Friday, December 24, 2004

Margaret Carlson: "Hotel Rwanda" Should Open Our Eyes to Sudanese Genocide

December 23, 2004
The Los Angeles Times

Margaret Carlson:

'Hotel Rwanda' Should Open Our Eyes to the Genocide in Sudan
A film about compassion in a time of slaughter asks how we can stand silent.

I don't go to the movies to feel guilty. If I stumble into one that leaves me feeling that way, I generally don't recommend it to friends. I like my movies soft, entertaining and message-free.

I wanted to wring James Brooks' neck for "Spanglish." The director of "Terms of Endearment," which my daughter and I have watched a hundred times, has no business serving up "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" without a warning label stamping it as unsuitable for romantics.

So I had to be dragged last week to see "Hotel Rwanda." For a time, I fitfully resisted but was quickly drawn in. It is a story about love in a time of slaughter. Without preaching to its audience, it shows how a man can be transformed from ordinary to heroic.

Paul Rusesabagina, played by Don Cheadle, is the solicitous manager of an elegant, luxury hotel in Kigali. It's a going concern despite outbreaks of violence. He caters to European businessmen and corrupt local officials, whom he courts with Cuban cigars and single-malt Scotch. His intelligent eyes say he knows he's just the help. But like many an underling, he is confused by his proximity to power. When his brother-in-law, a Tutsi like Paul's wife, asks for protection, Paul shoos him away. He doesn't believe all hell is about to break loose, or that if it does it will penetrate his bubble of privilege.

Gradually, he awakens to the violence raging beyond his gates. He reluctantly takes in a handful of orphans and then more, until he's hiding more than 1,000 of his countrymen. But he has nothing more than his wits and whiskey to protect them with. Paul believes if he can keep his refugees safe one day at a time, the world will awaken and send in the troops. That illusion is utterly dashed when the U.N. mission chief takes Paul aside to tell him there will be no rescue: "The West, all the superpowers, everything you believe in, Paul, they think you're dirt … you're worthless. You're African."

Where does heroism come from and how many of us have it? The uplifting message of "Hotel Rwanda" is that if Paul is capable of such bravery, maybe we are too.

After 9/11, I remember reading of the $10-an-hour security guard last seen alive racing back from another building to guide his fellow workers to safety, and of the insurance agent "just doing his job" who denied that guard's widow benefits because her husband wasn't officially "on duty" when he died. Would I be the security guard or the agent?

At the outset, Paul believed the system he served would protect his country. When it didn't, he took it upon himself to save as many people as he could, whatever the peril to himself. Will "Hotel Rwanda" open Americans' eyes to the almost identical genocide in nearby Sudan?

After Rwanda, presidents Clinton and Bush said that never again would the West turn its back on such suffering. Yet the slaughter in Darfur by the janjaweed and Arab militias has killed tens of thousands and displaced about 2 million more.

In September, Secretary of State Colin Powell called the killings genocide, a word the U.S. pointedly didn't use about Rwanda because to do so would have acknowledged a duty to intervene.

War is God's way of teaching Americans geography. Few of us even know where Rwanda or Mogadishu or Sudan are unless, by chance, some American gets caught in the crossfire there. Who can sort out the Tutsis from the Hutus or make an educated guess as to what beyond blood lust, revenge and despair they are fighting over? The Middle East we care about. Africa, we don't.

Bush's appointment in June of former Sudan envoy John Danforth to be U.N. ambassador offered the country a ray of hope, at least until he quit just six months later. A day after announcing his resignation, he publicly denounced the failure of a motion that (mildly) criticized human rights violations in Sudan. "One wonders about the utility of the General Assembly on days like this. One wonders if there can't be a clear and direct statement on matters of basic principle. Why have this building? What is it all about?"

As Christmas neared, Save the Children, one of the last relief organizations left in Sudan, announced that renewed fighting made it impossible to stay. The White House tossed the ball back into the United Nations' court, telling Secretary-General Kofi Annan that it was up to him to go there and reopen peace talks.

Let no one be dragged in years to come to "Hotel Sudan." That's a sequel no one should have to see.

If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at

Jonah Goldberg: Lighten Up, It's Christmas

[I never in my sweet short life thought that I would see press headlines like "The Battle Over Christmas" or "Americans Clash Over Christmas Celebrations"...I mean, what the hell is going on around here? I simply cannot wrap my head around this...I don't want to know someone who can't handle having a well-wisher extend a heartfelt "Merry Christmas". This is what we've been reduced to?...fighting over "Merry Christmas"? can't be serious! - jtf]

Lighten up, it's Christmas

Jonah Goldberg (archive)
December 22, 2004 Print Send

Maybe it’s my upbringing. When my parents got married, my father insisted the kids be raised Jewish. For the record, Mom’s Episcopalian. And, also for the record, you can spare the e-mails about how that means I’m not Jewish because Jewishness is matrilineal (from the mom’s side).

This didn’t stop me from getting Bar Mitzvah presents (ah, the early ’80s, so many electronic calculators!). And it doesn’t stop me from getting piles of anti-Semitic e-mail, either. Anyway, Momma G said, Fine, we can raise the kids Jewish, but we have to celebrate Christmas.

And so we did. In fact, my parents clipped a headline from a newspaper and taped it to a cardboard Christmas tree ornament they still use every year. It says: “Santa Knows We’re Jewish.”

Don’t laugh too hard. Is it such a stretch to imagine that one fat man and a bunch of vertically challenged workmen, who are capable of delivering a billion tons of toys to every corner of the globe in a single night with a single sled — pulled by flying reindeer — might add a few nice Jewish kids to his list, assuming they’ve been nice and not naughty, of course?

