Friday, May 19, 2006

Mark D. Tooley: Saint Hugo

The Religious Left begins its embrace of Hugo Chávez.
05/18/2006 12:00:00 AM

WHEN VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ met with the Pope earlier this week, he assured Benedict XVI that he is a Christian. And he told the press that has a special friend who is one too. Sort of.

"Our Bolivarian revolution is very Christian and I have a friend who isn't Christian, but lately has said he is a Christian in the social aspect: his name is Fidel Castro," Chávez announced. "I talk to [Castro] a lot about Christ each time we see each other, and he told me recently, 'Chávez, I'm Christian in the social sense.'"

Chávez calls Jesus Christ a socialist and a revolutionary. And that's the kind of Christ he wants to follow. It is not clear how much the Pope was persuaded. The Vatican has criticized efforts by Chávez's revolutionary government to curtail the influence of the Catholic Church in Venezuela. Chávez has called the Catholic Church's hierarchy a "tumor," while Venezuelan Cardinal Rosalio Castillo Lara has accused Chávez of aspiring towards a dictatorship.

It will be no surprise if we soon see left-wing American clerics investing Chávez with a mystical reverence previously reserved for the likes of Fidel Castro and, during the 1980s, Sandinista honcho Daniel Ortega. Indeed, the canonization of Chávez in some quarters has already begun.
LAST FALL, Chávez addressed a rapturous crowd of fans at a United Methodist Church in Manhattan's swank Upper West Side. (Here's a photo.) Castro and Daniel Ortega have paid similar visits to liberal churches in Manhattan.

As he marched into the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, the strongman was greeted with loud applause and chants (in Spanish) of, "Chávez, friend, the people are with you." Chávez shared the pulpit with Jesse Jackson. Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who's never met an anti-American dictator he couldn't support, sat appreciatively in the audience. Also present were officials from the Cuban government.

"I felt a love for the Bronx and New York starting with my visit today," Chávez noted in the church, while wearing a red shirt that symbolizes the Bolivarian revolution. He pulled a crucifix from his pocket and declared himself to be an "authentic Christian" who serves the poor. He was preceded by a Methodist minister and Catholic priest, who praised the Chávez regime for its literacy and healthcare programs. Chávez himself introduced the local Methodist bishop, Jeremiah Park.

ACCORDING TO A SUPPORTIVE METHODIST CLERIC who was in the audience, Chávez said, "I preach the word of Jesus Christ. He was a revolutionary. Christ is the good news. A revolt of hope is taking place today--hope for justice." He continued: "Cuba and Venezuela are accused of being a destabilizing force in the hemisphere but the greatest destabilizing force is poverty. . . . I reach out my hand in friendship to the Bush administration, even though 'you are the lion and we are the lamb.'"

Earlier this year, in gratitude for his brand of Christianity, some church groups helped organize a National Solidarity Conference for Venezuela in Washington, D.C. Sponsors included the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns and the Methodist Federation for Social Action. In 2004 the Maryknollers sent a solidarity delegation to Venezuela, led by Fr. Roy Bourgeois. Bourgeois is perhaps best known for leading demonstrations against the U.S. Army's training school for Latin military officers at Ft. Benning, Georgia. While in Venezuela, Bourgeois met with Chávez and appeared on his daily television program, Aló Presidente.

After his visit, Bourgeois was enthusiastic about Chávez. "We've got a president and a government here that's on the side of the poor that is offering the poor a vision that gives them hope and promise for a better way of life," he explained, continuing:

[Chávez] recommends books. You know what one of the books was that he recommended? Noam Chomsky! He's recommending all these articles that he has read in the newspaper--he is a teacher! He is looking at Latin America like few have: through the underside of history. He is looking at it through the eyes of the poor and the oppressed. And when you do that you are going to have a lot of enemies. And he's got enemies.

Bourgeois warned that "the United States and George Bush are here to do everything they can to make sure that this revolution fails. Because if it succeeds, if the poor here will get justice, if there will be a real re-distribution of the resources here (especially the wealth, the money, the power) and in a country like Venezuela, this will spread to other countries. And so, what is at work of course and this is no secret, the U.S. is pumping money into Venezuela as we pumped money into Chile when Allende was there."

The American Religious Left is prepared to support Chávez. When Pat Robertson quixotically suggested--and later retracted--that the United States could assassinate Chávez, many mainline church officials responded with immediate outrage. Slamming Robertson for his latest inanity was no doubt a pleasure for them. Sadly, these clerics will likely view defending Chávez from more serious international criticism not just as a pleasure, but a duty.

Mark D. Tooley directs the United Methodist committee at the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

© Copyright 2006, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.

Frederica Mathewes-Green- The Da Vinci Code: Worse Than the Book?!

Quite a feat.

May 19, 2006, 6:26 a.m.

An ordinary man—a professor, say—gets caught in a deadly game of mystery and murder. He’s thrown together with a cool, attractive young woman who may be more than she seems. After many chases and escapes, the two wind up safe in each other’s arms.

Alfred Hitchcock gave us goosebumps with that theme and variations. Ron Howard’s The Da Vinci Code turns similar material into a big yawn. What happened? You can start with Tom Hanks’s rendition of Robert Langdon, the Harvard “symbology” professor in Dan Brown’s bestselling novel.

A few decades ago, Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart, playing the man dragged into the chase, would loudly have protested, “This is crazy!” or “You got the wrong man!” But Hanks is unaccountably distant. He looks uncomfortable throughout, like he’s holding a plastic wineglass at a business reception and longs to be anywhere else.

The drama’s inertness is compounded by the decision to eliminate any hint of romance between Langdon and the plucky Sophie Neveu. The novel ended with a passionate kiss, but the movie ends with an avuncular smack on the forehead and a see-ya-later. Audrey Tatou, as Sophie, is a mismatch for Hanks anyway—too short, too cute, too young. She’s adorable when she tucks her hair behind one round mouse-like ear, but she’s no Grace Kelly. She lacks the Hitchcock ladies’ sangfroid, so, as a substitute, she spits out her lines in a guttural snarl, emphasizing words at random and looking grim. As George Sanders told Anne Baxter in All About Eve, “You’re too short for that gesture.”

The first hour, though very busy (and bloody), is so packed with verbal exposition and so lacking in character dynamics that it plods laboriously. It feels like a droning afternoon class, where you have to pay attention because this is going to be on the test. A bright spot is the editing, which is impressive right from the opening sequence, as the film cuts between scenes of Sauniere’s murder and those of Langdon’s book lecture. But if the first thing you can find to praise in a film experience is the editing, the second is likely to be theater décor.

The movie gains a bit of zip when Ian McKellen arrives, in the role of the wealthy, eccentric Grail-nut, Sir Leigh Teabing. He makes a striking entrance as he comes bobbling down a stair supported by two slim black canes, a pleasingly kinetic image. In some ways it’s like “Nude Descending a Staircase,” and in other ways, not, which is just as well.

As Teabing and Langdon load Sophie up with Grail lore, more differences between movie and novel become apparent. In the book, it’s all about sex: “The ancients believed that the male was spiritually incomplete until he had carnal knowledge of the sacred feminine.” (This seems a bit hard on gays, and especially on Da Vinci himself, hailed in the book as “a flamboyant homosexual.” As supposed leader of the Priory of Sion, he would have been required to perform ritual sex with his wife [?] before a circle of masked observers. No wonder he spent so much time in his studio.)

In theory, I suppose, a woman is likewise incomplete until she has sex with the sacred masculine, though Brown doesn’t state this outright. I wish he had, because the response from feminist organizations would have been fun to watch. This sex stuff might have nudged some theatergoers awake, but it’s been removed from the plot.

Now the supposed reason that Christ’s marriage to St. Mary Magdalene was concealed is because it would be proof of his “mortality.” Characters had to say this several times before I figured out what they were trying to express. Apparently the idea is that, if Christ was married, then he didn’t rise from the dead. Which is nonsense. The Bible, in fact, doesn’t say that Jesus never married, though if he had it probably would have popped up in the communal memory somewhere. If it turns out that that detail somehow slipped the first evangelists’ minds, it would make no difference to the Christian claims.

Great teachers, male and female, have come and gone through the millennia, and their marital status was rarely relevant. What makes Jesus different is that he’s something more than an instructive memory; on the contrary, he keeps manifesting himself to people, even today, as an undeniable living presence. He keeps giving people first-hand proof that he is alive.

Not everyone gets an experience like this (like I did, 32 years ago—a theophany to an entrenched anti-Christian that was so overwhelming that doubt has been impossible ever since). But those who have such experiences are charged to tell others. And that’s just what St. Mary Magdalene did. She was the first person to see the resurrected Lord, and immediately went and preached the news. For this she is honored with the title “Equal to the Apostles.”

The movie’s premise, that the Church degraded St. Mary Magdalene and concealed her tomb, is such a whopper that it deprives the plot of traction; only the completely ignorant can maintain such extreme suspension of disbelief. St. Mary Magdalene was so beloved and admired that both Ephesus and Provence claim she spent her final years evangelizing among them, and her relics—far from hidden—were enshrined and venerated in both locations. She’s honored as a great saint, named patroness of churches and convents, pictured in icons, and celebrated with liturgical hymns. How ignorant of history would you have to be not to know this? So the movie’s plot is even more of a muddle than the book’s. (And as a friend told me, the book is so ahistorical that she had to pretend it was a sci-fi work about an alternative reality just to get through it.)

