Friday, February 27, 2004

So I'm finally going to see The Movie today. I say "finally"--it's odd to feel like you're way behind on a movie that's hardly been out 48 hours, but there it is. I'm already about the only person I know who hasn't seen it. Normally, I would just wait for the crowds to die down for a few weeks and then go. But I've found myself in so many situations in which I've had to discuss this film that I think I need to see it sooner rather than later.

Then, after the movie, I'll head home and sweep the missus away for that anniversary weekend in New York City. I'll give my thoughts on the movie (which will be worth just about what you've paid for them...) Monday.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Anti-Semite Maureen Dowd of the New York Times says that viewing Mel Gibson's "Passion" made her "want to kick in some Jewish and Roman teeth." This is an incredible admission.

Ominously, she adds, "And since the Romans have melted into history . . ."

I've talked to dozens of Christians who have seen this movie, and not one has reported feeling the hatred towards Jews that Maureen Dowd felt on her way out of the theater.
Though it will be unpopular with some Christians, the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling yesterday in the Joshua Davey case was both right and conservative (despite the dissent of the Court's two most conservative members).

The Court ruled that the state of Washington had the right to decline to fund education for religious vocations with tax dollars. As I argued a few months ago, Davey's attorney, Jay Sekulow, was essentially arguing in favor of judicial activism. He wanted unelected judges to, by raw judicial fiat, overturn the democratically-enacted constitution of the state of Washington.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist, writing for the majority, said of the law:
It does not deny to ministers the right to participate in the political affairs of the community. And it does not require students to choose between their religious beliefs and receiving a government benefit. The state has merely chosen not to fund a distinct category of instruction.
As we conservatives are always saying, the Constitution limits the Congress from passing laws regarding the establishment or the free excercise of religion. It says nothing that mandates (or precludes, on a state level) tax dollars being spent on religious instruction.
It's inevitable that Clear Channel Radio's move to take Howard Stern off of its radio stations will be met with howls of "censorship!" Of course, it's actually nothing of the sort. The same free market that made Stern has now shifted a bit, and Clear Channel believes that it will be more profitable for them to not air his show than to air it.

I don't doubt that their decision comes primarily as a result of fear of major FCC fines (their blather about suddenly being "shocked" at Stern's content notwithstanding; anyone radio executive who claims to not know about Stern's act is a flat liar), but those fines are also a result of public pressure and outrage.

For the time being, the people appear to be deciding that they want their airwaves cleaned up. Perhaps they'll change their mind tommorrow--and that's the free market too.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

I haven't seen "The Passion of the Christ" yet, and probably won't get to for a few weeks. Though I'm intrigued by the film, I'm not jumping up and down merely because it's a rare film that takes Christianity seriously. I'll wait and watch it, and then decide what I think of it.

Regardless, I'm amazed at some of the vitriol I'm seeing in reviews. I have to think that Gibson is onto something powerful here, if only because it has so many secularists literally losing their minds. It's nothing short of astounding--they're frothing at the mouth like rabid dogs.

Here's one from Roger Friedman, who writes the "Fox 411" gossip column at (Incidentally, I've never known of a straight, male gossip columnist, but perhaps Roger is the exception....) Note the now-textbook technique of branding Gibson an anti-Semite while pretending not to:
Is the movie anti-Semitic? Several reviewers have already said it is. I can tell you this: Thanks to Gibson, when non-Jews around the world now see the Jewish prayer shawl, the tallis, on the heads of praying Jews, they will think, 'Oh yeah, those were worn by the angry crowds in "The Passion" who insisted that Jesus be killed and then patiently watched him be tortured to death.' Thanks to Gibson, we are reminded that Jesus' friend Judas ? a Jew ? was easily sold out for some gold that was thrown at him in exchange for his betrayal. It's the return of the money-grubbing Jew, straight out of the old anti-Semite playbook.