I attended a Reform Jewish day school, and almost everyone I knew had a Christmas tree at home. I don’t remember anyone calling them “Holiday Trees,” but quite a few called them “Hanukkah bushes,” which always struck me as lameness on stilts — like calling a menorah a “Christmas candelabra.”

And keep in mind, this school, Rodeph Sholem, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, was virtually a madrassa of knee-jerk Jewish liberalism. Why, a couple years ago they — I kid you not — cancelled Mother’s Day because it was mean to kids with, uh, two daddies. Note, they never canceled Mother’s Day out of consideration for kids whose mothers were, you know, dead. But that’s a battle for another day.

Anyway, I guess it’s because of this background — plus my supposedly troglodytic rightwingness — that I just cannot get worked-up about the supposed non-inclusiveness of Christmastime. I don’t know a single Jew, Muslim or atheist who’d be even remotely likely to switch teams simply by seeing a Christmas tree. Santa Claus is not going around like the priests in “The Exorcist,” waving his bell like holy water, shouting, “The power of Christ compels you! The power of Christ compels you!”

Christmas is a joyous holiday, and joyous people tend not to behave like Torquemada. By my rough calculation, 99.87 percent of Christians who say “Merry Christmas” to people who aren’t Christian do so because they’re trying to be nice. And, by my equally rough calculation, 97.93 percent of people who take real offense when they’re on the receiving end of such Yuletide wishes are trying to be a pain in the — uh, well, they’re trying to be a pain. Let’s put it this way. If you were in Morocco (and a non-Muslim) and someone said to you, “Have a nice Ramadan,” you’d probably say thanks respectfully and leave it at that. But some people are aghast that, here at home, someone might say “Merry Christmas” to them without first making sure they’re Christians.

You might ague this misses the point. The debate isn’t about the private sphere, but the public one. Separation of church and state, the First Amendment, blah, blah. Yeah, I know that argument. Who doesn’t at this point? But I just don’t have a lot of patience for it. This country had established state churches for generations after the First Amendment was ratified. So spare me the argument that its unconstitutional for the local rec center to sport a nativity scene out front and maybe a menorah in the window.

Closer to home, my wife works at the Department of Justice, where not even America’s most feared Christian, John Ashcroft, could successfully keep the Department of Justice from celebrating Gay Pride Month just downstairs from his office. But I’m supposed to buy that it would be outrageous for the DOJ to have a Christmas — not holiday, but Christmas — party one night after work?

Tolerance must be a two-way street. If minorities want the majority to be tolerant of them, minorities in turn need to tolerate at least some of the norms of the majority. Simply because there are more Christians than Jews or Muslims or atheists, doesn’t mean that Christians should always get the shaft. That said, Christians — or at least the politically organized ones — don’t do themselves any favors when they start talking like just another identity politics group. Christians seem to be complaining more this year than usual about the war on Christmas, even as they are finding more success. Arnold Schwarzenegger renamed the governor’s “holiday tree” a Christmas tree. George Bush is the first president ever to include a quote from scripture on his Christmas card. Besides, once “Merry Christmas” becomes a political statement, everyone loses.

So, everybody lighten up, it’s Christmas!

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online, a member group.
©2004 Tribune Media Services
Contact Jonah Goldberg Read Goldberg's biography

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Ed Bouchette: Six Steelers Selected to Pro Bowl

[We care about who gets picked to play but we don't give a crap about watching the game. - jtf]

Lei it on the line

Six Steelers receive spots on the Pro Bowl team -- best in the AFC -- and a trip to Hawaii

Thursday, December 23, 2004
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The importance of the offensive line to the Steelers' success this season was reflected in the Pro Bowl team announced yesterday.

For only the third time in 22 seasons, two offensive linemen are among six Steelers on the American Football Conference Pro Bowl team.

The line that was such a mess last season, cleaned up in 2004 and guard Alan Faneca and center Jeff Hartings earned a trip to Hawaii for it. Even left tackle Marvel Smith was named an alternate to the Pro Bowl and could make it a third lineman in Honolulu for the Feb. 13 Pro Bowl if another tackle backs out.

No Steelers team had more than two offensive linemen in the Pro Bowl, which began play in 1951.

Pro Bowl linebackers are nothing new for the Steelers, but when James Farrior and Joey Porter made it yesterday, they became the first linebackers in two years to do so. Wide receiver Hines Ward and strong safety Troy Polamalu also are on the team.

The six Steelers in the Pro Bowl are more than any other AFC team and second in the NFL only to Philadelphia, which placed nine.

Hartings, Farrior and Polamalu made it for the first time. Faneca and Ward were selected for the fourth consecutive year. Porter earned a second trip.

Last season, the Steelers slipped to 6-10 and injuries, other health problems and some poor play in the line contributed to constant jumbling that forced Faneca to play left tackle for half the season. But after right guard Kendall Simmons was lost for the season with a knee injury in the summer, the line has been the rock of a rock-and-roll season.

The starting line of Smith, Faneca, Hartings, guard Keydrick Vincent and right tackle Oliver Ross not only started all 14 games but they've each played every snap in every game except for the two snaps Ross missed in two different games when he lost a shoe.

"Knock on wood, these guys have stayed pretty much together," coach Bill Cowher said. "We lost Kendall, but from the first game on, these guys have played together and been so consistent week in and week out."

