Friday, February 08, 2008
The New Criterion
Some projects are born fatuous, some achieve fatuousness, some have fatuousness thrust upon them. Which melancholy comedy best fits the news that A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn’s anti-American fantasy masquerading as history, is—finally, at last, after so many failed attempts—going to be turned into a television show? Somehow the crowning glory of the farce was the news that the actor Matt Damon (who grew up next to Zinn) would perform in the four-hour miniseries titled “The People Speak.” “Matt Damon, Matt Damon”: the squeaky-voiced puppet playing Damon in the movie Team America offered the perfect epitome of his ostentatious, self-regarding political childishness. And here he is helping to dramatize a book whose message is that the New World, once a paradisal playground instinct with benevolence and creativity when Columbus met the gentle Arawaks, was ruined when rapacious, war-mongering white men overran the continent.
Ho-hum, you say. Another anti-American history of America: what else is new? Isn’t this just business as usual for academic historians? Yes, it is. But Howard Zinn’s book is not just any left-leaning diatribe. Published in 1980, it instantly became a bestseller; even today, more than twenty-five years later, it is number 88 on Amazon. It has gone through innumerable editions and updates. And it is, we’re told, the most widely assigned American history book in high schools across the country. In other words, it is a major source—in many cases, the major source—for students’ understanding of the history of their country.
The astonishing career of A People’s History is an object lesson in how little criticism matters, or perhaps we should say it is an object lesson in how certain sentimental narratives can utterly overwhelm criticism, be it ever so accurate and eloquent. Zinn’s story—noble savages oppressed by nasty capitalists—was calculated to appeal to the politically correct, anti-American spirit that has been regnant among the country’s elites since the late 1960s. But its flaws were early on pointed out with devastating precision by the Harvard historian Oscar Handlin. Handlin’s brief is—or should have been—fatal. Writing in The American Scholar in 1980, he noted:
It simply is not true that “what Columbus did to the Arawaks of the Bahamas, Cortez did to the Aztecs of Mexico, Pizarro to the Incas of Peru, and the English settlers of Virginia and Massachusetts to the Powhatans and the Pequots.” It simply is not true that the farmers of the Chesapeake colonies in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries avidly desired the importation of black slaves, or that the gap between rich and poor widened in the eighteenth-century colonies. Zinn gulps down as literally true the proven hoax of Polly Baker and the improbable Plough Jogger, and he repeats uncritically the old charge that President Lincoln altered his views to suit his audience. The Geneva assembly of 1954 did not agree on elections in a unified Vietnam; that was simply the hope expressed by the British chairman when the parties concerned could not agree. The United States did not back Batista in 1959; it had ended aid to Cuba and washed its hands of him well before then. “Tet” was not evidence of the unpopularity of the Saigon government, but a resounding rejection of the northern invaders.
And on and on. Handlin leaves Zinn’s “deranged … fairy tale” in tatters. It is worth noting, too, that Zinn’s contempt, though focused on America, is fired by a more global hatred. As Handlin noted, “It would be a mistake … to regard Zinn as merely anti-American. Brendan Behan once observed that whoever hated America hated mankind, and hatred of humanity is the dominant tone of Zinn’s book. No other modern country receives a favorable mention. He speaks well of the Russian and Chinese revolutions, but not of the states they created. He lavishes indiscriminate condemnation upon all the works of man—that is, upon civilization, a word he usually encloses in quotation marks.” And yet this book is the source of choice for countless high schools seeking to teach American history. It is soon to provide the script for a television series that will reinforce and codify its anti-civilizational message. What does it mean that such a work, demonstrably a tissue of half-truths, inaccuracies, and self-hating tendentious misrepresentations, should succeed so lavishly? It is sobering to witness the corrosive progress of politically correct sentimentality, the effect of which is not so much to triumph over historical truth as to render it, while the spell lasts, irrelevant.
This article originally appeared in
The New Criterion, Volume 26, February 2008, on page 2
Raleigh News & Observer
February 8, 2008
Farmer Jason was the featured artist at the August 4th, 2007 Harvest Sessions concert. The Harvest Sessions are a series of free concerts sponsored in part by KDHX and The Whitaker Foundation.
As most performers get on in years, they find themselves playing for audiences going as gray as they are. But 49-year-old Jason Ringenberg has come up with a novel strategy for growing old gracefully: Aim for a younger crowd. Lots younger, like the tricycle demographic.
That's what Ringenberg is doing with Farmer Jason, his children's-music alter ego, in which guise the Jason & the Scorchers frontman sings about skunks with a taste for punk, guitar-pickin' chickens and other topics aimed at the preschool set. He'll do two Farmer Jason shows in the Triangle this weekend.
At the same time, he also continues to perform music that is adult (if not necessarily grown-up) as Jason Ringenberg, the loudest one-man-troubadour band in the land, including tonight at Raleigh's Berkeley Cafe. But in Ringenberg's musical world nowadays, kids are king.
"It's been a funny thing that just keeps growing organically," Ringenberg says in a phone call from the road. "I'm not sure where the Farmer Jason thing will end, or even if it will because it's become such a major part of my creative life. Truthfully, I'm more Farmer Jason now than Jason The Old Rock Guy."
At the very least, having dual performance personas allows Ringenberg to double up on his bookings. It does, however, create the occasional transition difficulty.
"Usually, I have time to switch from one character to the next," he says. "The hardest part is when I get promoters who want me to do both at the same time, which is truly difficult. But I'll do a few Farmer Jason songs at Jason Ringenberg shows, and they always go over great. Sometimes I'll even close with 'Punk Rock Skunk.' And during a Farmer Jason show, I might pull out an old Scorchers song if I see a lot of old fans there -- parents, or even grandparents."
Offstage, Ringenberg is keeping busy in both his roles. He has released two Farmer Jason albums, 2003's "A Day at the Farm" and 2006's "Rockin' the Forest," with a DVD in the works. And just out is "Best Tracks and Side Tracks 1979-2007" (Yep Roc Records), a two-disc Ringenberg compilation with songs from before and after Jason & the Scorchers -- the '80s-vintage metallic country-soul band that still casts a formidable shadow, even though the Scorchers haven't existed on a full-time basis for a long time.
"I'm not sure what to call ourselves now, this state," Ringenberg says of the Scorchers. " 'Semiretired' would probably be the best way to put it. We'll do a show or two every year when it makes sense. Like our drummer, Perry Baggs, he's had some health problems. We did a benefit for him. Folks either offer extravagant amounts of money to play or ask us to benefit a good cause, and we can't turn it down."
Even with children's music taking up so much of his attention, Ringenberg's post-Scorchers solo career is nothing to sneer at. That especially goes for his most recent set of new adult material, 2004's "Empire Builders," in which Ringenberg came on like Woody Guthrie gone electric on a set of fiery political songs.
Not surprisingly, he's keeping a close eye on politics in this election year.
"I'm delighted with the political process right now, I think it's the healthiest it's been in a long time," Ringenberg says. "There are a lot of good candidates and for the first time, they're actually telling the truth. I'm not necessarily supporting John McCain, but he went into Michigan and said, 'Those jobs are gone; we'll have to retrain everybody.' Man, that took guts. He lost Michigan because of it, which I admired. That's how you move forward."
Jason and the Scorchers
Who: Farmer Jason.
When: 10 a.m. today.
Where: Bright Horizons Family Solutions, 1012 Slater Road, Durham.
Who: Jason Ringenberg, Two Dollar Pistols.
When: 9 tonight.
Where: Berkeley Cafe, 217 W. Martin St., Raleigh.
More info: berkeleycafe.net.
Who: Farmer Jason.
When: 2 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Berkeley Cafe.
email@example.com or blogs.newsobserver.com/beat or (919) 829-4759.
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 08/02/2008
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The Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday used a lecture in the Royal Courts of Justice to propose that sharia law should be applied in certain circumstances. The idea is not as outlandish as it may first appear.
Dr. Rowan Williams
There are already sharia councils in this country to which Muslims turn for advice and religious sanction in matters such as divorce. Likewise, Orthodox Jews have recourse to the Beth Din over, for example, dietary laws, divorce and tenancy disputes.
