At least eight Americans were killed in two separate attacks in Iraq today.
In a scene reminiscent of Black Hawk Down, Iraqis dragged the bodies of dead Americans through the streets of Fallujah. The mob hung several corpses on a bridge over the Euphrates. Others beat a dead body with sticks and other objects. The crowd chanted and cheered as they desecrated the corpses of the dead American civilians. "I am happy to see this," one twelve-year-old boy remarked. "The Americans are occupying us so this is what will happen."
The killings on this last day of March bring the month's death-toll for U.S. servicemen to 48. Next to the 82 deaths that occurred in November, March stands as the deadliest month for Americans since President Bush declared victory in Iraq on May 1. Of the 600 or so Marines, soldiers, airmen, and sailors that have died in the conflict, 459 have lost their lives since the "end" of the war.
Tell me why, again, giving these people the vote is such a great idea.
Yankees lose to the D-Rays in Japan. I predict 0-162 for the Bronx Bombers. The curse of A-Rod starts now.
In a recent post, I mentioned the announcement that Howard Zinn is at work on a comic-book offshoot of his million-selling history of America. Zinn is in the news yet again. The Organization of American Historians met in Boston last week, and held a "town hall meeting" in honor of the former BU professor.
Released almost a quarter-century ago, Zinn's book is, at the hour of this post, the 261st bestselling book on Amazon. It not only still sells, but generates fresh controversies as well. In the forthcoming issue of the publication Dissent, historian Michael Kazin blasts Zinn's magnum opus as "history as cynicism."
When I wrote my review for frontpagemag.com, my hope was that some historian would read it and be inspired to give A Peoples' History the professional critique it deserves. Though I hardly think Kazin read my 5,000-word review, I am heartened to see that Zinn's book is getting the kind of vetting it should have received in 1980--from a leftist professor no less.
Zinn's basic thesis is "better suited to a conspiracy-monger's Web site than to a work of scholarship," Kazin's scathing review holds. Ultimately, Kazin judges the simplistic left versus right, good versus evil script of A Peoples' History as damaging to political progressives. It not only marginalizes the Left, but blames its failures on a grand conspiracy rather than any fixable internal problems. Kazin observes: "Zinn cares only about winners and losers in a class conflict most Americans didn't even know they were fighting."
While Kazin criticizes Eric Foner for praising Zinn's book in his New York Times Book Review piece on it in 1980, Foner's evaluation of A Peoples' History was more tepid than Kazin lets on. Amidst some praise, which the book's publishers exploitatively parse on its dust jacket, Foner complained that various minority groups "appear either as rebels or as victims" to Zinn. "The strength of 'A People's History,' therefore, is also its weakness," the 1980 review concluded. "Written to counter a prevailing tradition, it does not, perhaps inevitably, transcend it."
I just finished In Denial: Historians, Communism, and Espionage, by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr. This is the fifth book I've read that lists at least one of these men as an author. In other volumes, Klehr and Haynes focus on recently released Cold War documents, such as America's Venona project or the declassified information from Soviet intelligence. In Denial takes a different approach. Rather than a peep into intelligence files, the book is more of an expose of American intellectuals who served as apologists for, or deniers of, the subversive activities of American Communists.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from In Denial:
* The authors quote Herb Aptheker, longtime historian of the CPUSA, as encouraging leftist historians to engage in "intense partisanship." Aptheker conceded that he could not "understand the idea of objectivity," because being objective meant "being part of the Right."
* When the Soviet archives and declassified American decrypts revealed that most Cold War historians were way off the mark, Marxist professors sought to quickly change the subject. "We should recognize the issue of communism and Soviet espionage has become an antiquarian backwater," proclaimed Yeshiva University professor Ellen Schrecker. "After all, the Cold War is over." This coming from an historian (aren't historians primarily interested in events that are "over"?), and one who writes almost exclusively on the Cold War.
* "I was in the grip of a new kind of patriotism," screenwriter Walter Bernstein observed regarding his commitment to Moscow. Should this cause us to rethink Benedict Arnold, Tokyo Rose, Jane Fonda, and other figures who also fell under "the grip of a new kind of patriotism"?