Faneca was pleased with his selection but joined other teammates upset that defensive end Aaron Smith was not selected. Smith is a first alternate.

"I don't know how Aaron Smith didn't make it," Faneca said. "He definitely should have been in there; that's a travesty."

Said Porter, "I would trade mine in to let Aaron go because I feel he played better than I did. Aaron really had a good year. He's always getting the short end of the stick."

Rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who received the 10th-most votes of any NFL player in the fan balloting, did not make the team, but he is the first alternate. If any of the three AFC Pro Bowl quarterbacks -- Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning -- back out, Roethlisberger would be next in line.

Roethlisberger said the Pro Bowl team meant nothing to him.

"A Super Bowl would mean something to me."

Making the Pro Bowl did mean something to Faneca and Ward. They are the first Steelers to make at least four Pro Bowls since Dermontti Dawson earned his seventh after the 1998 season. Jerome Bettis earned his fifth in 2001 but his first two were with the Rams.

"Why would it get old to be recognized as one of the better players at your position?" asked Faneca, who has made more Pro Bowls than any previous Steelers guard.

Ward's fourth consecutive Pro Bowl gives him more than any Steelers wide receiver and one more than Hall of Famers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth.

"It's a great accomplishment, making it to four straight Pro Bowls on a predominantly running team," Ward said. "We're always known to be a power run team and a great defense, making it to a fourth Pro Bowl is a huge accomplish for me and an honor."

Porter followed his first Pro Bowl selection after the 2002 season by being shot as an innocent bystander while leaving a restaurant in downtown Denver one week before the 2003 season opened. He missed the first two games, but the muscle damage to his thigh weakened his quickness last season.

Porter has seven sacks, three forced fumbles and leads the team with 25 hits or pressures on the quarterback.

"You look at what this guy's done week in and week out," Cowher said, "it's been well recognized by people around this league what type of impact player he is. He's had a very solid season.
"I'm happy for him. A year ago he goes through the incident of the gunshot wound and to come back to where he is now, it's really a reflection of the hard work he put into it."

Porter and Farrior said they will pay for the rest of the linebackers, defensive linemen and their coaches to make the trip to Honolulu with them. He said Polamalu can take care of the secondary.

"We're taking everybody, whoever wants to go," Farrior said. "I'm happy for Joey, that he made it and we have two linebackers on this defense that made it. We have a couple more guys I think should have been over there."

(Ed Bouchette can be reached at or 412-263-3878.)

Michelle Malkin: Christians in the Crossfire

Michelle Malkin Archive

Christians In The Crossfire
By Michelle Malkin

Yes, it’s maddening when politically correct bureaucrats ban nativity scenes and Christmas carols in the name of "diversity" and "tolerance." We are under attack by Secularist Grinches Gone Wild.

But the war on Christmas in America is a mere skirmish.

Around the world, a bloody, repressive war on Christians rages on.

In Iraq, Islamist rebel troops have declared open season on Christian churches, priests, and missionaries. In February, four American pastors were traveling in a taxi near the capital when terrorists ambushed them. Rev. John Kelly, pastor of Curtis Corner Baptist Church in rural Rhode Island and a former Marine, was killed in the attack. The missionaries were starting up a new church south of Baghdad.

A friend of Rev. Kelly’s noted upon word of his murder that "he wanted to be a witness for Christ in a part of the world where there aren't a lot of witnesses for Christ."

On March 15, Southern Baptist missionaries Larry and Jean Elliott of Cary, North Carolina, Karen Denise Watson of Bakersfield, Calif., and David McDonnall of Rowlett, Texas, were killed in a drive-by shooting in northern Iraq. McDonnall’s wife, Carrie, survived the attack. The group, one of several Christian aid groups helping with reconstruction efforts, was scouting out locations for a water purification project.

The McDonnalls were young students at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Watson served on the Baptist International Mission Board, as did the Elliotts. At the Elliotts’ funeral, their oldest son, Scott, touched his chest and looked upward in tribute to his parents: "Thank you for living for the Lord. I am a life that was changed." Stephen Rummage, interim senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Cary, N.C., said the couple "loved the gospel and the souls of lost men and women more than themselves."

In Saudi Arabia, an Indian Christian man was abducted and held captive by the kingdom’s religious police (the "Muttawa") for seven months earlier this year. Brian Savio O’Connor was singled out by the Wahhabist thug cops for "possession of Bibles and preaching Christianity." In addition, the Muttawa falsely charged that O’Connor had illegally sold alcohol. While in custody, O’Connor was allegedly beaten and "pressed to convert to Islam," according to the AsiaNews website. The Saudi government succumbed to international pressure and freed O’Connor last month.

But persecution by the Saudi government against Christian Saudis continues. A Saudi Christian convert, Emad Alaabadi, was taken into custody by the Muttawa last November. The father of four became a Christian two years ago. Family and friends at the human rights group, International Christian Concern, fear he has been tortured for his beliefs.

On Dec. 1, Christian pastor Zhang Rongliang disappeared from his village apartment in Zhengzhou, China. According to The Voice of the Martyrs, a non-profit charity that tracks religious persecution, state police confiscated all of Pastor Zhang’s Christian DVDs, materials, and photos. Three other Christian churches were reportedly raided after Pastor Zhang’s arrest—part of a nationwide crackdown on the Chinese "house church" movement. More than 100 other Christian pastors were arrested in Kaifeng city in September. Many have been beaten, sentenced to "re-education through labor," and accused of being "leaders of an evil cult."