In the movie, St. Mary’s relics are “the source of God’s power on earth.” (Huh?) What’s more, when their location is revealed it will prove Jesus Christ was “mortal.” (How? And, aside from the non sequitur, how could her bones prove that she had ever married at all? Or anything whatever about him?) Christianity would be threatened, because scientific testing could establish that some living human was her descendant. (So what? And even if St. Mary’s descendants were found, how could tests identify the father?) Christians eradicated the earlier pagan faith, which had worshipped “many male gods and one divine feminine.” (This describes no religion I’ve ever heard of; ancient Rome knew as many goddesses as gods.) A religious war ensued, and Robert and Teabing disagree on who started it. (The Roman Empire’s pagans did; official persecution of Christians—the torture and murder sort—abounded over the course of 300 years.)

Langdon insists to Sophie that, when it comes to spiritual realities, “What matters is what you believe.” (Gee, even with Tinkerbelle you had at least to clap.) But when it comes to historical realities, it’s vital that objective truth be revealed. (And that supposedly suppressed truth stands on the shaky stilts of two ambivalent references in documents written a hundred years or more after the Biblical Gospels.) Langdon opines that St. Mary Magdalene “could have” written the Gospel in her name. (Yeah, like Judas wrote “the Gospel of Judas.”)

Even within the logic of the story, it’s not logical. The evil bishop Aringarosa (Alfred Molina, who oozes presence—this contrasts with Hanks, who oozes absence) says that when he finds the evidence he will destroy it; Sauniere, responsible for protecting the evidence, seals it in a device that, if mishandled, will destroy it. He ends up spending his dying moments writing riddles for Sophie that are kind of hard, but not very; they don’t insure that she alone could decipher them, or even that she’ll be able to decipher them at all. Both Aringarosa and Silas (Paul Bettany) are complex figures in the book, with some touching attributes; here they’re just plain evil. (And the movie Silas is not an albino, he’s a blond—a surfer without a tan.) Sophie hisses at Silas, “Your God doesn’t forgive murderers. He burns them!” (Nope, the most basic Christian teaching is that God freely and completely forgives all who repent. But it’s kind of creepy to discover that theological revisionists are this eager for a wrathful, punishing God.)

The film’s violence is absurdly gratuitous: when a flight controller is slow in giving Captain Fache information, he breaks his nose, knocks him down, and then starts kicking him. Was Howard afraid the audience might be getting bored? So skip buying a ticket, and wait to rent this movie some night when you’re in the perfect mood to get a lecture from a conspiracy-minded blowhard. In the meantime, you can mull this over. The Da Vinci theory has everybody talking about where St. Mary Magdalene’s bones are. How come nobody asks where Jesus Christ’s bones are?

Frederica Mathewes-Green writes regularly for NPR’s Morning Edition,, Christianity Today, and other publications. She is the author of Gender: Men, Women, Sex and Feminism, among other books.

Christina Hoff Sommers: Drop Title IX Suits

Christina Hoff Sommers
USA Today
May 19, 2006

It is common knowledge that American schoolboys are faring poorly compared with girls. The average 11th-grade boy has the writing skills of an 8th-grade girl. Boys receive a majority of the failing grades, while girls garner most of the honors.

Women earn 57 percent of bachelor's degrees, a gender gap that experts predict will widen. So what are the Department of Education and National Science Foundation doing about the problem of male underachievement?

Nothing. But they are conducting a review of math, physics and engineering programs at selected universities to root out supposed bias against women and girls. Their weapon is Title IX, which "is not just related to sports," says Stephanie Monroe, assistant secretary of Education for civil rights. "We're in the process right now of putting together our dockets." She assures us that these Title IX reviews are just business as usual for her department.

But why continue them in the face of massive evidence that it is now boys who are on the wrong side of the gender gap? It is still early in this new Title IX process, and any implementation would require the approval of the Bush administration.

Let us hope that never happens.

Illusion of Bias

For decades, feminist pressure groups have been asserting that campuses provide a "chilly climate" for women. That might have once been true, but it is not true now.

Activists create the illusion of continuing bias by focusing on engineering, physics and math. It is true more men than women major in these subjects. But why blame the difference on bias?

Some history is required. Most professional schools were once unwelcoming to women. But that did not stop women from breaking down their doors. Women are approaching parity at schools of law and medicine, and they have surpassed men in biology and veterinary medicine.

Women made up only 5 percent of veterinary school students in the late 1960s; now, female applicants number 80 percent. If aspiring female cadets could storm The Citadel military school, why would would-be female mathematicians be frightened off by math geeks brandishing slide rules? Today, American women go where they want to go.

Government officials are fretting over something they cannot change. Women's relative lack of interest in electrical engineering and metallurgy is matched by men's lower participation in social work, early childhood education, psychology, languages and more.

As feminist scholar Camille Paglia notes, women are less attracted to the "people-free zones." Mother Nature doesn't play by the rules of political correctness, no matter the amount of government intervention. But such government meddling could seriously reduce opportunities for men.

Harm from Title IX

Title IX has removed barriers to women's participation in sports. But it has also caused great damage, in part because it has led to the adoption of a destructive quota system. Many coaches have been unable to attract equal numbers of men and women to participate. To avoid government censure, funding loss and lawsuits, they often eliminate men's teams.

In effect, to achieve the illusion of equity, men's participation in sports is being calibrated to the level of female interest. The unhappy result is that men's wrestling, diving and gymnastic teams have been decimated, along with associated scholarship opportunities.

If the Education Department and National Science Foundation were strictly to impose Title IX compliance standards on academic science, we could see men's participation in math, physics, technology and engineering capped at the level of female interest. That would wreak havoc in fields that drive the economy and where the USA already lags behind other countries.

Not everyone finds that prospect worrisome. Debra Rolison of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory campaigns nationally for using Title IX to eliminate bias in academic science programs. She hails the campaign as a "not-yet-realized earthquake."

Precipitating an earthquake in academic science is a terrible idea. The Education Department should put aside its dockets and get serious about improving prospects for male and female students alike.

Christina Hoff Sommers is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC . Her books include Who Stole Feminism and The War Against Boys. She is a frequent lecturer at prep schools and on college campuses.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ann Coulter: 12 Steps to Manhood

Ann Coulter
May 11, 2006

It's pretty pathetic when a Kennedy is too drunk to drive into the Potomac. After the visibly intoxicated Rep. Patrick Kennedy crashed his car into a police barrier near the Capitol just before 3 a.m. last Thursday morning, he explained to the police he was hurrying back to the Capitol for a vote, a procedure known on the Hill as "last call." It could have been a lot worse: Patrick's designated driver that night was Ted Kennedy.

At some point in his scrolling list of excuses, Kennedy eventually claimed he was addicted to prescription drugs and checked himself into the newly opened Kennedy Wing of the Mayo Clinic. He explained he had been "sleep driving." If people fall for his story, his father, Ted, plans to attribute his last immigration bill to "sleep legislating."

Coming right on the heels of a three-year witch-hunt directed at Rush Limbaugh for an addiction to prescription drugs because of his politics – as well as the continuing threat to put Tom DeLay in prison because of his politics – you would think there would be at least some serious discussion of prosecuting the young Kennedy for his addiction to prescription drugs, too.

Perhaps the Republican attorney general in Washington needs to interview Democratic Palm Beach prosecutor Barry Krischer, who wasted three years and untold taxpayer dollars trying to frame Limbaugh, about the danger to society of prescription drug addiction.

Baseball has a system to protect batters from being hit: If your pitcher hits one of our guys, our pitcher will hit one of your guys. This is also the only argument that ever works with Democrats.

Democrats adored the independent counsel statute – until it was used to catch an actual felon in the Oval Office. Then they noticed all sorts of problems with the law. Democrats swore up and down that women never lie about rape – until that same felon was credibly accused of rape by Juanita Broaddrick on "NBC News," not to mention the four other card-carrying Democratic women who described being raped by Bill Clinton in eerily similar detail in Christopher Hitchens' book "No One Left to Lie To."

Conservatives will continue to be threatened with prison on trumped-up charges until Democrats start having to worry about being prosecuted for minor offenses, too – though, in Kennedy's case, not as minor as Rush Limbaugh's offense, which never involved smashing his car into a police barrier. (In Rep. Kennedy's defense, at least he didn't drown the woman in his car and then disappear for nine hours.)

Democrats have declared war against Republicans, and Republicans are wandering around like a bunch of ninny Neville Chamberlains, congratulating themselves on their excellent behavior. They'll have some terrific stories about their Gandhi-like passivity to share while sitting in cells at Guantanamo after Hillary is elected.

For a political party that grasps the concept of victory against foreign enemies, Republicans can't seem to grasp that concept when it comes to domestic enemies. Instead of taking a page from Sun-tzu's "Art of War," when it comes to fighting liberals, American conservatives prefer the Jimmy Carter unconditional-surrender strategy.

Patriotic Americans don't have to become dangerous psychotics like liberals, but they could at least act like men.

Why hasn't the former spokesman for the Taliban matriculating at Yale been beaten even more senseless than he already is? According to Hollywood, this nation is a cauldron of ethnic hatreds positively brimming with violent skinheads. Where are the skinheads when you need them?
What does a girl have to do to get an angry, club- and torch-wielding mob on its feet?

There is not the remotest possibility that a man who was recently defending shooting women in the head for wearing nail polish will so much as be snubbed on the Yale campus.