My favorite quote used in the book, however, comes from someone who got things right, historian Robert Conquest. When Conquest's publisher asked the embattled author if he had any suggestions for a new title for his book, The Great Terror, after the Soviet archives had been finally opened to historians, Conquest curtly responded: "How about I Told You So, You F***ing Fools."
We all owe Rob Reiner, Ted Kennedy, and Andrea Dworkin a huge apology. All this time, we've found a certain habit repulsive and unhygienic. How wrong we were! It was impolite of us to lecture the practitioners of this enlightened activity. Now, modern medicine shows us the error of society's ways.
The idea works a little better in theory than it does in practice. The theory holds that a dearth of liberals in talk radio means that the market is ripe for alternative perspectives to the dominant conservatism. This doesn't sound particularly outlandish. But this theory has been tested before. Ask Jim Hightower or Mario Cuomo how their radio careers are going, and you begin to understand that liberalism just isn't in demand among radio listeners. I'm all for new perspectives, but I'm not sure that the market agrees in this instance.
Besides, with liberals dominating the print press and television news, isn't an assault on talk radio by progressives a bit redundant?
I will visit six campuses in the eastern half of the United States over the next six weeks. Next week, I visit Canisius College in Buffalo on the 29th, Wesley College in Delaware on the 31st, and SUNY-Cortland on the 3rd. On April 13th I speak at Ithaca College, followed by an event at Tulane University the next day. My final lecture of the semester will most likely take place at Ohio University on May 5th. If you live near one of these schools, drop by. All of these lectures are sponsored by Young America's Foundation.
Publishing industry sources report that Howard Zinn has teamed up with cartoonist Mike Konpacki to produce A People's History of America in the World. Apparently, this companion volume to the million-selling A Peoples' History of the United States will take the shape of a giant comic book. Henry Holt plans to release it in the Winter of 2006. Pairing Zinn's words with cartoons is a stroke of genius, as his flock are of course accustomed to colorful pictures in the books that they read.
The asexual one returns. Morrissey will release his first album in seven years in mid-May. "You Are the Quarry" will be followed by tour dates and a week-long stint on CBS' Craig Kilborn Show, where Morrissey last year debuted a song off the album called, "First of the Gang To Die." At the time, I thought the song sounded pretty cool. But I remember being mildly creeped out hearing an aging Morrissey sing about some dude named "Hector."
First the Pixies reunite, then Morrissey puts out an album. It feels like 1989 all over again.
Loyal watchers of "Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories" on the Chappelle Show know that Prince rules on the basketball court. But in case you've forgotten: Prince can play the guitar too. No, I mean he can really play the guitar. If you saw VH1's Sunday-night broadcast of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame inductions, you know what I am talking about. If you haven't, skip over the whole show until Prince's guitar solo on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."
Philadelphia imploded Veterans Stadium this morning. What took you so long?
The Vet was one of the most hideously vile stadiums in all of sports. I say "one of" because it had several siblings, like Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh and Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, that were quite repulsive as well. These multipurpose, cookie-cutter complexes looked more like places the Jetsons might watch a futuristic sport, and not a stadium where baseball or football should be played.
The Vet, I believe, out-did its look-alikes in utter grossness. The field seemed to contribute to an unusually high number of injuries. Imagine playing tackle football on a thin rug laid over concrete, and you kind of get the picture of what NFL players went through on eight Sundays every year. When the powers-that-be finally got the message and replaced the awful playing surface, they still managed to mess things up. Coach Brian Billick refused to allow the Baltimore Ravens to take the field in a pre-season contest after the new surface was unveiled a few years back.
If the rotten playing field didn't do you in, Philly's fans would. A temperamental bunch, they've booed Mike Schmidt, Scott Rolen, and Donovan McNabb, so you can imagine how they treat opposing players. Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin caught his last pass at the Vet, and for good measure was booed off the field as he lay on a stretcher. Most famously, the city of Philadelphia set-up a makeshift jail and courthouse within the Vet to more expeditiously deal with out-of-hand Eagles fans.
