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Opinion Club, Vol.1: Time, Moss and Bush

June 10, 2007

Editor's note: Several months ago, The editors asked everyone who e-mailed a letter whether they would be willing to be part of the Opinion Club, a group that would periodically be asked to react quickly to questions about items on the news, both local and national.

About 150 signed up, with the understanding that they need not respond to every question, but only when they felt strongly or had some thoughts about what we asked.

Our first question concerned the recent Time Magazine list of the world's 100 most influential people. Supermodel Kate Moss, recently in the news for her alleged cocaine use, made the list, while President George Bush did not.

We asked club members whether that was a gross sub on the part of Time or a symptom of misplaced priorities in America.

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Has the president truly become irrelevant? Or it simply a sign of good times that we can focus on celebrities, comfortable in the thought that the world is basically operating as it should?

We thank members for their interest and for their thoughtful responses.

A gross snub on the part of Time? Is it a microcosm of misplaced priorities in America? Has the president truly become irrelevant? Is it simply a sign of good times that we can focus on celebrities, comfortable in the thought that the world is basically operating as it should?

Is it a gross snub on the part of Time? To some degree, Time's list inclusion of Kate Moss and exclusion of President Bush is a reflection of the times.

The illusion of beauty, fame, and wealth has always been a strong driving force for influencing. People can have more forgiveness and empathy with the beautiful woman who errs because beauty is one of the most highly valued aspects in the culture, and perhaps there is a sense of expectancy about celebrities since drug use is a common vulnerability for many of them.

- Sharon Womack

Time Magazine has clearly shown its alliance with the Bush-hating crowd. I and most of the people I know are certainly not influenced at all by the likes of Tzipi Livni, Liu Qi, Youk Chhang, Sonia Gandhi or Thiery Henry. The fact that Ariana Huffington and Anderson Cooper had a hand in writing the biographies of some of the winners should be a clue as to where these people come from.

President Bush has more influence on all of us, whether we like him or not.

- Carlo Belella

Imagine my chagrin. Time magazine issued its list of the 100 most influential people in the world and I wasn't even mentioned !

But truly the "elephant" in the living room that they chose to ignore was our very own president, George W. Bush.

Perhaps George will take some comfort in not being included on a list that includes someone such as model Kate Moss. The article describes her as a tough survivor, who overcame bad press concerning substance abuse, and as a very convincing sales person. Wait a minute, George also is a tough survivor who overcame alcoholism (thanks, Alberto!) - and he sold the American public on going to war! In the words of Homer Simpson, "DOH !"

- Dan Wallace

Time magazine recently published a list of this year's 100 most influential people in the world based on each person's unique position of power, talent or moral example. I'm not really sure how Time applied this criteria since President Bush was not included in the list. He certainly wields a lot of power.

On the other hand, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Al "the climate man" Gore did make the list. Seems a little lopsided politically, but Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Bloomberg were also mentioned. Some on the list are noteworthy.

Remember Wesley Autry, the construction worker, waiting with his two daughters to get on a subway in New York. As they waited, a 19-year-old student had a seizure and fell onto the tracks in front of an upcoming train. Autry went to the rescue.

Elizabeth Blackburn is doing some rewarding study on the treatment of cancer. Sonia Gandhi, the national leader of India, governs with only a high-school education. Timothy Gittins, a career military soldier, is making his sacrifices to serve our country. The Pope is on the list with a few evolutionists as well. Amr Khaled, an Egyptian, has established a popular Web site to encourage Muslims to transform their world in a positive way through Islam.

Excluding the president, however, whether you like him or not, seems a little more than nonsensical.

- Lloyd "Pete" Waters

What the Time magazine listing of the world's 100 most influential people did for me was to make me wonder what is important in terms of influence.

There were no people on that list who suddenly made me respect them just because they may have had some influence over part of the population. I was pleased to see our local resident, Nora Roberts, on the list. But it made me wonder what her influence was other than the ability to create an interest in reading her books.

Most of all, I was pleased to know that Time, at least, did not credit George Bush with the ability to influence anyone.

- Harold Martin

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