In Vietnam and North Korea, followers of Christ have been arrested, beaten, tortured, and forced to renounce their faith. In Nigeria, an Islamist terrorist group named after the Taliban conducted religious pogroms in the northern part of the country this fall—kidnapping, raping, and killing Christian villagers as part of a radicalization program that government officials suspect is being funded by Saudi Wahhabists. In Sudan, Muslim radicals have perpetrated mass slaughter and enslavement of Christian men, women, and children, some of whom have been literally crucified.

If America’s mainstream media would give the global War on Christianity just a fraction of the attention it pays to the War on Christmas, lives might be saved. And light would be shed on the true heroes of the original religion of peace.

Doing so, however, would require the nation’s secularized pundits and pontificators to take religious persecution seriously. In that, alas, I have no faith.

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

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Don Feder: The Kinky Report

By Don Feder
December 21, 2004

Alfred C. Kinsey is the Left’s secular saint – a revered figure who, they are convinced, came into a benighted world and (armed with reams of scientific research) heroically banished ignorance and sexual repression, and ushered in a new age of liberation, enlightenment, and pleasure.

In reality, the zoologist turned sex researcher was a sick pervert – more at home in a trench coat than a lab smock – who doctored evidence, abetted child molestation, and helped to launch a revolution that has resulted in untold human suffering.

But try telling that to one who worships at the altar of good sex. It’s less hazardous to disparage the pope to an Opus Dei Catholic, or burn the flag at an American Legion convention, than to question the nobility of Kinsey with a doctrinaire liberal.

In his December 12th column ("The Plot Against Sex in America"), Frank Rich – commissar of culture at The New York Times -- practically drooled through the page.

Over 50 years ago, Saint Alfred drove the snakes of Victorian sexual morality out of America’s bedrooms. But now, thanks to the Religious Right, they’re slithering back, Rich frantically warns us. "As politicians and the media alike pander to that supposed 22 percent of ‘moral values’ voters, we’re back where we came in."

Among other forms of repression just too awful for words, the Times columnist cites the advance of abstinence education, commercial TV stations in Los Angeles refusing to air "a public service spot created by Los Angeles county’s own public health agency to counteract the rising tide of syphilis," and "right-wing groups that have targeted" the cinematic celebration of Rich’s idol – "Kinsey."

Neo-puritans have mounted a full-scale assault on the movie "Kinsey" (including "false accusations" that the good doctor was a pedophile) as part of their "larger goal of pushing sex of all non-biblical kinds back into the closet and undermining any scientific findings, whether circa 1948 or 2004, that might challenge fundamentalist sexual orthodoxy as successfully as Darwin challenged Genesis," Rich sputters.

By the way, that PSA whose rejection Rich finds so ominous featured a red cartoon character, called "Phil the Sore." Phil follows two men home and, after their exchange of bodily fluids, calls in his kin, carrying boxes labeled "brain damage," "rash" and "blindness," with the implication that these can result from what the prophylactic-brigade calls "unprotected sex." Even for TV stations in LA, this was just too dumb. Only public health officials – and Rich – believe a cartoon character will keep certain citizens from have high-risk sex.

"Kinsey" stars Liam Neeson, an actor who himself is venerated for his roles in films like "Schindler’s List." While it hints at Kinsey’s eccentricities (seducing his male assistants, urging his wife to have sex with his colleagues), the movie barely scratches the surface of the degeneracy of the father of the sexual revolution.

According to Kinsey biographer James H. Jones, whose book Alfred C. Kinsey: A Public/Private Life was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1998, the celebrated sexologist was an exhibitionist and a masochist who enjoyed torturing himself by placing various objects in his urethra, among other deviant behavior.

He also filmed his wife masturbating and having sex with other men and himself having intercourse with various subordinates, some of whom were coerced into the relationships.

As for Kinsey’s much-vaunted research, to call it junk science would be generous. Kinsey presented his tomes Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (published in 1948 and weighing in at 804 pages) and Sexual Behavior In the Human Female (1953) as models of scientific method and based on rigorous research. They were anything but.

Among other findings, Kinsey concluded that 85 percent of American men had intercourse before marriage, 30-45 percent had extramarital relations, 70 percent had sex with prostitutes, as many as 37 percent had engaged in homosexual acts, and 10 percent were exclusively homosexual. From the latter comes the myth, endlessly repeated by the gay lobby, that one in 10 Americans is a homosexual. (The figure is actually closer to 1 to 2 percent.)
Incredibly, this was not a portrait of a mid-town Manhattan singles bar today, but of Middle America circa 1948!

Kinsey’s method was to science what rape is to romance. The University of Indiana academician set out to validate certain conclusions, and rigged the evidence to prove his case.

For instance, when he couldn’t get enough married women to talk about their sex lives, he redefined "married woman" as living with a man for more than a year. Prostitutes were also included in his study of female sexuality – a fact Kinsey failed to disclose in his book.

Similarly, Kinsey’s study of American males included disproportionate numbers of prisoners – especially sex offenders. Again, according to Jones, convicts constituted as much as 25 percent of Kinsey’s subjects.

Jones writes: "In fact, he had devoted much of his time to interviewing members of the underclass, including drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes, pimps, gamblers and the like." The sexual revolution was launched with research based on data drawn from the dregs of society.
Charges of pedophilia arise for Kinsey’s research into the sex lives of children. There were as many as 2,000 "subjects," some as young as six months old.