There's more, of course, but none of this is a revelation at this point. Gibson's Jews are caricatures with bulbous noses. To say they lack compassion is an understatement. They are almost always pictured as an angry, unrelenting mob that wants Jesus dead no matter what. It's so stupid that it's almost not anti-Semitic. It just makes Gibson look like an idiot.
"Supid." "Idiot." You don't see film reviewers attack Pauly Shore and Tom Green this way. There's something personal going on here that runs much deeper than a movie. One wonders if Mr. Friedman, like so many other male gossip columnists, has a sausage-swallowing problem that might be jeopardized by Christian truth claims.

And I love how film reviewers are now suddenly all anti-violence. As if they weren't soiling their shorts over Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" a few months ago.

One of those soiling her shorts over that film was Jami Bernard of the New York Daily News. So great is her devotion to Tarrantino, she's even written a book called Quentin Tarantino: The Man and His Movies. She objects to "The Passion," because, yep, you guessed it: it's too violent.

Says Bernard:
The violence is grotesque, savage and often fetishized in slo-mo. At least in Hollywood spectacles that kind of violence is tempered with cartoonish distancing effects; not so here.
Ah, yes, I see now. If we tie a guy up, cut off his ear, have him spurt blood out of his head, and then we douse him with gasoline and set him on fire (as Tarrantino did in "Reservoir Dogs"), it's "cartoonish." It's fun! But if you treat violence as serious and real, it's out of bounds.

Bernard, who according to her bio "named her parrot Sensei after the kung-fu movies of her youth" and "also has two cats, Tsuko and Buzz" (read: "Jami is a bitter, budding spinster"), steps where most others have feared to tread:
Is it anti-Semitic?


Jews are vilified, in ways both little and big, pretty much nonstop for two hours, seven minutes.

Gibson cuts from the hook nose of one bad Jewish character to the hook nose of another in the ensuing scene.
I've been reading a lot of things like this lately, and I'm curious. Since the movie is not animated, the noses shown onscreen belong to actual actors, many of whom are actually Jewish. Isn't the real anti-Semitism here being demonstrated by reviewers who insist on pointing out these "bulbous" and "hook noses"? Keep in mind, these are actual people with actual noses. By continually remarking on them, who is really foisting the stereotypes? How must the actual Jewish owners of these noses feel when they hear themselves described this way by reviewers? What would we say about a reviewer who attacks Steven Spielberg in "Amistad" for "cutting from one large-nostriled black nose to the next"? Would we think the problem was with Spielberg, or with the person who would write such a thing?

Considering how much some of these folks evidently have to lose (judging by their hysteria), I've actually been suprised with the number of guardedly positive (or at least fair-minded) reviews the film is receiving, including in both major papers here in liberal South Florida. Even the New York Times, which has been pillorying Gibson for months on its editorial page treats the film fairly on its review page.

Which all goes to show that you'll be able to tell a lot about a person by how frothing their reaction to it is .

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Well, the fundamentalist secularists now have themselves whipped into a certifiable frenzy over Mel Gibson's "Passion" movie. Andy Rooney opened his trap the other night, and today's Boston Globe features this even-handed, fair-minded look at the film by James Carroll:
"The Passion of The Christ" by Mel Gibson is an obscene movie. It will incite contempt for Jews. It is a blasphemous insult to the memory of Jesus Christ. It is an icon of religious violence. Like many others, I anticipated the Gibson film warily, especially because an uncritical rendition of problematic Gospel texts which unfairly blame "the Jews" for the death of Jesus threatened to resuscitate the old "Christ-killer" myth.

...It is a lie. It is sick. Jews have every reason to be offended by "The Passion of The Christ." Even more so, if possible, do Christians.
Uh, does that mean you didn't like it?

Jeff Jacoby, in the same paper, dredges up the old "unintended consequences" saw. At least he is willing to admit (which few other critics will) that his main problem is with the Gospels themselves--indeed, with Christianity itself, rather than with Gibson's film:
I don't believe that Jesus was God come to earth in human form -- I believe that God is one, incorporeal and indivisible. To me, the Passion is not a manifestation of divine love but a vicious and evil ordeal inflicted on a victim who didn't deserve it. As a Jew I cannot look at the savage murder of an innocent man as anything but a grievous sin.