The only violence on college campuses these days occurs when people like David Horowitz, Michelle Malkin and me show up to give a speech in defense of America. Then we need bomb-sniffing dogs and a lecture hall lined with armed police. But a Talibanist goes about his day at Yale unmolested.

Conservatives may shrink from confrontation with howling, violent liberals, but as Gen. "Buck" Turgidson in "Dr. Strangelove" informed the milquetoast president still hoping to avert a nuclear confrontation with the Russkies: "Well, Mr. President, I would say that General Ripper has already invalidated that policy."

Well, conservatives, I would say liberals have already invalidated your "Let's all just get along" policy.

The violence and threats of imprisonment have started. Now the only question is whether conservatives will choose victory.

Ann Coulter- Read My Lips: No New Amnesty

Ann Coulter
May 18, 2006

On the bright side, if President Bush's amnesty proposal for illegal immigrants ends up hurting Republicans and we lose Congress this November, maybe the Democrats will impeach him and we'll get Cheney as president.

At least Bush has dropped his infernal references to slacker Americans when talking about illegal immigrants. In his speech Monday night, instead of 47 mentions of "jobs Americans won't do," Bush referred only once to "jobs Americans are not doing" – which I take it means other than border enforcement and intelligence-gathering at the CIA. For the record, I'll volunteer right now to clean other people's apartments if I don't have to pay taxes on what I earn.

Also, someone must have finally told Bush that the point about America being a "nation of immigrants" is moronic. All nations are "nations of immigrants" – as Peter Brimelow pointed out brilliantly in his 1992 article in National Review on immigration, which left nothing for anyone else to say.

Of the "nation of immigrants" locution, Brimelow says:

No discussion of U.S. immigration policy gets far without someone making this helpful remark. As an immigrant myself, I always pause respectfully. You never know. Maybe this is what they're taught to chant in schools nowadays, a sort of multicultural Pledge of Allegiance...Do they really think other nations sprouted up out of the ground?

Brimelow then ran through the Roman, Saxon, Viking, Norman-French, Welsh, and Celtic immigrant influences in Britain alone.

Instead of a moratorium on new immigration, I'd settle for a moratorium on the use of the expression "We're a nation of immigrants." Throw in a ban on "Diversity is our strength," and you've got my vote for life.

Bush has also apparently learned that the word "amnesty" does not poll well. On Monday night, he angrily denounced the idea of amnesty just before proposing his own amnesty program. The difference between Bush's amnesty program and "amnesty" is: He'd give amnesty only to people who have been breaking our laws for many years – not just a few months. (It's the same program that allows Ted Kennedy to stay in the Senate.)

Bush calls this the "rational middle ground" because it recognizes the difference between "an illegal immigrant who crossed the border recently and someone who has worked here for many years." Yes, the difference is: One of them has been breaking the law longer. If our criminal justice system used that logic, a single murder would get you the death penalty, while serial killers would get probation.

Bush claimed the only other alternative – I assume this is the "irrational extreme" – is "a program of mass deportation." Really? Is the only alternative to legalizing tax cheats "a program of mass arrest of tax cheats"?

This is the logic of the pro-abortion zealots (a.k.a. "the Democratic Party"): Either lift every single restriction on abortion or...every woman in America will be impregnated by her father and die in a back-alley abortion!

Those are your only two answers? Do you need another minute?

How about the proposal made on Brimelow's website,, that illegal immigrants be told they have two months to leave the country voluntarily and not have their breaking of our immigration laws held against them when they apply for citizenship from their home countries – or not leave and be banned from U.S. citizenship forever?

Or how about just not giving illegal aliens green cards – as Bush is proposing – and deport them when we catch them?

Instead of choosing immigrants based on the longevity of their lawbreaking, another idea is to choose the immigrants we want, for example, those who speak English or have special skills. (And by "special skills" I don't mean giving birth to an anchor baby in a border-town emergency room.)

Why not use immigration the way sports teams use the draft – to upgrade our roster? We could take our pick of the world's engineers, doctors, scientists, uh...smoking-hot Latin guys who stand around not wearing shirts between workouts. Or, you know, whatever....

As Peter Brimelow says in his book Alien Nation: Common Sense About America's Immigration Disaster, why not choose immigrants who are better than us?

Bush thinks it's not fair to favor people with special skills – a policy evidenced by his Harriet Miers pick.

How about this: It's not fair to want to go out with someone just because that person is attractive and has a good personality because it discriminates against people who are ugly with bad social skills! That's our immigration policy.

Press "1" for English; press "2" for a new president....

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

Kenneth R. Timmerman: Dealing With the Devil

Kenneth R. Timmerman
May 18, 2006

Should President Bush “respond” to the 18-page rant sent to him through the media by the jihadist president in Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

The Party of Appeasers – which includes the Senator from France, Chuck Hagel – believes the answer is yes. They believe the United States should be offering concessions to a regime that murders its own young, that cheats on its international obligations, and that threatens to obliterate another member of the United Nations.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who has now acknowledged publicly that she and her political masters completely missed the rise of political Islam during the 1990s because of their ideological rejection of religion in any form whatsoever, had a slightly more interesting suggestion. She has said the president should respond to the message he wants to receive, not necessarily the one that was sent.

That is a constructive suggestion, seeing as there is nothing – absolutely nothing – in the bearded boy wonder’s screed that deserves serious attention by anyone other than a rapid consumer of urban legend. (Which is why Cindy Sheehan thinks it’s a masterpiece, no doubt).

Just to sum up, for those of who haven’t the patience to troll the gutter, Ahmadinejad makes the case why he believes why America is an evil empire. I guess that is what explains the letter’s unending torrent of torrid prose. It’s a long and often amusing case if you buy into it.

He complains that the United States has tried to overthrow his regime (millions of Iranian patriots wish that were true).

He criticizes the US for holding prisoners at Guantanamo who get “three hots and a cot,” as well as a prayer rug, exercise, and visits by the Red Cross. Gee, I know thousands of political prisoners in Iran who would much prefer GTMO to Evin prison in Tehran or Gohardasht prison in Karaj.

In calling on the president to change his ways, he counsels him to adopt “the values outlined in the beginning of this letter, i.e. the teachings of Jesus Christ (PBUH), human rights and liberal values." My favorite is the way he phrased the allegation – which Michael Moore and the Cindy camp know is absolute, rock-solid truth – that elements within the U.S. government carried out the September 11 attacks. "Reportedly your government employs extensive security, protection and intelligence systems – and even hunts its opponents abroad,” he says.

This is what psychologists call “projection.” Since Ahmadinejad and his government have systematically hunted down and murdered opponents of their regime in France, Germany, Austria, Turkey, Dubai, Iraq, and elsewhere, ergo the United States must be gunning for Michael Moore and Saint Cindy as they hip-hop from gay gala to gala at the Cannes Film Festival. You wish.

I guess no one gave him the brief on the support his own government provided the al Qaeda hijackers, an extremely truncated version of which appears on pp241-242 of the 9/11 Commission report.

But seriously, President Bush should respond to the letter. He should treat it as an opportunity to address the Iranian people, doing in foreign policy what he occasionally has done so well here at home, talking over the heads of the media and taking his case directly to the people.

His address should be carried on Voice of America and Radio Farda in Farsi, as well as in the original English – if for no other reason than to ensure that pro-Tehran staffers at these radios do not deform the message when they translate it into Persian. The president’s speech should be re-broadcast again and again and again. And it should be followed up by action.

Here’s what the president should say and do.First, he should restate his support for the right of the Iranian people “to choose your own future and win your own freedom.” He first said this, to great effect, in the 2002 State of the Union and restated it again this year. Presidential pronouncements that reaffirm the right of the Iranian people to pursue freedom in the face of tyranny are important, especially if the president follows up with clear actions.

Next, he should designate Vice President Dick Cheney as his Emissary to the Free People of Iran. (That will get the boy president’s attention, I assure you. Cheney = serious business). Cheney’s job will be to conduct a loya jirga of the Iranian opposition, and to help them designate a leadership council capable of taking their case to the world, as well as to the Iranian people.

(Note to skeptics: the Iran Referendum Movement has already taken a major step in this direction, bringing together political opponents from the National Front on the left to the Constitutionalists on the right. They have established 38 chapters in cities around the world, who designated 250 delegates to a founding conference in Brussels in December 2005. The conferees elected a 15 member Central committee, who then selected a 7-member executive board. That is a good example of democracy in action.)

Third, the President should ask Congress to fully fund programs in support of the Free People of Iran. These programs should include massive support for exile broadcasting out of Los Angeles, as opposed to expanding the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe’s pro-Iranian regime broadcasting in Persian. VOA showed once again on May 11 just how opposed it is to the agenda of President Bush by inviting lobbyist Housang Amirahmadi onto their premier TV show broadcasting into Iran. (Amirahmadi is one of the legion of VOA guests who has called for lifting sanctions against Tehran and opening trade with the Islamic Republic, instead of confronting them.) What kind of message does that send to the people of Iran? Where are the pro-freedom advocates on U.S.-taxpayer funded broadcasts into Iran? Where are the president’s speeches in favor of freedom?

Finally, the Vice President’s office should work behind the scenes with non-profit organizations and with the leadership council that emerges from the loya jirga to get money and technical support items to opposition forces inside Iran. Not weapons – as the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (aka the MEK) want – but secure communications equipment and the like to be used to help organize a massive, nation-wide movement. We need to help the Iranian people to master the weapons of non-violence against a regime that owns all the guns. This is war by other means.