My lone experience at the Vet came in 1999. Appropriately, the locals treated me to a demonstration of Philly hospitality. Noticing a nearly-packed Vet (it had the highest capacity of any major league stadium), and especially rowdy fans, I wondered what I had stumbled into. Soon, the reason for the unusually high attendance and rambunctious behavior became clear. J.D. Drew, then a young outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, was making his first appearance in Philadelphia. Several years earlier, Drew had balked at signing with the Phillies when the franchise drafted him. If Boston fans can never forget, Philly fans can never forgive. Drew was relentlessly booed, with umpires stopping the game briefly after fans began displaying their arm strength by hurling batteries, coins, and other items at the rookie right-fielder.
The City of Brotherly Love is no place for the modern, thin-skinned athlete.
Opposing players even caught the bad-behavior bug. The visiting locker room apparently afforded players an unimpeded view into the cheerleaders' locker room, showers included. When the cheerleaders figured out what was going on, they filed suit against 29 NFL teams. The Eagles, since their locker room came equipped without the peepholes, are exempted from the suit.
While the Vet has a lot of history, it's more spectacle than heroism. Despite hosting two franchises for thirty or so years, the Vet boasts just one championship team--the 1980 Phillies. Their roster included several hall-of-famers and several more unforgettable characters, with the late Tug McGraw striking-out Willie Wilson with the bases loaded to win the series in six games. That was nearly a quarter century ago though. The Eagles haven't won it all since 1960, the Flyers since they repeated in 1975, and the 76ers since 1983. Philadelphia itself boasts the longest championship drought of any city with teams in each of the four major sports. That's a shame. Fans in the Northeast, who display knowledge and passion (even if it's sometimes misguided passion) about the sports that they follow, deserve better.
Here's to the future. Lincoln Field is a nice looking stadium. Citizens Bank Park, at initial glance, appears to be a field befitting one of baseball's old sixteen teams. More importantly, the Vet's former tenants should be quite competitive this year.
No doubt some Philadelphia fans said "goodbye" as Greg Luzinski depressed the plunger on the explosives this morning. More, I'd be willing to bet, joined me in saying "good riddance."
Check out John Samples' article on National Review Online. "George W. Bush is the best Democratic president of my lifetime," the piece begins. What may seem to some an over-the-top opening line is backed up by some pretty depressing facts. Among other lamentable trends and occurrences, Samples points out that government spending will have increased 32 percent from 2000 to 2005. He notes that Bush signed into law the anti-First Amendment McCain-Feingold Bill. And he correctly categorizes the prescription drug law for seniors as a federal entitlement in the same league as Medicare or Social Security.
Well, you can't say that President Bush didn't warn us. During the 2000 campaign, he told us again and again that if Gore received more votes, then big-government liberalism would return.
My brother Ryan delivered the sad news that Music Television pioneer J.J. Jackson died of an apparent heart attack last night. It is because we live in an age of Ryan Seacrests and Carson Dalys that Jackson's passing is especially depressing.
Jackson had passion for music. He was an early backer of two of my favorite bands, U2 and The Pretenders. His heyday was during an age when disc jockeys actually had a say in what records they spinned, and thus, had to be knowledgeable about music. He reminds me of Tom Petty's "The Last DJ." In other words, the MTV of 2004 would never hire such a person.
Despite the obvious fact that the MTV of the early 1980s had less videos to work with (Seriously, how many times could you stomach Quarterflash's "Harden My Heart"?), it was infinitely better than the current version of the channel. Yes, they actually played videos back then. But more importantly, they played rock videos. I can still picture early MTV staples like INXS's "Don't Change," The Police's "Invisible Sun," and Big Country's "In a Big Country." I can still picture J.J. Jackson.
Rest in peace, Triple J.
A visiting professor at Claremont McKenna College was the victim of a hate crime perpetrated by an unusual suspect: herself.
"Kerri F. Dunn's car was vandalized and covered with racist, anti-Semitic and sexist epithets on March 9, leading faculty to cancel classes and students to stage rallies the following day," an AP story on the troubling incident read.
Two people allege that they saw Dunn vandalizing her own car and the police say the statements that she gave them were inconsistent.
Ms. Dunn, of all things, teaches psychology.
Happy "Excuse-to-Get-Incoherently-Drunk-on-a-Weekday" Day.
Need proof? Last week, terrorists believed to be linked to al Qaeda set off a series of bombings in Madrid. The carnage came just days before Spain's elections. What polls indicated would be a comfortable victory for conservatives transformed into a socialist upset. The bombings, Spaniards widely believed, were payback for the conservative government's support for the war in Iraq. Shortly after the elections, new prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced his intention to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq.