The doctor was convinced that children were "sexual beings," who could experience orgasms almost from birth by stimulating their sexual organs. "It is difficult to understand why a child, except for cultural conditioning, should be disturbed at having its genitalia touched [otherwise known as being molested-DF], or disturbed at seeing the genitalia of other persons, or disturbed at even more specific sexual contacts," Kinsey wrote in The Sexual Behavior of the Human Female.

Still, in his book on the human male, Kinsey noted that child subjects of these experiments would often "scream" and "will fight away from the [adult] partner and may make violent attempts to avoid climax, although they derive definite pleasure from the situation."

Much of Kinsey’s research here came from pedophiles. The scientist carried on voluminous correspondence with these dedicated researchers, and encouraged them to keep meticulous notes on their "experiments" with children.

Not to worry, Kinsey was sure the victims enjoyed it. Again, Jones discloses, "From Kinsey’s perspective, child molestation, like other sexual taboos, violated morals, but the actual harm it inflicted was all in people’s minds. If society did not make a big deal of it, the children would not be harmed." The North American Man Boy Love Association owes an enormous debt to Alfred C. Kinsey.

Jones notes that Kinsey was a man with a mission. "The man I came to know bore no resemblance to the canonical Kinsey. Anything but disinterested, he approached his work with a missionary fervor. Kinsey loathed Victorian morality…He was determined to use [or abuse - DF] science to strip human sexuality of guilt and repression. He wanted to undermine traditional morality, to soften the rules of restraint… Kinsey was a crypto-reformer who spent his every waking hour attempting to change the sexual mores and sex offender laws of the United States."

In other words, Dr. Kinsey wanted an America that resembled Dr. Kinsey. We’ve come a long way in that direction (thanks in part to his work – which provided the pseudo-scientific justification for the sexual revolution). In America, thanks to Kinsey's research:

Some 65 million have contracted one or more sexually transmitted diseases, most incurable.
More than half a million people have died from AIDS and an additional million have the HIV virus.

When Kinsey published his first opus, there were two venereal diseases documented in the United States: syphilis and gonorrhea. Today, the Centers for Disease Control tracks more than 30.

There are an estimated 4.2 million pornographic websites. They constitute 12 percent of all Internet sites. Every day, there are 68 million internet searches for pornography.

It is conservatively estimated at each year 20,000 to 50,000 women are brought into the United States (mostly from Latin America, Asia, and the former USSR) to serve as indentured servants in the sex trade.

Between 1960 and 1999, out-of-wedlock births to teenage mothers increased more than 430 percent. In some inner-cities, almost 80 percent of all births are to unmarried women.

The age-old institution of marriage is crumbling before our eyes, with the high court of Massachusetts mandating homosexual marriage. In the face of this attempt to radically remake society’s fundamental institution, a majority of members of the United States Senate voted against bringing to the floor a constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage.

Obviously, Kinsey – who died in 1956 – did not achieve all of this on his own. The work he started was carried on by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Sex Information and Education Council of the US (SIECUS), the ACLU, the federal judiciary (especially activist members of the Supreme Court), Mary Calderone, Hugh Hefner, Howard Stern, Dr. Alex ("The Joy of Sex") Comfort, Larry Flynt, Jerry Springer, Dr. Ruth, Joycelyn Elders, Bill (its-only-sex) Clinton, and a cast of thousands.

But Kinsey was the catalyst, which is why the left gets hysterical whenever its icon is exposed.
Like their mentor, liberals want to frame the debate as the sexually repressed versus the sexually healthy, or puritanical versus open-and-honest.

In reality, on one side of the great divide stand those who believe that sex has a moral content. On the other, are those whose goal is to completely separate sex from morality – activists whose ideal is sex at its most primitive and animalistic. Kinsey’s admirers would reduce the most profound and value-laden of human activities to an irresistible urge. In the deepest sense, they are sexual determinists whose motto should be: I am, therefore I rut.

Speaking of the man he portrays in "Kinsey," Liam Neeson insists, "These [Kinsey and his team] are people who stand for something, something that is good to remind audiences of." The Nazis who conducted medical experiments in the death camps also stood for something.

The Liam-brained actor continues, "They had a code of ethics that you perhaps don’t find anymore." Except, of course, in a sex-offenders registry.

Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains his own website,

Joe Kaufman: CAIR's Dreams of American Sharia

Joe Kaufman
December 22, 2004

“Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”

This was the sentiment of Omar M. Ahmad, the Chairman of the Board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR, as told at an Islamic conference held in Freemont, California, in July of 1998.

If a recent event taking place in Irving, Texas, is any indication, CAIR also hopes for an American jihad.

The event took place on Saturday, December 11, 2004. The theme was “The Unity of Muslim Ummah around the globe.” [Ummah = universal knowledge of Islam.] The affair was titled “A TRIBUTE TO THE GREAT ISLAMIC VISIONARY.” That “visionary” was none other than Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

On the flier for the event were the words “Neither east nor west,” alluding to Khomeini’s feeling of how the Soviet Union (“Lesser Satan”) in his mind was ultimately just as evil as the United States. It states, “‘Neither east nor west’ is the principal [sic.] slogan of an Islamic revolution....”

The venue was the Metroplex of Organizations of Muslims in North-Texas (MOMIN), certainly a far distance from where someone would think something like this would normally take place.

However, this actually does turn out to be the perfect location for this event, as the website of MOMIN contains: 1. photos depicting Khomeini; 2. a poem that states, “[Hollywood] films are Satanic”; 3. a link to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), which describes (on its website) the Iranian Revolution and overthrow of the Shah as a “triumph”; and 4. a link to a website featuring an entire page dedicated to Khomeini and deifying him, saying he masterminded a “divine uprising.”