Mr. President: bringing freedom to Iran is far too important to America’s national security to entrust it to the State Department, and especially not to the CIA. Go to the folks who can do, not to those who whine and leak.

How much will this cost? $300 million? $500 million? Perhaps more? Assuredly. And how much will it cost in blood and treasure if we have to send an armada of B2 bombers and F-22 and F-117 stealth fighters and U.S. special forces to take out Iran’s nuclear and missile sites? (And don’t forget that nasty little “tax” when oil tops $200/barril after a U.S. or Israeli military strike on Iran).

If we do not help the people of Iran to overthrow this radical regime, the military option will be all that we have left – unless, of course, as the Party of Appeasement would have it, we are to get used to the idea of a nuclear-armed regime of radical Islamic fundamentalists who openly espouse the thrill it would give them to murder millions of Americans and Jews.

This is the only option between Appeasement and War. It’s time we took it seriously. There is much to do.

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Kenneth R. Timmerman is the author of Countdown to Crisis: the Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran (Crown Forum, New York), and Executive Director of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Paul Sperry: Kingdom of the Illegals

Paul Sperry
May 17, 2006

This month's defeat of local politicians who built the equivalent of a day-care center for illegal Hispanic immigrants in a leafy Washington, D.C., suburb was a victory not just for immigration reformers but also anti-terror watchdogs.

Angry voters in Herndon, Va., swept out their bleeding-heart mayor and two of his allies on the town council and replaced them with candidates who are not expected to renew the lease of a controversial hiring site set up to help illegal aliens find work.

Lost in all the controvery, however, is the more disturbing fact that the site -- a covered building featuring picnic tables and bathrooms -- was founded by a Muslim charity with ties to suspected Saudi-backed terror front groups. Its town operating permit won't expire until the fall of 2007, allowing the group not only time to aid and abet hundreds more illegal immigrants, but possibly recruit them.

The hiring center -- called the Herndon Official Workers Center -- is a charitable front for da'awa, or Islamic outreach to non-Muslims. Local law enforcement officials say the Saudis see new Hispanic arrivals to America as particularly ripe for conversion to Islam, and have even added an annex to their madrassa in another Washington suburb to help indoctrinate the beholden immigrants.

Years ago the Saudis and their Wahhabi lobby set up a terror-support network in Northern Virginia, right across the Potomac from the White House. Not coincidentally, Northern Virginia now boasts the fastest-growing Muslim population in the nation. Immigrants from the Middle East are flocking there, along with immigrants from Mexico and Central America attracted by a local construction boom. Authorities fear the demographic convergence is facilitating the religious conversion of possible future Jose Padillas.

On any given day, Hispanic day-workers can be seen loitering in convenience store parking lots up and down Route 7 (known by authorities as the "Wahhabi corridor") hoping to get picked up for odd jobs. Some of those jobs have included facilitating Muslim terrorists. Hispanic illegals at a 7-11 in Falls Church turned a quick buck by helping the 9-11 hijackers obtain fake IDs.

More recently, at another 7-11 farther north in Herndon, Hispanic day workers created such a nuisance -- urinating behind bushes and ogling women -- that city officials decided to do something about it. But instead of doing the obvious thing -- calling immigration authorities to round them up -- they agreed to furnish them with their own potties, and let them congregate at a property once used, believe it or not, by the city's police.

Stepping in last year to run the government-sanctioned site was an obscure group by the name, Project Hope and Harmony, which landed (in partnership with nonprofit Reston Interfaith) the $200,000 contract. The man behind the project is Muslim activist Mukit Hossain.

But he's not just any activist. Born in Bangladesh, Hossain also runs a shadowy Muslim charity in Herndon which recently had its accounts closed by Wachovia bank due to suspicious activity related to possible money-laundering. The Foundation for Appropriate and Immediate Temporary Help, or FAITH, received a $150,000 donation last year from a front group run by Saudi bagman M. Yacub Mirza, whose home and offices were raided by federal agents after 9/11. FAITH helped establish the Project Hope and Harmony.

Mirza, a native of al-Qaida hotbed Karachi, Pakistan, is said to act on behalf of Saudi millionaire and al-Qaida financier Yassin al-Qadi. He lives in Herndon in a two-story house on a wooded lot on a private drive (known as a "pipe stem") off a cul-de-sac called Safa Court in a small, secluded subdivision. His neighbors include fellow Islamists Jamal Barzinji and Taha Jaber al-Alwani. Federal law enforcement documents describe Barzinji as "not only closely associated with PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad], but also with Hamas," both officially designated terrorist groups. He's also closely associated with convicted terrorist Abdurahman Alamoudi, one of al-Qaida's top fund-raisers in the U.S.

The other neighbor, al-Alwani, is an alleged unindicted co-conspirator in the Sami al-Arian terror case. He allegedly gave at least $50,000 in jihad money to convicted terrorist al-Arian's PIJ front group in Florida. Court records say the money was sent to al-Arian "to support suicide bombings."

The three men, none of whom have been charged with a crime, control some 40 Muslim businesses, charities and think tanks -- or more precisely, shells, fronts and cut-outs -- known collectively by law enforcement as the Saudi-backed "Safa group." Their offices are located primarily at 555 Grove St. in Herndon. The Muslim World League, a Saudi-based charity linked to al-Qaida, originally set up its U.S. branch at that address with the help of Mirza.

Additional Safa group offices are located directly across Grove Street in another raided building. That's where Hossain's FAITH keeps its office. In fact, it's upstairs on the second floor -- right next door to the U.S. headquarters of the notorious International Institute of Islamic Thought, a think tank which espouses Wahhabi dogma and has allegedly funneled money to terrorist groups. After 9/11, its offices were raided by the feds along with the tenants of the non-descript office building across the street. A former IIIT official, Tarik Hamdi, is said to have delivered a battery for a satellite phone used by Osama bin Laden to coordinate and order the African embassy bombings.

Investigators also have traced funds from IIIT, led by al-Alwani, to al-Arian, and they say the recent al-Arian conviction should help move their case against the Safa group leaders forward. "We were hoping for a snowball effect," says a law enforcement official who originally helped build the case. The Safa case has been slowed by a shortage of Arabic translators, he says. Only a fraction of the materials seized in the raid four years ago has been translated and analyzed.

FAITH, which helps runs the Hispanic day-labor site, operates a Muslim thrift shop on the first floor of the same 500 Grove St. building. By all appearances, the charity is run by Muslims, for Muslims. On the day I last visited the store, an Arab woman in a flowing black gown managed it with her son, who likes to play rap-style Arabic music on a stereo in the store. Among items on sales: the Quran on audiotape, hijabs and posters in Arabic.

But recently, FAITH has become unusually interested in helping Hispanic illegal aliens.

In addition to running their hiring site, FAITH's Hossain has organized feasts for hundreds of illegals during Thanksgiving, rounding them up and feeding them an intentionally nontraditional Middle Eastern dinner of beef kebabs and rice (instead of turkey and dressing) at Zuhair's Cafe in Herndon. He and other FAITH workers also gave away a van full of new winter coats (price tag: $10,000) to the Hispanic workers and their families. They've also raised money to buy them work boots and bicycles.

ADAMS Center

In addition, they've also coordinated canned-food drives for the day laborers with the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, a large local mosque, which is not surprising given that Hossain and other FAITH board members serve on the mosque's board as well. Besides feeding the Hispanic workers, ADAMS Center, as its known, even offered to provide a van to transport them to and from the hiring site. Many of the poor Hispanic immigrants have been invited to worship at the mosque, in what has become a full-court press-the-flesh involving hundreds of Muslim volunteers from ADAMS.

The ADAMS mosque is integrally connected to the Safa group. It was founded by Safa leaders and keeps offices on Grove Street. And the mosque has received the lion's share of its funding from Saudi-backed Safa. In 1997, for instance, investigators say Mirza, the Saudi bagman, wrote a check for $250,000 to ADAMS.

Until recently, IIIT official Ahmad Totonji chaired the mosque's board of trustees. Court records allege that Totonji, a Saudi native, personally signed a check for $10,000 to al-Arian's PIJ front after 9/11.

Despite it claims of being moderate and progressive, ADAMS is a hard-line Wahhabi mosque controlled by the Saudis, investigators say. A Saudi pamphlet, called "Religious Edicts for the Immigrant Muslim," was recently found at the mosque. It states that "it is forbidden for a Muslim to become a citizen of a country (such as the United States) governed by infidels." Not surprisingly, even some of the mosque's more prominent members, such as Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR, have not hidden their wish to turn America into an Islamic state.

Hossain serves as a member of the mosque's board of trustees when he's not working for FAITH and catering to Hispanic illegals. He's also a founder of the Muslim American Political Action Committee, or MAPAC, which he set up to recruit Muslim candidates to run for federal office and work for the "empowerment of Muslim Americans."

What's more, Hossain is active in the Muslim American Society, which investigators say is the U.S. front for the Muslim Brotherhood, a worldwide jihad movement that gave rise to Hamas, PIJ and al-Qaida. Al-Awani is also active in MAS, which keeps a small, unmarked office in a non-descript building at the other end of the Wahhabi corridor in Alexandria, Va.