After last week's bloodbath at the hands of Islamic terrorists, and the ensuing show of national pride, I figured the Spanish people would be ready to vote for Richard the Lionheart had his name appeared on the ballot. I was mistaken.
Without bribes, campaign contributions, or even running their own candidate, a small but determined group of fanatics was able to oust an entire government and shift a nation's policy to something more amenable to their objectives. While it is not unwise to discard a policy that a nation deems harmful, there is something terribly unsettling about accommodating the wishes of terrorists.
Throw a dog a bone and he doesn't leave satisfied. He comes back for more.
A Fresno, California man was arrested this weekend for allegedly murdering nine people. Mass-killings are stunning no matter the circumstances. The tales of incest and polygamy that surround this case make it especially astonishing.
Taking a look at Marcus Wesson, I'm mildly shocked that any woman would have agreed to partake in the marital act with him without the promise of payment or some form of coercion. Yet, the accused allegedly engaged in a polygamous relationship with five women. Additionally, he spawned numerous progeny. Perhaps Wesson possessed a psychological hold over these women similar to that maintained by another disheveled Golden State mass-murderer 35 years ago.
Several if not all of Wesson's victims appear to be his children. "The most disturbing news," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer remarked, "was the fact that perhaps two of the children that were found deceased were both his children and his grandchildren."
Thankfully, tolerance for murder is not a widely held position. Tolerance for harmful alternative lifestyles, unfortunately, enjoys widespread popularity. We've all heard the tired mantras: "Relationships between consenting adults are all equally valid." "Love makes a family." "Who's to say what's right and what's wrong?"
Who's to say? Anyone possessing common sense, that's who. Polygamy is wrong. Incest is wrong. When the participants willingly participate in these practices, they are still wrong. The inadvisability of incest and polygamy stem not just from moral taboos, but from concrete reasons--like the fact that you can't be a good husband and a good father to the same woman, or that women deserve a full husband, rather than splitting one five ways. Why wasn't Marcus Wesson locked up earlier?
It is a sign of the degraded state of Western culture that one even needs to explain why some sexual practices--even ones between consenting adults--are anathema to a moral life. One hopes we never get to the point where we are so desensitized as a culture that mass-murder fails to shock and outrage.
HBO provided an entertaining boxing card on Saturday night.
In the main event, Ronald "Winky" Wright defeated Sugar Shane Mosley in a twelve-round decision to unify the 154-pound title. I scored the fight 116-112 in Wright's favor. Shane showed some real life in the final round, but the southpaw pretty much had Mosley's number all night. With Felix Trinidad set to come back to fight Sugar Shane, the LA-based fighter's defeat complicates matters greatly. Who does Trinidad fight now? Winky Wright is too dangerous, Shane is damaged goods, and Hopkins and De la Hoya have other plans.
The undercard, however, was the real main event. Baby Joe Mesi and Vassiliy Jirov provided one of the most entertaining heavyweight bouts in some time. Jirov won round one, but was beaten-up soundly during the following seven rounds. Upon hearing the bell for round nine I was ready to proclaim Mesi a heavyweight ready to fight for the championship. This really appeared to be his coming-out party as a fighter to be taken seriously. But Jirov is a cockroach who would survive a nuclear holocaust. And Mesi's corner, believing it a close fight, served him poorly by instructing him to take the fight to Jirov in the ninth. It wasn't close, and the beast from Kazakhstan, who squared off in training against German Shepherds in his early years, took advantage of Mesi's desire to brawl. In round nine, Jirov sent Mesi to the canvas. The ninth-round knockdown initially appeared flukish. Round ten erased any doubt of a lucky punch. Jirov hurt Mesi badly in the final round. Mesi twice tasted the canvas in the tenth, and was lucky to hold on and survive.
Despite Jirov's late round heroics, the ringside judges unanimously scored the fight 94-93 for Mesi. HBO's Harold Lederman scored it 94-93 for Buffalo's third franchise as well. Viewing at home, I scored it exactly the same.
The fight was too good. I demand a rematch.