In addition, the spiritual leader of MOMIN, Maulana Shamshad Haider Murtazawi, in May of 2004, had the following published in, a website that contains anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, and anti-American images and advertisements and propaganda for the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization.

Murtazawi wrote, “There are elements within the Shia community who have a certain dislike for the Islamic revolution, Imam Khomeini or Islamic government in Iran. Such people are usually supported by the western governments to win the hearts of the liberals within the Shia Muslim community in the West. If such elements are not flushed out, they will become a menace for our community that will mislead many more. Allah (swt) is the Guardian of the believers.”

The declarations of Omar Ahmad and Murtazawi are not unlike those made in the late 70’s, when an upsurge of anti-American, anti-Western sentiment was beginning to take hold within Iran. Led by an exiled Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the uprising, or “revolution,” was largely a violent fundamentalist response to the secular monarchy of Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (a.k.a. The Shah).

As chaos broke out in the streets of Tehran, Khomeini shouted from afar “Death to America” and referred to the U.S. as the “Great Satan.” Soon the Shah, said to be an American collaborator, would be overthrown, in favor of an Islamic Republic with Khomeini as its leader.

As it turns out, people did attend this dreadful event. And one of the featured speakers was a representative from CAIR, Iyas Maleh, the President of CAIR’s Dallas-Fort Worth chapter. Maleh said of the June handover of sovereignty to Iraq: “Two years from now we’ll be saying, ‘What have we done? We’ve installed a government that the Islamic people do not see as a legitimate government.’”

…confirming that Omar M. Ahmad’s dream is still alive and well, at least within the confines of CAIR.

Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate, an Investigative Researcher at The Klayman Law Firm, and the host of the Politics of Terrorism radio show.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

G.K. Chesterton: The Wise Men

Adoration of the Magi by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo.

Step softly, under snow or rain,
To find the place where men can pray;
The way is all so very plain
That we may lose the way.

Oh, we have learnt to peer and pore
On tortured puzzles from our youth,
We know all the labyrinthine lore,
We are the three wise men of yore,
And we know all things but truth.

We have gone round and round the hill
And lost the wood among the trees,
And learnt long names for every ill,
And serve the made gods, naming still
The furies the Eumenides.

The gods of violence took the veil
Of vision and philosophy,
The Serpent that brought all men bale,
He bites his own accursed tail,
And calls himself Eternity.

Go humbly ... it has hailed and snowed...
With voices low and lanterns lit;
So very simple is the road,
That we may stray from it.

The world grows terrible and white,
And blinding white the breaking day;
We walk bewildered in the light,
For something is too large for sight,
And something much too plain to say.

The Child that was ere worlds begun
(... We need but walk a little way,
We need but see a latch undone...)
The Child that played with moon and sun
Is playing with a little hay.

The house from which the heavens are fed,
The old strange house that is our own,
Where trick of words are never said,
And Mercy is as plain as bread,
And Honour is as hard as stone.

Go humbly, humble are the skies,
And low and large and fierce the Star;
So very near the Manger lies
That we may travel far.

Hark! Laughter like a lion wakes
To roar to the resounding plain.
And the whole heaven shouts and shakes,
For God Himself is born again,
And we are little children walking
Through the snow and rain.

It is What it is...A Christmas Tree

[Things just keep getting weirder and weirder...who would have thought that the mere mention of the word "Christmas" in public would be cause for alarm?...I suddenly feel like one of the Chicago 7 everytime I wish someone a "Merry Christmas"...Viva La Revolution!...However, this revolution WILL be televised... ]

From the Wall Street Journal's best of the web: California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has ignited controversy by presiding over the lighting of what he has renamed the state's Christmas tree. Under previous governors, it was called the "holiday tree." At the ceremony, Mr. Schwarzenegger talked about how he celebrated Christmas growing up in his native Austria, adding, "We were taught to think about the spirit, the joy of Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Christ."

The governor was promptly attacked for injecting religion into a state ceremony and possibly offending people of other faiths or no faith. But his press secretary had a quick rejoinder: "He called it a Christmas tree because that is what it is."The article also noted that the use of a Scripture verse from the Psalms (95:2) on the White House Christmas Card is avoiding ACLU scrutiny because the mailing is being funded by the Republican National Committee and not taxpayers.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Gerard Valentino: The Falso Hope of Gun-Free Zones

By Gerard Valentino Commentary
December 16, 2004

Few people remember the school shooting in Pearl, Mississippi that took place in October 1997. Fewer people remember how it ended.This episode came to a close when Pearl High School Assistant Principal Joel Myrick sprinted a quarter mile to retrieve a personal handgun from his car and confronted the shooter who was unwilling to continue the attack against an armed victim. Myrick parked so far away from the school to keep from violating federal gun free zone statutes. By the time the shooting spree ended, two students lay dead and seven others were wounded. Myrick's heroic defense of the children at his school was sparsely reported, going mostly unnoticed by the establishment media who were unwilling to report that he used a gun to end the mayhem and murder.

They were also unwilling to ask the hard question - how many children died while Myrick sprinted to his car?Compare the carnage at Pearl High School with that of the Luby's cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, where a gunman murdered 22 people and wounded 18 others before turning the gun on himself. Among those at Luby's on October 16, 1991 was a woman who was proficient with handguns, but obeyed the law by leaving her legal handgun in her vehicle because. At times she was within feet of the killer and instinctively reached for her gun which wasn't there. By the time it was over, her mother and father were among the dead.