Joining Hossain on the ADAMS board is Tanveer A. Mirza. He is a founding member and trustee of FAITH. Mirza hails from Karachi, the same hometown as Yacub Mirza, the FAITH donor who raised red flags at Wachovia.It's one big happy family at ADAMS mosque.

Progresso Hispano

Promoting a day-labor center isn't the only thing Saudi-backed Muslim groups are doing to court Hispanic immigrants in the Washington area. A notorious Saudi school is reaching out to them through "education."

Located in Alexandria, the Islamic Saudi Academy a year after 9/11 helped set up a similar day-care center for Hispanic immigrants on its campus (which used to be the home of Mount Vernon High School before Fairfax County officials, in their infinite wisdom, leased it to the Saudi government). At one corner, day laborers routinely flock to a "Pollo" chicken takeout. What better way to introduce them to Islam than to open an annex in the old home economics building just yards away?

A spokeswoman for the little "Progresso Hispano" school, which she confirms is operated in part by the Saudi academy, provides "immigrant services" and "English classes" to local Hispanics. She would not be more specific, and said the annex's website is "down."

But a county notice of the special planning and zoning exception needed for the annex's approval in November 2002 says that Progresso Hispano "provides ESL classes, job skill training, good parenting classes, citizenship classes and other support services to the Hispanic community."

Those "other support services" are what worry law enforcement authorities.

They say the Saudi academy -- located just across Richmond Highway from the heavily immigrant apartments were the Pentagon cell of the Saudi hijackers stayed -- is a "breeding ground for terrorists." The academy produced al-Qaida operative Ahmed Abu Ali, who was recently convicted of plotting to assassinate President Bush. Abu Ali graduated valedictorian and was voted by his class -- are you ready? -- "Most Likely to Be a Martyr."

Abu Ali's case isn't the first time the Saudi academy -- which is run by the Saudi government and chaired by the Saudi ambassador (Abu Ali's father, in fact, worked for the Saudi Embassy) -- has attracted investigators' attention. In 2002, another graduate was charged with lying about plotting attacks on Israel. And more recently, an ex-comptroller for the school was arrested while videotaping a local bridge's structure for what authorities believed to be a terror attack.

The school teaches from Saudi social studies textbooks that tell Muslims to kill Jews hiding behind trees and not to take Christians as friends. It also teaches students that Christianity and Judaism are false religions. At Hatred High, kids don't have to study U.S. history or government. But memorizing the Quran is mandatory, particularly the parts glorifying violent jihad. Geography apparently is optional: School maps blot out Israel, which is renamed PALESTINE.

Is this the kind of indoctrination wide-eyed Hispanic immigrants will receive at the academy's Progresso Hispano annex in exchange for Muslim "charity"?

In another chilling trend, investigators say Saudi agents are setting up half-way houses in the area for paroled Hispanic and black converts to Islam. Several such houses have been identified in Fairfax County, Va., say local authorities working with the National Counterterrorism Center. They fear the prison converts may be further radicalized by their Wahhabi handlers as they transition back into society.

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Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington." He can be contacted at

Selena Roberts: Balco Web Should Be as Sticky for Jones as It Is for Bonds

The New York Times
Published: May 17, 2006

She resurfaced in a conflicting blur. In a 100-meter window, Marion Jones suddenly materialized in Mexico as the captivating sprinter with the corrugated abs, the devoted mother with the half-moon smile — and the Balco starlet with no credibility.

In a span of just 11.06 seconds on Saturday night, Jones dialed up a retro image, pulling away from the field just the way she used to, the bird at the tip of a V formation, gaining separation, but not distance, from her complicated past.

Was she the good girl betrayed by bad boys? Or did she need bad boys so she could be good?

Her unlikely victory in Xalapa left some dubious, others joyous and many ambivalent. On a track-and-field Web site, where runners, coaches, officials and even Victor Conte are known to chat under aliases, the message board lit up under the title, "She's b-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ck!!!!!"

"You act like there is no evidence against Marion," someone named accelerator wrote on

A writer named guru replied, "Put up or shut up."

The back and forth continued for pages, where negative nabobs were met with sunny optimists, where suspicious minds were greeted with rationalized responses.

"She is packing on the muscles," jammin wrote. "Makes you wonder."

Tafnut posted: "This is such a sad thing to say. If anything, she is SMALLER than she was — her muscles stand out because she has obviously lost weight."

Detractors and defenders surfaced as quickly as pop-up ads, but no one vilified Jones, no one wished her 11-month disappearance had been extended into forever, no one cursed her for promising to pursue more medals at the 2008 Summer Games.

Jones escaped the bludgeoning of the Barry Bonds treatment. He is a narcissistic slugger bent on mugging Henry Aaron's home run record. She is the tragic figure caught in a culture of pathological deception.

Is it fair to have Bonds's parallel pal in Balco World streak past scrutiny because she is a sympathetic suspected cheat and he is an odious suspected cheat?

Establish your own bar, personalize it as you like, but Bonds and Jones should be held to the same standard of disdain because they are almost identical in their paths to their inglorious perches.

Neither has ever tested positive for drugs, but both have watched as the Balco bust put away their magic-potion suppliers. For Bonds, it was his trainer, Greg Anderson. For Jones, it was Conte, her star-struck supplement dealer.

Neither Bonds nor Jones has been snared as a culprit in the Balco net, but each is under investigation. For Bonds, that means George Mitchell's vague probe into baseball's steroid era. For Jones, that means the doping police's endless hunt for the truth.

Neither escaped scrutiny in the book "Game of Shadows," and both have been accused of sullying their sport's record books. In achievement terms, the five medals Jones won in the 2000 Sydney Games correspond to Bonds's single-season home run record in 2001.

The similarities end there, though. Bonds is mocked with signs and toy syringes in every city outside his cocoon in San Francisco. Jones is shown tepid applause by crowds not enamored of her but respectful of her status as the sport's pop icon.

This is not to say Bonds shouldn't be razzed and Jones should be harassed. Again, each person can apply his or her own standard — as long as it is equitable treatment for equal suspects.

Otherwise, it reeks of bias, of holding stars accountable because of Q ratings and sexism. Sympathy is a completely natural and commendable emotion as long as the public isn't made a sucker out of it.

If Bonds's power isn't to be trusted — and it is not — neither should Jason Giambi's or Gary Sheffield's, cameo suspect in the Balco case, each better at P.R. than Bonds , each given immunity from fan hostility.

Persona is persuasive. It would be simpler to distinguish a starter's pistol from a smoking gun if not for Jones's ability to obscure the two by obfuscating hard reality with her gentle persona.

It would be simpler to separate the batter's box from a witness stand if Bonds possessed an amiability gene to counteract the guilty look of his body.

Jones has the look of a lost soul. She stood by her "Shrek"-shaped husband, C. J. Hunter, as he cried over being ousted as a doper from the 2000 Sydney Games. She held his hand and propped him up publicly as if to say, "He ain't heavy, he's my husband."

Then Hunter turned on her two years ago by divulging pillow talk of steroid use and images of her injections in interviews with federal prosecutors, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

She then stood by her boyfriend, Tim Montgomery, in 2004 when he was accused of doping. In a C. J. Hunter redux, Jones split up with him after the scandal, but her judgment of men was in question again two weeks ago after Montgomery was accused of participating in a $5 million money-laundering scheme.

As one Olympic official privately said yesterday, Jones is often portrayed as an innocent bystander who happens to be at every crime scene.

Compassion for Jones is a fine emotion, and contempt for Bonds is an acceptable response — as long as both are applied equally based on the issues and not the image.


Bill Madden: For Posada and Fans, Head-Spinning Night

The New York Daily News
17 May 2006

One of the wildest, most improbable nights in Yankee history was building to its third or fourth crescendo when Jorge Posada, who had practically been a coin-flip choice by Joe Torre to bat cleanup in the manager's latest makeshift lineup, strode to the plate. Alex Rodriguez had just made the second out of the ninth inning with a scorched liner to deep center field.

"Once Alex lined out like that," said Joe Torre, "you figured at that point you've done all you could."

Certainly in Posada's case that was true. Who knows if his brains were still a bit scrambled after the horrific sixth-inning collision at home plate in which he took the full brunt of Mark Teixeira's oncoming body in preventing the Texas first baseman from scoring from first on Hank Blalock's two-out double? All we know is that Posada was dead tired and wanted this game, which the Yankees were trailing on three separate occasions, to be over.

And five pitches later from Texas closer Akinori Otsuka it was.

"When Jorge worked the count to 3-1, everything changed again," said Torre.

Posada's eyes, which had been bloodied by the Teixeira collision, opened wide to Otsuka's belt-high fastball, and striking one for the old guard Yankees as Derek Jeter had done with his three-run homer that brought the Bombers to within 10-8 in the sixth, he launched it majestically into the damp night air, into the right-field seats.

"I was hoping it was going to go out," said Posada. "Actually, I knew it was out. I was really glad, too. I didn't want to play anymore."

It's a wonder if the remaining fans from the original 40,757 could take anymore. A lot of them probably considered leaving after the second inning when the Yankees were down 9-0, thanks to an abysmal start from Shawn Chacon. And when Torre's troopers began cutting into that lead with two runs in both the third and fifth before tying the franchise record for the the largest deficit overcome with a six-run sixth, deflation for the fans was right around the corner when Scott Proctor gave up a two-run homer to Brad Wilkerson in the seventh to put Texas ahead again 12-11.

