Saturday, January 01, 2005

Marvin Olasky: Christian Hypocrisy, Atheist Insanity

(archive)
December 31, 2004

Since both my wife and I formally became Christians (through baptism) in the same year we were married, 1976, our love for each other in some loopy way is tied up with our love for Christianity. Wonderfully, we've never had any significant frustrations in our marriage, but we've seen things go wrong in some churches.

My favorite 20th century writer of fiction, Walker Percy, poured on the criticism in his next-to-last novel, "The Second Coming" (1980). He complained that the contemporary Christian is "nominal, lukewarm, hypocritical, sinful or, if fervent, generally offensive and fanatical. But he is not crazy." The unbeliever is, because of the "fatuity, blandness, incoherence, fakery and fatheadedness of his unbelief. He is in fact an insane person."

Percy continued, "The present-day unbeliever is crazy because he finds himself born into a world of endless wonders, having no notion how he got here, a world in which he eats, sleeps ... works, grows old, gets sick, and dies ... takes his comfort and ease, plays along with the game, watches TV, drinks his drink, laughs ... for all the world as if his prostate were not growing cancerous, his arteries turning to chalk, his brain cells dying off by the millions, as if the worms were not going to have him in no time at all."

Percy's describes the typical academic: "The more intelligent he is, the crazier he is. ... He reads Dante for its mythic structure. He joins the ACLU and concerns himself with the freedom of the individual and does not once exercise his own freedom to inquire into how in God's name he should find himself in such a ludicrous situation."

The international news of 2004 once again showed how far from sanity this world resides. Iraq. Sudan. Israel. Afghanistan. Holland. China. Chechnya. Cuba. Nagorno Karabakh. On the surface, our domestic news is better. No terrorist attacks. No mass murders in schools or churches. But Percy's quiet terror continues: arteries to chalk, brain cells to mush, dust to dust.

This was a year in which many people sought the love of another. I feel extraordinarily blessed in my marriage, but hit television shows like "Sex and the City" and "Desperate Housewives," as well as Tom Wolfe's fine novel "I Am Charlotte Simmons," display the desperate desire for love that some sadly reduce to a desperate search for sex -- as if momentary excitement can substitute for years of contentment.

Some of the gays and lesbians who lined up for "marriage licenses" in San Francisco early this year merely wanted to poke their fingers in the eyes of straights, but others were there because they thought they suddenly had an antidote to loneliness. They deserve not hatred, but pity.

What's more striking is how the desperate search for horizontal love, person-to-person, is not matched by what should be an even more desperate search for vertical love, person-and-God. Here's Walker Percy again: "I am surrounded by two classes of maniacs. The first are the believers, who think they know the reason why we find ourselves in this ludicrous predicament yet act for all the world as if they don't. The second are the unbelievers, who don't know the reason and don't care if they don't."

Confession: I often act for all the world as if I'm clueless. So do most Christians I know -- and those who don't act clueless often act as if they know everything, which is even more obnoxious. But here's my continuing New Year's resolution, now 24 years old, taken from the end of the "The Second Coming," after protagonist Will Barrett has fallen in love and also come to understand a little about God: "Am I crazy to want both, her and Him? No, not want, must have. And will have."

Marvin Olasky writes daily commentary on Worldmagblog, a Townhall.com member group.
©2004 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
Contact Marvin Olasky Read Olasky's biography

Marvin Olasky defined the term that Bush made famousCompassionate Conservatism: What it is, What it Does, and How it Can Transform AmericaDespite all the buzz about “compassionate conservatism,” both politicians and media types have misunderstood its meaning. No one is better situated to explain it than Olasky, who documented the tragic results of stripping the church’s role from public help in his previous work, The Tragedy of American Compassion.

Thomas Sowell: Gay Marriage "Rights"

(archive)
http://www.townhall.com
December 31, 2004

In all the states where gay marriage was on the ballot this year, the voters voted against it -- as they should have.

Of all the phony arguments for gay marriage, the phoniest is the argument that it is a matter of equal rights. Marriage is not a right extended to individuals by the government. It is a restriction on the rights they already have.

People who are simply living together can make whatever arrangements they want, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual. They can divide up their worldly belongings 50-50 or 90-10 or whatever other way they want. They can make their union temporary or permanent or subject to cancellation at any time.

Marriage is a restriction. If my wife buys an automobile with her own money, under California marriage laws I automatically own half of it, whether or not my name is on the title. Whether that law is good, bad, or indifferent, it is a limitation of our freedom to arrange such things as we ourselves might choose. This is just one of many decisions that marriage laws take out of our hands.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said that the life of the law is not logic but experience. Marriage laws have evolved through centuries of experience with couples of opposite sexes -- and the children that result from such unions. Society asserts its stake in the decisions made by restricting the couples' options.

Society has no such stake in the outcome of a union between two people of the same sex. Transferring all those laws to same-sex couples would make no more sense than transferring the rules of baseball to football.

Why then do gay activists want their options restricted by marriage laws, when they can make their own contracts with their own provisions and hold whatever kinds of ceremony they want to celebrate it?

The issue is not individual rights. What the activists are seeking is official social approval of their lifestyle. But this is the antithesis of equal rights.

If you have a right to someone else's approval, then they do not have a right to their own opinions and values. You cannot say that what "consenting adults" do in private is nobody else's business and then turn around and say that others are bound to put their seal of approval on it.

The rhetoric of "equal rights" has become the road to special privilege for all sorts of groups, so perhaps it was inevitable that gay activists would take that road as well. It has worked. They have already succeeded in getting far more government money for AIDS than for other diseases that kill far more people.

The time is long overdue to stop word games about equal rights from leading to special privileges -- for anybody -- and gay marriage is as good an issue on which to do so as anything else.

Incidentally, it is not even clear how many homosexuals actually want marriage, even though gay activists are pushing it.

What the activists really want is the stamp of acceptance on homosexuality, as a means of spreading that lifestyle, which has become a death style in the era of AIDS.

They have already succeeded to a remarkable degree in our public schools, where so-called "AIDS education" or other pious titles are put on programs that promote homosexuality. In some cases, gay activists actually come to the schools, not only to promote homosexuality as an idea but even to pass out the addresses of local gay hangouts to the kids.

There is no limit to what people will do if you let them get away with it. That our schools, which are painfully failing to educate our children to the standards in other countries, have time for promoting homosexuality is truly staggering.

Every special interest group has an incentive to take something away from society as a whole. Some will be content just to siphon off a share of the taxpayers' money for themselves. Others, however, want to dismantle a part of the structure of values that make a society viable.

They may not want to bring down the whole structure, just get rid of the part that cramps their style. But when innumerable groups start dismantling pieces of the structure that they don't like, we can be headed for the kinds of social collapses seen both in history and in other parts of the world in our own times.

©2004 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
Contact Thomas Sowell Read Sowell's biography

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Michelle Malkin: America's Borders Still Open

Michelle Malkin Archive

December 28, 2004
The Year In Review: America’s Borders Still Open
By Michelle Malkin

2004 was a good year for terrorists, violent gang members, law-breakers, and fraud artists seeking safe haven in America.

