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Jewish World Review Feb. 22, 2002 / 10 Adar, 5762

Tony Snow

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Musings -- I'M not sure what to make of this year's winter Olympics.

Once upon a time, I loved the quadrennial sportsfests, but now a couple of things spoil them. First, they let pros play in the high-profile events -- hockey, figure skating and skiing. Pros aren't strangers to us. In my mind, the Olympics should reward hard-working amateurs -- give them a moment of hard-won fame.

The second bad factor: The International Olympic Committee has become a snobbish bog of corruption and anti-Americanism. Life's too short to put up with such people. There is one redeeming characteristic to the games, however. Winter sports are crazy. What sane person does luge, rides a skeleton or does acrobatic skiing?

While the summer games feature people who run fast, the winter games require humans to hurtle down ice-glazed surfaces at speeds approaching 90 miles an hour. I'm drawn to watch such insanity, even if I can't understand it. As for the pros -- frankly,

I don't give a da-n.

Kudos to Christine Pelton.

The 26-year-old biology teacher at Piper High School in suburban Kansas City recently flunked 28 students who had plagiarized on projects that counted for half of their final grades. Her principal and assistant principle at Piper High School backed her -- but after parents complained, the local school board ordered Pelton to alter her ways.

The board demanded that she change her grading methods and hand out passing grades to all the wayward pupils. Soon after, kids in her classes started acting like brats. Says Pelton, "They knew if they didn't like anything in my classroom from here on out, they can just go to the school board and complain."

So she quit her job.

Fortunately, there may be a happy ending. Wyandotte County District Attorney Nick Tomasic thinks the school board may have violated Kansas law by handling the Pelton case in a secret meeting. If so, the meddling bureaucrats will have to pay the piper -- and the kids may get the failing grades they so richly deserve.

My colleague Greta van Susteren made a few headlines when she decided to leave CNN and join Fox News Channel. But the publicity machine really got up and running when people found out she had undergone some plastic surgery.

The story was everywhere -- talk radio, morning TV, late night TV, newspapers, gossip columns, the cover of People Magazine. That got me to thinking: Maybe I should go under the knife. After all, how bad can it be? Remove some of the saggy flesh under the chin, figure out a way to highlight the eyes. Heck, after only a couple of months in the hospital -- including time to let the swelling go down, the stitches to heal and the pain to go away -- I might look sort of presentable.

On the other hand, with my luck, the surgeons would pare away the extra stuff and leave me looking like E.T. That would generate some notice, all right -- probably some ratings, too. But on second thought -- I'll just stick with the mug I've got.

Georgia State Representative Dorothy Pelote has submitted legislation she thinks will cover a long-neglected problem. She wants to make it illegal for Georgians to answer their doors naked.

It is unclear what incident or series of incidents inspired this foray. But then, Pelote's mind sometimes works in mysterious ways. She confided to colleagues last year that she had spent time chatting with the spirit of Gary Condit's former consort, the missing Chandra Levy, and in years past she has tried to invoke the full majesty of the law to prevent school students from growing their fingernails long and ban supermarket baggers from licking their fingers.

Equally odd is the threat by the Georgia branch of the American Civil Liberties Union to oppose the measure on grounds that it might unduly inhibit privacy rights.

That very well may be true but why waste time lobbying against a bill that's more likely to provoke gales of laughter than support in the state legislature?

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