After Posada tied the game again with a sacrifice fly, it was hard to believe there could be even further deflation. But there was as Mariano Rivera allowed the Rangers to forge yet another lead on Rod Barajas' RBI double in the ninth. At that point, the stands really began to clear out. Faith for yet another comeback had pretty much been spent.

The pregame topics of conversation - Hideki Matsui's return to the Stadium to address the small army of Japanese media and once again apologize for breaking his wrist; Torre's depleted lineup - had become distant memories. In discussing his make-do effort to get through this crisis in which Jason Giambi had joined Matsui and Gary Sheffield on the sidelines, Torre said he couldn't worry about rookie Melky Cabrera's struggles or who was going to hit where.

"I could have hit either Jorge or Bernie (Williams) cleanup," Torre said. "In the end, I just decided to go with Jorge."

"There was nobody else," said Posada with a laugh.

The last time he hit cleanup was the final day of the 2004 season, but after last night, in which he drove in five runs, he can probably count on hitting there again a few more times, at least until Sheffield gets back.

As for Melky, who didn't have any errors charged to him in left field last night but seemed to have an awful lot of balls dropping in around him, Torre acknowledged: "He's in a foreign land and he's got to prove to himself he's capable. It's not his fault he wasn't supposed to be up here yet."

Like everyone else, with the exception of Chacon, Cabrera had a hand in the stunning comeback with a couple of hits and one run scored.

"You never know what's gonna happen with Jorge, but he sure got after it, especially after getting his bell rung," said Torre. "But we needed everybody from top to bottom tonight in order to do something significant like we did. I can't be more proud of how they performed. "
He added that this one would definitely have to be inserted somewhere in the list of top 10 games he's managed as a Yankee.

"Mine too," said Posada.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Chuck Colson: Shifting Boundaries

Religious liberty and same-sex 'marriage'

May 16, 2006
Chuck Colson ( bio archive )

A few months ago, I told you about the agonizing choice facing Catholic Charities of Boston: Either serve the needy or remain faithful to Catholic teaching. Specifically, the only way it could continue to handle adoptions according to Massachusetts law was to include same-sex couples among its clientele.

While the Massachusetts law is not new, a new interpretation of the legal protection afforded sexual orientation threatens to undermine religious liberty not just in Massachusetts but also across the nation. It’s important to understand the background.

In March, Catholic Charities, citing a “dilemma we cannot resolve,” announced that it would no longer facilitate adoptions in Massachusetts. That “dilemma,” as writer Maggie Gallagher recently wrote in the Weekly Standard, grew out of the Massachusetts case legalizing same-sex “marriage”: that is, the Goodridge decision.

According to Gallagher, central to the Goodridge decision was the finding that “only animus against gay people could explain” different treatment for opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

Thus, after Goodridge, discrimination against same-sex couples in matters of adoption also became illegal. As a state-licensed agency, Catholic Charities was now obliged to serve same-sex couples in a way that it was not before Goodridge.

What’s more, it did not matter if Catholic Charities “ceased receiving tax support and gave up its role as a state contractor.” After Goodridge, it still could not refuse to place children with same-sex couples.

So, millennia-old religious beliefs gave way to months-old, newly found “rights.” Massachusetts refused to consider even the “narrowest religious exemption.” One of the oldest adoption agencies was, therefore, forced to stop helping the people it had pledged to serve.

But that raises this question: Are the events in Boston “an aberration or a sign of things to come?” Anthony Picarello of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty believes the latter. He told Gallagher that the effects of decisions like Goodridge on religious liberty will be “severe and pervasive.”

Picarello believes that these cases will “affect every aspect of church-state relations”—so much so that recent years will be looked back on as a time of relative peace between church and state.

Instead of litigating over posting the Ten Commandments in public spaces, churches in the future will be trying to keep the state from encroaching on matters of faith and morals.

This will certainly become the case if sexual orientation comes to be seen as analogous to race, which is already the view among many elites, including some in the judiciary. If that happens, as looks likely, then all the force of law unleashed by racism charges will be brought to bear against the Church.

Schools, health-care providers—even Christian camps and, yes, maybe pastors in the pulpit—will be uncertain if they can do their jobs in a way that is both legal and consistent with their beliefs.

The best way to keep the Massachusetts dilemma from spreading is to keep the logic behind the Goodridge decision from spreading. The Marriage Protection Amendment, now pending before Congress, would not only protect traditional marriage, it would also protect the beliefs that underlie traditional marriage—beliefs that, as Gallagher has shown, may soon be treated as the equivalent of Jim Crowe.

For further reading and information:

Maggie Gallagher, “Banned in Boston: The coming conflict between same-sex marriage and religious liberty,” Weekly Standard, 15 May 2006.

BreakPoint Commentary No. 060228, “Binding Charity: Massachusetts and Religious Freedom.”

Read more articles on marriage and family.

Chuck Colson is founder and chairman of BreakPoint Online, a partner.
Copyright © 2006

Thomas Sowell: At Duke, Justice Delayed?

May 16, 2006

Thomas Sowell

If there is a smoking gun in the Duke University rape case, it is not about the stripper who made the charges or the lacrosse players who have been accused. The smoking gun is the decision of District Attorney Michael Nifong to postpone a trial until the spring of 2007.

That makes no sense from either a legal or a social standpoint, whether the players are guilty or innocent. But it tells us something about District Attorney Nifong.

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that the players are guilty. What is the point of letting a bunch of rapists remain at large for another year? What about the dangers that they would pose to women on or off the Duke University campus?

Now suppose that the players are innocent. Isn't it unconscionable to have this damning charge hanging over their heads for another year?

The Constitution of the United States includes a right to a speedy trial, to keep people from being jerked around by unscrupulous or vindictive prosecutors who cannot prove that they have committed any crime. Prosecutors have to put up or shut up.

This is not a federal case, however, and the laws of North Carolina do not require a speedy trial.
Justice delayed is justice denied, whether the players are guilty or innocent.

What purpose does the delay serve? The most obvious purpose is the same as the purpose that delay serves in confidence games.

After a fraud has been perpetrated and it is only a matter of time before the victim finds out, it can still make a big difference whether the victim finds out suddenly or slowly over an extended period of time. This is called "cooling out the mark."

If the mark (the victim) finds out suddenly and immediately, instant outrage may lead to a call to the police, who can then get hot on the trail of the con man.

However, if the realization of having been taken begins to emerge at first as a sense of puzzlement, then as a sneaking suspicion, and ultimately -- after a passage of some time -- as a clear conclusion that a fraud has taken place, then the emotional impact is not nearly as strong.
The victim of the fraud may even be reluctant to go to the police, having had time to think about what a fool he may look like and how little chance there is now to do anything about it.

If the truth about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky had come out the very next day after he made that dramatic declaration -- "I did not have sex with that woman" -- it would have been far more of a shock than it was months later, after more and more bits and dabs of information came out, leading many to suspect the truth long before it all came out.

One of Clinton's press secretaries called these delaying tactics "telling the truth slowly."

The announcement that the trial of the Duke lacrosse players has been postponed until the spring of 2007 may be District Attorney Nifong's way of beginning the process of "telling the truth slowly."

At some point, this case will have to be either prosecuted or dropped. If it is going to be prosecuted, there is no reason not to go full speed ahead right now. But if it is going to be dropped, or if Nifong knows that a judge is likely to throw it out of court, then the time at which that happens is crucial.

It was out of the question for Nifong to drop the case before the recent election, no matter how flimsy the evidence might be or how much of that evidence exonerates the accused instead of showing them to be guilty.

Even after being re-elected, the district attorney cannot let his indictment collapse in public while there is nationwide attention focussed on this case 24-7.

What will be different next year? The public will have either forgotten the case or be tired of hearing about it. The D.A. can even turn the case over to some lawyer on his staff to take into court and see it either get thrown out by the judge or fail to convince a jury.

We will all be tired of hearing about it by then. We are the marks who will be cooled out.

Debra Saunders: Bush Talks Big on the Border

May 16, 2006
The San Fransisco Chronicle
Debra Saunders

President Bush is making a big mistake in announcing that he wants to send up to 6,000 National Guard troops to the border. What a shoddy way to say thank you to troops who have seen plenty of action in Iraq and after Katrina. It is also an insult to conservative and moderate voters, whom he apparently thinks this feckless gesture will appease.

The whole focus on the border shows that Bush is not serious about curbing illegal immigration. Washington already has increased the ranks of the Border Patrol, which is good. Meanwhile, as many as one-third of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in America are visa violators. They didn't sneak over the border.

Want to find them? Want to discourage more people from coming to America so they can work here illegally? Squeeze employers.

In the private sector, Chicago attorney Howard Foster has masterminded class-action lawsuits on behalf of legal workers against employers who knowingly hire illegal workers with dubious documents and no English skills. Zirkle Fruit, a Washington-based apple-packing company, recently agreed to a settlement that will require it to compensate legal workers to the tune of $1.3 million for the wages they would have earned in a marketplace not depressed by illegal immigrants.

Why put Guardsmen at the border when the government doesn't even require that employers check with authorities to see if workers are legal? In 1997, Washington began work on the Basic Pilot program, which allows employers to check new hires' Social Security numbers. Problem is, Foster noted, Basic Pilot is "only voluntary. It's not mandatory. Congress doesn't want to make it mandatory, they don't want to burden employers with it."