...But there is no getting around the fact that the parts of "The Passion" that are the most unflattering to Jews -- the bloody-minded and hateful Temple priests, the Judean mob howling for Jesus' death -- come straight out of the Gospels. I shudder at those depictions and reject them as historically false, but I cannot call a Christian anti-Semitic for believing in the truth of his Bible. I will not smear Gibson as a Jew-hater.

But neither will I pretend that he is unaware of the long and horrid history of Passion plays or of the millions of Jews who died at the hands of killers demonizing them as "Christ killers." It is not unreasonable to worry about the effect of a movie like "The Passion" at a time of surging anti-Semitism.
I mean this as a serious question: why isn't Jeff Jacoby worried that his column will result in attacks on Jews?

The theory, supposedly, is that hateful Christians will be stirred to wrath against Jews by Gibson's portrayal of Christ's suffering. But if there are all sorts of bloodthirsty Christians just waiting to attack, won't Jacoby's anti-Christian, Christ-denying column incite the same violence? Sure, that's not Jacoby's intention. But we always have to be aware of those pesky "unintended consequences." Why does Gibson have to forsee them, but Jacoby does not?

Indeed, the outrageous, anti-Christian rhetoric spewing from the critics of this film will do at least as much to encourage anti-Jewish sentiment as anything Gibson has put on celluloid.

Jacoby goes on:
I don't believe that Jesus was God come to earth in human form -- I believe that God is one, incorporeal and indivisible. To me, the Passion is not a manifestation of divine love but a vicious and evil ordeal inflicted on a victim who didn't deserve it. As a Jew I cannot look at the savage murder of an innocent man as anything but a grievous sin.
What is happening is that a hardened American people is finally beginning to see the scandal of the cross for what it is, and many are recoiling from it. The Apostle Paul pointed it out 2000 years ago:
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God....we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18, 23-24)

Monday, February 23, 2004

My wife and I recently got around to watching Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean," for which Johnny Depp was nominated for a best actor Oscar.

Depp's nomination is well deserved; he's delightful in the film. But as I watched, I kept thinking "I know this guy. Who is this guy?"

Then the lightbulb went on.

"Keith Richards!" I shouted, startling my wife.

"Huh?" she said.

"He's doing Keith Richards! The slurred English drawl. The rubbery wrist. The semi-drunken but confident shuffle. He's doing a spoof of Keith Richards!"

If you haven't seen it yet, watch it and tell me I'm wrong.
Arnold Schwarzenegger got a great line off on Tim Russert yesterday on NBC News' "Meet the Press." Absolutely classic. (Wow, that's sentence # 10,368 that I never expected to hear myself say in this lifetime: "Hey, did you hear what Arnold Schwarzenegger said on 'Meet the Press' yesterday?")

From the transcript at
MR. RUSSERT: In your book, "Education of a Body Builder," you said something that caught my attention. "I was always honest about my weak points. ...I think it's the key to success in everything: be honest, know where you're weak, admit it." After 100 days as governor, what do you think your weakest point is in trying to be governor?

GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, first of all, I'm very happy that you studied so thoroughly my body-building books, and I can tell on your body that this is a whole different ball game now, Tim. I mean, look at your deltoids and your six-pack. It's amazing, so congratulations on that.
In case you missed it, President Bush issued another recess appointment to the federal appeals court on Friday. As he did a few weeks ago in the case Charles Pickering (who had been filibustered by Senate Democrats for nearly three years), Bush pulled a procedural end-around to place Alabama attorney general Bill Pryor on the bench without Senate approval after nearly a year of inaction on the Senate's part.

When the Pickering appointment was announced, I said that after three years of this nonsense Bush needs to make many more of these appointments to show the obstructionists in the Senate that he means business. This is another positive step in that direction.

I have mixed feelings at best on Pryor. He blew it bigtime in the Roy Moore case. But he also had the guts, when asked by Chuck Schumer in front of the Senate judiciary committee if he still thinks Roe v. Wade is "the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law," to reply, "I do."

Mixed feelings aside, these hardball maneuvers are exactly what are needed to show these clowns that the president means business. Predictably, they were in full-scale apoplexy over the weekend. According to CNN:
The move infuriated Democrats, who now may be even less likely to cooperate with the White House on getting judicial nominees through the closely divided Senate in an election year.