A further instance of legal sensitivity to religious belief is the ability of Christian doctors to opt out of abortions. So Dr Rowan Williams's argument that there should be "a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law" is, to a certain extent, recognition of a situation which already exists.
The problem lies, rather, in the status of the messenger and the timing of his intervention. If there is a case for the creation of sharia courts, it would be better made by a joint group representing the three Abrahamic faiths - Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Coming from the senior bishop in the Church of England, it is vulnerable to interpretation as appeasement of Islamic extremism prompted by fear of social unrest.
As for timing, the lecture was given shortly after threats had been made against one of Dr Williams's fellow bishops, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali of Rochester, for writing in the Sunday Telegraph that Islamic extremism had turned some communities into no-go areas for non-Muslims. Add to this the growing recognition of the failures of multiculturalism, and you have on the part of the archbishop a classic example of political ineptitude.
Even with more convincing advocacy, the creation of sharia courts in this country faces an uphill battle. In the public mind, sharia is associated with brutal punishment, whether the amputation of hands for theft or stoning for adultery and apostasy.
It is also seen as repressive to women; a journalist in Afghanistan is facing the death penalty for having distributed a report taken off the internet which questions the practice of polygamy. A further obstacle is the opposition to a dual legal system of the Muslim Council of Britain, an organisation not always associated with moderation.
In 2006, it was brought home to Pope Benedict XVI the way in which a supposedly innocuous reference to Islam - a quotation from a 14th-century Byzantine emperor - can create a furore. In the case of the archbishop, it is not so much the idea, as the way it will be interpreted that counts.
Muslim radicals will view it as the bending of the British establishment to fundamentalist pressure; that will hardly make for the social cohesion which lies behind Dr Williams's thinking. The present informal arrangement of sharia councils is preferable in the current context to their elevation into courts. On this most inflammatory of subjects the archbishop would have best kept silent.
Rowan Williams' authority is in tatters
Posted by Damian Thompson on 07 Feb 2008 at 19:19
Tags: Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Sharia law, African Anglicans
What will the Archbishop of Canterbury's fatuous remarks about Sharia do to his authority as head of the Anglican Communion? Pretty well finish it off, I should think.
For years, African Anglicans have been threatening to blow the "Communion" to smithereens unless Rowan Williams follows their line on homosexuality. He has duly fallen in with their wishes, despite his long (and, in retrospect, phoney) record as a defender of gay rights. But now that Williams has said nice things about Sharia, his credibility in Africa will be destroyed.
Anglicans in parts of Nigeria live under what is, in effect, totalitarian Sharia. It goes without saying Williams does not defend the stoning of adulterous women and other charming Islamic practices. But, in his interview with the BBC, his condemnation of "bad" Sharia is deeply buried in acres of Vichyite waffle about the need to see Sharia "case by case within an overall framework of the principles laid down in the Koran and the Hadith".
For the Archbishop of Canterbury to propose an extension of British Sharia in the same week that we learned of the extent to which the Sharia authorities cover up "honour crimes" reveals a degree of ineptitude that even George Carey never managed.
And, talking of George, watch this space. Lord Carey of Clifton is no fan of his successor, but a very big fan of African Anglicans persecuted by Sharia. I would be very surprised if he can resist intervening in this dispute.
Anyway, I reckon it's all over for Rowan.
Posted by Damian Thompson on 07 Feb 2008 at 19:19
Sharia is no law for Britain
Posted by Christopher Howse on 07 Feb 2008 at 19:25
Tags: Islam, Muslims, Archbishop of Canterbury, Sharia law, Rowen Williams
The Archbishop of Canterbury seems to have lost the use of his senses. He told the BBC today that the application of Sharia in Britain "seems unavoidable". This would entail lashing for fornication and amputation for theft.
Dr Williams is a good and learned man, but he is mistaken to think that Islamic law works like English law or the sympathetic deliberations of a middle-class Welshman. Indeed he said in his BBC interview: "Nobody in their right mind would want to see in this country the kind of inhumanity that’s sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states; the extreme punishments, the attitudes to women as well".
Sharia means literally the road to a watering place: a clear path to be followed. It is translated as "law", but it governs without restriction, as an infallible doctrine of duties, the whole of the religious, political, social, domestic and private life of those who profess Islam.
How would extreme punishments and bad treatment of women be prevented where the jurisdiction of Sharia was recognised? In Islam Sharia is the law of God as revealed in the Koran and through the behaviour and words of Mohammed.
Like Judaism, Islam is a thoroughly legalistic religion, and though there are no priests, there are clergy in the sense of men who know the law and make judgments. A religious scholar who gives opinions is called a mufti; his legal opinion is called a fatwa. The latter word is familiar now in a way it used not to be before silly old Salman Rushdie was condemned to death.
"I don’t know enough about the detail of the law in the Islamic law in this context," Dr Williams said, "I’m simply saying that there are ways of looking at marital dispute for example within discussions that go on among some contemporary scholars which provide an alternative to the divorce courts as we understand them."
Since the days of the Prophet, Dr Williams thinks, "the rights and liberties of women has moved on and the principle, the vision, that animates the Islamic legal provision needs broadening because of that." But Sharia does not rely on mere principles. It derives from the revelation of God, which may not be abrogated. Dr Williams referred to "principles laid down in the Quran". Here is one (4:34): "Admonish those women whose rebelliousness you fear, shun them in their resting-places and hit them. If they obey you, do not seek a further way against them."
How does Dr Williams address the prohibition on a Muslim woman to marry a man who is not a Muslim?
I am sorry to say he has made relations between Christians and Muslims more difficult.
Posted by Christopher Howse on 07 Feb 2008 at 19:25
February 08, 2008
WASHINGTON -- On Super Tuesday, John McCain secured the Republican nomination. How did that happen? Simple. In the absence of a compelling conservative, the Republican electorate turned to the apostate sheriff.
In the beginning, there were two. There was America's mayor, Rudy Giuliani, determined to "go on offense." And there was America's maverick, John McCain, scourge of Iraq wobblies.
Both aroused deep suspicions among conservatives. Giuliani's major apostasy is being pro-choice on abortion. McCain's apostasies are too numerous to count. He's held the line on abortion, but on just about everything else he could find -- tax cuts, immigration, campaign finance reform, Guantanamo -- he not only opposed the conservative consensus but insisted on doing so with ostentatious self-righteousness.
The story of this campaign is how many Republicans didn't care, and felt that national security trumps social heresy. The problem for Giuliani and McCain, however, was that they were splitting that constituency. Then came Giuliani's humiliation in Florida. After he withdrew from the race, he threw his support to McCain -- and took his followers with him.
Look at the numbers. Before Florida, the national polls had McCain hovering around 30, and Giuliani in the mid-teens. After Florida, McCain's numbers jumped to the mid-40s, swallowing the Giuliani constituency whole.
On Super Tuesday, the Giuliani effect showed up in the big Northeastern states -- New York, New Jersey, Connecticut -- and California. McCain won the first three with absolute majorities of 51 percent or more. And in California, McCain-Giuliani (plus Schwarzenegger, for good measure) moderate Republicanism captured 42 percent of the vote.
Elsewhere, where Giuliani was not a factor, McCain got no comparable boost. In Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia, he could never break through even 37 percent. The vote was divided roughly evenly among McCain, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney (trailing). But these splits were not enough to make up for the winner-take-all big ones, all of which McCain won.
The other half of the story behind McCain's victory is this: There would have been a far smaller Republican constituency for the apostate sheriff had there been a compelling conservative to challenge him. But there never was.
The first messianic sighting was Fred Thompson, who soared in the early polls, then faded because he was too diffident and/or normal to embrace with any enthusiasm the indignities of the modern campaign.
Then, for that brief and shining Iowa moment, there was Huckabee -- until conservatives actually looked at his record (on taxes, for example) as governor of Arkansas, and listened to the music of his often unconservative populism.
That left Romney, the final stop in the search for the compelling conservative. I found him to be a fine candidate who would have made a fine president. But until very recently, he was shunned by most conservatives for ideological inauthenticity. Then, as the post-Florida McCain panic grew, conservatives tried to embrace Romney, but the gesture was both too late and as improvised and convenient-looking as Romney's own many conversions. (So late and so improvised that it could not succeed. On Thursday, Romney withdrew from the race.)