Basic Pilot also needs to be improved so that it can detect pilfered identities. As it is, Foster noted, some corporations that hire largely illegal workforces have learned how to use the database "as a ruse to keep the feds quiet and keep them from getting raided again."
As Foster sees it, the government should routinely raid corporations in industries notorious for hiring undocumented workers.

Bush would not need to consult Congress -- he could direct his government to focus on workplace enforcement. (If the feds feel too understaffed to raid known hirers of illegal immigrants, they might consider pulling a few agents from medical-marijuana raid details.)
Mark Krikorian, head of the Center for Immigration Studies, argues that the Social Security Administration should send out more no-match letters to employers -- to inform them that workers don't match their Social Security numbers. Bush also could order that change and would not need to wait for Congress.

As for the National Guard at the border, that's "just cosmetic silliness. It's an expression of contempt for people who are concerned about immigration. In the White House, they think that anybody who is concerned about immigration must be a yahoo.""You send in the National Guard if there's a hurricane," Krikorian added. "What's the emergency now? The emergency now is they're trying to get an amnesty bill, and it's dying."

Sending the National Guard is a cheesy way to get around the fact that voters want Washington to reduce the number of illegal immigrants in America today, while Washington wants to reduce the number of illegal immigrants by making them legal. And everyone knows that amnesty -- or what Washington calls "earned citizenship" -- will send a signal to would-be Americans that it pays to violate federal immigration law. California schools will admit more children who don't know English, while state emergency rooms care for workers without health benefits.

Employers won't have to pay the cost of their cheap labor. That's what the National Guard is for.

Thomas Boswell: Bonds Geting Close to the End

Thomas Boswell
The Washington Post
Tuesday, May 16, 2006; Page E01

Finally, Barry Bonds's pursuit of Babe Ruth has gotten interesting. Not because the Giants outfielder is so close to moving into second place on the all-time home run list. That's a foregone conclusion. This month, Bonds hit a ball 450 feet off the facing of the third deck in Philadelphia. He still has his moments. And there will be enough of them for him to hit a 715th homer.

But how many more games -- much less home runs -- are still left in Bonds? The answer may be a lot fewer than we thought. In Ruth's final partial season, when he was washed up, hitting .181, the Babe had six homers in 72 at-bats, including three homers in one last amazing game. But he was done, he knew it and quit in midseason.

Is Bonds, who went 1 for 3 against the Astros in Houston last night, closing in on a similar moment of decision?

For the past week, at home in San Francisco, the left fielder finally looked his age. For six games, he was naked before his enemies, even though he was playing before friends. Every time Bonds popped up or struck out, and even when a well-hit ball ended up in the glove of Juan Pierre inches above the center field fence, the expression that played on his face ranged from disgust to frustration to something akin to athletic fear.

Suddenly, as Bonds is on the verge of passing Ruth, the pertinent question is no longer whether Bonds can overtake Hank Aaron's total of 755 home runs next season. Now, after one single in 26 plate appearances in that whole homestand, a slump that left Bonds with a .217 batting average, the issue has become, "Is the end in sight for Barry?"

When sluggers get old, they often get old fast, sometimes almost overnight. Years ago, the late columnist Shirley Povich watched Ken Singleton strike out one night in Baltimore. "Too bad," Povich said. "What do you mean?" I said. "He's finished," Povich said. "He can't hit the fastball anymore. I saw it happen to [Lou] Gehrig and [Jimmie] Foxx, too."

When the pitchers find a quadrant of the plate where you can't handle the fastball anymore, then the countdown begins, because that's all you'll ever see again, mixed with just enough other pitches to expose your weakness even more.

Right now, Bonds can't hit the fastball low and away. His bad knee won't let him dig down and hit it with authority. And it's beneath Bonds to poke the ball to the opposite field. An obscure Dodgers southpaw, Joe Beimel, wearing No. 97, faced Bonds threes times last weekend. On just five pitches, four of them for strikes, Beimel got him out every time. Asked his plan, Beimel said he was just being aggressive.

Aggressive? With Barry Bonds? Isn't that like pulling the pin out of a grenade just to see if it works? Only two years ago, Bonds walked 232 times. In '04, Bonds amassed a statistical line that may never be approached. He batted .362, slugged .812 and had an on-base percentage of .609. Of course, that was before the BALCO scandal erupted. Since then, he has managed only 125 at-bats in two years. Now, his humble .476 slugging average is as damning as a volume of leaked testimony.

Sometimes, we miss the obvious. Before BALCO, Bonds was a great player, but never mentioned with names such as Ruth, Aaron, Ted Williams and Willie Mays. Then Bonds morphed into the best hitter who ever lived. However, he became so great so suddenly and at such an old baseball age that people said, "Was his head always that small?"

Throughout his career, Bonds has played with a chip on his shoulder and a mask on his emotions. He has wanted to appear invincible and untouchable. Outs were a mistake, home runs an inevitability. Now, his facade has cracked wide open. When Bonds hits a routine fly ball, he often smacks the barrel of his bat in anger before he even begins the obligatory jog out of the batter's box. When Pierre robbed him of what would've been homer No. 714, Bonds waved his arm disparagingly, dismissively at Pierre as if his excellent play in a close game were disgusting, an affront. How dare you?

But that's the point. Now, when it comes to Bonds, everyone dares, even Joe Beimel. In the wake of BALCO, the exhaustive exposé "Game of Shadows," an official MLB probe into steroids and the possibility that Bonds may have committed perjury before a grand jury, Bonds is now fair game for anyone. The New Yorker magazine recently ran a cartoon on its cover with normal-size baseball players at each position -- except in left field, where one gigantic man stands wearing No. 25. If that isn't evidence of an irreparably ruined athletic reputation, then it's close.

Bonds will now face a week on the road with No. 714 and 715 in sight -- what he didn't want. Perhaps only Bonds, often motivated by hostility and isolation, could respond well to the prospect of visiting cities where fans treat his arrival as a civic theme contest. So far, Philly is winning: "Ruth Did It With Hot Dogs and Beer. Aaron Did It With Class. What Did YOU Do It With?"

Yesterday, the Houston Chronicle welcomed him to town with a story about a 17-year-old Texas baseball player who, three years ago, killed himself in an incident that his parents believe was connected to his use of steroids.

When Bonds hits his 715th home run, there will be a huge national temptation to use the occasion for moralizing vilification. But perhaps that instant-gratification reaction should be tempered. If Bonds cheated, he didn't cheat alone; he just cheated best. If he broke the rules (and, technically, MLB has banned steroids since 1991), then he did it in a period when baseball had an implicit "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy toward any and all performance-enhancing substances.

And if, in passing Ruth, Bonds is reaching a cherished mark, then remember all the adulation that accompanied Mark McGwire's 70th home run. McGwire was frequently nagged about his use of "andro." But in the absence of BALCO-like evidence, he was given the benefit of the doubt. His humiliation was confined to one day on Capitol Hill when he refused to answer questions "about the past" in a Congressional investigation into exactly that past.

As Bonds rounds the bases for No. 715, don't feel guilty if a clap of the hands escapes you, an appreciation of the difficulty of what he did, even if he shouldn't have been able to do it quite so well. As he touches the plate in what may be his last truly historic baseball moment, try to appreciate the one harsh certainty about the remainder of Bonds's life. Whatever he did, the penalty he will pay -- in a multitude of forms -- will surely fit the crime. And probably much more.

Film Review: The Lost City

Paradise Lost
By Lloyd Billingsley
May 16, 2006

On New Year's Eve 1959, Fico Fellove (Andy Garcia) and Aurora Fellove (Ines Sastre) share their last dance together at his club, El Tropico. That night Dictator Batista abandons the country, leaving Cuba to her fate and the couple's romance as well.

The Lost City, Andy Garcia's film about Cuba, is now playing in American theatres and everybody should see it for at least two reasons. First, various film festivals and South American countries, Garcia says, have refused to show it. That’s a recommendation in itself. And secondly, after the sinister romance of The Motorcycle Diaries, filmgoers deserve an honest portrayal of Che Guevara, which The Lost City provides, even though it is not a political movie.

The story takes place just before the revolution and centers on Fico Fellove, played by Garcia, owner of El Tropico, a Havana nightclub, and his love for Aurora, played by Ines Sastre, who alone is worth the price of admission. Fico, who reminds some critics of Rick in Casablanca, finds his family divided over dictator Fulgencio Batista and the revolution out to topple him. The film uses music and dance to evoke Cuba of the 1950s, which Garcia believes was the last elegant era anywhere.

Although made on a budget of $9.5 million, less than half the pay for some actors on one movie, The Lost City sounds and looks good. It tries to cover a lot of ground in 143 minutes, not always succeeding. Fico’s wisecracking writer-sidekick, played by Bill Murray, will leave some viewers laughing, others puzzled. Many viewers and even critics will be unaware of the various back stories in play in this film.

One reason The Lost City was 16 years in the making was the resistance of Hollywood, growing out of its long affair with Fidel Castro. Sidney Pollock experienced no similar delay with Havana (1990), starring Robert Redford, which did not have to go the independent route. Neither did Richard Lester's Cuba, (1978) with Sean Connery. The adulation of Castro has been recently covered in Fidel: Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant, by Humberto E. Fontova, a Cuban exile like Andy Garcia, and which would make a good companion volume to this movie.