Let’s reminisce:

The rise of MS-13. The savage El Salvador-based gang, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), has now penetrated more than a dozen states. In May, a Fairfax, Va., teenager had his fingers chopped off in an MS-13 machete attack. In November, Washington, D.C.-area police received warning that MS-13 is plotting to ambush and kill them when they respond to service calls. Active in alien, drug and weapons smuggling, MS-13 members in America have been tied to numerous killings, robberies, carjackings, extortions, and rapes. The gang has also been linked to efforts to help al Qaeda infiltrate the U.S.-Mexico border.

The path of least resistance. Border Patrol officers and local investigative journalists in the Southwest reported on increasing numbers of Middle Eastern males entering illegally from Mexico. Muslim prayer books and Arabic diaries were discovered on "Terrorist Alley" in southern Arizona. Suspected al Qaeda operative Adnan Shukrijumah, a fugitive Saudi pilot who reportedly met with MS-13 earlier this year, is believed to be in Mexico.

In April, a suspected al Qaeda agent arrested in Queens, N.Y., revealed a scheme to smuggle terrorists across the U.S.-Mexico border. In July, two alert Border Patrol agents apprehended Farida Goolam Mohamed Ahmed at McAllen (Tx.) airport. She was carrying an altered South African passport, muddy jeans, and dirty shoes. She confessed to having entered the country illegally by crossing the Rio Grande River. Court documents showed that she was on a government watch list and had entered the U.S. up to 250 times.

Upon news of Ahmed’s arrest, intelligence experts reported that suspected terror agents are acquiring passports from South Africa and other non-suspect countries; flying to the al Qaeda-coddling "tri-border area" in South America; learning Spanish; traveling to Mexico; and doing the backstroke into America. Lawmakers in Texas warned that the feds are arresting and then releasing thousands of other suspected terrorists classified as "Other Than Mexicans" because of lack of jail space.

President Bush said "family values don't stop at the Rio Grande." I repeat: Neither do the Islamofascists.

Bungling Washington bureaucrats. In the skies, federal air marshals continue to be hampered by director Thomas Quinn’s moronic "professional" dress code (no athletic socks or jeans allowed).

Although he no longer oversees transportation security, underperformin’ Norman Mineta remains in charge of the Department of Transportation, where he maintains an absolutist opposition to homeland defense profiling.

And, kowtowing to civil liberties Chicken Littles and Muslim lobbyists, the Bush administration canceled the Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System out of fear of privacy and discrimination lawsuits.

In July, the Department of Homeland Security rebuked Border Patrol agents in southern California for conducting interior enforcement sweeps because they did not bow down to the "sensitivities" of open-borders radicals. In September, DHS border security undersecretary, Asa Hutchinson, stated publicly that it's "not realistic" for his own officers to try to do their jobs and deport law-breakers.

Morale among rank-and-file enforcement officers has plummeted. The botched Bernie Kerik DHS nomination and the refusal of the Bush administration to support common-sense immigration enforcement and secure identity measures in the "intelligence reform" bill (which ended up containing more non-intelligence than intelligence provisions) didn’t help.

Amnesty, shamnesty. The year ended as it began, with President Bush dangling his abominable proposal to grant a mass governmental pardon to millions of illegal alien workers and their employers. First floated in January, the White House also pushed through a Social Security "totalization" program with Mexico, which will dispense billions of dollars to illegal alien workers who used counterfeit Social Security cards and stolen numbers to secure illegal jobs.

Announcement of the Bush plan led to a spike in illegal alien apprehensions at the border during the first three months of 2004—25 percent higher compared with last year. Those are just the ones who got caught. T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, told the Washington Times in April: "People were coming up to our agents and saying, 'Where do we sign up for that guest-worker program, or that amnesty?' Word travels like wildfire down there." [Bush 'amnesty' blamed for rise in illegals, By Stephen Dinan]

And around the world. The word is we’re open. Wide open.

What a way to ring in the New Year.

Michelle Malkin [email her] is author of Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores. Click here for Peter Brimelow’s review. Click here for Michelle Malkin's website.

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Ann Coulter: Highlights and Lowlifes

The best and worst of 2004.

By Ann Coulter
http://www.frontpagemag.com/
December 31, 2004

The single biggest event of 2004 was the Election Day exit poll, which, like John Steinbeck's "The Short Reign of Pippin IV," made John Kerry the president for a few moments. But in a move that stunned the experts, American voters chose "moral values" over an America-bashing trophy husband and his blow-dried, ambulance-chasing sidekick.

The second biggest event in 2004 came on Sunday, Dec. 26, when the New York Times referred to an organization as a "liberal research group." (I think it may have been the Communist Party USA, Trotskyite wing, but, still, it's progress.)

CBS eminence Dan Rather was driven off the air in disgrace after he tried to take down a sitting president by brandishing Microsoft Word documents he claimed were authentic Texas Air National Guard memos from the '70s. By liberals' own account, the pompous blowhard was exposed by people sitting around their living rooms in pajamas.

John Kerry's meal ticket, Teresa Heinz, continuously made remarks that were wildly inappropriate, such as when she strangely referred to the "seven-year itch" in relation to herself and John Kerry, creating at least three images I didn't want in my head. On the other hand, for any voters who considered the most important campaign issue to be whether the first lady was an earthy, condescending foreigner who had traveled extensively and spoke several languages, Teresa was a huge asset.

Surprisingly, Teresa never became a major campaign issue. It turned out that supporters of a phony war hero who preyed on rich widows were also OK with the notion of a first lady who might use the F-word during Rose Garden press conferences. By the same token, anyone who was put off by the not-so-affable Eva Peron of American politics already didn't like John Kerry – thanks largely to John O'Neill and the Swiftboat Veterans.

Like the archers of Agincourt, John O'Neill and the 254 Swiftboat Veterans took down their own haughty Frenchman.

Meanwhile, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom is nipping at O'Neill's heels as the man second-most responsible for Bush's re-election. Thanks largely to Newsom's hard work, gay marriage was big news all year.

In retrospect, the Democrats would have been better off if they had found every gay guy in America who actually wanted to get married and offered each one a million dollars in exchange for the Democrats not having to talk about gay marriage. (Finally – a problem that could have been solved by throwing money at it!)

On the basis solely of media coverage, Abu Ghraib was the biggest story of 2004, maybe the biggest story ever. And for good reason: An American soldier was caught on film not only humiliating Iraqi prisoners – but smoking!

The New York Times even had to drop its coverage of Augusta National Golf Course to give Abu Ghraib due prominence. Only the Rumsfeld autopen scandal was big enough to knock Abu Ghraib off the front page.

I personally haven't been so singularly disturbed by an atrocity since I had to sit through all of "The Matrix: Reloaded."

By contrast, the least important story – again, judging by media coverage – was the peculiar development of a Clintonite caught trying to get into his own pants. Sandy Berger was spotted by National Archives staff repeatedly stuffing top-secret documents into his undergarments in preparation for defending the Clinton administration's record on fighting terrorism before the 9-11 Commission. If you happened to take a long nap the day the Berger story broke, you would have missed it entirely.