Conservatives are on the eternal search for a new Reagan. They refuse to accept the fact that a movement leader who is also a gifted politician is a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. But there's an even more profound reason why no Reagan showed up this election cycle and why the apostate sheriff is going to win the nomination. The reason is George W. Bush. He redefined conservatism with a "compassionate" variant that is a distinct departure from classic Reaganism.
Bush muddied the ideological waters of conservatism. It was Bush who teamed with Teddy Kennedy to pass No Child Left Behind, a federal venture into education that would have been anathema to (the early) Reagan. It was Bush who signed the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform. It was Bush who strongly supported the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill. It was Bush who on his own created a vast new entitlement program, the Medicare drug benefit. And it was Bush who conducted a foreign policy so expansive and, at times, redemptive as to send paleoconservatives like Pat Buchanan and traditional conservatives like George Will into apoplexy and despair (respectively).
Who in the end prepared the ground for the McCain ascendancy? Not Feingold. Not Kennedy. Not even Giuliani. It was George W. Bush. Bush begat McCain.
Bush remains popular in his party. Even conservatives are inclined to forgive him his various heresies because they are trumped by his singular achievement: He's kept us safe. He's the original apostate sheriff.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Feb. 5, 2008
In spite of some decades of relentless multiculturalist indoctrination and “Religion of Peace” propaganda, an “overwhelming majority” of Europeans believe immigration from Islamic countries is a threat to their traditional way of life, a major new survey revealed on January 23.
Prepared for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in collaboration with Georgetown University, “Islam and the West: Annual Report on the State of Dialogue” was—according to the official press release—a pioneering attempt “to provide a systematic and thorough overview of how Muslim and Western societies perceive and relate to each other at the political, social, economic and cultural levels.” In spire of their evident bias in favor of intensified dialogue, interaction, mutual understanding etc, the report’s authors admit that
majorities in populations around the world . . . share a great deal of pessimism about the state of the relationship. Among both Muslim majority and non-Muslim majority nations, the proportion who say they think the ‘other side’ is committed to better relations rarely rises above a minority of 30%.
The poll reported that “a severe deficit of trust is found between the Western and Muslim communities,” with most non-Muslims wanting as little to do with the Muslim world as possible. Specifically referring to Britain, the study showed that political leaders who preach the benefits of open immigration were “dangerously out of touch with the public.” It reports “a growing fear among Europeans of a perceived Islamic threat to their cultural identities, driven in part by immigration from predominantly Muslim nations . . . An overwhelming majority of the surveyed populations in Europe believe greater interaction between Islam and the West is a threat.”
It is noteworthy that Muslim immigration is said to breed “a growing fear”—which implies an irrational, emotional response to a “perceived” threat, rather than a normal response stemming from experiential learning. It is on par with reporting, 75 years ago, “a growing fear among Jews of a perceived Nazi threat to their cultural identity.” The authoritative and presumably well-paid analysts advising the Davos “community” refrain from assessing the validity of this perception. They also pass no judgment on the fact that Europeans “believe” that interaction is undesirable. They choose, yet again, to present this “belief” as irrational: most Europeans reject “interaction” (a word with positive connotations) because they see it as a “threat” (a word with negative connotations denoting an emotional response).
It takes a brave man, in today’s Britain dominated by three social-democratic parties (Labour, Conservative, and Lib-Dems), to draw the obvious conclusion. Tory MP David Davies—who is now even more certain to go on lingering on the back benches—is one of them. He told the Sunday Express: “I am not surprised by these findings. People are fed up with multiculturalism and being told they have to give up their way of life. Most people in Britain expect anyone who comes here to be willing to learn our language and fit in with us.” Mr Davies, who serves on the Commons Home Affairs Committee, added:
People do get annoyed when they see millions spent on translating documents and legal aid being given to people fighting for the right to wear a head-to-toe covering at school. A lot of people are very uncomfortable with the changes being caused by immigration and politicians have been too slow to wake up to that.
The report says people have little enthusiasm for “greater understanding with Islam.” That is a sure sign that they are gaining greater understanding OF Islam. “Understanding with Islam” may happen only in those societies fortunate enough not to have any interaction with Islam.
The report also says that attempts to improve relations between Muslims living in Europe and the non-Muslim majority have been “disappointing.” That was entirely predictable, however. It is utterly impossible ab initio for pious Muslims to have normal, harmonious relations with non-Muslims, relations based on mutual respect and the acceptance of the legitimacy of non-Muslim beliefs, lifestyles, and institutions. Most Muslims in Europe live in a parallel universe that has very little to do with the host country. Overwhelmingly they feel nothing but contempt for the liberal concept of “tolerance” and “diversity.” If not overtly hostile, their attitude to the host-society is disdainful and filled with contempt.
The Muslim response to the Davos report was a mixture of lies and distortions—the good, old taqiyya. Baroness Haleh Afshar, OBE, of York University, blamed media “hysteria” for the findings. She admitted that there is an absence of trust towards Muslims, but that is
very much driven by an uninformed media. To blame immigration is much harder because the current influx of immigrants from eastern Europe are by-and-large not Muslim. The danger is that when people are fearful of people born and bred in this country it is likely that discrimination may follow.
Presumably it would betray a discriminatory mindset to point out to the good Baroness of Heslington that all four “Yorkshire lads” who blew up themselves and 52 other people on the London Underground on July 7, 2005, were Muslims “born and bred in this country” [i.e. Britain]. But translated from taqiyya-speak into plain English, Dr. Afshar said the following:
* “Absence of trust towards Muslims” should be recognized as not only abnormal but also inherently discriminatory and therefore illegal response of non-Muslims to the Jihadist threat. Accordingly, “absence of trust” needs to be rectified by (a) an even more relentless “Religion of Peace” indoctrination; and (b) legislative criminalization.
* As a first step, further legal restraints should be imposed on media reporting of Islamic terrorism and Jihad activism, so as to counter anti-Muslim “hysteria” and turn “an uninformed media” into “well-informed,” i.e. Sharia-compliant media.
* There is no Muslim problem, but there is prejudice against immigration per se—which is equally reprehensible, and therefore worthy of .
* One task of the reformed media will be to teach the native public that Muhammads, Yusufs and Sabahuddins listening to their favorite imams in Leicester and Leeds on Friday nights are no more a threat to their way of life, or to their life itself, than Polish plumbers, Russian tycoons, or Moldovan prostitutes.
It is a sure bet that the European union nomenklatura in Brussels and its subsidiary organs in the member-countries’ nominal capitals will take Dr. Afshar’s recommendations to heart. They don’t need any prodding, having spent close to seven years since 9-11 indoctrinating their subject-populations into believing that the migration of tens of millions of Muslims into Europe and the Old Continent’s subsequent demographic shift in favor of Islamic aliens is actually a blessing that enriches the natives’ culturally deprived and morally unsustainable societies.
The elite class has a number of mandatory political documents and enforcement tools to guide the enforcers, starting with the European Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation N° 1162 (19 September 1991) on “the contribution of the Islamic civilization to European culture.” A giant step forward was made a decade later, in the “General policy recommendation n° 5: Combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims” issued by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance. This “recommendation” could have been written by Baroness Afshar:
* It emphasized “Islam’s positive contribution to the continuing development of European societies, of which it is an integral part.”
* It expressed concern that “religious intolerance towards Islam” was still strong in Europe.
* It expressed strong regret “that Islam is sometimes portrayed inaccurately [as] a threat.”
* It warned that “this prejudice may manifest itself in different guises, in particular through negative general attitudes.”
