Friday, March 11, 2005

Passion Recut Hits Theaters This Friday

Thursday, Mar. 10, 2005
By Justin Camacho
The Christian Post
Posted: 4:16:15PM EST

In celebration of this year’s Easter holiday, Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," which hit box offices exactly one year ago to this week, will be re-released into theaters this Friday in a new edited form. The new version of "The Passion,” which will be left unrated, will have an age 15 certificate instead of the original 18 --something that Gibson hopes will allow a larger audience to embrace the film.

"What came up again and again was that a lot of people were turned away because of the brutality in the film and were afraid to watch," Gibson told Raymond Arroyo on EWTN’s "World Over Live" Friday night. "So I thought if I softened it up a bit, I could have a wider audience. Essentially it’s the same film, but what I’ve done is to excise some of the aspects of it,” he explained. "The trick was to excise or imply some of the aspects of it that were pretty much in your face, without actually showing them."

Gibson, who received "truckloads of cards and letters" upon the film's original release, revised approximately six minutes of the more violent and gory parts in "The Passion," including the scene where Christ receives the crown of thorns.

"You see it, but it’s farther away," Gibson said, adding that viewers no longer see the nails being driven into Christ’s hands."And it still works," concluded Gibson, who's passion for "The Passion" ( hasn't been phased by the recent snub at the Oscar awards ceremony. "

I didn’t expect one," said Gibson, who called the ceremony, "a celebration of mediocrity." "I knew exactly what was going to happen. I didn’t try to market the film. People are spending 15 or 20 million dollars to market their films. That’s a lot of money for a little gold statue."

While "The Passion" will have Gibson occupied until Easter, the actor/director also has a few future projects planned out that involve him both behind and in front of the camera.As a director, Gibson is currently working on a film based on the infamous Fatima visionary, Sister Lucia of Portugal. Gibson met with the famous nun in September of 2003 to honor her request for a private screening of "The Passion of the Christ." Gibson described Lucia as "incredibly childlike" and her convent, "pretty austere and spartan."

Sister Lucia, who passed away last month at 98 years of age, was a cloistered nun who as a child saw and spoke with the Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. Her visions and those of her two childhood friends, both since passed away, were both prophetic and apocalyptic and have been accepted by the Catholic Church accepted as authentic.

Along with continuing his directorial career, Gibson has also decided to begin acting again. "Under and Alone," a film based on a true story, will star Gibson as a Vietnam veteran who works for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and infiltrates a motorcycle gang. The film will be the actors first since 2002's suspense thriller "Signs."

Gibson, sporting a scruffy beard from his biker role, joked about his previous decision not to act again, saying he'd rather be, "a slob behind the camera...watching other people look good." "The difference here is I get to be a slob in front of the camera again. So there's a major difference," he said. "Under and Alone," directed by Antoine Fuqua, is currently in production, with no scheduled start date.

Justin Camacho
Copyright © 2005 The Christian Post.
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Ann Coulter: Come Back, Liberals!

By Ann Coulter
March 10, 2005

Liberals have been completely intellectually vanquished. Actually, they lost the war of ideas long ago. It's just that now their defeat is so obvious, even they've noticed. As new DNC Chairman Howard Dean might say, it's all over but the screaming.

In an editorial last week, the New York Times gave President Bush credit for democracy sweeping through the Middle East or, as the Times put it, "a year of heartening surprises." Yes, the Middle East's current democratization would come as quite a surprise to anyone who puts his hands over his ears and hums during the president's speeches.

Rolling Stone magazine is making fun of "" for having no contact with normal Americans. Their Bush-hating cause has become so hopeless that is on the verge of actually moving on.

Marking the first time Walter Cronkite and I have agreed on anything, Cronkite is ridiculing Dan Rather, saying he should have retired a long time ago.

No one, not even Chris Matthews, is defending the Italian communist who claims American forces intentionally shot at her in Iraq. (But to be fair, Keith Oberman has been on vacation this week.) She may have lost some credibility when she backed her claim that Americans were targeting her by quoting her kidnappers. She said her kidnappers had warned her to stay away from the Americans because they would only hurt her. And then my rapist said, "Whatever you do, don't cry out for the police! They won't help you!"