On the bright side, the New York Times has adopted an all-new standard for covering the extramarital affairs of public figures. With no fanfare, the Times quickly abandoned its earlier position that a U.S. president molesting White House staff – including while on the phone discussing sending troops into battle – is not news. The new rule rolled out for Bernie Kerik makes extramarital affairs major front-page news deserving of nonstop coverage, even after the public figure has withdrawn his name from consideration for any government office.

American hero Pat Tillman won a Silver Star this year. But unlike Kerry, he did not write his own recommendation or live to throw his medals over the White House fence in an anti-war rally.

Tillman was an American original: virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be. The stunningly handsome athlete walked away from a three-year, $3.6 million NFL contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join the U.S. military and fight in Afghanistan, where he was killed in April.
He wanted no publicity and granted no interviews about his decision to leave pro football in the prime of his career and join the Army Rangers. (Most perplexing to Democrats, he didn't even take a home movie camera to a war zone in order to create fake footage for future political campaigns in which he would constantly palaver about his military service and drag around his "Band of Brothers" for the media.)

Tillman gave only an indirect explanation for his decision on the day after 9-11, when he said: "My great grandfather was at Pearl Harbor, and a lot of my family has gone and fought in wars, and I really haven't done a damn thing as far as laying myself on the line like that." He said he wanted to "pay something back" to America.

He died bringing freedom and democracy to 28 million Afghans – pretty much confirming Michael Moore's view of America as an imperialist cowboy predator. There is not another country in the world – certainly not in continental Europe – that could have produced a Pat Tillman.

On the anniversary of D-Day, as Americans like Pat Tillman risked their lives to liberate 50 million Iraqis and Afghans, in a year when Americans poured into theaters to see a movie about Christ and reaffirmed their support for moral values at the polling booth, America's greatest president died. Ronald Reagan appealed to what is best about America and so transformed the nation that we are now safe to carry on without him.

Ann Coulter is a bestselling author and syndicated columnist. Her most recent book is How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must).

Larry Elder: Illegitimacy a "Badge of Honor"?

By Larry Elder
http://www.Townhall.com
December 27, 2004

A few years ago, I visited a friend living in Cleveland's inner city.

As we sat on my friend's porch, not one, but two teenage girls -- visibly pregnant -- walked by. My friend cheerfully called out their names. They smiled and waved back as they continued walking. I turned to my friend and said, "You see that?"

She said, "See what?"

I said, "That."

She said, "What?"

I said, "Those two girls, they're both pregnant."

She says, "Yeah."

I said, "What about that?"

Pointing to houses, she said, "What about the one over here, the one over there and the one down there?"

I said, "So, this is acceptable?"

She said, "I didn't say it was acceptable -- it just is."

Fantasia Barrino, winner of the recent "American Idol" contest and a single-parent mom, dropped out of school in ninth grade, got pregnant and gave birth at age 17. Fantasia, in a recently released CD, calls single-parent motherhood "a badge of honor." In "Baby Mama," Fantasia sings, "It's about time we had our own song. Don't know what took so long." While the song does talk about the struggles single parents face -- "I see you get that support check in the mail, Ya open and you're like, 'What the hell.' You say, 'This ain't even half of daycare.' Sayin' to yourself, 'This here ain't fair.' To all my girls who don't get no help. Who gotta do everything by yourself. . . ." -- she nevertheless refers to single parenting as, "Cuz now-a-days it like a badge of honor." A badge of honor?

According to The World Almanac 2005 -- which now lists illegitimate birth rates under the politically correct heading "Nonmarital Childbearing" -- nearly 70 percent of black children are born outside of wedlock. With Latinos, the rate is almost 45 percent, whites nearly 30 percent, and Asians 15 percent. Overall, about 34 percent of America's children today are born outside of wedlock.

According to the Heritage Foundation, children born outside of wedlock were more likely to engage in early sexual activity and have children out of wedlock. The report further stated, "Compared to children living with both biological parents in similar socioeconomic circumstances, children of never-married mothers exhibit 68 percent more antisocial behavior, 24 percent more headstrong behavior, 33 percent more hyperactive behavior, 78 percent more peer conflict, and 53 percent more dependency. Overall, children of never-married mothers have behavioral problems that score nearly three times higher than children raised in comparable intact families."

About her life before hitting it big in "American Idol," Fantasia said, "I wasn't working. I wasn't doing anything, and Zion [her daughter] wasn't in daycare. . . . I had my own little apartment [presumably at taxpayers' expense] and I would do her hair all day, watch movies. . . . We would play dress-up. We had nothing to do." Her baby's father, Brandel Shouse, was arrested and pled guilty for assaulting Fantasia. (They are said to be on cordial terms, now.)A badge of honor? Tell that to Coach A.

Coach Ted Anderson worked as the basketball coach for the Memphis, Tenn., Hamilton High Wildcats for over 20 years. Memphis, until recently, allowed corporal punishment, one of the few big-city districts that still permitted the practice. Coach Anderson, who, himself, attended Hamilton High -- where he received the occasional paddling -- earned a reputation as a basketball coach for being hardworking, fearsome, and who would, from time to time, administer the correctional swat.

Anderson said he swatted kids for tardiness, unruliness, disrespectful behavior, poor grades and -- twice in his career -- for poor play. Unfortunately for Coach A., at a tournament during halftime, he swatted three players for poor play, one parent complained and despite no other complaint in his 20-year career as Hamilton's basketball coach, the school board fired him as coach and transferred him to teach a middle school class.

During Coach Anderson's career, single moms brought their children to him precisely because they wanted their sons to see a strong male figure, a presence frequently absent from the kids' lives.

One of Anderson's former student athletes told me that he credits Anderson with his success in life and in business. Several other former students rallied to his support in urging the district to reconsider.

Many studies show that the best predictor of violent crime in a community is not the race or economic status, but the proportion of households without fathers. Most juvenile and adult offenders come from homes without fathers.

In his book "My Father's Face," James Robison wrote about a chaplain in a federal penitentiary who decided to improve morale. He persuaded a greeting card company to supply him with Mother's Day cards for the inmates. The prisoners enthusiastically sent each mom a card. Morale improved so dramatically that the chaplain decided to repeat the success on Father's Day. The chaplain offered the cards to the inmates. But not one inmate sent a card to his father.

Not one.

A badge of honor?

Larry Elder is the author of the newly-released Showdown. Larry also wrote The Ten Things You Can’t Say in America. He is a libertarian talk show host, on the air from 3-7 pm Pacific time, on KABC Talkradio in Los Angeles. For more information, visit LarryElder.com.

Rev. J. L. Peterson: Kwanzaa - Racist Holiday From Hell

By Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson
http://www.FrontPageMag.com
December 29, 2004

While public officials, schools, and the ACLU worked overtime this year to ban every vestige of Christmas from the public square, the recently invented holiday known as Kwanzaa is gaining in popularity among black Americans. These occurrences are not unrelated.

In an earlier time, blacks held a strong faith in God. But over the past 40 years, the black community has largely let God slip away. Sure the community has maintained the outer trappings of religion, but the solid morality at its core is nearly gone.

Enter a God-hating black racist named Ron Karenga. Born Ron Everett on a poultry farm in Maryland, Everett invented Kwanzaa in 1966, based on an African harvest festival (though it takes place during the Winter Solstice!), and celebrating the first Kwanzaa with his family and friends.