The E.U. Commission Against Racism and Intolerance then came to the point, and called on the Union’s member states to adopt legally binding measures that would counter such negative tendencies. These measures, if and when applied, will effectively outlaw any serious debate about Islam and introduce pro-Muslim “affirmative action” that would far exceed some of the worst excesses of similar programs in the United States. The E.U. body call on the member countries:
* To impose sanctions in cases of discrimination on grounds of religion [i.e. to prosecute those who “inaccurately” claim that Islam may be a threat];
* To remove “unnecessary legal or administrative obstacles [i.e. planning and zoning permits, local authority and neighborhood approvals] to the construction of sufficient numbers of appropriate places of worship for the practice of Islam” [i.e. as many mosques as Muslims want, where they want them, of whatever size, shape, or form];
* To ensure that public institutions make provision in their everyday practice for cultural and other requirements of the Muslim community [i.e. taxpayer-funded prayer rooms facing Mecca and foot baths in state schools, public offices, hospitals, prisons, barracks . . . ];
* To prevent discrimination on religious grounds regarding access to citizenship [i.e. to speed up naturalization of Muslims resident in Europe regardless of an EU country’s formal requirements, such as taking an oath of allegiance odious to Muslims];
* To eliminate any discrimination on grounds religion in access to education [i.e. allow hijabs and burqas in taxpayer-funded classrooms . . . where crosses are banned];
* To legislate against religious discrimination in employment and at the workplace [i.e. set aside a quota of positions that will be filled by Muslims regardless of ability or of the availability of better qualified non-Muslim candidates];
* To encourage employers to devise and implement “codes of conduct” to combat religious discrimination and “to work towards the goal of workplaces representative of the diversity of the society in question” [i.e. fire or demote non-Muslim employees who see Islam as a threat, and introduce “affirmative action” programs for Muslims];
* To prevent “discrimination of Muslims connected with social exclusion” [which means inviting them to company picnics, and instructing employees to bring them to parties and social events, provided—of course—that no alcohol or pork are served, and that men and women are rigorously segregated];
* To pay special attention to the situation of Muslim women “who may suffer both from discrimination against women in general and that against Muslims” [but paying attention to their Kuranically-mandated abuse by their husbands is verboten];
* To modify curricula to prevent “distorted interpretations of religious and cultural history” and “portrayal of Islam on perceptions of hostility and menace” [which is already happening in Britain, with Muslim activists approving state school textbooks dealing with Islam];
* To ensure that religious instruction in schools respects cultural pluralism and make provision for teacher training to this effect;
* To raise awareness among the population of those areas where particular care is needed to avoid social and cultural conflict [i.e. more vigorous indoctrination];
* To encourage debate in the media on the image which they convey of Islam and on their responsibility to avoid perpetuating prejudice and bias [again, pure Dr. Afshar];
* To provide for the monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of all measures to combat intolerance and discrimination against Muslims [Orwell].
The diligence with which individual E.U. member countries translate this appalling list into national legislation, and the instances of “Islamophobia” all over the Union, are being tracked by the Vienna-based European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia. The Centre routinely refers to “institutional Islamophobia” as an inherent social and cultural sickness of most European societies that needs to be rooted out by education, re-education, and legislation. The rampant insanity emanating from Brussels grows more unrestrained with each new terrorist plot or attack, resulting in calls for more understanding of the “underlying causes” of terrorism (racism, Iraq, poverty, “fear,” discrimination, etc, etc etc.) and the insistence on greater inclusiveness and more stringent anti-Islamophobic legislation.
An ideological commitment to neoliberal globalization has turned multiculturalism and effectively open-ended Third World (overwhelmingly Muslim) immigration into two inviolable Euro-dogmas. The result is the inherent inability of Brussels and its post-national subsidiaries to defend Europe from the threat of Jihad. Cynically defeatist, self-absorbed and unaccountable to anyone but their own corrupt class, the Eurocrats are just as bad as jihad’s fellow-travelers; they are its active abettors and facilitators.
“Islam and the West: Annual Report on the State of Dialogue” indicates that their job is far from done, which is excellent news. They preach death, and it is up to the millions of normal people in the Western world to stop the madness. The traitor class wants them to share its death wish, to self-annihilate as people with a historical memory and a cultural identity, and to make room for the monistic Utopia spearheaded by the Jihadist fifth column. That crime can and must be stopped. The founders of the Old Republic overthrew their colonial rulers for offenses far lighter than those of which the Jihad-enabling traitor class is guilty.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
February 6, 2008
Two years ago, the infamous Duke lacrosse case started with a group of lacrosse players hiring a pair of strippers to dance and otherwise "perform" at a rowdy house party.
Fast forward two years, to Sunday night. While the rest of the world watched the Giants defeat the Patriots in the Super Bowl, about 300 students and others attended the Sex Workers Art Show, in which strippers and prostitutes were hired to dance and otherwise "perform."
This time, though, the show was sponsored by an alliance of Duke University-sanctioned campus groups devoted to sexual health. Acronym: DELISH. I am not making this up.
The event was paid for by the Student Health Center, the University Fund, the Women's Center, Sexual Assault Support Services, the Women's Studies Department, Baldwin Scholars and Students for Choice. At $3,500 it was a steal.
Since some faculty in the Women's Studies Department were part of the Gang of 88 so thoroughly outraged at the beginning of the lacrosse case, I wondered what they thought of the Sex Workers Art Show. My calls were not returned.
My guess is that it's one thing when the strippers are hired by academics challenging bourgeois sexual mores and another thing when they're hired by student athletes with demeaning motives.
"It's hypocrisy!" cried Kenneth Larrey, with the group Duke Students for an Ethical Duke, who invited Jay Schalin of the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy to attend. Schalin's commentary about the show has been widely circulated on the Web.
Let me say right here that I do not view the world through the same lens as Larrey or Schalin (who described all members of the Women's Studies faculty as male bashers.) At another school, my general reaction would have been, big deal. But Schalin raised a good point: How could a school so thoroughly thrashed and embarrassed in the course of the lacrosse affair be so tone deaf as to bring in a sex worker show?
Did no one see the irony?
William Purdy, executive director of Duke University Student Health, had this to say: "The Sex Workers Art Tour was suggested and driven by student interest and was sponsored by numerous campus groups. It dealt with controversial areas, but hopefully gave viewers an understanding of an industry which most students know little about. It is hoped this was a worthwhile experience for those who chose to attend."
Worthwhile. Let's see.
According to Schalin and Larrey, who audiotaped and took photos: There was a transvestite whose privates were covered with tape who crouched on all fours in a kiddie pool of glitter and stuck a lit sparkler in his bum while America the Beautiful played. There was an overweight stripper who pretended to eat a bunch of dollar bills, then left nothing to the imagination as to the results of the digestion of such a meal. The next performer came out, picked up the string of bills onstage and waved it under his nose. Yick.
The audience, Schalin said, was about 70 percent female. The show was intended to be campy as well as provocative, and viewers roared with laughter. A few of the workers did read serious pieces about bad choices they'd made.
In fact, Schalin observed, "somebody who had a clue would have called the entire show 'Bad Choices.'"
Duke, however, didn't. Have a clue, that is.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 829-4828
Associated Press Writer
Sioux City Journal
Feb 4, 9:07 PM EST
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) -- A measure allowing law-abiding people to carry guns on the campuses of South Dakota's public universities was approved Monday by the state House of Representatives.
The House voted 63-3 to send the measure to the Senate after supporters said allowing students, faculty members and others to carry guns would help deter mass shootings.
"The only remedy for a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," said Rep. Thomas Brunner, R-Nisland, the main sponsor of the bill.
HB1261 would prevent colleges and technical schools from restricting the right to carry or possess a firearm. Schools could require that guns kept in dormitories be stored in a locked gun safe.
The state Board of Regents, which governs South Dakota's six public universities, has opposed the measure, arguing that allowing students and faculty members to carry guns could make campuses more dangerous. If armed students or teachers exchange gunfire with a madman in a classroom or sports arena, more bystanders could be killed or injured in the crossfire, university officials said.
Only one other state, Utah, authorizes weapons on college campuses, university officials told lawmakers last week.
Brunner said he has two daughters in college, and one who just turned 18 wants a permit to carry a concealed weapon because she has to walk a half mile to her dormitory after parking her car. If criminals know law-abiding citizens might be armed, they will be less likely to consider attacking someone, he said.
Brunner said most mass shootings in recent years have occurred in areas where guns are prohibited. Murderers, such as the disturbed student at Virginia Tech last year, were able to kill many people because no one else was armed, he said.