A day after anonymous cowards killed 199 rail commuters through a series of backpack bombs during Madrid's rush hour, an estimated 11 million people--one quarter of the nation's population--marched in cities across Spain. We don't know yet who is responsible for this act of barbarism. We do know that the Spanish people have taught the world a great lesson about vigilance in the face of terror.
A former staffer to four members of Congress was charged yesterday with acting as a paid agent of Saddam Hussein's regime. Did anybody really need confirmation of this sad woman's party affiliation?
During Maher's latest show he referred to the White House's jobs program as "operation weekday freedom," and get this, he joked that the President reacted to disarming Haitians by proclaiming, "Are you crazy, you'll piss off the NRA." Hilarious! Well, not really. The showstopper for his rigidly left-wing audience was his quip that the ailing John Ashcroft "might have picked up some sort of infection wiping his ass with the Bill of Rights." Maher is predictable, and going after the Catholic Church, President Bush, and the National Rifle Association is about as daring as crossing the street.
So bitterly ideological has Maher become that his HBO-schtick increasingly resembles Cinder Calhoun, the fictitious PC comic who appeared on Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update to highlight how humorless feminists can be. It's the type of comedy that has people laughing out of political solidarity, and not because anyone finds it particularly funny.
I've watched the various incarnations of Maher's television program over the years, but I can't recall ever laughing at anything he has said. It's not that I'm incapable of laughing when conservatives are the butt of the joke. Al Franken and George Carlin routinely go after conservatives, but I still find them funny. Michael Moore has even had me in stitches. But Maher seems to get things backward. He's an ideologue who uses comedy to advance his ideology, rather than a comedian who uses ideologues to advance his comedy.
A State Department official told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday that the number of U.S. troops in Haiti will increase yet again. Just a few weeks ago, the Bush administration announced that they would send a "team" of Marines to protect the U.S. embassy. Within days, this "team" included more than 1,000 members. Shortly thereafter, the Bush Administration declared that the 1,000 Marines would double to 2,000 Marines. Now we are informed that U.S. forces in the impoverished nation will more than double from the current 1,600 to nearly 3,500. Looks like fuzzy math to me.
In the pages of Rolling Stone and on the airwaves of MTV, the early '90s rise of such bands as Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam is likened in importance to the British Invasion or the explosion of punk. Yet at the other end of the country there was another, better, overlooked music scene that for the most part predated the grunge movement.
The Lemonheads, Buffalo Tom, Belly, Dinosaur Jr., Juliana Hatfield, and Letters to Cleo are among the bands that made Boston the capital of alternative rock in the late '80s/early '90s. The most influential of the bunch were The Pixies, who after more than a decade apart, are reuniting to tour and perhaps release new material.
The band's loud but poppy songs about space aliens, killing sprees, the University of Massachusetts, and environmental apocalypse were, well, really different. Best remembered for alternative-rock radio staples "Monkey Gone to Heaven," "Dig for Fire," and "Here Comes Your Man," The Pixies disbanded at the apex of their popularity after opening for U2 on the first leg of the Zoo TV tour. In the 13 years that have passed since the release of their fifth and final album (Trompe le Monde), acts as diverse as Avril Lavigne, The Bloodhound Gang, and Nirvana have paid homage to The Pixies.
"I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies," explained the late Kurt Cobain regarding the writing of "Smells Like Teen Spirit." "I have to admit it. When I heard the Pixies for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily I should have been in that band--or at least in a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard."
One thinks of Woody Allen's Bananas when confronted with two of our hemisphere's more colorful political figures. In the 1971 comedy, a group of rebels install a Castroish leader in a banana-republic coup only to see power overtake their hero's senses. "I am your new president!" Esposito declares. "From this day on, the official language of San Marcos, will be Swedish."
Many now question the mental state of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and deposed Haitian Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Though neither have resorted to declaring Swedish the official language of their respective countries, signs of mental instability abound.
Despite signing a letter of resignation and fleeing the country, Aristide now contends that he is still Haiti's ruler. Chavez ignores Venezuela's constitutional provisions regarding popular referendum on sitting governments. His forces have killed seven demonstrators in the past week, and he boasts that Venezuala "has enough allies on this continent to start a 100-year war."
In both instances, a familiar pattern emerges. Blame your failures on the United States. Accuse the Central Intelligence Agency of staging the uprisings against your government. Equate dissent with treason. If the pattern is familiar, it is because it is a time-tested winner for Marxists in the Americas.