Calling himself “Maulana” (Swahili for “Master Teacher”), Karenga became a black nationalist at UCLA, and formed his group, the United Slaves (US) for the purpose of igniting a “cultural revolution” among American blacks. US members followed Karenga’s “Path of Blackness,” which is detailed in his Quotable Karenga: “The sevenfold path of blackness is think black, talk black, act black, create black, buy black, vote black, and live black.”

The United Slaves had violent confrontations with the Black Panthers on campus, and were actually considered more radical than the Panthers.

The biggest dispute between the United Slaves and the Panthers was for the leadership of the new African Studies Department at UCLA, with each group backing a different candidate. Panthers John Jerome Huggins and Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter verbally attacked Karenga at the meeting, which infuriated Karenga’s followers. After the meeting ended, two United Slaves members, George and Larry Stiner, reportedly confronted Huggins and Carter in a hallway, shooting and killing them.

Incidentally, on March 31, 1974, it was discovered that both Stiner brothers had escaped from the family visiting area in San Quentin State Prison. Larry Stiner turned himself into the FBI in Caracas, Venezuela, on December 13, 1994. He remains in custody at San Quentin. But George Stiner remains at large and his whereabouts remain unknown. He is currently on California’s 10 Most Wanted List.

The shooting at UCLA apparently caused Karenga to become extremely suspicious. On May 9, 1970, Karenga and two others tortured two women who Karenga believed had tried to poison him by placing “crystals” in his food and water.

The Los Angeles Times described the events: “Deborah Jones, who once was given the title of an African queen, said she and Gail Davis were whipped with an electric cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothes at gunpoint. She testified that a hot soldering iron was placed in Miss Davis’ mouth and placed against Miss Davis’ face and that one of her own big toes was tightened in a vice. Karenga, head of US, also put detergent and running hoses in their mouths, she said.”

Karenga was sentenced to one-to-ten years in prison on counts of felonious assault and false imprisonment. At his trial, the question arose as to Karenga’s sanity. The psychiatrist’s report stated: “This man now represents a picture which can be considered both paranoid and schizophrenic with hallucinations and illusions, inappropriate affect, disorganization, and impaired contact with the environment.” The psychiatrist reportedly observed that Karenga talked to his blanket and imaginary persons, and he believed he’d been attacked by dive-bombers.

Eight years later, California State University Long Beach named Karenga the head of its Black Studies Department. By this time, Karenga had “repented” of his black nationalism and had become just a harmless garden variety Marxist. This must be our esteemed university system’s idea of repentance!

Karenga’s Kwanzaa celebration consists of seven “principles.” They are Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination – code for “buy black”), Ujima (collective work and responsibility – groupthink), Ujamaa (cooperative economics – socialism), Nia (purpose) Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith – in man, not God).

To provide a symbol of his seven “principles,” Karenga used the menorah from Judaism with Kwanzaa’s colors (red, black, and green), and re-named it the "kinara."

Karenga also created a Kwanzaa flag that consists of black, green, and red. The Kwanzaa Information Center states the color red represents blood: “We lost our land through blood; and we cannot gain it except through blood. We must redeem our lives through the blood. Without the shedding of blood there can be no redemption of this race.” The Kwanzaa Information Center also notes that this flag “has become a symbol of devotion for African people in America to establish an independent African nation on the North American Continent.” (Emphasis added.)

When once asked why he designed Kwanzaa to take place around Christmas, Karenga explained, “People think it’s African, but it’s not. I came up with Kwanzaa because black people wouldn’t celebrate it if they knew it was American. Also, I put it around Christmas because I knew that’s when a lot of bloods would be partying.”

Karenga has explained that his creation of Kwanzaa was motivated in part by hostility toward both Christianity and Judaism. Writing in his 1980 book Kawaida Theory, he claimed that Western religion “denies and diminishes human worth, capacity, potential and achievement. In Christian and Jewish mythology, humans are born in sin, cursed with mythical ancestors who’ve sinned and brought the wrath of an angry God on every generation’s head.” He clearly opposed belief in God and other “spooks who threaten us if we don’t worship them and demand we turn over our destiny and daily lives.”

Through ignorance or racism, growing numbers of black Christians are either celebrating Kwanzaa or incorporating it into their Christmas celebrations. Now many preachers are incorporating Kwanzaa into their messages. This is a horrible mistake.

First of all, as we’ve seen, the whole holiday is made up! You won’t find its roots in Africa or anywhere else. Second, Kwanzaa’s “principles” are straight from Hell. Third, and most importantly, Christians who celebrate or incorporate Kwanzaa are moving their attention away from Christmas, the birth of our Savior, and the simple message of salvation: love for God through his Son. To add or subtract from that message is evil.

In recent years Kwanzaa has become increasingly popular and mainstream. President Bill Clinton commemorated Kwanzaa, stating that Kwanzaa’s seven principles “ring true not only for African-Americans, but also for all Americans…bring[ing] new purpose to our daily lives.” In 2002, President Bush, though a devout Christian, also commemorated Kwanzaa. The U.S. Postal Service issued a Kwanzaa stamp in 1997; the Smithsonian Institution sponsors an annual celebration; and greeting card companies churn out Kwanzaa cards for profit.

It is now clear that Kwanzaa is a phony, wicked holiday created by an ex-con who hates God, Christians, Jews, and blacks – yes blacks. Why else would he try to pull them away from Christianity and indoctrinate them in racialism and socialism? Blacks, particularly black Christians, need to stand up for Christmas and reject Kwanzaa. If they refuse, they will be helping to stamp out the true meaning of Christmas, and allowing evil to have its way in America.
This is a future we cannot allow.

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson is the Founder and President of BOND (the Brotherhood Organization of A New Destiny). He is also the author of the book “SCAM: How the Black Leadership Exploits Black America”. For more information, please call 1-800-411-BOND (2663), or e-mail bond@bondinfo.org.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Ben Johnson: America, the Great Santa

By Ben Johnson
http://www.FrontPageMag.com
December 28, 2004

As famine swept through Russia in 1921, claiming five million innocent peasants’ lives, President Herbert Hoover sent $24 million of food and medical aid to the recently formed Bolshevik government. When asked why he was helping the Russian Communists, Hoover replied, “Twenty million people are starving. Whatever their politics, they shall be fed!”
Sunday’s devastating tsunami has given the United States another opportunity to showcase its immense compassion and limitless humanitarian instincts. And, as with every such act of national charity, our altruistic efforts have been rewarded with a fit of ingratitude from the Hate America Left.

As of this writing the tsunami triggered by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, the fourth largest this century, has killed more than 25,000 people in a circle of death spanning 10 countries from Malaysia to Somalia. Yet authorities say this total understates the casualties, and they forecast deaths in Indonesia alone could exceed 25,000. Children account for an estimated one-third of those swept away by the 500 mile-per-hour waves.

Upon hearing the news, America characteristically rushed to help. Yesterday, outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell promised a $15 million aid package and stated this is only a downpayment on America’s goodwill. “We also have to see this not just as a one-time thing,” he said. “Some 20-plus thousand lives have been lost in a few moments, but the lingering effects will be there for years.” He then affirmed America is in the reconstruction effort “for the long haul.”