"Regularly circumventing the advise and consent process is not the way to change the tone in Washington," Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said.
Oh, right. Now the Democrats will be less cooperative on judicial nominees. Let's see. Thus far, their "cooperation" has been exacly "zero." It will be interesting to see how they plan to subtract from that.

And by the way. Stick that tone in your ear, Senator Schumer. Multiple, simultaneous filibusters are not a circumvention of the advise and consent process? We've seen what "improved tone" will get us. The president needs to keep going and going on this. The more ultra-conservative the nominees, the better. A few more of these and you will see nothing but cooperation from Senate Democrats, who at that point will try anything to moderate the flow of far right judges by having a voice in the process.

Friday, February 20, 2004

I'm suprising my wife with a weekend getaway to New York City next weekend for our anniversary. Don't say anything to her, because she's not going to have any idea what we're doing until we actually get to the airport. I discovered an unbelievable deal that included hotel and airfare on one of those online travel sites. She's going to flip.

Does anyone know of a good church someone could worship at if they were going to be in midtown Manhattan on a Sunday morning?

Thursday, February 19, 2004

I've said all along that the best thing to do at Ground Zero in New York is to rebuild the Twin Towers. Put 'em right back, pretty much just as they were.

Evidently, there is still a group that's moving toward that end. They're not satisfied with the awful Superman's-house-in-the-North-Pole design that was settled on last year. Here's hoping they can get it done.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Judging by the reactions of the Deaniacs at his Blog for America over his withdrawal from the race, I'm wondering if there might not be some truth to Dean's earlier threat that his supporters would not be transferrable.

It's a pretty bitter, discouraged group over there, and if there's one person they hate, it's John Kerry. Could the Dean supporters be this year's version of the Nader factor?

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The woman who made headlines a few years ago for being a placekicker for the University of Colorado football team now says she was sexually taunted and abused by her teammates.

Oh boy. I'm going to sit on this one for a few days and not say too much to avoid offending just about everyone. My thoughts are way, way off the politically correct reservation these days.

But I will say at least this much: Rape is an abominable crime. I would be perfectly satisfied with death being punishment for rape.

But what the hell kind of father allows his daughter into a men's football locker room to play on a men's football team? And what the hell kind of woman goes into one?

If that sounds like I'm blaming the victim, I don't know what to tell you. I'm not. It's simply an observation on what should be obvious but evidently isn't: the stupidity of a feminized culture that wants to put women in Army barracks, foxholes, and football locker rooms will occasionally result in some nasty situations. We ought not to act so suprised when it does.

If you are outraged that I'm even saying this, then you've already been thoroughly feminized, and I can only hope you don't have a daughter of your own to throw to the wolves.

Incidentally, she transferred a couple of years ago and currently plays football for the University of New Mexico.
Because of my schedule, I rarely see any prime-time television. For the first time, I've recently started watching occasional episodes of "The West Wing" (in reruns), since it's on late at night when I sometimes flip on the tube.

Though obviously I disagree with its political bent, I've found it to be a suprisingly good show. But I have to ask: would someone mind turning on a light? It's dark in that place.

I've seen pictures of the Oval Office, and it has never once looked like Don Corleone's study during Connie's wedding. I've watched briefings in the White House press room on C-Span, and I've never once seen a glint of late afternoon sunlight, filtered through louvered blinds, splash across the face of the press secretary.

If someone doesn't run down to Office Max and pick up some halogen lamps, those people are going to ruin their eyes.