One of lawmakers to vote against the bill, Rep. Larry Lucas, D-Mission, said he believes encouraging students to carry guns on campus could result in more people getting hurt or killed.
And Rep. Bill Thompson, D-Sioux Falls, said he is worried that encouraging guns on campus could lead to more murders, accidental shootings and suicides.
However, House Republican Leader Larry Rhoden of Union Center said the bill does not encourage students to carry guns. It merely confirms that students have the same constitutional rights as anyone else to bear arms, he said.
Rep. Manny Steele, R-Sioux Falls, said the guard who shot and wounded a gunman at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs in December helped save lives.
"I would certainly feel considerably safer knowing that law-abiding citizens could carry guns," Steele said.
February 6, 2008
On January 30, a coalition of social service providers gathered on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol. Ranging from Avista Adventist Hospital and the Denver Rescue Mission, which helps the homeless, to the Handprints Early Education Centers and Focus on the Family, the group had one thing in common. All of them were religiously based nonprofits offering some form of service to the general public. Among them was Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver, the largest nongovernment provider of social services in the Rocky Mountain region. And the source of their concern was a seemingly modest piece of state legislation, House Bill (HB) 1080.
Colorado HB 1080, pushed by the Anti-Defamation League after failing in a similar attempt last year, presents itself as an effort to bar discrimination. But the so-called “discrimination” HB 1080 targets is actually the legitimate freedom of religiously affiliated nonprofits to hire employees of like faith to carry out their mission. In practice, HB 1080 would strike down the freedom of Catholic Charities to preferentially hire Catholics for its leadership jobs if it takes state funds.
Of course, Catholic Charities can always decline public funds and continue its core mission with private money. In the Archdiocese of Denver, we’re ready to do exactly that. But the issues involved in HB 1080, and the troubling agenda behind it, are worth some hard reflection.
Religious groups have been delivering services to the poor a great deal longer than the government. The government uses religious social service agencies precisely because they’re good at it and typically more cost-effective in their work than the government could be. In fact, groups like Catholic Charities often lose money on government contracts, and the government knows it. Religious agencies frequently accept these losses as part of their mission to the general public. But their mission depends, of course, on leaders who share and safeguard their religious identity.
Bills like HB 1080 proceed from the assumption that public money, in passing through religious agencies to the poor, somehow miraculously commingles Church and state and violates the Constitution’s establishment clause.
This view is peculiar on at least two levels. First, accepting public money to perform a government-desired service does not make a private agency part of the government. Nor does it transform the government into a catechism class. But insofar as any “debt” exists in a government and religious agency relationship, it’s the government that owes the service provider, not the other way around. Obviously, if the government wants to carry the social burden it currently asks religious-affiliated groups to carry, that’s the government’s business—and so are the costs and problems that go along with it.
But if religious groups do help bear the burden, often at a financial loss to themselves, then they can reasonably insist on the right to protect their own mission. The privilege of helping the government is pretty thin soup if the cost involves compromising one’s religious identity.
The second and more dangerous problem with bills like HB 1080 is that they aggressively advance a secularist interpretation of the “separation of Church and state.” Whether they do it consciously or not, groups like the Anti-Defamation League seem to argue from the presumption that any public money passing through religious agency hands is somehow rendered “baptized” and therefore unable to serve the common good. Aside from being enormously offensive to religious believers, this view is also alien to American history, which is filled with examples of government and private religious cooperation to achieve common public goals.
It’s certainly reasonable for government to require that religious service agencies refrain from using public funds to proselytize. But Catholic Charities doesn’t do that anyway; that’s not its purpose. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the six hundred jobs at Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Denver are already open to anyone of goodwill and competence, regardless of religious background. The relatively few positions that do require a faithful, practicing Catholic are exactly the ones that help guarantee Charities’ “Catholic” identity and its grounding in the social ministry of the Church.
It’s unreasonable—in fact, it shows a peculiar hostility toward religion—to claim that religious organizations will compromise the public good if they remain true to their religious identity while serving the poor with public funds. That’s just a new form of prejudice, using the “separation of Church and state” as an alibi.
Bills like HB 1080 are now occurring all over the country. The lesson here for American Catholics is this: For more than forty years, we’ve worked to integrate, accommodate, and assimilate to American society in the belief that a truly diverse public square would have room for authentically Catholic life and faith. We need to revisit that assumption. It turns out that nobody gets anything for free. If we want to influence, or even have room to breathe in the American environment of coming generations, we’ll need to work for it and fight for it—always in a spirit of justice and charity, but also vigorously and without apology. Anyone who still has an easy confidence about the Catholic “place” in American life had better wake up.
Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., is archbishop of Denver.
View From Lodi, CA: Celebrate The Cowboy West—Before It’s Gone For Good
By Joe Guzzardi
Last year, for the first time in a decade, I missed the West’s premier event, the annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada.
I’m not sure that I can exactly equate not celebrating Christmas with not going to Elko—but it’s close.
At the 24th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, as in all preceding ones, the people at the Western Folk Life Center contemplate the individuals’ role in shaping the West's future. The Center also takes comfort in our Western bonds with place, family and friends, our work, our animals, and our traditions to provide us with strength, inspiration and grounding.
What’s encouraged at the Gathering is, according to its website, "kinship with all fellow beings, whether two-legged or four-legged, that call this region home; and we encourage better understanding of the language of horse culture and the land that nurtures this way of life."
Among the aspects of cowboy life that will be featured this year is the historical importance of song.
Well-known western recording star, Don Edwards will perform songs from the 100th anniversary of the publication of Jack Thorpe’s "Songs of the Cowboys". Thorpe is remembered for having written the lyrics to "Little Joe the Wrangler", one of the most famous songs in cowboy history.
Like many other figures in western lore, Thorpe was not the person he seemed to be. "Little Joe" was written 1897 while Thorpe was on the trail between Chimney Lake, New Mexico and Higgins, Texas. Thorp’s tale would indicate that he knew that wrangler life style well.
But the opposite is true. Thorp was born in 1867 into a family headed by a well-to-do New York City lawyer and real estate investor. The Thorps also owned a house in an enclave for the wealthiest of the wealthy, Newport, Rhode Island.
Thorp was educated in exclusive prep schools and he attended Harvard for three years. A polo player, Thorp trained his own ponies for matches.
At the age of nineteen, when his father sustained severe financial losses, Thorp moved to New Mexico and worked for a ranch as a cowboy hand. Although Thorp also worked briefly as a civil engineer, he spent most of his next 50 years as a cowboy, and as a collector and writer of cowboy songs.
That Edwards will be playing Thorpe’s songs is fitting because Edwards’ background is also non-traditional for a western songsmith.
The son of a vaudeville magician, Edwards was born and raised in the farming community of Boonton, New Jersey. Edwards’ first inspiration came from the writings of cowboy author Will James including The Lone Cowboy.
Motivated by James’ work to learn more about life on the range, Edwards took up the guitar at age ten and eventually performed songs originally recorded by Gene Autry, Tex Ritter and Jimmy Rodgers.
Edwards ranks among the nation’s leading authorities on western music and lore. He has presented seminars at Yale, Rice, Texas Christian and traveled worldwide to sing his songs.
The two essential Edwards albums are Goin' Back To Texas and Songs of the Trail.
One barometer that I use to gauge Cowboy Poetry Gathering’s importance and its commitment to celebrating the West before it’s gone is the sprawl that has engulfed the Nevada cities that I drive though on the way to Elko.
And a little more than a year ago, Wal-Mart opened in 915,000-square-foot distribution center a few miles east of Reno.
If you have been hankering to go to Elko, you’d better do it soon. When these ranchers and cowboys are gone, they’ll be gone for good.
[Note to VDARE.COM readers: You can listen to the Gathering live here.]Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.
February 6, 2008 12:00 AM
Demonstrators from Code Pink protest in front of a Marine Corps recruiting office in Berkeley. San Fransisco Chronicle photo by Paul Chinn
The troop-bashers in Berkeley are at it once more. But this time, the rest of America lashed back. Message to the Left Coast: It’s not the 1960s anymore.
