The Lepers of Baile Baiste, a new play by Ronan Noone, through October 8 at the BU Playwrights' Theatre

Vol. V No. 8   ·   05 October 2001 


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Los Angeles Times: Alcohol-related car deaths increase

After almost two decades of progress, the nation appears to have reached a plateau in reducing the number of people killed in alcohol-related traffic accidents, reports the October 1 Los Angeles Times. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that in 2000, 40 percent of all traffic deaths were alcohol-related, up from 38 percent in 1999. The slight increase follows the period from 1980 to 1995, when the United States experienced a dramatic 36 percent decline in alcohol-related traffic deaths, says Ralph Hingson, an SPH professor and chairman of the social and behavioral sciences department. "I think what is troublesome is that this is an area where we were making progress, and it seems to be slowing down," he says. "We need to make the public aware that this is still a huge problem."

New York Times: War's fallout on the homefront

War changes everything, both on the battlefield and at home. In the past, when war has been declared, American society has been fundamentally reordered for what the government deems is the common good. The September 30 New York Times cites examples of reordering: voluntary food rationing in World War I, "wheatless days" and "meatless days" that evolved into mandatory rationing of food and shoes during World War II, restriction of free speech through slogans such as "Loose lips sink ships," and even the curtailing of civil liberties. But while many World War I efforts were largely voluntary, World War II mobilization bore the stamp of government regulation, says Bruce Schulman, a CAS professor of history. New Deal bureaucrats had "the expectation that regulating the economy is something that government can and should do," he says. Along with voluntary scrap metal and rubber drives came mandatory rationing and supervision of prices and labor. Government power and control became an even bigger part of American life. What the government decides to do in the name of homeland defense during this current time of crisis has yet to be seen, but computers and their networks will give it more power than ever before to carry out crisis-monitoring initiatives, including collecting and analyzing electronic data from suspected terrorists and those who aid them.

New York Times: U.S. losing edge in spying

For decades, the United States used its technical expertise to gather electronic signals and eavesdrop on the intimate conversations of adversaries, including Kremlin leaders in their limousines. Fleets of satellites blanketed the globe, overhearing all manners of signals, messages, and conversations, day and night. But the rapid growth of commercially available technologies is fast eroding the government's edge, reports the September 20 New York Times. Although Washington has embarked on a campaign to research, design, and acquire equipment to sharpen its espionage edge, experts say the intelligence losses outweigh the gains -- and will for some time. "The government is trying to close the barn door," says Angelo Codevilla, a CAS professor of international relations, who was on the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee for eight years. "The horse left a long time ago. And it's not coming back."

Boston Globe: Isn't it ironic?

While Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter and Time magazine's Roger Rosenblatt are saying that in light of the September 11 attacks the age of irony is going to end, the September 29 Boston Globe weighs in with the opinion that irony is going nowhere, a sentiment echoed by Chancellor John Silber. "Irony will be here until the end of time," he says. "I'm not aware of any age of irony. It is an age of an intense pursuit of pleasure and luxury. The poor man's irony is on David Letterman and that guy Leno. Their irony put together wouldn't constitute a pimple on the body politic."

All Things Considered (NPR):
Intelligence-sharing with other countries

With a number of countries lining up in international support of a campaign to dismantle Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, on September 24 National Public Radio's All Things Considered spoke with a number of experts on the challenge of sharing intelligence with other countries. Andrew Bacevich, a CAS professor of international relations and a former Army colonel, says offers of basing rights, overflight rights, and military assistance will amount to little if the United States lacks key information about the bin Laden network. "If we can get adequate intelligence about this apparatus -- how it's organized, how it operates, where it's located -- I believe we can devise the means to effectively take the apparatus down," he says. "But absent adequate intelligence, then the problem really becomes very, very daunting."

"In The News" is compiled by Mark Toth in the Office of Public Relations.


05 October 2001
Boston University
Office of University Relations