The Right Answers

Article excerpt

Q. From where did the bombers leave an those long-distance missions over Afghanistan?

-- H.P., East Haven, Conn.

A. The first U.S. Air Force combat missions over Afghanistan included a number that actually originated in Missouri. For instance, six B-2 stealth bombers from the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., took part in sorties that lasted more than 40 hours. Subsequently, the Air Force crews flew to the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, then switched with another crew, who made the 30-hour return flight.

Air Force magazine quoted Brig. Gen. Anthony Przybyslawski, the commander of the 509th, as noting: "[the fact that the B-2s] never shut down their engines for more than 70 hours highlights the durability and reliability of this weapon system. Every aircraft landed here [at Whiteman] 'code one,' which means they are mechanically ready to go again."

Q. How many American children are raised without their fathers in the house?

-- D.P.T., Portsmouth, Va.

A. Some 34 percent of American children, about 24 million, live in homes without their biological fathers, according to the National Fatherhood Initiative. The group reports that, on average, such children are at least two to three times more likely to be poor; use illegal drugs; experience emotional, behavioral, health, and educational problems; become victims of child abuse; and take part in criminal activity than children living with their married parents, either biological or adoptive.

Q. Seemingly every time I hear Martin Luther King's name used publicly, it is preceded by the title "Dr." Did King earn a doctorate? If so, where?

-- T.D., Anderson, Ind.

A. King was presented with a Ph.D by Boston University in 1955 -- but whether he earned it is more than open to question. For well over a decade, the remarkable extent of King's plagiarism has been a matter of public record. This expropriation included much of his doctoral thesis. One key resource here is The Martin Luther King, Jr., Plagiarism Story, edited by Theodore Pappas (1994). Details of King's plagiarism have also appeared in the (London) Sunday Telegraph and Wall Street Journal.

In 1991, a committee from Boston University investigated and found that 45 percent of the first half and 21 percent of the second half of King's thesis was plagiarized (other analysts think the theft was even worse), but still did not recommend that his degree be revoked. There was also considerable unacknowledged "borrowing" in his books, Nobel Prize lecture, and even the much-venerated "I Have a Dream" speech and "Letter from Birmingham City Jail."

Writing in the Daily Nebraskan in 1997, Professor Gerry Harbison said:

King stole from the subjects of his dissertation, the theologians [Paul] Tillich and [Henry] Wieman. He copied the writings of other theologians -- passages from philosophy textbooks. …