Friday, February 13, 2004

It appears that Clayton may have pulled the last straw that broke the camel's back with Dr. Victor Christopher Abana-Amudo. In passing, as they trashed out the details for Clayton's trip, he asked the good doctor a perfectly innocuous question:
One quick question. Are you gay? Not that there is anything wrong with that mind you. It's just that when I opened your e-mail I got a banner ad for a gay online dating service on the page. A lot of times those things aren't a coincidence. I'm straight, so I figured, you know, maybe there was something attached to your e-mail that only other gay people can see. Anyway, like I said, no big deal. Just be honest with yourself.
Apparently it didn't go so well, and the doctor has hurled a good bit of hurtful invective Clayton's way:
Now them's fightin' words. Clayton is not interested in westing anyone's time. Notice, though, how Dr. Amudo conspicuously included the word "STRAIGHT" in there. He then ends with an imprecatory psalm of his own composure:

Well call me an optimist, but I'm still hopeful they'll be able to trash out their petty differences. If you can't find conciliation with the person who wanted to lure you to Nigeria, murder you, steal your money, and teach you the lesson of your life, who can you find it with?
On my way into work this morning, I saw a United Methodist Church with this on its sign:


Aside from the dubious biblical value of such an assertion, I also had to double-check my watch to make sure that it's still 2004, and that I didn't wake up in a rip in the fabric of the time/space continuum. What will they have up there next week?:




Or perhaps:


Thursday, February 12, 2004

Men's Journal magazine has named Hillary Clinton one of it's "25 Toughest Guys in America."

She was number 25 on the list, only two positions behind rapper 50 Cent, who once drove himself to the hospital after being shot nine times.
Johnny, we hardly knew ye. Next up to the plate, please give a warm welcome to Sen. John Edwards.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

A girl is not allowed to pray over her lunch anymore in a public school, but at least she can still perform "The Vagina Monologues" there.
I just received my own Nigerian scam email today. Do I dare?

Nah, it would be redundant. It's already been done to perfection.
Watching the primary returns last night, it finally sank in on me just how monumental Howard Dean's fall from grace has been. This is a guy who not more than a month ago was on the cover of every newsmagazine in the nation and the anointed presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. And in the course of a few weeks, he can't even draw double digits in a primary.

I'm sure there have been other presumptive nominees who have fallen that far that fast--but I can't think of any. There are a whole bunch of Democrats (a veritable Mt. Rushmore of historic losers, including Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, and Al Gore) who got caught with their pants down after trying to hitch their wagons to a sure thing. It's like one of those dream sequences on TV. In this one, an entire party wakes up at once, shakes off the sleep, suddenly (and I mean suddenly) comes to its senses, and says "There's no way in the world this clown could ever get elected."

The only thing that remains is for the delusional candidate and the delusional true-believers at his blog to come to the same realization that the rest of the party came to simultaneously.

On another note, I saw excerpts from a John Kerry interview last night on Fox News. He was poised, articulate, and (dare I say?)....presidential. He has yet to really endure the microscope of the big time presidential campaign, but I suspect he's going to make things very difficult for George W. Bush in November.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Clayton (a.k.a. Brian at Terrible Swift Word) continues to trash out final plans with Dr. Amudo, as they are both gentlemen of good respects.

It seemed that the plans were endangered when Dr. Amudo accidentally signed one of his emails "Dr. Victor Abana." However, Clayton is not the type to cut bait over something as inconsequential as an alias, and lets him off with a little of the what-for, saying:
Well, I can tell you something, Mr. Dr. Chris Amudo ... I'm not giving up. We've fought too hard and come too far to give it all up at the first sign of trouble. I'm gonna fight for this, because I think it's worth fighting for. And I know you, Dr Chris. Not you you, but the you that I see, in your letters ... in the funny little way you say, "hotle," and in the way you have your birthday in February. Let's do this!
And of course, Dr. Amudo has a ready explanation for the mixup:
This is good enough for Clayton, though something in the back of his mind points out that the good doctor still hasn't explained the "Victor" part. But we can't get burnt off with such trivialities. As Clayton says, "I'd say I'm about 40% resplendant / 60% confident at this point," (whatever the hell that means.) "Maybe only 42/58. I'm sure that once I hear an equally logical explanation of how Victor fits into it all I'll be bribing with confidence."

In the meantime, Clayton is trashing out the details for his departure to Lagos, though Amudo/Abana insists he fly into Enugu, where he already has a hotle picked out for Clay. I'll bet he does.

