News & Reviews

Issue: "The harvest of abortion," Oct. 23, 1999

Man knows not his time
Game over
Wilt Chamberlain once said, "The world is made up of Davids, and I am Goliath." He was one of the greatest basketball players of all time, but he was a world-class sinner, claiming to have had sex with 20,000 different women. Last week, the 7'1'' legend died in his Bel-Air, Calif., home, apparently of a heart attack, at age 63. Already 6'11'' when he entered Philadelphia's Overbrook High School, Mr. Chamberlain led the school to two all-city titles and became one of the most highly recruited players ever. At the University of Kansas he averaged nearly 30 points and 18 rebounds per game. He took the Jayhawks to the 1957 NCAA finals-where they lost in triple overtime to North Carolina. After a year with the Harlem Globetrotters, Mr. Chamberlain joined the National Basketball Association. He set seven NBA records, six of which still stand, during a 14-year (1959-1973) career with the Philadelphia (and San Francisco) Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, and Los Angeles Lakers. Perhaps his most impressive record: a 100-point game for the Warriors against the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962. But in championship series, when pitted against Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics, he was almost always on the losing end. Many people know Mr. Chamberlain best for his notorious 1991 autobiography, which included an entire chapter on his sex life. He claimed to have bedded an average of more than one woman per day since he was 15 years old. But tennis great Arthur Ashe said: "I felt more pity than sorrow for Wilt as his macho accounting backfired on him in the form of a wave of public criticism." Recently, Mr. Chamberlain seemed to have matured sexually. In a May, 1999, television interview, he said, "With all you men out there who think that having a thousand different ladies is pretty cool, I have learned in my life. I've found out that having one woman a thousand times is much more satisfying." Last year Mr. Chamberlain returned to Kansas to have his jersey retired. Referring to the heartbreaking championship loss of 1957, he told Kansas fans, "I felt like I had let the university down." KU fans shouted down his apology with chants of "No, no!" and a standing ovation. Mr. Chamberlain, who had feared that KU fans would boo him, told a reporter that his return to Kansas was the best moment of his life. Nation in brief
Southern states buck gambling trend
Alabama voters rejected a proposed state lottery last week by a vote of 54 percent to 46 percent. The vote was a setback for Gov. Don Siegelman, a Democrat who made the lottery a centerpiece of his race for governor last year. Also last week, the South Carolina Supreme Court struck down on a technicality a referendum, set for Nov. 2, on legalizing video gambling in the Palmetto State. Babbitt cleared in casino case
Special prosecutor Carol Elder Bruce announced that there is insufficient evidence to indict Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt in connection with a federal Indian casino investigation. The case involved allegations that Mr. Babbitt lied to Congress in explaining why the department rejected a permit for a proposed casino by three Wisconsin Indian tribes. Prosecutors drop Ramsey case
Prosecutors in Colorado said there isn't enough evidence to charge anyone in the 1996 strangulation of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey. The grand jury wrapped up 13 months of work as Gov. Bill Owens announced that he may appoint a special prosecutor to look into the matter. The No-Comment Zone

