Copyright © 1998 Henrietta W. Hay
The News of the Day
January 16, 1998
What living -- or dead -- American would you like to see cloned? Do
you think that introducing a rambunctious puppy into the White House
to irritate Socks is a Republican plot? Is alcoholism covered under the
Americans With Disabilities Act?
Nearly every media person in America has written or talked about the big
news stories of 1997. I decided to pass on that one, but 1998 started
off with such a bang that it does require comment.
The most frightening story to me is that of Dr. Strangelove. Sorry, I
mean Dr. G. Richard Seed. He is the scientist who plans to clone
babies and believes that any opposition to his work will be
short-lived. I have generally kept an open mind about technological
progress, and have even learned to accept strange voices telling me
which button to push when I am trying to get some information on the
telephone. But babies being turned out on an assembly line? Sorry, I
am not convinced.
What finally made me believe Dr. Seed should be deposited in the nearest
padded room was this quote. "You can't stop science," he told National
Public Radio. "God intended for man to become one with God...Cloning
and the reprogramming of DNA is the first serious step to becoming one
with God." Whatever one's concept of God may be, surely no one could
see Dr. Seed filling the position.
On the happier side, Geraldine Ferraro is going to run for the
Senate. The idea of a United States Senate containing Dottie Lamm and
Geraldine Ferraro along with the women already there does give me
reason to hope. Maybe the Senate would start thinking more about
leading the country and less about being a lynch mob.
Then there is the Jerry Seinfeld story. He's quitting. Certainly one
of the top television shows, it is one I ever watched much, so I don't
quite know what all the excitement is about. The cover of People
magazine shouts, "Say it Ain't So," and adds, "A stunned nation prepares
for life without Seinfeld." I expected to see flags at half staff when
it was announced. I guess he'll be all right, though. He reportedly
earned $66 million last year.
The local story of the week was about our ex-chief of police. When
Darold Sloan was fired from the police force, I agreed with the
decision, but I did admire him for standing up and accepting
responsibility for his behavior. Responsibility didn't last too long.
Now we are about to find out whether the Americans With Disabilities Act
covers alcoholism. I hope not; I would not much want to live in any
town which has a police chief who admitted to a DUI violation.
The big news stories were about the two famous men who died in skiing
accidents within days of each other. Both are tragic and certainly we
feel sympathy for their families. The deaths set off a great clamor
for laws to make skiing safer by requiring skiers to wear helmets. But
like all sports, skiing has potential dangers and requires - yes,
demands - personal responsibility. Ski runs and trees naturally coexist
and, with or without a helmet, the human skull doesn't stand much of a
chance when it bashes into a tree. The best safety protection is not
the helmet, but the responsibility of the head in it.
One would think that after five years of having the run of that famous
big white house in Washington, a cat would be safe from interlopers.
But no. Those people who brought Socks up from Arkansas and treated
him like First Cat have brought in a - how can I even say the word? -- a
dog! A great news picture shows Socks holding his ground, with his back
arched higher than I have ever seen a cat's back arched, against that
gangly puppy and the man who brought it into Socks' house. Somehow I
don't think Socks and Buddy are going to be buddies in the foreseeable
future, and I would venture a guess that Socks is not speaking to the
No telling what next week's headlines will be!