UPDATE: One of Brian's readers noted that Dr. Amudo-Abana's name put him in the mind of the old Barry Manilow song "Copacabana." Thus inspired, I composed a little ditty to the tune of "Copacabana" over at Brian's comments section.
Robert Novak points out today that Republican Sen. Bill Frist quietly threw his main judicial assistant, Manuel Miranda, overboard on Friday in capitulation to Senate Democrats. As Novak says, once again we see who's willing to play tough and who's not. What should have been a major victory for Republicans, as they discovered proof of Democrats conspiring to block judicial nominees, was instead turned into yet another defeat by the gutless GOP.

Says Novak:
By a stroke of luck, Republicans had found a trail of e-mail messages by Democrats that exposed a coolly crafted plan to reject President Bush's federal judges. But Democrats managed to turn their own corruption of Senate confirmations into bipartisan outrage over a staffer leaking a senator's sacrosanct communications.
The Democrats got the Republican pansies in the Senate to dance for them yet again:
Republican senators agreed that the real scandal was the leak, not the leaked material. Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, displaying greater indignation than he ever did about the filibusters, called himself "mortified that this improper, unethical and simply unacceptable breach of confidential files may have occurred on my watch."
Rams backup quarterback Kurt Warner has been taking more heat lately, this time for some comments he evidently made at the Super Bowl implying that the reason for his benching could be that some coaches are uncomfortable with his Christianity.

The notion that Warner's faith has anything to do with his benching seems suspect to me, and even Warner has publicly declared in the aftermath that that's not what he meant.

Regardless, Jeff Gordon has a nice column today in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's online edition, in which he deals with Warner's Christianity and whether it has done something to diminish his competitive fire. Says Gordon:
...[T]he religious stereotype is just that, a stereotype. The sports world is heavily populated with men and women that possess a strong faith AND the burning will to win.

Kurt Warner is one of those athletes.

....Warner is as overtly competitive as any athlete I've come across. He often speaks of "God's plan" for his life, but, judging from his actions, this plan demands that he battle his guts out on the football field.
I also take this article as an indication that St. Louis media support is building for Warner to regain the starting role with the Rams. I think he has a 50-50 shot at it next year, though Marc Bulger's MVP performance in Sunday's Pro Bowl may alter that equation.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Didn't you know about the constitutional separation of church and air travel? Neither did this guy, evidently.

Yes, it may have been a clunky and hamfisted way to promote Christianity, but I must say that I still vastly prefer it to the way that Islam has been recently promoted on U.S. airliners. At least when a Christian fanatic pilot is finished with the flight, the plane is safely sitting on a runway with people getting off of it.

Friday, February 06, 2004

No major suprises today at the Anti-Defamation League's meeting. One minor suprise, however, was the fact that Abraham Foxman was actually about the most moderate, reasonable guy on the dais. You know you're in some trouble at that point.

There's something funny about these confabs that uber-liberals have. They are attracted to the word "dialogue" the way the rest of the world is attracted to the word "sex." It's like catnip for them. They seek it like the moth seeks the flame.

I wish I had a way to count the number of times I heard the word "dialogue" this morning. Everything is about "dialogue." "We hope to educate our brothers and sisters so that we can engage in a more fruitful dialogue." "We hope that as a result of this, there will be more dialogue."

Great. But once you get everybody together for the big dialogue, just what in the world is everyone going to talk about? These lefties actually think that as long as "dialogue" has taken place, the victory has been won. On the other hand, I prefer an even better-known phrase: "talk is cheap."

You know something? I actually think dialogue in and of itself accomplishes very little. Sure, negotiating can accomplish much, but that's not the same as dialogue. Dialogue is just two people talking, and it doesn't necessarily mean a thing, as anyone who's ever sat through a Pinter play can tell you.

Oh, by the way, their verdict today was that Mel Gibson in his heart might not be anti-Semitic ("who can know?"), but that the "unintended consequences" of his movie probably will be. Funny you don't hear much about the "unintended consequences" of "Friends," or "Will and Grace," huh?

Thursday, February 05, 2004

From an article at the ADF's website co-written by Abe Foxman, which was also printed this week in the New York Daily News:
We have urged Gibson to consider adding to the movie a postscript with him coming on screen at the end to implore his viewers not to let the film turn some toward a passion of hate.
Ah yes, those roving bands of murderous Christians might go out on the loose.