Bananas? No. "Crazy like a fox" seems a more appropriate tag for both Aristide and Chavez.
Europe is moving rightward. This weekend, conservatives defeated the Left in Greece. In Austria's Carinthia province, Joerg Haider's Freedom Party shocked observers by vanquishing socialists at the ballot box. The victory ensures that the troubling Haider will retake his position as the province's governor. The results in Greece and Austria follow victories by the Right in Portugal, Italy, and elsewhere on the continent in recent years. In less than a week, Spanish conservatives are expected to take the parliamentary elections.
Why are these diverse parties of the Right gaining popularity in liberal Europe? Voters are sick of economies ruined by overbearing bureaucracies, the increasingly powerful European Union diminishing national sovereignty, and the radical alteration of native populations by waves of unlimited immigration.
The Sopranos. Tonight. The wait is over.
Need I say more?
Anyhow, the big news is that Steve Buscemi joins the cast in season five. Although Buscemi has never appeared on screen in the series, he has directed a couple of episodes over the years. For example, Buscemi directed Pine Barrens, one of the best shows in the series, in which Christopher and Paulie get lost in the south Jersey woods and are reduced to eating ketchup packets.
Buscemi is a great character actor, but he has some big shoes to fill. Joe Pantoliano's Ralph Cifaretto was an unforgettable addition to the cast. Ralph is, of course, dead now. So is David Proval's Richie Aprile, who was essentially Ralph Cifaretto's predecessor. Aprile, by the way, was the best and most vile character ever to appear on The Sopranos.
Is Buscemi Aprile and Cifaretto's heir? Are Tony and Carmela done? Will Adrianna get whacked? Tune in tonight to find out. And if you can't afford cable, pay some entrepreneurial foreign gentleman to hook you up for less than cost so that you can watch too.
"The people who would forbid gays from marrying in this country are those who would have made Rosa Parks sit in the back of the bus," New Paltz (NY) Mayor Jason West recently proclaimed. The 26-year-old college-town mayor, who is enjoying fame for illegally handing out marriage certificates to same-sex couples, is hardly alone among opponents of traditional marriage in claiming the legacy of the civil rights movement for his own cause.
Many veterans of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s disagree, as an article on today's Associated Press wire demonstrates.
"The gay community is pimping the civil rights movement and the history," Boston minister Gene Rivers told the AP. "In the view of many, it's racist at worst, cynical at best." "I don't have a choice to be black and, therefore, had to be faced with the human battle from birth," points out Judge D'Army Bailey. Even Jesse Jackson labels such analogies "a stretch."
If the reductio ad Hitlerum is the smarmiest way to discredit a creditable position, the reductio ad civil rights is the cheapest way to ennoble an ignoble position.
The papers of the late Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, author of the majority decision in Roe v. Wade, were made public yesterday. The most newsworthy bits of Blackmun's papers involved his notes regarding Justice Anthony Kennedy's defection from the pro-life position after hearing the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case in 1992.
"I need to see you as soon as you have a few free moments," Kennedy wrote to Blackmun as the never-to-be-delivered ruling overturning Roe was being penned. "I want to tell you about a new development in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and at least part of what I say should come as welcome news."
The news was not so welcome for pro-life advocates. With all but one of the Supreme Court Justices apointed by Republicans, it seemed that there would never be a better chance to return the question of abortion back to the states then 1992.
It's simplistic to brand Justice Kennedy as the lone villain in this story. It's worth noting that all of the justices voting to uphold Roe were Republican apointees--Blackmun (Nixon), Stevens (Ford), O'Connor (Reagan), Kennedy (Reagan), and Souter (Bush).
Republicans don't have the litmus test on abortion that Democrats accuse them of having. The charge is projection on the part of liberals. Though after witnessing missed opportunities over the past several decades, some pro-lifers may start wishing that Republicans more closely resembled the "litmus test" caricatures that Democrats paint.
Every man is innocent until proven guilty, but revelations that federal investigators received information that a nutritional company provided Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, and other professional athletes with steroids really makes you wonder. This old baseball card of Giambi, however, is what made me mildly suspicious that the Yankee 1B/DH may not have developed his power through the weight room alone.