  • If 38 percent of all Democrats are anti-abortion, where are their pro-life candidates? Citing a Wirthlin Worldwide poll, the National Right to Life Committee this month relaunched the National Pro-Life Democrats Committee to challenge the pro-abortion dominance of that party. In 1984 and 1988, the group's delegates to the Democratic National Convention voted for pro-life protest candidates. "Abortion advocates such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL have thrown millions of dollars at party leadership to keep our voices from being heard," new chairman Sally Winn said. "The silence is over."
  • Sportscaster Marv Albert quietly returned to network TV after a sex scandal short-circuited his career. His homecoming show: co-hosting this year's Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony for NBC. A multi-year deal lets him cover 15 regular-season NBA games, the first four weekends of the playoffs, along with parts of the 2000 and 2002 Olympics.
  • Some might say it's much ado about nothing, but folks in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival town of Ashland passed a resolution Oct. 5 to establish a domestic partnership registry. The city gets $25 for every couple that signs in, and $25 more for each de-partnering. Eleven-year Mayor Catherine Shaw downplayed the potential income to the city but did say that the city might increase the price if the idea caught on. Requirements for a cream-colored certificate with black border: Both must be at least 18 and of the same sex. Ashland is one of perhaps 45 cities or counties across the country that have passed similar resolutions.
  • The baseball adage, good pitching beats good hitting, gained fresh backing in the American League playoff series between the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians. The Indians scored zero runs in 10 innings against Pedro Martinez, baseball's best pitcher this year, and 32 runs in 34 innings against the rest of the Red Sox staff. Mr. Martinez made the difference as Boston advanced to the championship series against the New York Yankees. Schools can now tell parents of infractions
    Administrative snitch
    If you send your kid off to college, will you find out if he gets in trouble for drugs or alcohol use? New federal regulations say administrators can tell parents when their under-21 offspring are caught taking drugs or drinking. Schools are trying to figure what to do with the new rules. Congress amended federal confidentiality laws last year after a series of five alcohol-related deaths on campuses in Virginia. The bill, pushed by Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), allows (but does not require) colleges to notify parents of drug or alcohol infractions. Some schools-including the University of Delaware, Indiana University, Penn State, and most Virginia colleges-enacted notification policies. Others-like the huge University of California system-are under strict state privacy laws that only allow schools to tell parents about misbehavior when the student's safety is threatened. The issue has launched a heated debate on some campuses. University of Illinois students, in an advisory referendum, voted 5,800-1,200 against the idea. man murdered over unpaid beanie baby bill
    High price, low stakes
    Beanie babies are soft and cuddly, not the sort of things that usually lead to murder. Yet Jeffrey Allen White allegedly gunned down one of his co-workers at a West Virginia lumber factory after a squabble over an unpaid Beanie debt. He and victim Harry Simmons were night watchmen together until the factory fired Mr. White. Mr. Simmons sold Mr. White several Beanie Babies but Mr. White never paid for them. The pair argued over the debt several times. Then employees came to work and found Mr. Simmons dead. "Jeff's name was the first one the [Simmons] family mentioned when we went to see them yesterday," Elkins Police Chief Joe Jones said. Mr. White fled, saying he would never be taken alive. He threatened to rob a bank and a convenience store and shoot any policemen who tried to arrest him. After a two-day manhunt, he surrendered. Police also arrested his cousin as a possible suspect. "Jeff went there with the intention of doing him harm," Chief Jones charged. "I don't know if it was for the sole purpose of the Beanie Babies or to rob him, but they had a dispute about the money." FBI assists in S. Africa
    Terrorist suspect arrested
    FBI agents arrested Khalfan Khamis Mohamed in South Africa and brought him to the United States for trial in connection with last year's twin U.S. embassy bombings in Africa. Mr. Mohamed, 24, allegedly rented a house in his native Tanzania that was used as a bomb factory. The bombings-in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania-killed 224 people, including 12 Americans, on Aug. 7, 1998. The arrest brought to nine the number of people in custody in connection with the bombings. Seventeen people have been indicted in the case. Eight of them are in custody in the United States and one overseas; the rest remain fugitives, including Saudi radical Osama bin Laden, who is accused of masterminding the attack. A $5 million reward has been offered for his capture. Military seizes power in Pakistan; West urges return to civilian rule
    Coup heightens nuclear tension
    Pakistan's military, led by army chief General Pervaiz Musharraf, overthrew the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup, and placed the democratically elected leader under house arrest. Three senior army officers also were arrested after siding with the president in his attempt to fire Gen. Musharraf, which precipitated the crisis. Mr. Sharif has increasingly frustrated Pakistan's army, particularly after he ordered-under pressure from the United States and other western powers-that the army withdraw from crucial posts in Kashmir to ease tensions with India. Officials from Western nations had also warned Mr. Sharif about potential for a coup over charges he tried to overrule judiciary proceedings and cracked down on the media. Gen. Musharraf initially vowed not to impose martial law and convened meetings with parliamentary leaders to restore democracy. The free world continued to urge swift return to government by the people. India went on high alert following the coup, which took place just after the neighboring country convened a new coalition government, led by the Hindu nationalist party, BJP. Sonia Gandhi, the Italian wife of assassinated prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, was unanimously elected parliamentary leader of the opposition Congress party. The military alert in India reflected the potential for confrontation between India and Pakistan. Both countries first tested nuclear weapons in 1998 and have fought four wars in the last 50 years. A fragile détente between the two countries will be unchanged by efforts of President Clinton to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The treaty, designed to end nuclear weapons testing, was defeated by the U.S. Senate in an Oct. 13 vote, 51-48. innovation or overpopulation?
    Pop goes the population
    Is the world half-empty or half-full? The experts weighed in, as world population "officially" arrived at 6 billion on Oct. 12. Cornell University ecologist David Pimentel presented the doom-and-gloom report: By 2100, he said, "12 billion miserable humans will suffer a difficult life on Earth." Professing "great faith in human nature," Mr. Pimentel predicted that human numbers can be reduced by one-third over the next century with strict environmental and population-control policies. By contrast, Stephen Moore of the Cato Institute called the milestone "a real tribute to human ingenuity and our ability to innovate." The lesson of this century, said the economist, is that technology and smart use of resources can keep pace with population growth. Doomsayers will end up with an aged, shrunken population. "Europe is a demographic catastrophe," Mr. Moore said. "If you take that trend out 500 years you're going to have eight Italians and three Irish on the face of the Earth." Church compassion for a pregnant teenager outrages abortion enthusiasts
    A poor, pregnant 12-year-old won't get an abortion after help from Pro-Life Initiative, a Scottish-based Roman Catholic Program-and abortion enthusiasts are furious. Why? Church officials admitted that the group was paying her bills to keep her away from an abortionist. "Offering 12-year-olds cash for babies is tantamount to bribery," fumed Sue Carroll, a writer for the tabloid Daily Mirror. The unidentified girl is midway through her pregnancy. Teachers and social workers told her to have an abortion because she is so young. Monsignor Tom Connelly said the church's offer gives the girl "real choice, so the child in the womb does not suffer at all, irrespective of age or race or creed." Program coordinator Roseann Reddy said, "The parents wanted to support the girl, but could not afford the baby clothes, and that is where we step in."

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