A collegue of mine interviewed the Orthodox Rabbi Daniel Lapin on this subject a few weeks ago. I love what Lapin said:
[M]any people have raised the specter of anti-Jewish violence as a result of the movie, and I think this is a complete red herring and I’ll tell you why. It’s a red herring because in the entire history of hundreds of years of American-Jewish life, not a single Jew has ever been murdered or mugged or robbed or raped by a Christian on his way home from church on Sunday morning. That’s not what happens in America. When Jews and other law-abiding people are attacked and assaulted and endure violence, this is always inflicted upon them by conscienceless hooligans raised in an utterly secular atmosphere in which the words “thou shalt not...” were never ever heard....
Lapin also elucidated the threat posed by Christians to those like Foxman and the secular fundamentalists at the ADL:
The threat is that you could, possibly, make Roe v. Wade go away. You could, possibly, stop homosexual marriage. You could, possibly, lower taxation and lower the size of government, because nothing threatens the body politic of what has become the Jewish communities’ public voice as much as the growing power of Christian conservatism.
The Anti-Defamation League is having its annual National Executive Committee Meeting tommorrow in Palm Beach. National Director Abe Foxman and others are going to try to ratchet up their hysteria level on Mel Gibson's new Christ movie a few more notches.

The event is purported to be open to the media, so I'm supposed to go there tommorrow with a camera crew. It should be interesting to see this silliness firsthand (if my evangelical press credential doesn't get me thrown out). Perhaps someone could do a reading of "The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf."

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I don't know exactly what to make of this, but a fascinating new 4000-word piece in the Villiage Voice claims that a GOP strategist is masterminding the Al Sharpton campaign:
Roger Stone, the longtime Republican dirty-tricks operative who led the mob that shut down the Miami-Dade County recount and helped make George W. Bush president in 2000, is financing, staffing, and orchestrating the presidential campaign of Reverend Al Sharpton.

Though Stone and Sharpton have tried to reduce their alliance to a curiosity, suggesting that all they do is talk occasionally, a Voice investigation has documented an extraordinary array of connections.

....Stone is apparently confident that he can use the Democrat-bashing preacher to damage the party's eventual nominee, just as Sharpton himself bragged he did in the New York mayoral campaign of 2001.
If there is any truth to the notion that the Sharpton campaign is a Republican dirty trick against the Dems, my respect for the GOP has just ratcheted up several notches.
Brian (a.k.a "Clayton V.") at Terrible Swift Word has received an impatient email back from Dr. Amudo (as part of Brian's ongoing dialogue with a Nigerian Scam emailer) essentially telling him it's time to fish or cut bait.

Said the good doctor:
Of course, Clayton will declear no such thing. Instead, he seizes the opportunity to make amends by noticing that Dr. Amudo's birthday is coming up.

But first, Clayton takes a risky gambit, pointing out to Dr. Amudo that, according to the Internet, there are some business schemes like the one he's proposing that are not entirely on the up-and-up:
Before I put myself on the line for yet another plane ticket however, there is one issue I must bring up with you. And, I apologize for even roaching this subject as you are men (not children) who command good respects and do not joke with your reputation.

...I realize that this is a green accusation that I am leveling, but I must ask - how do I know that what you are proposing is not one of these scams? Again my repeated apologies for even asking. I know how it is: a few bad apples can spoil the whole flock. Once I have received your assurances of good will, we'll no longer speak of this nastiness.
Clearly, Clayton (who has been increasingly affected by Dr. Amudo's tortured syntax) is uncomfortable calling the doctor's integrity into question, as any of us would be. To heal the wound, he sends Dr. Amudo this e-birthday card, which I can only imagine will be received with tears of grateful appreciation.

The card features monkeys on a beach singing (reggae style) the immortal lyrics: "You got another birthday and you gonna get right, You eatin' lotsa cake now, and your pants are tight."