In addition to this aid package, President Bush has dispatched military planes to the area, sent a 21-person USAID contingent of disaster relief specialists, and offered to send troops stations in Okinawa, Japan, to help Thai victims.

By way of contrast, the 25-member European Union, the world largest trader whose combined economy is larger than that of the United States, will deliver $4 million.

Nonetheless, UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland labeled these efforts “stingy.”

Aside from betraying abhorrent manners, the UN bureaucrat’s comments sounded a common theme of the Left: No matter how much time, money, or resources America commits to a humanitarian effort – and no matter how demonstrably unselfish our motives – greedy capitalist America never lifts a finger to help the downtrodden. Indeed, by our disproportionate consumption of the world’s resources and contributions to environmental degradation, we are the cause of the world’s suffering.

The left-wing blog TalkLeft anticipated Egeland. After accusing America of not doing enough to warn the victims, a blog entry from last night accused President Bush of responding to the tragedy at his Crawford ranch by “‘clearing brush’ and playing cowboy.” Upon hearing of the evidently unexpected financial aid heading to the disaster site, it added pathetically, “Update: The U.S. has pledged $15 million to the relief effort.” Ho-hum.

DailyKos and other leftist blogs have noted America’s efforts to help tsunami victims, without praising said undertakings. All miss the obvious point: America chooses to succor the world’s afflicted with millions of dollars of its own treasure because America is a generous, philanthropic, and altrustic nation.

How could leftists express such a fundamental truth? According to them, this country has waged a needless pre-meditated war on innocent Iraqi freedom fighters and – according to at least one Democratic Congressman – is deliberately targeting civilians. Their view was best expressed by U.S. Senator Patty Murray, D-WA, when she told a high school class Osama bin Laden had done more for suffering Arabs than America had:

[Osama has] been out in these countries for decades building roads, building schools, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. It made their lives better. [Americans] have not done that…How would they look at us today if we had been there helping them with some of that, rather than just being the people who are going to bomb in Iraq and go to Afghanistan?

Naturally, Osama bin Laden has never built “day care facilities” (presumably for Afghanistan’s liberated working women); he offers meager subsistence and a cavernous abode to those willing to become human fodder for his totalitarian designs.

The broader point is that America has always been more than the nation that liberates enslaved Arabs; it is the nation that bailed Europe out of two world wars, then reconstructed those nations with the Marshall Plan; that aided our sworn enemies to keep them from starving their populations to death in the Soviet Union, Ethiopia, and North Korea; that shows up with troops, supplies, and endless grants (often in the form of “loans,” never repaid) every time there is a mud slide, earthquake, or hurricane anywhere in the world including Iran. When a leftist acquaintance claimed America “bombs babies in Iraq and Afghanistan,” I corrected him: We regularly bomb Iraqi and Afghan children – with food and supplies donated by American children at the behest of President Bush. This America bears no resemblance to the diseased caricature painted by the Left.

After deriding Western philanthropy (an odd way to solicit donations), Egeland urged the West to exacerbate worldwide income redistribution. Western governments, he vouchsafed, mistakenly “believe that they are really burdening the taxpayers too much, and the taxpayers want to give less. It's not true. They want to give more.” He added, “Christmastime should remind many Western countries at least, [of] how rich we have become.” His words echoed comments Jesse Jackson made to MSNBC’s Campbell Brown on domestic welfare spending last Thursday:

In the last [Bush] budget, we cut housing again, and that was Jesus’ dilemma. In Bethlehem, his family ended up homeless…We're the richest nation on earth. Our percentage of income to the poor is rock bottom…The great fault of Rome was a wealthy country left Jesus and Mary Joseph, in a sense, homeless, and He was born an at-risk baby. You measure character by how you invest in the poor and today we are celebrating the wealthy and the war, not the poor and peace.

Jesse’s Christmas message: Republicans – and the nation they govern – hate baby Jesus. Leave it to Jesse to turn the nativity of the Son of God into a crass political weapon.

For the record, Jesus’ family became homeless when the Roman government herded together every soul ever born in the “little town of Bethlehem” in order to extract maximum taxation from its populace: precisely Jackson's and Egeland's prescription.

Egeland is right that the American people always “want to give more” to the suffering and downtrodden. White House deputy press secretary Trent Duffy responded to Egeland’s rant by stating Americans are “the largest contributor to international relief and aid efforts, not only through the government, but through charitable organizations. The American people are very giving.” The facts bear out Duffy’s case. Americans make a minimum of $34 billion in private donations to assist the less fortunate overseas, the overwhelming majority from religious foundations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). America has dedicated more resources to fighting AIDS than any other nation, including those most severely impacted. George W. Bush pledged $15 billion more to fight this killer epidemic, which has ravished sub-Saharan Africa. The U.S. gives $10 billion in foreign aid annually. America is now spending millions of dollars to feed, clothe, and reconstruct Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

Times like this show the world America’s true moral fiber. Helping the less fortunate is reward enough for us. However, such events should also provide a healthy guidepost to measure how delusional the leftists’ view of their own country has become.

You can help USAID assist victims of Sunday’s tsunami by clicking here.

Ben Johnson is Managing Editor of FrontPage Magazine and author of the book 57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry's Charitable Giving.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Iain Murray: Crichton's Novel Approach to Environmental Alarmism


Science Fiction: Michael Crichton Takes a Novel Approach to Global Warming Alarmism
Murray Book Review in National Review Online by Iain Murray December 21, 2004

Michael Crichton's new blockbuster novel, State of Fear, begins with sex, violence, and oceanography. It's that sort of book all the way through, mixing the usual adventure novel clich├ęs of beautiful young heroes, indestructible secret agents, and a plot to kill millions alongside hard science, including graphs, footnotes, and words like "aminostratigraphy." As such, the book is half a rip-roaring roller coaster of a read (as Edmund Blackadder would put it) and half didactic tract. It is a testament to Crichton's skill as a novelist that he pulls it off. This is definitely one for the Christmas list.

The adventure centers on a conspiracy to accentuate natural disasters in order to keep the developed world in the state of fear of the title. One particular environmental charity stands to benefit most from this state, and the main plot device is the dawning realization by an idealistic young lawyer named Peter Evans that the cause he believed in for so long is rotten to the core. His Virgil as he wanders through hell to achieve salvation is an almost superhuman character, John Kenner, who is a strange blend of academic physicist, Jack Ryan, James Bond, and, erm, John Graham, real-life director of the Office of Management and Budget (I said it was strange — in a former job, Graham was director of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, and Kenner directs a similar organization at MIT).

Together, and with the help of the usual beautiful-but-tough woman and a tech-savvy Gurkha, they are placed in danger in the wilds of Antarctica, a state park in Arizona, and in a cannibal-infested jungle in the Solomon Islands. They face blizzards, bullets, lightning, poisonous octopuses and insufferable Hollywood celebrities. There is no peril so great that Evans and his friends do not face it. Their adventures unfold at a breakneck pace that keeps you turning the page, and it is in the brief downtimes between these escapades that Crichton expounds his scientific case.