Once again, the media never asked how many people were killed because the license holder was disarmed.Past instances of mass shootings, and common sense, teach us that when a victim resists with a firearm the violence ends quickly. Arguments claiming armed intervention by citizens leads to higher death tolls do not stand up to scrutiny. Death tolls are demonstrably higher when victims are unable to fight back as compared to cases where an armed victim resists. It's time to ask how many more people must needlessly die before gun control activists and legislators realize that disarming law-abiding citizens leaves them easy prey to criminals.

The recent massacre at a Columbus, Ohio nightclub proves yet again that so-called gun free zones only benefit criminals. The Ohio legislature and Ohio Governor Bob Taft left everyone in that nightclub without a chance to fight for their lives because under Ohio's concealed carry law, license holders are banned from carrying in any establishment that serves alcohol - even if the licensee does not drink.

At first it sounds like good public policy to ban firearms in establishments that serve liquor. Further scrutiny however reveals that any gun free zone, including schools, restaurants, bars and government buildings offer criminals the freedom to kill with impunity. The Columbus nightclub shooter was stopped by a city police officer who happened to be in the area and responded quickly to calls for help. However, we also know that a concealed handgun license holder was in the crowd that night, but was un-armed in accordance with the law. At times, he was less than five feet from the gunman but could do nothing.

A similar scenario unfolds in nearly every massacre committed with a firearm across the United States. Most take place in what gun-rights activists call victims-zones; areas deemed too dangerous, either by government or a private business, to allow legal firearms. What gun-control advocates fail to grasp is criminals, by definition, do not follow the law and therefore any attempt to keep them from carrying a gun into a given establishment will fail, often with tragic results.

The goal of legislators nationwide shouldn't be to keep armed law-abiding citizens from bearing arms in restaurants, bars, schools and so forth. It should be to keep criminals with guns from entering such locations. Posting signs designating an area as "gun free" does not keep criminals from entering with a gun; they invite criminals who know nobody can stop them.

And that is exactly what they want.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Tom Piatak: An Orwellian Christmas

War Against Christmas 2004 Competition [IX]:
An Orwellian Christmas
By Tom Piatak

[Also by Tom Piatak: Take Back Christmas! and Happy Holidays? Bah! Humbug!]

Traditionally, the writer most associated with Christmas was Charles Dickens. But today, Christmas in America is far more likely to be Orwellian than Dickensian.
Long before the advent of political correctness, Orwell wrote, “Freedom is the freedom to say 2 + 2 = 4. If that is granted, all else follows.”

I was reminded of Orwell’s great insight by a recent skirmish in the War against Christmas at a private school east of my hometown, Cleveland.
A seventh grader there made the mistake of saying that two plus two equals four. He called the decorated tree in his homeroom a “Christmas tree.”

When I was in seventh grade, such a statement would have been as controversial as saying the sky is blue. After all, Christmas is the holiday that causes tens of millions of Americans to celebrate by putting up decorated trees.
But, at this school, students are required to say that two plus two equals five: the decorated tree must be referred to as a “holiday tree.”

Because of his insistence on speaking the truth, this seventh grader was labeled an “anti-Semite” and a “Nazi” by classmates.

Far from reprimanding the students who absurdly equated Christmas with Nazism, his teacher threatened to discipline the seventh grader if he persisted in calling the decorated tree by its actual name. He was also warned that he must not wish anyone a “Merry Christmas.”
Needless to say, this bit of nastiness was justified on the Orwellian grounds of “diversity” and “tolerance.”

Interestingly, even though Jewish students are a minority, the school also displays menorahs and dreidels (but no nativity scenes) and puts up lights in blue and white, the Hanukkah colors. No one is threatened with discipline for mentioning that holiday.

I was also reminded of Orwell when I was preparing for a recent talk to the Cleveland chapter of the Federalist Society on the legal aspects of the War Against Christmas. At least some federal courts harbor a thinly-disguised hostility toward Christianity, justified in Orwellian terms.

Of course, as VDARE.COM has pointed out, the First Amendment is not the reason for the War against Christmas. The school where no student may say “Christmas” is a private school, not a public one. And the War Against Christmas rages in lands with no First Amendment. Last week, the New York Times reported that there was widespread outrage in Italy because a school near Como had decided to substitute the word “virtue” for “Jesus” in an Italian carol the students were performing—in the interests of “diversity,” of course.

But the First Amendment (and the “wall of separation” between church and state it supposedly embodies) has certainly proven a valuable weapon for those intent on obliterating any public mention of Christmas.

Needless to say, that is not what the First Amendment was intended to do. As Justice Joseph Story, the leading commentator on the Constitution in the first half of the nineteenth century, explained,
“The real object of the amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance, Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.”

Indeed, several New England states had established churches well into the nineteenth century.
Often, however, current jurisprudence stands Story’s words on their head. In Skoros v. City of New York, a federal district judge upheld the New York City schools’ policy of displaying Islamic crescents and menorahs, but banning nativity scenes. In upholding this policy, the court lauded the schools’ “diversity policy,” writing that
“Without a diversity policy, a winter holiday display in New York City’s public schools would be dominated by images representative of Christmas.”

Citing Supreme Court precedent, the court concluded that
“an explicit Christian religious symbol such as a crèche need not be included in a Christmas time display to counterbalance the display of a menorah before the message is reasonably perceived as one of inclusion.”

This is the point: in today’s America, what “diversity” and “inclusion” actually mean is that symbols of America’s Christian heritage must be excluded—and expelled.
In Orwellian terms: “inclusion” is exclusion. “Diversity” is conformity.
And, of course, freedom is slavery.