Again, I say, this whole thing needs to be made into a book. Brian fears that the game is nearing its end; I can only pray he's wrong.
If the early exit poll numbers posted at NRO have any basis in reality whatsoever, today is essentially the last day of the Dean for President campaign. It's over.

These polls are showing Dean trailing the frontrunner (sometimes Kerry, sometimes Edwards, depending on the state) in many states' primaries by at least 30 points. That's Kucinich territory.
Interestingly, Garry Trudeau lampooned John Kerry in a series of "Doonesbury" cartoons back in 1971. It seems that even then, a lefty True Believer like Trudeau saw a vainglorious streak in Kerry.

You can see the strips here, and the first one stands just on text alone.
Mike: Hey B.D.! John Kerry of the Vietnam vets is speaking at the auditorium. Wanna go?

Unidentified character: You better! If you care about this country at all, you better go listen to that John Kerry fellow....He speaks with a rare eloquence and astonishing conviction. If you see no one else this year, you must see John Kerry!

B.D.: Who was that?

Mike: John Kerry.
Occasionally when I change planes in Atlanta, instead of a jetway, they'll have you exit the airplane via a stairway right onto the tarmac. I'm sure there are still a lot other airports that do this for certain smaller flights, too.

In these situations, I like to walk very slowly down the steps and wave to an imaginary crowd. Sometimes I'll even say "Thank you, thank you very much" as I'm waving, and hum "Hail to the Chief." It drives the other people waiting to exit the plane nuts, but it's fun for me.

Monday, February 02, 2004

John Piper has started a new, daily radio program that bears your attention. You can listen to it online at Desiring God Radio, or check local listings for airings in your own area.

Piper's radically biblical message of the supremacy of God in all (and he does mean all) things might prove to be shocking to ears used to being tickled by the contemporary pablum featured on so many preaching broadcasts today.

You'll be challenged and inspired. Tune in and spread the word.
When I was at lunch, I heard a caller on Rush point out something interesting: if, as MTV and the performers in question are claiming, the Justin Timberlake/Janet Jackson halftime thing was unplanned, then Mr. Timberlake probably should be sitting in a Houston jail cell right now for sexual assault.

I'd love to see someone press the issue. Did they pre-plan this display (which, of course, we all know they did), or is it something that Timberlake just did, in which case he fondled a woman and forcibly exposed her in front of hundreds of millions of people?
A Few Super Bowl Observations:

  • The big halftime fiasco: I didn't see it. But considering that the media has been awash in surgically modified Jackson family appendages recently, the thought of being subjected to yet another one induces little more than a yawn in me.

  • Historically, the Super Bowl has been synonymous with "anticlimax." But since 1998, every other game has actually been quite exciting. The Super Bowl is still far from money in the bank from an excitement standpoint, but this year's game was full of tension and thrills, as were the terrific games between the Pats and the Rams in '02, the Titans-Rams in '00, and the Broncos victory over the Packers in '98. The Super Bowl used to be a guaranteed snooze-fest. Now it's only a snooze-fest half the time.

  • I know it's an accepted part of the game, but I still can't seem to shake the feeling that winning a game on a field goal kick is kind of wimpy. Football is such a hard-fought game; it just doesn't seem right to have a bruising NFL football game ended by an effete European in a soccer shoe. Of course, the fact is that most overtime and close games are settled by field goals, and that's the way it's always been. Still, it doesn't sit well.

  • Tom Brady deserves a lot of credit for leading his team to victory again. He's accomplished much in a young career. Still, the Joe Montana comparisons I heard all week are absurd. Please. Don't get me wrong--Brady is a top-notch QB. He's on a pace for easy entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame if he can even put up merely respectable numbers for another seven or eight years. But to paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen, I watched Joe Montana. I saw Joe Montana play. And you, sir, are no Joe Montana.

  • The Patriots deserved this victory, though the Panthers suprised everyone by putting a scare into them. Jake Delhomme showed he belongs among the big boys in the NFL quarterback ranks. But the play that cost Carolina the game was the atrocious kickoff by John Kasay after the great Panther TD drive to tie the game with just over a minute left. He practically handed the Patriots field goal position, giving Adam Vinatieri the chance to win a second Super Bowl with his foot.