Consider that less than 20 years ago, ABC's Peter Jennings and CBS' Mike Wallace announced at an "Ethics in America" panel that they would not intervene to prevent the slaughter of American troops while on duty as journalists – especially during sweeps. As Wallace said: "You don't have a higher duty. No. No. You're a reporter!" It almost makes you wonder if U.S. troops have ever targeted American journalists in the field during wartime. Maybe Eason Jordan would know something about that.

Now liberal journalists are pretending to support the troops. They hardly ever call them "baby killers" anymore, at least to their faces.

Democrats are even pretending to believe in God – you know, as they understand Her.

The only people liberals can find to put up a fight these days are ex-Klanners and other assorted nuts.

There's former KKK "Kleagle" and Democratic Sen. Bob Byrd, who compared the Republicans to Hitler last week. Byrd having been a charter member of a fascist organization himself, no one was sure if this was intended as a critique or a compliment.

Aspiring first lady Teresa Heinz claims the election was stolen through the machinations of a vast conspiracy involving Republican polling machine manufacturers. We eagerly await a Michael Moore documentary to flesh out the details. It's only a matter of time before Heinz announces that anti-Bush insurgents control most of the Red States, and that the sooner the U.S. pulls out of those quagmires, the better.

Howard Dean – chairman of the party that supports murder, adultery, lying about adultery, coveting other people's money, stealing other people's money, mass-producing human embryos for spare parts like an automotive chop shop and banning God – has called the Republican Party "evil." One Democrat in the audience, a preschool teacher no less, complained that Dean was soft-pedaling his message.

Teddy Kennedy's big new idea is to wheel out his 18th proposal to raise the minimum wage. He's been doing this since wages were paid in Spanish doubloons (which coincidentally are now mostly found underwater). Kennedy refuses to countenance any risky schemes like trying to grow the economy so people making minimum wage get raises because they've been promoted. Kennedy's going down and he's taking the party with him! (Recognize the pattern?)

I keep expecting the real Democrats to appear and drag these nuts out of the room, saying, Oh sorry, he's escaped again – don't worry, he does this all the time, and then Howard Dean will stand up and have no pants on.

So now, the entire country is ignoring liberals. I'm the canary in the coal mine. Twenty-six congressmen have signed a letter denouncing me for a column I wrote two weeks ago; for the past two weeks, I've been attacked on MSNBC and CNN, in the Detroit Free-Press and on every known liberal blog and radio show. (I especially want to thank Pacifica Radio in this regard.) I personally have shouted their complaints from the rooftops. Liberals had fallen into my trap!

But there was no point in responding because no one had heard about the liberal denunciations in the first place. It was like explaining a joke: OK, and then they said, "Call me a cab," and then I said, "You're a cab! Are you following this? ... Sorry, let me start over again."

This is like beating Dennis Kucinich in an untelevised presidential debate. That and $8.50 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbuck's. I'm tired of helping liberals publicize their attacks on me. Liberals are going to have to do better than that if they want a response from me.

It's not just that we're a divided nation, with liberals watching only CNN and conservatives watching only Fox News. I'm pretty sure liberals are aware of me, and I haven't appeared on CNN for months. It's liberals the country is ignoring. No one knows or cares what they're carrying on about in their media outlets. Liberals can't get arrested. They're even letting Martin Sheen off with a warning now.

I hate to sound selfish at such a great moment for the country, but this is nothing short of calamitous for completely innocent right-wing polemicists. Liberals are too pathetic to write about. I have nothing to do; my life is over. Where have all the flowers gone?

I'm confident they'll stage a comeback someday. In lieu of common sense, liberals have boundless energy. But I'm getting bored waiting. In the interest of good sportsmanship, I have some proposals for liberals. I think Democrats might want to drop the contract all Democrats apparently have to sign pledging to pretend to believe insane things. Also, if you could just get the base of your party to not participate anymore and maybe be a little less crazy, people might listen to you. Barring that, you're just going to have to scream a little louder.

