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In today's pages: Confessions of an ex-paparazzo

February 22, 2008 | 11:14 am

Toon22feb Joel Stein indulges in a little pre-nostalgia for the Clinton campaign, and former editorial page editor Michael Kinsley wiggles his fingers in the cracks in the logic behind the "surge" in Iraq. Cartoonist Joel Pett maps President Bush's carefully navigated route through Africa, and Ronald Brownstein finds the odds leaning in Barack Obama's favor. Ex-paparazzo Nick Stern reveals why he walked away from his calling:

Frankly, I felt uneasy about the frenzy surrounding Britney right from the start. The aggression and recklessness shocked me. On one occasion, as she left a Rite-Aid on Sunset, I saw the pack (walking backward to continue shooting) knock a homeless woman to the ground. No one bothered to even check whether she was hurt. This, combined with the suggestions about Britney's deteriorating mental health, made me increasingly uncomfortable. I likened it to a pack of hounds chasing an injured fox.

The editorial board criticizes U.S. AIDS-prevention plans for failing to recognize that it's often husbands infecting wives, but also notes that Bush's "successor would do well to scrap most of this president's foreign policy strategies, but Africa is one that he got right." Finally, the board encourages supporting teachers, not legislation, in combating the intolerance that led to tragedy last week:

The fatal shooting of an Oxnard middle-school student who told classmates he was gay serves as a sorrowing and urgent reminder that all kids need a safe school environment, free of threat or harassment. That's best taught to children through everyday interactions in the classroom and on the playground, by observant teachers, stern principals and strong school leaders. Both a proposed California curriculum on diversity education and a ludicrous decision in Virginia to pull a children's book depicting two male penguins raising a chick send the schools in the wrong direction.

Readers react to Michelle Obama's being proud to be an American. Stephen Wagner writes:

Obviously no one should believe Michelle Obama's comments to be unpatriotic. However, although her husband is running against Sen. Hillary Clinton, I would hope that even Obama would realize that the eight years of the Clinton administration were something Americans took great pride in.

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