"I wouldn't have sent troops to Haiti," candidate George W. Bush told moderator Jim Lehrer during his second debate with Al Gore. "I didn't think it was a mission worthwhile. It was a nation-building mission, and it was not very successful. It cost us billions--a couple billions of dollars, and I'm not so sure democracy's any better off in Haiti than it was before." President Bush, unfortunately, has "grown" in office.
Almost two weeks ago, the Bush administration announced that a "team" of Marines would be traveling to Haiti to protect the U.S. embassy. Today, 1,000 Marines are in Haiti; the number is expected to rise to as many as 2,000 within a few days.
"Part of our mission is to step in if we think there is a threat of bodily harm or deadly force to a (Haitian) citizen," explained one Marine. The Pentagon sees the mission as keeping the peace in Port-Au-Prince, delivering food and medicine, protecting American citizens, and ensuring that the nation holds elections.
President George W. Bush would be wise to heed the advice of Governor George W. Bush: "I don't think our troops ought to be used for what's called nation-building. I think our troops ought to be used to fight and win war."
"The sick in the soul insist that it is humanity that is sick, and they are the surgeons to operate on it," Eric Hoffer wrote in The Passionate State of Mind. "They want to turn the world into a sickroom. And once they get humanity strapped to the operating table, they operate on it with an ax."
The "sick in the soul" are wildly swinging their "ax" at the institution of marriage. Whether it's HIV+ Andrew Sullivan soliciting anonymous bareback sex on the internet, or Congressman Barney Frank turning his home over to a gay prostitute who used it as a brothel, the proponents of gay marriage aren't exactly well equipped to "operate" on humanity.
But they believe they are. You see, Frank and Sullivan aren't sick. We are--for not giving our blessing to their sex lives. Rosie O'Donnell panned the President's moderate language supporting an amendment to the Constitution defending marriage as "the most vile and hateful words ever spoken by a sitting president," while others clinically label traditionalists as "homophobes."
In reflexively branding opponents of their agenda "bigots," homosexual radicals aren't merely talking about fire-and-brimstone preachers and gay-bashing thugs. They are talking about America.
America rejects their aims. The Defense of Marriage Act passed 85 to 14 in the Senate, while the House issued a similarly lopsideded 342 to 67 endorsement of the bill. President Clinton signed DOMA into law. Thirty-eight states have passed legislation defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. By way of comparison, no state has voted to recognize "marriages" between same sex couples, nor have any ballot initiatives endorsed such measures.
Homosexual activists know that they can't win on this issue in the electoral arena. Thus, they shop for jurists who will legislate from the bench and government officials who will arrogantly discard law in favor of whim.
If the lawless drive to force society to endorse same-sex unions succeeds, marriage will be just one casualty. Representative democracy will be another.
If you exclude advertising jingles, then "Maps" by the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs is the best song currently in rotation on the airwaves. But jingles are of course songs too. So, the nod clearly goes to "We Love the Subs" by Joel Veitch.
Haiti is in the midst of its 33rd coup. At what number coup does nation-building begin to look like a bad idea to the architects of America's foreign policy? Coup number 37? Number 38?
In a case of really bad timing, Andrew Sullivan today took issue with Maggie Gallagher's argument that laws giving society's blessing to homosexual unions will induce the courts to declare "open season on the Catholic Church and other religious groups." "Puh-lease," Sullivan responds. "There is something called the First Amendment in this country; and it protects freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression. If Fred Phelps' constitutional rights are protected, then the much milder public doctrines of the Catholic hierarchy will be as well."
Well, shortly after Sullivan's post, the California Supreme Court ruled 6-1 that Catholic Charities must provide birth control to their employees through their health plans. Catholicism, of course, holds that artificial contraceptives are contrary to God's plan for us.
In forcing a Catholic group to fund birth control, the Court not only violates several clauses of the First Amendment, but it breaks California law as well. California, like nineteen other states, forces private employers to provide health coverage for birth control. But the Golden State exempts "religious employers." If Catholic charities isn't a "religious" group, then what is?
"To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors," Thomas Jefferson famously wrote, "is sinful and tyrannical." California's Supreme Court Justices would be wise to revisit Jefferson's wisdom. While they are at it, they might want to read the U.S. Constitution and the laws of their own state too.