This didacticism is directed primarily at global-warming alarmism, which Crichton thinks is overblown (he goes over the case in an appendix). Yet Crichton does not, as some have alleged, criticize the science underlying global-warming alarmism. In fact, he argues from it; as well he should — science is what it is. Instead, it is the use to which the science is put that Crichton argues against most forcefully. The science, by itself, does not argue that the world must take certain actions now. Science can never be prescriptive. All it can do is raise issues for the world's attention. It is politics and economics that then decide what to do about them. People who argue that the science says we must do something are being disingenuous about their true motives. If those people are also scientists, then they are abusing science. This is a tremendously important point.

If there is one scientific exercise Crichton does criticize, it is the use of global-climate models. These models are the basis of the alarming estimates of future temperature rise, yet at their very base they are only partly scientific. Models are a hybrid of science and economics. If science says that a rise in atmospheric greenhouse-gas concentrations will have certain effects on climate, then it can tell us nothing about the future until economic projections of energy use are fed into it. A scientific model without good economic input is useless, and we have been aware for quite some time that the economic scenarios used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are seriously deficient. It is a shame that Crichton makes one of his few factual slips when he says that NASA's James Hansen overestimated future emissions when he brought the global-warming issue to the world's attention before Congress in 1988. In fact, Hansen had a range of scenarios, and actual emissions have followed the lower trajectory quite well (and Hansen has updated his projections, now estimating a very small temperature rise by 2050 of around 0.5°C.) Crichton would have done better to take aim at the IPCC here.

Yet, more widely, the novel raises stinging criticisms of the way the environmental movement conducts itself. Its mutual infatuation with Hollywood, its preoccupation with litigation, and, above all, its preoccupation with obtaining more money so as to continue its privileged existence are all writ large in the text. One of the chief villains, a lawyer turned green-group director, regularly rages about the difficulties he has fundraising. His main problem, he rants, is that global warming is not the immediate threat that pollution was in the 70s. It is therefore harder to get people to give money to combat it, something that can be solved if people come to believe that the climate is changing now. These are, of course, tactics the real-life environmental movement has embraced, arguing, for instance, that the recent hurricane season was exacerbated by global warming rather than being sheer bad luck. During one of his rants, that character also, delightfully, called my organization, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, "Neanderthals." This was tremendously gratifying.

In the conclusion of the novel (which seems as if it is ready for a sequel — there are a surprising number of loose ends not tied up), Crichton has a former alarmist conclude that there are serious things wrong with the environmental movement:

Face the facts, all these environmental organizations are thirty, forty, fifty years old. They have big buildings, big obligations, big staffs. They may trade on their youthful dreams, but the truth is, they're now part of the establishment. And the establishment works to preserve the status quo. It just does.

(Interestingly, these comments echo those made by some committed alarmists recently in an essay entitled, The Death of Environmentalism.) If Jefferson was right about continual revolution being a good thing, then the environmental movement would do well to take heed.

He also has some very interesting suggestions for getting politics out of science by making the researchers more distant from their funders, to the point of blinding them to the source. As Crichton implies, this would strengthen the science against accusations that it is done to benefit the funders, whether they be industry, government, or activist group. This is something that requires serious attention from science itself.

Doubtless much of this scholarly discussion will be removed when the inevitable movie is made, but the exhilarating plot should still make it a success (and it will be streets ahead of the scientifically bereft turkey The Day After Tomorrow).

Me, I'm waiting for the video game.

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John Clayton: Steelers Run Over Ravens in Second Half

Sunday, December 26, 2004

By John Clayton
ESPN.com

PITTSBURGH -- Ben Roethlisberger may be the headliner of the Steelers, but he's not the total story in Pittsburgh.

That became clear when pain in Roethlisberger's ribs and maybe even his sternum caused him to grimace and eventually leave the game. Roethlisberger flicked a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jerame Tuman with 6:30 remaining in the third quarter to all but seal what was an easy 20-7 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. Linebacker Terrell Suggs landed on Roethlisberger after the play and drew a flag for the late hit. Roethlisberger was hurt. Visions of a Super Bowl season flashed before the eyes of those Steelers fans trying to celebrate the clinching of home-field advantage during the playoffs.

Terrell Suggs and the Ravens got to Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday.Pain has been a constant for the Steelers all year. In a victory over Dallas, they lost Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton.

They've played without Plaxico Burress, Kendrell Bell, Chad Scott, Clark Haggans and countless other starters but won 14 of 15 games. Even Roethlisberger, drafted to sit and study during his rookie season, got to play when Tommy Maddox injured his elbow in Week 2 against Baltimore.

Big Ben returned to the field the next offensive series despite his ribs bothering him so much that he had to be taken to the hospital after the game. The first play was a handoff to Jerome Bettis. The second was a pass to Burress for 26 yards. The pain got worse, and coach Bill Cowher knew it was time to rest his tough 241-pound rookie.

"It really bothered him," Cowher said of Roethlisberger's ribs. "I saw him throw the ball well, but he grimaced every time he threw."

That was it for Roethlisberger's day but not for the Steelers. They buried the Ravens with running plays. In the second half alone, the Steelers ran the ball 30 of 35 plays, gaining 108 yards and making the Ravens' physical defense look quite pedestrian.

"It was a matter of pounding on them," Bettis said. "We've been doing it all year long, so it made no sense for us to stop now. We got a boost with Plaxico Burress in there making some plays. It boils down to us running the football. That is how we are going to win football games. There comes a point in every game where you have to test their will and see if they can stop you. We ran it, we ran it and we ran it. I really think that turned the game in our favor."

Sure, Roethlisberger adds a different dimension to the Steelers offense. His strong arm and uncharacteristic savvy for a rookie enables him to make big plays off play-action fakes. But the heart of the Steelers is the running attack and the ability to stop the run. The Steelers rushed 183 yards on 42 carries, including another amazing 117-yard effort by Bettis. The Ravens, who have less options on offense than the Steelers, had 71 yards on 21 carries.

As for Roethlisberger's health, his status is uncertain though the injuries don't appear to be serious. All Cowher, whose team also suffered the loss of cornerback Deshea Townsend with a broken hand, would say was that Roethlisberger hurt his ribs. He wouldn't speculate if it was cartilage damage or cracks. Those things will be sorted out over the week.

Roethlisberger's 13-game winning streak as the starter has allowed the Steelers the luxury of healing. They clinched home-field advantage, are 14-1, and don't have a significant game scheduled until they play in the AFC Divisional round.

"I have no concerns about Ben," wide receiver Hines Ward said. "He's still a rookie. Some people seem to lose that thought. We are winning games. You really don't expect a rookie to do what he's done. He's a good rookie. He's going to make some mistakes, but the guy has played flawless. He plays hurt. He's the reason we are what we are."

The reason the Steelers are what they are is that they've copied the Patriots' model. They are a team. Bettis accepted a backup role to Duce Staley, but when Staley pulled a hamstring, Bettis came off the bench to run like a 25-year-old. Haggans was the Steelers' best pass-rushing outside linebacker, but he was out with a hamstring injury. James Harrison has taken his place and constantly pressured Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller. Willie Williams fills in for Scott. The story goes on and on.

"We're winning a lot of games with a lot of guys hurt," linebacker Joey Porter said. "That sets up for a good situation. Now, we are getting all those guys back for the playoffs. We'll be coming into the playoffs with a healthy Jerome Bettis and a healthy Duce Staley. That's is priceless. We'll have a healthy Plaxico Burress, a healthy Hines Ward, a healthy Antwaan Randle El, a healthy Clark Haggans. Anybody who has any nicks and bruises has a chance to get healthy."

