Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Gandhi Is Going To Hell

James Taranto thinks a "normal" American family is one that believes that a book riddled with errors and contradictions, filled with undocumented fairy tales and caveman morality is the Word of God (oh, except that it's been recently translated into an easily accessible English version that barely resembles the original, but never mind that). Speaking of God, God help us. Here's Taranto commenting on this piece by Brian Macquarrie in the Boston Globe yesterday:

The Wilkersons oppose abortion and stem-cell research, consider homosexuality a sin, and regard same-sex marriage as the work of activist judges who cater to a dangerous fringe group. The future holds either heaven or hell, and the only way to paradise is to accept Jesus Christ. In their reading of Scripture, even a saintly non-Christian such as Gandhi has been doomed to eternal torment.

"This is the word of God," Michael Wilkerson says, brandishing the New International Version of the Bible. "There's only one way, and it's through Jesus."

The article continues in this vein for more than 2,600 words. There's nothing hostile or even disrespectful about it, but MacQuarrie comes across as if he were a visitor from another planet marveling at Earth's exotic culture. It never seems to occur to him that the Wilkersons are nothing more than a normal American family.

No, these people are anything but normal (memo to Jimbo: 'typical' is NOT 'normal'), and if Christianity weren't accorded a perverse amount of respect in a society that is, forgive the phrase, slouching towards theocracy, they would be considered members of a bizarre and dangerous cult.

Da Vinci Code Implicated in BALCO Scandal

This is weird because I've been telling people for a while that the Da Vinci Code must have crack or something in it, cuz it's been on the mofo'in bestseller list for 6 gazillion weeks and it just ain't that mofo'in good. My theory has been confirmed!

Another Failed Effort at Reform

I was delighted to find that C-Span's morning "Washington Journal" call-in show had momentarily suspended its policy of segregating Democratic and Republican callers into different phone lines, this while discussing John Danforth's and Bill Bradley's little NYT "know-thyself" offerings... except that instead WJ did 20 minutes for Democratic callers and 20 minutes for Republicans, which pretty much amounts to the same thing... and then immediately went back to the segregated lines for a discussion of Canadian beef imports. Oh well. Nice try, anyway.

Guilt By Association

Another Nancy Grace colleague, Johnnie Cochran, has met his maker. (First was the dispatching of Judge Barnes in Atlanta by homocidal maniac Brian Nichols.) She got pretty choked up last night... how much she learned from Johnnie! How well he tutored her in the ways of Court TV! How well his mellifluous tongue could sway an uncertain juror or judge!

It's been a bad few weeks for Nancy Grace colleagues. If I had any kind of professional association with Nancy Grace anywhere on my resume, I would immediately check myself into a hospital and request a hermetically sealed room with a metal detector and guard stationed at the door. That woman is the kiss of death!

The Culture of Life

Randall Terry, a spokesman for Terri Schiavo's parents, hasn't killed anyone, but one of his former close associates in the anti-abortion movement is serving time for murdering a doctor. George Greer, the judge in the Schiavo case, needs armed bodyguards.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Guantanamo Detainees Cleared

Critics of the Gonzales Attorney General nomination can take solace in the fact that their criticisms may have had something to do with this latest legal victory of civil liberties over emergency-powers reactionism.

Hitting the Big Time

You know an issue has become too big when Laura Bush starts weighing in, but the Supreme Court doesn't.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Left's Changing Cast of Heroes

Well, I went to see investagative reporter extraordinaire Seymour Hersh at Wesleyan last night -- the event was held in the campus's largest auditorium, the Memorial Chapel (and I actually arrived on time for once!), but I still couldn't get in. PACKED. I overheard someone say, "Even Nader couldn't pack this hall when he was here." Speaks volumes about the left's changing cast of heroes. Journalists haven't had this kind of mojo since WoodBern!

I did find out, however, that my favorite Thai restaurant in Middletown seems to have been re-named. It WAS named "Tsunami."