On January 29, the Berkeley city council passed several measures targeting the lone Marine recruitment office in town. The anti-war harridans at Code Pink have been picketing the center for months. Last fall, they defaced the building by slapping a sign that read “assasination” (sic) in the military office window. Instead of rising to defend the recruiters’ property rights, the city council and mayor voted to sabotage them further. They granted Code Pink special parking privileges directly in front of the Marines’ workplace to facilitate their protests — and also offered them a free sound permit for six months.
In the home of the free-speech movement, the peace-and-love mob abused the power of government to help drive the Marines out of the city. They proceeded with zoning changes to treat recruiting centers like porn shops. They encouraged residents to continue to impede the recruiters’ work. Never mind federal law making it a crime to willfully obstruct the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States. If that weren’t blood-boiling enough, the Berkeleyites put the troops under further siege by voting to send a letter to the U.S. Marine Corps calling them “uninvited and unwelcome intruders.”
Video of the council meeting showed city officials trashing the Marines as “the president’s own gangsters” and “trained killers” who are known for “death and destruction … and maiming.” One of the council members complained that our men and women in uniform were responsible for “horrible karma.” Mayor Tom Bates offered to “help” the Marines evacuate.
But, of course, they continue to argue shamelessly that they’re not against the troops. Just against President Bush’s policies.
Only one council member, Gordon Wozniak, opposed the Code Pink measure — pointing out that the council was bending the rules, intentionally setting up a confrontation between the group and the recruitment office, and “showing favoritism.” He was outnumbered, 8-to-1. Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin and her minions gloated over the vote and turned up at the recruitment center to rub salt in the wound: “We are the defenders of democracy, the upholders of the Constitution. If it weren’t for people like the people in Berkeley, standing up for what they believe, we’d be living under Hitler.”
Her thugs defaced the recruitment center again — this time with a banner of bloody handprints stretched across the window as recruiters tried to do their jobs.
In another decade, Berkeley would have gotten away with this intolerant, illiberal, un-American power trip. But in the age of the Internet, talk radio, and YouTube, word of the siege at Berkeley spread like lightning. And citizens across the country weren’t willing to look the other way. The San Francisco-based Move America Forward, led by talk show host/conservative activist Melanie Morgan, launched an online petition protesting the city council measures. Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina moved to strip Berkeley of pork barrel spending worth $2 million.
The American Legion mobilized as well. National Commander Marty Conatser lambasted the votes: “The American Legion not only strongly condemns this action by the City Council but also believes that a sincere apology is in order to all Marines, past and present. … What these recruiters do is essential to our national security. Without recruiters we have no military. And I don’t think we can count on the flower children from Berkeley to protect this nation when it comes under attack. They have to remember that Marines are not the enemy; the terrorists are.”
After feeling the heat, not just from veterans, military families, and troop supporters outside of Berkeley but also from their own embarrassed citizens, the council is waving a partial white flag: Two council members will move to rescind the obnoxious letter and Code Pink privileges next week. It seems a little light bulb went off in Councilwoman Betty Olds’ head: “I think we shouldn’t be seen across the country as hating the Marines.”
Too late. The city’s “horrible karma” is on full display. Sit back and watch Berkeley be Berkeley? No more.
— Michelle Malkin is author of Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Tuesday, February 5, 2008; 1:25 PM
Intense until the end, Knight doesn't like what he sees during what turns out to be his final game, a 67-60 victory over visiting Oklahoma State.
It is never easy or simple with Bob Knight.
His decision to walk away from coaching two-thirds of the way through his 42nd season is bound to be questioned and, in some quarters, criticized. But who among us would expect him to leave the game in a predictable fashion. If there has been one consisent about Knight, it is that you can never predict what he will say or do next.
He's not the first iconic coach to walk away in mid-season: John Thompson left Georgetown eight years ago after the Hoyas had dropped their first four Big East games and to this day has never really explained the timing. Lefty Driesell did the same thing at Georgia State five years ago and did explain his thoughts: "I woke up in a motel room in Nashville one morning, looked around and said, 'I'm 71 years old; what in the world am I doing here?' " Dean Smith quit on the eve of the first practice prior to the 1997-98 season because the idea of going to practice didn't excite him anymore.
The truly great ones, the ones who put every drop of energy they have into what they do, often reach a point where, very suddenly, it occurs to them that they aren't what they once were. Their energy level isn't the same; their enjoyment of what they do isn't the same; their desire isn't the same. And, in most cases, they aren't winning as much, and every one of them craves winning.
For all his success, Knight had reached a plateau at Texas Tech that was well below where he wanted to be or thought he should be. His work in six-and-a-half seasons there was admirable: four NCAA tournament bids, one trip to the round of 16. But that's a long way from the glory days at Indiana; all the Big Ten titles; the five trips to the Final Four; the three national championships. Knight last won a national title in 1987; last went to a Final Four in 1992. In his last 14 seasons as a coach he reached the round of 16 twice and never went beyond that.
At some point a man who takes every loss as a personal affront was going to get tired of that. He had set all the records he was going to set. He had won his 900th game, and his team was 12-8 and spluttering along in the middle of the Big 12. There had been losses to Sam Houston State and Centenary and, recently, a 26-point loss at Texas.
Knight did not know it at the time, but his No. 6-seed team's 77-57 loss to No. 11-seed Pepperdine in the first round of the 2000 NCAA tournament at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, N.Y. was his last game as Hoosiers' coach. Knight returned to the NCAA tournament in 2002 with Texas Tech and also exited in the first round.
Army Coach Jim Crews, who played on Knight's first national championship team in 1976 (the last undefeated college team) and then coached under him for eight years, almost predicted this three days ago. Crews is as bright and thoughtful as anyone in coaching and understands Knight as well or better than anyone who ever played for him or worked for him.
"I just wonder how much longer he's going to want to do this," Crews said when the subject of Knight came up Sunday. "I remember looking in the paper and seeing they had lost to Centenary and thinking, 'Wow, I just can't imagine what it must be like around there [Lubbock] right now.' I think there's going to come a point where he says, 'Enough is enough.' I wouldn't be surprised if it was sooner rather than later.' "
Crews probably didn't expect it this soon, but he obviously knew what he was talking about. Those who will criticize Knight for walking away from his team will miss the point entirely: There is no doubt he believes it is better for his players to be coached by an energized Pat Knight than by a worn-out Bob Knight. That's a fact.
His legacy will always be a mixed one and that's the sad part. The chair (1985) will always come up and so will Puerto Rico (1979); the LSU fan in the trash can (1981); Neil Reed (1999); his firing at Indiana (2000); the salad bar incident with the Texas Tech chancellor (2004) and on and on.
There's no excuse for that behavior or for the bully act he frequently put on or for some of the emotional abuses he heaped on players and assistant coaches and, for that matter, close friends. Those who try to justify that behavior are just as foolish as those who refuse to acknowledge all that he accomplished.
Adore him or abhor him, no one knows Knight better than his son, Pat. A four-year reserve for his father, Pat played his last game at Assembly Hall as Indiana defeated Iowa, 110-79. Knight said that his son, who is currently the head coach designate at Texas Tech, was his favorite player of all-time.
Most who played for him swore at him frequently while they were with him and swore by him after they left. His often convoluted notions of loyalty could make life very difficult, but almost everyone who has ever been around him for any length of time would agree they learned from him and that if you dealt with all the baggage, he would be there for you when you needed him.
Knight was never easy on any level for anyone, but he was often worth all the trouble.
I certainly fall into that category. The season I spent with him (1985-86) was one of the most fascinating and frustrating periods of my life. The access he allowed me provided the material to make "A Season on the Brink" a bestseller. After the book was released, Knight called me every possible derogatory name he could think of because he said I had told him I would leave his profanity out of the book. It became an ugly dispute, and to this day, I know there are people who believe I betrayed Knight.
We made up eventually, carving out what could best be described as a civil relationship in recent years. When I wrote a book about Red Auerbach several years ago, Knight and I talked at length because Knight would have done anything for Red.
Often, I'm asked my most vivid memory from the time I spent with Knight. There are so many - both good and bad - but one sticks with me because it says so much about who Knight really wanted to be.