And pity those teams who come to Pittsburgh. Those coming have to prepare for the cold and the physical play. In fact, the Steelers' defense has a little bit of an attitude. The unit's members are angry that defensive end Aaron Smith was snubbed for the Pro Bowl after having one of the better pass-rushing seasons for a 3-4 defensive end. Porter was particularly mad about thoughts the Ravens had a better, more physical defense than the Steelers.

"We don't have the media hype," Porter said. "You talk how physical the Baltimore Ravens defense is, and they aren't even the No. 1 defense. We are. That's how it's been going against us all year. We accepted it. It's like we had to prove it to everybody. All year, we had the No. 1 defense, but you still continue to talk about how great Baltimore defense is. We have a lot of guys who believe in the system."

It was a matter of pounding on them. We've been doing it all year long, so it made no sense for us to stop now. We got a boost with Plaxico Burress in there making some plays. It boils down to us running the football. That is how we are going to win football games. ”

The Steelers defense held the Ravens to 248 yards, lowering its season total to 257.8, best in the league. But the Steelers' offense made a statement, too. Burress' return helped -- believe it or not -- the running game. On their first offensive possession, Roethlisberger hit Burress with a 36-yard touchdown pass after the Ravens stacked the middle of the field to stop the run. Later in the first half, Burress caught a 35-yard pass. Pretty soon, the Ravens removed a safety from the tackle box and played Cover 2 zone.

Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt then started the second half with 12 running plays in a 14-play, 71-yard touchdown drive that gave Pittsburgh a 17-7 lead. The drive consumed 8:34 and took some of the feistiness out of the Ravens.

"We always talk about the third quarter, whether it is the first possession on offense, the first possession on defense, the kickoff or the kickoff return," Cowher said. "That to me is as important as there is because you are re-establishing what momentum there was and what you're trying to establish in the second half. To come out, take the ball down the field using up the clock and converting a fourth down was important."

The story about the Steelers is their physical play on offense and defense. They are Steel Town tough even though the steel mills are mostly gone in Western Pennsylvania. Roethlisberger aches, but he'll be back in three weeks. The Steelers will have Bettis and Staley and even Harrison, a backup, who looked like a Pro Bowl linebacker.

"You've got to wait until the end of the movie," Porter said. "Superman always wins in the end."
The ribs might be Roethlisberger's Kryptonite, but the Steelers won in the end. It's a pretty good movie.

John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Deroy Murdock: Drug Companies Closer to Santa Than Scrooge

December 23, 2004, 8:32 a.m.
http://www.nationalreview.com

Secret Santa
Drug industry gives to third-world’s poor.

In this season of giving, it is a sleigh-sized irony that the global pharmaceutical industry behaves like Santa, yet often is denounced as a multinational Scrooge.

The drug industry "needs to moderate its prices and make them more Transparent and equitable," Harvard Medical School lecturer Marcia Angell, M.D. wrote in the Financial Times last July. "In short, it needs to curb its greed."

Liberal columnist Molly Ivins has decried Big Pharma's "greedy, bloodsucking, murderous behavior all over the globe."

Having failed to defeat President Bush, radical documentarian Michael Moore has shaved his beard and aimed his lens at the drug industry. His new title? Sicko.

AIDS is wiping out Africans due to "the genocidal action of the drug cartels who refuse to make the drugs affordable," according to Father Angelo D'Agostino, a Jesuit priest and founder of the Children of God Relief Institute in Nairobi, Kenya.

These caricatures completely ignore the fact that major drug companies donate enormous amounts of life-saving products to poor third worlders.

A recent Hudson Institute study illustrates this prescription philanthropy. In "A Review of Pharmaceutical Company Contributions: HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Other Infectious Diseases," Carol Adelman and Jeremiah Norris document the value of drugs that this industry handed out to some of Earth's most desperate people.

Last year alone, nine major drug companies donated $2.135 billion worth of products and services to combat HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, and other tropical ailments. This sum, Adelman and Norris write, "remains a conservative figure since it does not include cause-related marketing or philanthropic contributions by overseas affiliates."

Abbott, Becton-Dickinson, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, and Wyeth donated $1.4 billion in drugs and medical devices; $210 million in in-country logistics, storage, administration, and time volunteered by medical professionals; $210 million in taxes, tariffs, and customs duties; $175 million in additional projects outside an industry consortium called the Partnership for Quality Medicines Donations (PQMD); and $140 million for transportation, insurance, and handling.

Despite the alleged avarice of the "mean, nasty" drug companies, this $2.135 billion in medical charity far outpaced the financial commitment of "caring, loving" government agencies that reputedly "put people, before profits." Compare Big Pharma's foreign aid with that of public-sector donors in 2003:

The U.S. Agency for International Development's Global Health Budget stood at $1.374 billion.
The World Health Organization's budget was $1.37 billion.

European Commission spending on HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria totaled $451 million.

In 1958, the World Council of Churches asked each developed nation to give poor countries 0.7 percent of its Gross Domestic Product annually. While Adelman and Norris report that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development "has since abandoned this percentage," as have most wealthy nations, the PQMD companies' $2.135 billion in pharmaceutical gifts equaled 0.95 percent of their $224.3 billion incombined 2003 revenues.

Huge numbers aside, consider just three projects these corporations financed:

Pfizer donated $48 million to overseas HIV/AIDS programs, including $39 million in medication. Last October, it opened a $15 million testing and training facility in Kampala, Uganda. It will treat 10,000 AIDS patients annually.

Pfizer also linked University of Utah medical specialists with 250 of their African counterparts at Uganda's Makere University. Each African is expected to instruct 10 others. (Full disclosure: Pfizer has paid me to address several corporate events.)

Glaxo last year distributed, at discounted rates, 27,000 anti-retroviral HIV/AIDS treatments to patients in 56 nations.

Merck shielded 40 million Africans from river blindness in 2003. While ingesting Mectazin tablets has transformed the tse tse fly from an opthalmological nightmare into a dermatological nuisance, 62.5 million acres of once-abandoned, fly-laden riversides have been repopulated. As river blindness fades to black, that property, Norris says, now produces enough food to nourish 17 million people.

Merck presumably is among the "genocidal" drug cartels whose "unaffordable" costs propagate AIDS. Nevertheless, even the aforementioned Father D'Agostino's group in Kenya reportedly purchases Merck's anti-HIV drugs at what the company calls "no profit" prices.

So, what are the pharmaceutical sector's motives? Drug executives simply could have huge hearts and, literally, boatloads of compassion. Perhaps this largesse is a coldly calculated business technique designed to appease angry activists and assuage regulatory busybodies. Maybe it is a mixture of both. That hardly matters to vulnerable third worlders. America's supposedly villainous drug companies stand shoulder to shoulder with these human beings as they battle disease.

If the pharmaceutical sector can be faulted for anything, it is for being so bafflingly bashful about publicizing their great works around the world. The simple fact is that without the drug companies' ten-figure philanthropy, millions of destitute Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans would spend this Christmas Day face-down in the dirt.
* * *

Post-Gazette: At Distant Bars, Steeler Nation Comes Together

The same lusty crew will be back today, drinking Iron City ordered especially for them, to watch the Steelers host the Ravens.

