Dispatches > Quick Takes

Dispatches from the past

A WORLD reader once wrote to remind us, quoting the words of Ezra Pound: "Literature is news that stays news." With that in mind, we've culled 15 years of back issues and highlighted some passages from our reporting that have "stayed news."

Issue: "Casualty of 'peace'," March 24, 2001

Public Policy
In his first State of the Union speech, President Clinton expanded on his campaign promise to "end welfare as we know it." ... The Clinton quote most often repeated since it was uttered on the campaign trail is, "I feel your pain." But experts note that the current welfare bureaucracy places cash above true compassion (the literal meaning of the word is "suffering with")-and that, they say, is precisely what's wrong with welfare as we still know it.
-Jan. 29, 1994

For one thing, repeal the foolish policy of the Housing and Urban Development Department which refuses federal funds to rescue missions. The missions, with the help of churches, have done as much as any other group to help the homeless for many years now, and should not be discriminated against merely because they offer a clear proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ as part of their effort.
-Feb. 11, 1989

Christian members of Congress should accept neither liberal stinginess nor conservative stinginess. The critical task in welfare reform over the next few years is to eliminate government's failed programs and to have something to put in their place: a Bible-based system of charity and challenge that can activate groups within churches to work intensively with welfare recipients who need more than a check.
-Oct. 22, 1994

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"We should seriously look at systematically replacing the secular bureaucracies of the welfare state with a tax credit for giving money to ... religious or nonreligious groups."
-Newt Gingrich, Jan. 14, 1995

Some journalists and political figures are attempting to shift the burden on the adultery issue from those who have committed it to those who write and talk about it. According to this view, it is a greater moral evil to reveal that a person has broken the marriage vow than to break the vow itself. This line of thinking emerged in a recent Life magazine interview with Jackie Jackson, whose husband Jesse is a probable Democratic presidential candidate in 1988. Jackie Jackson warned reporters covering her husband: "I don't believe in examining sheets. That's a violation of privacy." Then, in what might be called the ostrich (head buried in the sand) approach, Jackie Jackson said, "If my husband has committed adultery, he better not tell me. And you better not go digging into it, because I'm trying to raise a family and won't let you be the one to destroy my family."
-June 22, 1987

As despicable an act as the Oklahoma City bombing was, there should be little surprise if our society produces more and more morally confused monsters of the ilk of Timothy McVeigh. Often under the very auspices of the government that Mr. McVeigh reportedly has come to hate, we have regularly stripped away basic building blocks of common morality that a nation needs to hang together. So the society we've produced looks a lot like the federal building in Oklahoma City.
-April 29, 1995

The cast and crew of Murphy Brown should be sorry for putting a laugh-track to the real issues of single motherhood. Children growing up in such homes are almost six times more likely to live in poverty than those with a dad on the premises. It is a fact that children do better in school and stay out of trouble more with mom and dad at home. Obviously the best home setting is not always possible; yet Murphy Brown, in last week's season opener, wants us to sympathize with her "agonizing decision" to have a baby out of wedlock and to applaud the show's stale attempt to blast Vice President Dan Quayle.
-October 3, 1992

You read it first here, but The Atlantic's April cover story is "Dan Quayle Was Right." It is a lengthy essay claiming that "the social science evidence is in" and the increase in nontraditional families "does not strengthen the social fabric but, rather, dramatically weakens and undermines society." What did they know and when did they know it?
-March 20/27, 1993 Politics
If there's anything more dangerous than a bad liar, it's a good one. And Bill Clinton is an exceptionally artful liar.
That's strong language, I know, to use about our president. And I'm mindful that the Bible enjoins us to honor those who rule over us. But the Bible also has scary warnings for leaders who pervert justice. Mr. Clinton, in office for fewer than six weeks now, is doing that regularly.
-March 6, 1993

Newspapers last week carried the outrageous story about members of Congress bouncing some 4,300 checks-without penalty or loss of credit rating-drawn on the bank created for the personal use of congressmen and their staffers. All that in just the first six months of last year. But it should come as no surprise. For years, Congress has been writing bad checks-drawn on the vast reserves of the American taxpayers. One House staffer put the scandal into its proper perspective, saying that at least the accounts weren't federally insured and there was no taxpayer liability. Indeed, the staffer explained, "I guess you could say they were stealing from each other. This is an improvement."
-Sept. 28, 1991


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