Tuesday, June 10

OUTLYING PRECINCTS

African American students and alumni at Northwestern University — including some graduates of its highly regarded journalism school — are protesting the university's rescission of an honorary degree to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the former pastor of Sen. Barack Obama whose remarks caused headaches for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. In a March letter to Wright, announced on May 1, Northwestern President Henry Bienen wrote that he decided to withdraw the degree in sacred theology because controversy about Wright could disrupt graduation ceremonies, as Jodi S. Cohen wrote May 2 in the Chicago Tribune. The rescission is believed to be the first in the history of the Evanston, Ill., school, founded in 1850. "In light of the controversy surrounding statements made by you that have recently been publicized, the celebratory character of Northwestern's commencement would be affected by our conferring of this honorary degree," Bienen wrote to Wright. . . "This is absolutely outrageous, straight up reactionary politics," said Kevin B. Blackistone, former Dallas Morning News sports columnist newly appointed to a chair at the University of Maryland, and a 1981 Medill graduate. "The president said he was rescinding the offer because he didn't want to detract from the celebratory nature of commencement for graduates and their families. Then why give any honorary degrees at all or have any invited speakers who drone on seemingly forever only to be quickly forgotten? Wright certainly would not have been forgotten. The sound bites that have been used to slay him are exactly what graduates need to hear: a challenge to do differently, if not better. No uncritical yammering from him. Interestingly, James Cone, the theologian who coined the phrase black liberation theology, that frightens so many, called Wright one of the finest practitioners of the craft. Where did Cone get his Ph.D? Northwestern." Journal-isms

Obama thought wearing a flag pin was a bit pretentious, but there appears to be an exception to his reluctance. He showed up at the AIPAC meeting with a pin that featured two joined and equal sized flags: one for America and one for Israel. Well, if you work on Capitol Hill they are equal.

Nevada's scandal-tarred governor has suspended his effort to divorce his wife, after she and her lawyer made veiled suggestions that his effort could force secrets from his past to spill into public view. "You'd have to be a dummy to realize that there aren't implications beyond the divorce itself for her and for him," the attorney for Dawn Gibbons, wife of GOP Gov. Jim Gibbons, told the New York Times late last month. Gov. Gibbons has reportedly come under federal investigation for bribery and corruption allegations from his time as a U.S. congressman. He was accused of sexually assaulting a cocktail waitress in the days before the 2006 gubernatorial election; and his wife has accused him of having a long-running affair with a podiatrist's wife. Gibbons has denied all the allegations. . . The governor will live in the Nevada governor's mansion, and his wife will live in the guest house. The two "will share the Public Areas of the Mansion for their respective Public Duties," the document said. They will coordinate via their staff, according to the agreement. ABC NEWS