Sunday, December 26, 2004
By Gary Rotstein, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The license plates throughout the parking lot of Sammy's Tap & Grill depict the Wright Brothers' original plane in this "First in Flight" state, but the most important transportation for the people inside is "The Bus."

The college coeds serving drinks ask what "y'all" would like, but the customers ordering I.C. Lights wonder whether "yinz" think it's a Super Bowl year.

Heinz Field is 500 miles to the northwest and the Pittsburgh Steelers another 150 miles beyond that in Cleveland on this Sunday. Yet from the cluster of black and gold in this wide-decked former Shoney's restaurant, you'd think Jerome Bettis himself was on hand to autograph Terrible Towels.

It's another typical autumn Sunday in the boundless Steeler Nation, and 100 or so transplants to the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill triangle are in Sammy's to watch the Steelers and Browns on satellite TV. During a tumbling run across the goal line by No. 36, two hundred arms reach high like referees, in sync with their roar.

"Yeah, baby, in your face! ... We will not be denied!" yells Bob Smolensky, 55, among the dozens who are watching one of nine televisions outdoors on a crisp afternoon -- with wife, daughter and grandson -- because there's no space indoors. He used to work in Downtown's Gulf Building, but now is employed at North Carolina State University, located just a couple of long Roethlisberger throws up Avent Ferry Road from Sammy's.

Twelve hours earlier, the place had been full of recent and soon-to-be college graduates flirting in soft drawls, playing bar games like Golden Tee and listening to music. Now it's even more crowded, only it's with families who are sharing the Pittsburgh idea of quality time. The women who make up one-third of the crowd understand a stop-and-go is meant for scoring, not shopping. For the men, nothing is more comely than Bill Cowher's jaw.

Grouped in a row inside the front door, beneath a "Steel Triangle Fan Club" banner that outlines the Golden Triangle's skyline for a double entendre, are people happy to shout out the following hometowns: Penn Hills, Rochester, New Castle, New Wilmington, Bellevue, Martins Ferry, Ohio.

Ohio?

Close enough, as long as you're rooting for the right team.

"Everybody here is proud to be from Pittsburgh and wants to make everyone aware of it," explained Dominic Viola, 33, a former Keystone Oaks High School baseball player who is now a North Carolina scout for the Baltimore Orioles. "Everybody is here because this is how they keep their connection to the city."

While all Steelers games are telecast in Pittsburgh, people wanting that option in other television markets must purchase a special NFL satellite package for about $150 a season. Most instead find a place like Sammy's, which dedicates 16 televisions to Steelers action every week.

"It's always more fun when you're with a bunch of people rooting for your team," said Ray Hornack, head of the Steel Triangle Fan Club, which has 100 members paying annual dues of $25.

The money is used to buy Steelers memorabilia, which is raffled off in the bar at halftime, and to support a local charity in Raleigh.

He said the club got kicked out of another establishment near Raleigh's Lake Boone a few years ago. A supermarket next door complained that the fans were too rowdy and taking up too many parking spaces. There must be some phrase, after all, that goes: "You can take the Steeler fan out of the 'Burgh, but you can't ..."

The same lusty crew will be back today, drinking Iron City ordered especially for them, to watch the Steelers host the Ravens.

Steeler fans also will gather in hundreds of other public watering holes today. They'll be among retirees at Spectators Sports Bar in Fort Myers, Fla.; with a heavily Hispanic crowd at the Kings-X watering hole in El Paso, Texas; joining software engineers at Zachery's in Millbrae, Calif.

The Steelers' fan support around the country is legendary. Television commentators point out the unusual visibility and decibel level of support for the Steelers in other teams' stadiums, only some of which is produced by current Pittsburghers traveling to follow their team.

The unusual volume of Steelers fans at away games can be explained by so many ex-Pittsburghers outsourcing themselves around the country due to economics; so many of them retaining intense Pittsburgh loyalties because of deep Steel City roots; and so many whose emotions have hinged on the Steelers' success ever since the Super Bowl years. The team also has more than its share of dedicated followers who've never even been to Pittsburgh, thanks to its championship image from the '70s.

Eleven years ago, Ray Clark, 38, formerly of New Castle, wandered into Sansone's West Oaks Bar in Houston, noticed a few other people in Steelers garb, and they welcomed him. If he's black and they're white, no big deal. And if some of the 50 or more who gather there every week now are white-collar college graduates and others are blue-collar laborers, so what?

"We're all family," said the restaurant manager, wearing a gold steel-bar helmet. "We're all from the 'Burgh, and we all come together."

The Steeler Nation may be strong, but it's hardly cohesive. The Steelers organization makes no effort to organize or connect with the various groups out there. The extent to which things become formal depends on whatever group of guys -- and women, since there are plenty of those wearing Ward and Webster jerseys too -- starts gathering at some bar where the staff is willing to turn on the Steelers game.

Al Kleber, an Atlanta businessman also known as "Pittsburgh Al," believes he was the first one to make such an arrangement after settling in Georgia in 1981. Kleber convinced the owner of a place called Dirty Al's -- no relation -- that if the tavern dedicated its satellite telecast to the Steelers, he'd spread the word to a sufficient number of other expatriates to make it worthwhile.
Kleber succeeded -- to excess.

"It'd be so packed, fire marshals would come and stop people," Kleber recalled. "Then there was a riot at Dirty Al's one time from a bunch of Cleveland fans showing up for a Cleveland-Steelers game. We got barred from Dirty Al's."

Now he knows "at least seven bars" in and around Atlanta for Steelers fans.

People find such places by viewing a list on www.post-gazette.com; by checking www.blackandgoldbrigade.com, which belongs to a fan club with chapters around the country; or by e-mailing nick.nery@lycos.com, run by a Scott salesman who says he has collected information on about 50 clubs around the country, most of them independent of each other.

One of the strongest organizations is the Pittsburgh Steelers Fan Club of Baltimore, started 13 years ago and claiming nearly 2,800 members who pay a one-time fee of $25 to join. It has a big summer picnic and mailings and a Web site so everyone can keep sharp in the off-season. The club is affiliated with five different bars, the most notable being the Purple Goose Saloon.

The saloon is full of Steelers plaques, portraits and neon signs. The waitresses wear Steelers shirts. The kitchen produces a version of a Primanti Brothers sandwich. It's been like that for a dozen years, back to a time when Baltimore had no football team and the then-manager of the Purple Goose was from Pittsburgh.

All this occurs within five minutes of Downtown Baltimore, in the city's Morrell Park section, where owner Charlotte Hairsine said she doesn't need or want anyone else's business on Sundays.

"This is a closed bar for the Steelers on Sunday," she said. "You cannot come in here with Ravens or Browns colors."

Just across the street, however, sits a Ravens bar. That place will be crowded today as well, no doubt.

And if a Dirty Al's-style showdown should break out afterward in the street, perhaps no one will be surprised. Hey, it's a 'Burgh thing.

Back to main story:Scattered Abroad / Many of the thousands of Pittsburgers who left year to return