In amazing contrast is the California district court decision in Eklund v. Byron Union School District, which upheld an eight-week long “study module” for seventh graders that required students to recite Islamic prayers and participate in activities intended to approximate the Five Pillars of Islam, and also encouraged students to create Islamic banners, take Arab names, and wear Arab garb.

The court ruled that “Role playing activities which are not in actuality the practice of a religion do not violate the Establishment Clause”—citing Ninth Circuit precedent upholding reading assignments that discussed witches and instructed students to pretend to cast magic spells.
One is tempted to resort to Orwell’s newspeak to explain these decisions: Islam and witches, good; nativity scenes, “ungood.”

Fortunately, other federal court decisions suggest a strategy for a successful counterattack: emphasizing the unmatched cultural significance of Christmas.

The Eighth Circuit has recognized, in Florey v. Sioux Falls School District, that “carols have a cultural significance that justifies their being sung in the public schools.”

And the Fifth Circuit has recognized, in Doe v. Duncanville Independent School District, that
“a position of neutrality towards religion must allow choir directors to recognize the fact that most choral music is religious. Limiting the number of times a religious piece of music can be sung is tantamount to censorship and does not send students a message of neutrality.”
At my talk to the Federalist Society, I illustrated this point by playing a recording of “Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen” (we know it as “Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming”) from my favorite Christmas CD.

Aside from its amazing beauty, there were several notable aspects about this recording.
It was sung by children, showing that age is not an insuperable obstacle in introducing students to cultural excellence.

This particular version was recorded in East Germany, showing that even an atheist state, officially hostile to religion, was able to recognize value in Christmas.

The carol was sung in German, showing that teaching students about Christmas is an ideal vehicle for teaching them about true multiculturalism. Indeed, my own collection of Christmas music features carols sung in German, French, Italian, Latin, Spanish, Polish, Catalan, Welsh, and Ukrainian, in addition to English. No other holiday matches the cultural breadth of Christmas.

Also significant was the fact that the music was composed by one great composer, Michael Praetorius, and that the singers came from the choir of St. Thomas in Leipzig, among whose former choirmasters was Johann Sebastian Bach. This CD features Christmas music by both Bach and Praetorius as well as two other towering geniuses, Palestrina and Handel. It’s also one of 40 Christmas CDs I have, each featuring something unique and not found in the others.
No other festival has inspired even a tiny fraction of such great music. It is absurd that those whose profession is to teach now discipline students who even mention the name of the holiday that inspired this outpouring of beauty.

Perhaps the schools should follow this test instead: equal emphasis on all winter holidays that have music written for them by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Even crèches, regularly expelled from schools and other public places, could serve a secular educational purpose. In addition to helping explain the origin of Christmas, they could be used to introduce students to the Western artistic tradition.

The first crèche was created by Francis of Assisi, whose life was recorded in paint by Giotto, one of the founders of Western painting. The Metropolitan Museum of Art recently spent a record $45,000,000 to acquire a painting of the Madonna and Child by a contemporary of Giotto’s, Duccio. Even though the painting is no larger than a sheet of typing paper, the Met felt the purchase price was justified by Duccio’s great importance in the Western artistic tradition—a tradition inextricably bound up with Christianity in general and Christmas in particular.

Indeed, Duccio, like Giotto, painted many scenes inspired by Christmas—including the painting purchase by the Met. According to a Met spokesman quoted in the December 10, 2004 New York Times, the museum is going to display its prized acquisition starting on December 21:
“There was a strong desire to have the Duccio on display before Christmas because there’s such an interest in its history as a devotional picture.” [“The Met Unveils a Masterpiece, Its Most Expensive Work of Art,” by Carol Vogel]

If our schools can spend eight weeks teaching students about Islam, surely they should be able to teach students about the holiday that has been at the heart of our own civilization for centuries.

One need not accept the divinity of Christ to recognize—and even be awed by—the beauty His birth inspired. I doubt the Met decided to purchase Duccio’s painting for reasons of Christian piety.

A friend tells me that her Jewish mother-in-law observes Christmas each year by going to a performance of “Messiah” and to Midnight Mass, because of her love for the music. Some of the best Christmas music I know was recorded by Joel Cohen and his Boston Camerata. Great Jewish conductors such as Eugene Ormandy and Leonard Bernstein recorded albums filled with wonderful Christmas music. Recently, America’s greatest conductor of choral music, including Christmas choral music, was Robert Shaw, a Unitarian, not an orthodox Christian.

A greater appreciation for the unparalleled cultural significance of Christmas should lead to greater tolerance of the public celebration of Christmas in all its facets. After all, the beauty that inspires even many non-believers was the result of a tradition that valued Christmas and what it means.

A society that treats “Christmas” as a dirty word and assiduously tries to prevent school children from learning anything about it—especially the parts of Christmas that are beautiful or sublime —is unlikely to add to that beauty, or even pass along the beauty it received from earlier generations untouched by the War against Christmas.

Despite the continued onslaught against Christmas and the Orwellian arguments served up to justify it, I remain optimistic. Each year more and more people come to recognize that a War against Christmas is being waged, and they start fighting back.

I was also encouraged by the Federalists’ reaction to my talk. And one audience member, an Orthodox Jewish lawyer, offered a valuable piece of advice.

He said that Christians need to grow backbones.

He was right. We need to be able to stand up and say “two plus two equals four” again.
If we can do that, as Orwell wrote, “all else follows.”

Tom Piatak writes from Cleveland, Ohio.

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