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Richard Holbrooke on the 'Paradox of George Kennan'

This passage seemed particularly self-serving:

We disagreed on many issues: his belief in the need for a "council of elders" -- really a plea for the power of elites -- to contain the excesses of democracy; his 19th-century attitude toward Africa; his view that the promotion of human rights and democracy was a terrible, morally arrogant mistake; and his advocacy of a deal with Moscow over American troops in Europe. He had accurately predicted, at the end of the Cold War, the outbreak of ethnic violence in Yugoslavia, but he did not understand the need for American involvement in the problem, let alone the use of military force to end the Balkan wars. "Why should we try to stop ancient ethnic hatreds?" he asked me one day in the dark-paneled library of his house in Princeton. He shook his head as I tried to explain. He had been ambassador to Yugoslavia, and I wanted him to understand -- to agree with me -- as a sort of stamp of approval from one generation to another in the Balkans. But, though, as always, he was polite and gracious -- and he loved the intellectual combat -- he was firm in his disagreement. He was our greatest diplomat, and I admired him for his intellectual courage, but there was no bridging the gap.

That redemptive "but" comes awfully late in the paragraph.

Wasn't He Supposed To Be 'Our Man in Kiev?'

Guess democrats are sissies or something.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Airport Security

From Edward Wyatt's NYT portrait of Dan Brown:

"In some ways, my life has changed dramatically," Mr. Brown said, as when he arrived at the airport in Boston to catch the shuttle to La Guardia Airport - only to realize that he had left his driver's license at his home in New Hampshire. "Fortunately, the guy behind me in line had a copy of 'Da Vinci Code,' " he said. "I borrowed it, showed security the author photo and made my flight."


Saturday, March 05, 2005

Arnold Is Busted For Driving Without Front License Plate


Thursday, March 03, 2005

Keeping Your Enemies Closer

In light of renewed Israel-divestment efforts at the University of Wisconsin, it's a good time to consider how cultivating support from evangelicals hurts Israel among mainline Protestant churches.

My Letter to Fox News's Shepard Smith...

Dear Shep,
Nice going, today! You really gave it to that hack covering the Martha
Stewart prison-farewell story
[who committed the unforgivable sin of not knowing what question he was going to shout at her eight hours hence as she sped by in a humvee on her way to house arrest], and on-air, too! Way to go -- you just proved that you're not only a right-wing hack and celebrity-monger but also a major-league arsehole. Poor guy, he probably thought you were going to run him over with your car. Thanks for showing your true colors. I really trust journalists who don't try to conceal their true feelings, that is, of jealousy and resentment of other shallow, partisan hacks. Especially when the story is as important as, er, Martha Stewart's motorcade.

Don't get me wrong, though -- that reporter you chewed out (did I mention that you did so on live television?) is a hack, too. It's just that you might want to try concealing Fox News in-house rancor from your viewers. Just a thought.


Ken Burns, Take Notice

"If you detach yourself from conventional hierarchies of genre, some of the best American writing of any kind is being done in that form."
--Ron Rosenbaum on country-and-western music

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

70% of Californians Support Right-to-Die

Take that, Michael Medved!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

You Can Have Private Justice, Tribal Justice, Bought Justice, Just Not Public Justice

NPR had an excellent segment on the tattered Palestinian legal system earlier today, but I can't seem to find it online anywhere. It's worth listening to as a reminder of how far democratic institutions have to go in even the most democratically auspicious regions of the Middle East.

Don't Forget to Bring Your Jackboots


Missed Opportunity

Wasn't it truly unforgivable when Jim Lehrer didn't follow up on John Abizaid's assertion that the US needs to combat the ideological and political roots of terrorism, and not just combat it militarily, on tonight's NewsHour?

Horrible Pun -- Read To End


Vermont State Official Asks Tough Questions on Iraq

The next Howard Dean?

The Other Private Lynch


What's Next For Tom Daschle?

Useful practice for your 2008 code-speak verbal skills.