He and I were sitting in a Bob Evans in Indianapolis at about 1 o'clock in the morning on the eve of Indiana's game in a holiday tournament against Mississippi State. Knight was talking at length about his team's lack of toughness when a boy approached the table very gingerly. Almost always in public situations, Knight was extremely approachable as long as people were polite.
The 1984-85 season ended on this day at Madison Square Garden for Knight and star point guard Steve Alford. But it was author John Feinstein's A Season on the Brink that made Alford, now the coach at Iowa, famous for his tempestuous relationship with Knight. Feinstein was allowed full access into the inner workings of Knight's basketball and personal life. While Knight did not enjoy the final product, readers did. The season-long chronicle of Knight's 1985-86 team became a New York Times Bestseller.
"Coach, I'm sorry to interrupt," the boy began. "But I wonder if I could ask you a big favor."
I began reaching for a pen, assuming the youngster wanted an autograph. I was wrong. His name was Garland Loper, and he was 12 years old. He explained to Knight that his father and brother would like to meet him.
"Of course," Knight said. "Where are they?"
Garland pointed across the restaurant.
"You see, Coach, they're both deaf and mute," he explained. "They talk through me. They'd like to say hello to you if it's okay." Knight instantly waved over the two older Lopers. They signed to Garland, who spoke to Knight, telling him how much they loved Indiana basketball and how proud they were of him and his players. Knight was clearly touched by all three. He took down their home address and phone number and sent the entire family Indiana memorabilia and souveniers. He also invited them to a game.
Prior to the game, Knight took the Lopers into the locker room. He introduced them to his players, and then Garland again acted as the family spokesman so he, his dad and his brother could speak to the players. When he was finished, the room was absolutely silent.
"Boys," Knight said as he always did when his team had visitors. One by one, the players lined up to shake hands with the Lopers and introduced themselves.
When the Lopers had left, there was a long silence, and then Knight said, "Boys, I don't ever want to hear again how tough your lives are."
That was his pregame talk.
To this day, everyone on that team with whom I keep in touch remembers that scene.
There's no wiping out all the moments of Knight's bad behavior. They will always be part of his legacy.
But so too will the Loper family. That was the best of Bob Knight. And there is no arguing that his best was as good as it gets.
By Joe Kaufman
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
With its similarity to popular online sites such as Facebook and MySpace and its links to a network of grassroots blogs, Barack Obama’s campaign website has been hailed as a testament to the candidate’s transformative politics. But at least part of the senator’s online outreach, “Muslim Americans for Obama ’08,” proposes installing Muslim prayer areas in public places and giving Muslims time off for prayer and has denounced Obama’s colleagues in the U.S. Senate who happen to be Jewish. This segment of Obama's online outreach also has ties to unindicted co-conspirators in terror trials and has recruited Obama supporters from among the ranks of fundamentalist Muslim extremists.
On the blog, which is attached to BarackObama.com, viewers can read about “the Senate pro-Israeli zionist hawk Joe Lieberman,” as well as criticism aimed at Obama himself for getting too cozy with the Israeli lobby. As stated on the blog, that last part was derived from information found on Electronic Intifada (EI), a terror apologist website based in Chicago, Illinois, Obama’s hometown. According to the site’s co-founder, Ali Abunimah, Senator Obama once told him, regarding Abunimah’s anti-American and anti-Israel writings, to “Keep up the good work!”
While the Muslim Americans for Obama ’08 blog is hosted by Obama’s website, it is actually part of another site that goes by the same name, located at muslimsforobama08.com. The registered agent for the site is Zakiyah Omar, a women’s costume designer from Jacksonville, Florida. Omar has been involved in the Obama campaign since December 2006 (She has had the site since February ’07). She too has her own blog hosted by the official Obama website.
On the Muslim Americans for Obama ’08 site, one will find a list of upcoming events, issues and solutions, details on how to join, a links section to sites of interest, and of course, a link to the blog. There’s even a toll-free number to call for more information.
Within the events section, a number of the listings pertain to conferences and conventions being sponsored by organizations that have a number of troubling ties. One is the 44th Annual ISNA National Convention, held in Rosemont, Illinois.
ISNA or the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) was recently named an “Unindicted Co-conspirator” for a Dallas trial that dealt with the funding of millions of dollars to Hamas.
Beginning in December 2003, ISNA was the subject of a Senate investigation into the financing of terror groups overseas. The group currently uses its website to propagate violent hatred against Jews and Christians.
Another of the events listed is the 32nd ICNA-MAS Convention, held in Hartford, Connecticut. ICNA or the Islamic Circle of North America, in August 2006, was the top donor to a Pakistani charity that, at the time, had given $99,000 to the head of Hamas, Khaled Mashaal. Four people associated with the ICNA-related ‘Houston Taliban’ were arrested and charged with jihad training with firearms, for the purpose of joining the Taliban to attack Americans overseas.
MAS or the Muslim American Society, like ISNA, uses the web to spread violent hatred against non-Muslims. In April 2004, MAS’s Communications Director, Randall Todd “Ismail” Royer, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his activities within the ‘Virginia Jihad Network,’ a group that was conspiring with Laskar-e-Taiba (LeT) to attack Americans and Indians abroad.
Yet another event listing is the 2007 MANA National Convention, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. MANA or the Muslim Alliance in North America was founded in May of 2000, in response to the arrest of cop killer H. Rap Brown, a.k.a. Jamil Al-Amin. The President (Amir) of the organization is Siraj Wahhaj, an individual that was named by the U.S. government an “Unindicted Co-conspirator” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
According to Muslim Americans for Obama ’08, it took part in “VOTER REGISTRATION/INFORMATION BOOTHS,” at each of the above venues. Taking that into consideration, since Muslim Americans for Obama ’08 is officially part of the Barack Obama for President team – or as the campaign puts it, “Community” – one can conclude that Senator Obama and/or his campaign had sanctioned its attendance at these events.
Further troubling are the following “Issues & Solutions” on the site:
* Institute a Law to allow Muslim Employees to take an hour off from work for Friday Jummah Prayer.
* Make the 2 Eid’s recognized National Holidays on Calendars with days off from work.
* Provide prayer areas suitable for Salah and Jummah, in public and private facilities. (i.e. Malls, Airports, Universities and government buildings.)
Found on the right side of the website’s homepage are a series of links, most of which deal with information about Senator Obama and the campaign. One of them, though, is a link to Aswat Al-Islam, a radical Islamic multimedia outlet. Muslim Americans for Obama ’08 lists it as “Quran (Audio) English Translation.”
Aswat Al-Islam features the works of such Islamist luminaries as: “Uninidicted Co-conspirators” of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Siraj Wahhaj and Bilal Philips; anti-Christian bigot, Ahmed Deedat; pro-wife beating author, Jamal Badawi; suicide bombing supporter, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi; and the chief cleric of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, who has called for the murders of Jews, Christians and Americans and has described Jews as “the scum of the human race, the rats of the world, the killers of prophets, and the grandsons of monkeys and pigs,” Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais.
According to Muslim Americans for Obama ’08, Senator Barack Obama “is the BEST candidate for the job in 2008.” But being the best candidate should have as a requisite keeping company that is worthy of respect. Recently, Obama has been cited for having a racist and anti-Israel pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and a campaign advisor that has expressed sympathy for Hamas and Hezbollah, Robert Malley. If Sen. Obama truly is worthy of the presidency of the United States, he should publicly distance himself from these extremist groups and individuals. And if he does not want his campaign to be seen as hospitable to radical voices, he should sever his ties with the blog that provides credible evidence for this charge.
Posted: Monday February 4, 2008 11:09PM; Updated: Tuesday February 5, 2008 7:21AM
Indiana's Todd Leary gets an earful from his head coach.
John W. McDonough/SI
By William F. Reed, Special to SI.com
Bob Knight always assured me that he wouldn't go out like Woody Hayes, the iconic Ohio State football coach who imploded on national TV during the 1978 Gator Bowl. Late in the game, Clemson linebacker Charlie Baumann intercepted a Buckeye pass and was tackled on the Ohio State sideline. Hayes punched Baumann in the neck when he got up, and the officials kicked Hayes out of the game. A few days later he was fired by the university where he had won three national championships.
