person does not exist. An Islam uniform in
its policies and goals has never existed, she said.
Kingsport [Tenn.] Times-News, Oct. 3
It was called Operation Whitecoat a Cold War-era, U.S.
biological warfare program for which 2,300 Seventh-day Adventist
soldiers volunteered as test subjects rather than participating
in combat duty, which violates their religious beliefs. The soldiers
were deliberately exposed to a variety of exotic germs, then observed
for their reaction. Jonathan D. Moreno, director of U.Va.s
Center for Bioethics, has written extensively about Whitecoat,
and says such experimentation, once viewed unthinkable, is better
understood in the post-Sept. 11 era. As an example, he pointed
to recent moves to inoculate health-care workers against smallpox,
despite the risk of severe or even fatal side-effects. Before
Sept. 11, people were aghast at the idea of exposing people deliberately
to diseases, he said. Now theres a lot more
Baltimore Sun, Oct. 5
trust in trusts
There is a movement nationwide to preserve unspoiled land by placing
it in irrevocable trusts. Landowners receive tax breaks and emotional
satisfaction, says Julia D. Mahoney, a U.Va. law professor.
But she fears the long-term effects. Future generations
either will be stuck with the land preservation choices made by
their forbears, which will almost certainly fail to reflect contemporary
cultural values and advances in ecological science, or will have
to expend resources to extinguish, or at the very least renegotiate
the trusts, she said.
New York Times, Oct. 12
Some institutions of higher education are losing their focus on
teaching intellectual skills in favor of an emphasis on job training,
charges Margaret Miller, a Curry School professor who is director
of the National Forum on College Level Learning. Students
and institutions are more and more focused on the vocational
at a high level, but vocational nonetheless, she said. But
producing a group of non-reflective highly competent technicians
is something we want to avoid if we want a functioning society.
Her group is urging universities to re-emphasize critical thinking
skills in their curricula.
Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 14