The transmission belt went from homegrown fans of Castro in the New Left directly to Hollywood studio execs. (Here is celebrity radical Abbie Hoffman talking up Fidel Castro in the sixties: "Fidel lets the gun drop to the ground, slaps his thigh and stands erect. He is like a mighty penis coming to life, and when he is tall and straight, the crowd immediately is transformed.") The fatuous adulation continues today, four decades after many early enthusiasts of the Revolution abandoned Castro as a Stalinist thug. Today, only Berkeley, Cambridge and Hollywood have any illusions. Thus, Steven Spielberg described his meeting with Castro as "the most important eight hours of my life." Oliver Stone called Castro "very selfless and moral" and "one of the world's wisest men." Jack Nicholson dubbed him "a genius." Says Harry Belafonte, who has never met a left wing tyrant he didn’t like, "If you believe in freedom, if you believe in justice, if you believe in democracy, you have no choice but to support Fidel Castro!" Chevy Chase’s opinion is that "Socialism works. I think Cuba might prove that." But the Castro suck-up Oscar should go to Godfather impresario Francis Ford Coppola: "Fidel, I love you. We both have the same initials. We both have beards. We both have power and want to use it for good purposes."

The same American left that venerates Fidel portrays pre-Castro Cuba as a dark age of poverty and oppression, all maintained by the CIA, multinational corporations and the mafia. Andy Garcia, who also directed The Lost City, has taken some heat for his more upbeat portrayal of those days. Stephen Holden of the New York Times complains that The Lost City wanders on "without saying much, beyond that life sure was peachy before Fidel Castro came to town and ruined everything." In fact, that is pretty much what happened. Humberto Fontova cites a 1957 UNESCO report noting Cuba's large middle class, highly unionized workforce and an average wage higher than workers in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany." Fidel's socialism transformed that prosperous country into something more akin to Haiti.

In his Los Angeles Citybeat review of The Lost City, Andy Klein says, "we hear not a word about Castro’s early push for 100 percent literacy or health care for those not of Fico’s class." As Fontova points out, Cuba was actually a literate place, with 58 daily newspapers, and now with a completely controlled press, dedicated to the glorification of the Maximo Lider. Literacy in Havana is a pragmatic goal: all the better to read communist party publications.

The Lost City shows what Havana nightlife was like but is not a cinematic Potemkin village. Neither does it soft-pedal Batista, whose thugs get a lot of screen time in this movie. Fico's family wants to get rid of the tyrant, some of them choosing evolution and ballots, others by revolution and bullets. There is also a lot of talk—much as there must have been at the time-- about Fidel Castro. Does he want democracy or is he a communist?

Stephen Holden says that "political dialogue in the film is strictly of the junior high school variety. But the political dialogue here, written by the late Cuban dissident novelist Guillermo Cabrera Infante, reflects the realities of the time for a modern audience. No doubt Holden would have felt better if Columbian Novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, always the mouthpiece for Castro, had done the scenario.

"Some people think Castro is a savior," Andy Garcia (whose family suffered in the revolution) told the L.A. Daily News, "that he looks out for kids and the poor. It's a bunch of hogwash. In the 45 years since Castro has been in power, Cuba has been in the top three countries for human rights abuses for 43 of those years. People turn a blind eye to his atrocities." In Hollywood, that sort of statement takes guts.

In The Lost City, Fidel Castro appears as himself in newsreel footage. We do get to see Che Guevara, played by Jsu Garcia, who bears a remarkable likeness to the upper-class Argentine Stalinist whose mug adorns so many T-shirts. We also see Guevara rather casually executing people, though nothing on the scale of what actually happened. As Andy Garcia explained to an interviewer:

"You know, this is what Che was doing in Cuba. He was the tribunal judge after the revolution and he was executing people left and right and a lot of them without a trial."

Garcia is right on the money. By some counts, Che Guevara sent 1,897 men to the firing squad. Though not conveying the sense of a mass executioner, the portrayal of Che Guevara is more accurate that anything in The Motorcycle Diaries. Some people have gotten the message. Tim Grierson writing in L.A. Weekly, of all places, said that "Garcia deserves credit for his lack of self-indulgent flourishes, and for his sharp criticism of so-called freedom-fighting icons like Che Guevara."

The film shows Castro goons banning the saxophone in Fico's club because the instrument was invented by a Belgian, a colonial power in Africa. We don't see Fidel railing against jazz as the music of American imperialists. We don't see Fidel jailing people for playing jazz. That happened to trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, whom Andy Garcia played in the HBO move For Love or Country.

Fico departs for the United States before Fidel Castro's "machismo-Leninismo" hits full stride. Viewers of The Lost City don't see him persecuting homosexuals, which the great Cuban dissident cinematographer Nestor Almendros chronicled in the documentary Improper Conduct. Viewers won't see the Marxist regime oppressing and torturing writers and poets, which Armando Valladares chronicled in Against All Hope. Viewers who may be opponents of capital punishment don't see Castro's show trial and execution of General Arnaldo Ochoa, which Orlando Jimenez Leal chronicled in the documentary 8A, using Fidel's own footage of the trial proceedings, in which the accused 's own lawyers demanded that their client get the death penalty.

The Cuba so beloved in Hollywood remains a country so oppressive and impoverished that people flee at the first available opportunity, risking their lives and leaving loved ones behind. Viewers of The Lost City will not see Cubans attempting to escape on inner tubes or just about anything that floats, using ping-pong paddles as oars. They won't see Fidel's forces attacking those who flee. But this evil saga stands behind the film. A full 77,000 Cubans have died attempting to leave. The waters between Cuba and Florida have become a graveyard without crosses.

But Andy Garcia provides an honest look at life in Cuba before Fidel, and a welcome look at Che the executioner. The film is worth seeing and a good beginning to a cinematic chronicle of the real Cuba—the story Hollywood had hidden in plain sight ever since Castro stumbled out of the Sierra Maestra and began to create his tropical gulag.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Star Parker: The NAACP's Fight Against Private School Vouchers

May 15, 2006
Star Parker ( bio archive contact )

Why would an organization that calls itself the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, whose motto is "Making Democracy Work Since 1909," oppose individual choice and freedom and dedicate itself to promoting public policy that guarantees the perpetuation of black poverty?

As incongruous as this might sound, it is in fact true.

Consider the prominent role that the NAACP played recently in killing the Opportunity Scholarships Program created by Gov. Jeb Bush in Florida, which granted vouchers to students in failing public schools to attend a different school of their choice - public or private.

As soon as the program got underway, the NAACP joined the unions to challenge its constitutionality under Florida law. The challenge was upheld in divided court decisions up through Florida's Supreme Court.

Governor Bush attempted to salvage the program through a proposed amendment to the State constitution; however, this was narrowly defeated in the Florida Senate two weeks ago.
During the past school year, 740 students participated in the Opportunity Scholarship Program, of which 64 percent were black and 30 percent Hispanic. The students are practically all from low-income families.

So why would the NAACP work to kill a program that gives low income minority kids a chance to get a good education at a private school?

"Vouchers siphon off money from public education," according to the president of the NAACP's New York Chapter.

But, of course, vouchers do not siphon off money from the public school system. However, they do cause the public school system to compete for those funds. Vouchers shift power to parents from bureaucrats.

Here, as elsewhere, NAACP leadership automatically equates big government with black interests.

The public school monopoly serves the black community so notoriously poorly that many blacks themselves poll in favor of vouchers.

The GAO reported in 2004 that there are almost three million kids nationwide in schools failing by No Child Left Behind criteria. These are disproportionately poor black kids. Half of these kids do not graduate and the ones that do, graduate with eighth grade reading skills.

So what's going on here? You would think that NAACP leaders would be rabid in pushing for change and opening new educational opportunities available for black children. Yet, they doggedly defend a proven and hopeless failed status quo.

The need for school choice for black kids goes beyond the argument for efficiency and competition. The education problem in the black community is really a social, moral and family problem.

One black mother supporting vouchers in Florida testified about why it is important to her to have the opportunity to send her child to a religious school. "I make sure her religious values are coming from home ... Then when my child steps out of my home and into this institution, she's receiving the same thing. That's consistency."

It is crucial that poor black kids, coming overwhelmingly from single parent homes and from communities where promiscuity and out-of-wedlock births are commonplace, have the opportunity to attend schools where traditional values and character building are part of the curriculum.

A religious education cannot be forced and should not be forced on any American kid. But denying parents, particularly the ones that need it most, the opportunity to choose a religious school for their child is blatantly un-American.

In a recent column, Edward Lazear, the chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, noted, "Half of those who are in poverty escape that status within three years. One-fifth of those in the bottom quarter of the income distribution move up within a year."

Yet, despite the fact that escaping poverty is a routine occurrence in America, pockets of black poverty persist generation after generation.

At the heart of the problem is the failure to educate black children. And despite this clear failure, the NAACP fights change because change would challenge government control and would shift responsibility directly into our own communities and families.

Let's again recall Einstein's definition of insanity as repeating the same behavior but expecting different results.

Yes, it is incongruent that the nation's oldest civil rights organization opposes the right of black parents to choose where to send their child to school. And it is incongruent that those who celebrate a civil rights movement that was led by a black pastor insist that black children be trapped in schools where it is prohibited to teach Christian values.

Maybe one day the NAACP will wake up and recall that its mission is supposedly to expand not limit opportunities for black Americans.

Star Parker is president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal & Education and author of the new book White Ghetto: How Middle Class America Reflects Inner City Decay. You can contact her here.