Knight got to know Hayes during his undergraduate days at Ohio State from 1958-62, and, the truth be told, he derived a lot more of his coaching personality and style from Hayes than he did from his basketball coach, Fred Taylor. Even then, Knight knew that coaching would be his destiny, so he often picked Hayes' brains and attended his practices.
He liked the way Hayes emphasized academics, made friends with faculty members, and avidly studied military history. He also noted that like Ted Williams, his baseball idol, Hayes had little use for the media and sometimes allowed his passion for winning to boil over into confrontations with officials, fellow coaches, and fans.
I once asked Knight -- it might have been after the infamous chair-tossing incident in the early 1980s -- if he ever worried that he would pull a Woody.
"No," he said. "It'll never happen. I'm always in a lot more control than I might look. I know what I'm doing. I'm going to go out under my own terms."
And so he did. On Monday night, it was announced that Knight had resigned his job at Texas Tech, effective immediately, and would be replaced by Pat Knight, his son, former player at IU, and university-sanctioned coach-in-waiting.
Why now? Why step aside only days after he had become the first coach to reach 900 career victories? Could it be that the man who began his head coaching career when LBJ was in the White House finally has become burned out? Or is it something more complicated, something that Knight may -- or may not -- share with the media?
I haven't talked with him since late last year, although I did get a Christmas card from Knight and his wife, Karen. I had no reason to think he had become tired or unhappy. I laughed along with basketball fans everywhere at what he said and did when he brought one of his grandchildren to a post-game press conference recently.
He told me he loved living in Lubbock, where he pretty much had the run of the town -- just as he did in Bloomington, Ind., for 29 years -- and could go hunting or fishing whenever he wanted. He said he liked being out of the basketball mainstream, and I suppose, in some ways, he did.
Yet I also think he missed coaching in an area of the country where basketball is more important than it is in West Texas. Think about it. He grew up in the heart of Big Ten country, and his home in Orrville, Ohio, was close enough to Kentucky that he could listen to the the broadcasts of Adolph Rupp's great teams on 50,000-watt WHAS radio in Louisville.
During his career at Ohio State, the Buckeyes were the dominant program in college basketball. Led by center Jerry Lucas and forward John Havlicek, the Buckeyes won the 1960 NCAA title, then were upset by in-state rival Cincinnati in two straight championship games.
Although Knight never rose higher than sixth-man status during his playing career, he loved being a part of the action. From his seat on the bench, he studied the great coaches and teams of the time. He wanted to know what made Jerry West tick, or why California coach Pete Newell played the offense he did.
At West Point, where he succeeded Tates Locke in 1965, Knight spent a lot of time attending games in Madison Square Garden, where he made it a point to befriend legendary older coaches such as Clair Bee, Joe Lapchick, Pete Carlesimo, and Doggie Julian. The old-timers were pleased to be remembered, and they shared their stories and philosophies with the eager kid.
Knight was beaten by Duke at the 1992 Final Four, his fifth and final appearance.
John W. McDonough/SI
Of course, from the day Knight set foot on the Indiana campus in Bloomington, Indiana always was on the cutting edge of what was happening in college hoops. He took his second team to the NCAA Final Four, where it lost to Bill Walton's sophomore team at UCLA. The game turned in UCLA's favor when Walton got the better of a charge-block situation with IU's Steve Downing, and Knight still contends it was a bad call.
Love Knight or hate him -- and with most people it was one or the other, no middle ground -- you couldn't ignore him.
Despite his occasional lapses into boorish behavior, the fans throughout the state always forgave him, probably because he embodied the small-town values that Hoosiers hold dear -- hard work, honesty, intelligence, and unpretentiousness.
When Knight would go out to eat, he favored out-of-the-way rib joints to fancy restaurants. He came to eschew coats and ties for sweaters. He was just plain Bob to most Hoosiers, one of their own, and they loved it when he would tell a big-city media wiseguy where he could stuff his notebook.
On Senior Night during his son's last season as a player, Knight stood in the middle of the floor and said, "When I die, I want them to bury me upside down so my critics can kiss my ass." That inspired a huge ovation.
But then IU finally got a president, Myles Brand, who didn't buy into the idea that Knight was irreplaceable. He made it clear that he would not tolerate behavior from Knight that would reflect poorly on the university.
Inevitably, Knight took that as a challenge, with the result that his last four or five seasons in Bloomington were rife with behind-the-scenes political strife. Many in the administration, especially in the athletics department, were forced to take sides. It became a power struggle that Knight couldn't win.
One of the many who were caught in the middle was IU Athletics Director Clarence Doninger, who had been close to Knight since he served as his legal counsel during the 1979 Pan-Am Games fiasco in Puerto Rico. When Doninger tried to carry out his boss's orders, Knight felt betrayed.
Leaving Bloomington against his will, Knight was so angry with IU that he sued the university for violating state law in the way his firing was handled. (The suit eventually was tossed out.) He also cut off friends who tried to help the Hoosier basketball program or his successor, Mike Davis. When blue-chip prospect Sean May -- whose father, Scott, had starred for Knight's unbeaten 1976 NCAA title team -- picked North Carolina over Indiana, Knight said he didn't have anything to do with it, but his critics didn't believe him.
After a year away, Knight returned to coaching at Texas Tech. The national media was surprised, because Lubbock, Tex., has never exactly been a hoops hotbed. At the time, however, Tech offered just what Knight wanted -- membership in an elite conference, an excellent arena and a commitment to improving its basketball program, and, most importantly, an athletics director, Gerald Myers, who was one of Knight's old coaching buddies.
Because of his gratitude to Myers and the university, Knight has been relatively well-behaved during his five years in Lubbock. Oh, sure, there was a dust-up with an administrator at a restaurant, the face-tapping of a player, and a recent squabble with a farmer on one of Knight's hunting trips. Mostly, though, Knight has kept himself out of the headlines.
He wanted to coach one more team good enough to make the Final Four, but he quickly found that most high-profile recruits didn't find Lubbock to be nearly as appealing as he did. When I talked with him last year, Knight lamented that he never had to worry about keeping track of unofficial visits because no recruit lived close enough to visit Lubbock on his own.
He also became frustrated that fan support, while vastly improved, still was far below what he had known at Ohio State and Indiana. Football still is king in Texas, including Lubbock. The night he got his 900th win, Knight thanked the fans for filling the arena for a change, a tinge of sarcasm in his voice.
It's anybody's guess what Knight will do now, but don't be surprised to see him turn up as a national TV or radio analyst. Back in 1980, he was legendary announcer Cawood Ledford's sidekick for the national radio broadcast of the NCAA Final Four, and Ledford said he had never worked with a better analyst.
After winning his second national title in 1981, Knight seriously considered retiring so he could accept a lucrative offer from CBS. But he decided to stay in coaching at least partly because he felt an obligation to Landon Turner, a star on his championship team who had become paralyzed in an automobile accident.
Or who knows? Maybe Knight will turn up as some kind of coach-in-residence at one of the service academies. When I questioned him once about his motivation, Knight said, "In a sense, I've never really stopped coaching at West Point. I loved everything about it -- the discipline, the commitment, the values."
That might have been fine in the 1940s or '50s, but it became increasingly difficult to teach and coach that way in the last 25 years. Society changed, but Bob Knight never did.
Unfortunately for Knight, he'll be remembered more for his displays of temper than for his commitment to academics and abiding by the NCAA rules. But all that aside, he was a coaching giant. He revolutionized Big Ten basketball with his emphasis on man-to-man defense, and today almost every major college team in America plays a variation of the motion offense that Knight learned from Newell, Henry Iba, and others.
When Hayes was fired at Ohio State, he said, "Nobody despises to lose more than I do. That's got me into trouble over the years, but it also made a man of mediocre ability into a pretty good coach."
That could fit Knight as well as Hayes, except for this: Neither was a made of mediocre ability. Like Hayes, Knight had a passion for his sport that burned deeply within, often to his detriment.
"Hell, Billy," he once told me, "you have to understand that I can't be what you want me to be. I have to be what I want me to be."
And to the end, for better or worse, he was.