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

Mike S. Adams: A Good Catholic Education

Mike S. Adams (archive)
March 11, 2005

Recently, pro-life activist Camille De Blasi wrote a letter accusing me of irresponsible journalism which, according to her, has contributed to slander against Gonzaga University President Robert Spitzer.

In the letter, De Blasi falsely claims that I wrote an editorial which “compares Father Spitzer to the KKK.” The line from my editorial actually reads as follows: “Gonzaga University is committed to Catholic values like the KKK is committed to racial equality.”

The comparison doesn’t attack (or even mention) Spitzer. It simply characterizes Gonzaga University as out of step with Catholic values. I stand by that statement. And so do others. That is why the College Republicans have invited me to speak at Gonzaga University in April. Needless to say, I have accepted the offer.

De Blasi’s mischaracterization of the KKK reference raises questions about her ethics, if not her literacy. And the following quote leaves no doubt that her incompetence as a researcher in no way impedes her self-righteous condescension:

“A little bit of research at Gonzaga reveals that, although there are some pro-choice students who gather at Gonzaga's Law School (something which is impossible to prevent), no group which promotes or advocates abortion has received recognition or financing from the university. We trust that the news sources which have been spreading these false rumors will conduct the same research that we did and correct this serious error in their reporting.”

But Gonzaga Law School does recognize a student chapter of the ACLU. Does De Blasi contend that the ACLU is not a “group which promotes or advocates abortion?” Note that my original article referred to “homosexual and abortion rights and the student clubs that support these causes.”

Because I referred to “groups advocating abortion rights,” instead of abortion (as De Blasi suggests) my point about the ACLU chapter at Gonzaga cannot be seriously challenged. Perhaps De Blasi will “correct this serious error in (her) reporting.”

Interestingly, De Blasi makes no mention of the other Gonzaga law school groups one discovers by engaging in “just a little research.” If she did, she might better comprehend the central thesis of my two articles on the subject. For example:

The Sexual Orientation Diversity Alliance. This group seeks to foster “a sense of community among students and staff of all sexual orientations by providing support and promoting visibility…”. What was I saying about Catholic values?

The Multicultural Law Caucus. This is “a non-profit student run organization focused on community building.” Remember; Catholic values are no better than any other values! Celebrate diversity!

Black Law Student Association (BLSA). What? Is there also a White Law Student Association? How dare those Christians try to discriminate on the basis of religion at a Catholic School? That’s much worse than racial segregation! (I wonder whether Gonzaga has separate water fountains, too.)

Hispanic Law Caucus. Comments same as above.

The Asian/Pacific Islanders Law Caucus. Comments same as above.

Thanks to the expert research of Camille De Blasi, I’m no longer misled into thinking that GU law school is a bastion of liberalism. But those Christians sure are villains because they aren’t inclusive!

De Blasi also stated in her letter that “Father Spitzer has long been a champion of the pro-life movement. This alone should have caused the editors to pause before publishing the attacks that they did.”

I suppose this was needed to correct my direct references to Spitzer’s character, which are quoted here in their entirety: “President Spitzer is pro-life. He is also a good man. And he will become a great man as soon as he is willing to bear the ostracism of the Leftists activists who presently control Gonzaga Law School.”

It is now becoming clear that President Spitzer will not take the steps necessary to reaffirm Gonzaga’s commitment to Catholic values. In fact, he will not even answer my phone calls.
But Spitzer’s supporters will continue to distort my reporting. They will send me personal attacks (via email) nearly as childish as the ones I get from gay activists. Some will conduct themselves more like members of the mafia than members of the body of Christ.

Clearly, the time has come for Catholics to abandon their support of “Catholic” institutions like Gonzaga. Many in Washington State have flocked all the way to Christendom College in Virginia to escape Gonzaga. For law school, many Catholics are choosing Ave Maria School of Law in Michigan.

Clearly, it takes more than a good president to get a good Catholic education.

©2005 Mike S. Adams
Contact Mike S. Adams Read Adams's biography

Thursday, March 10, 2005

CAIR's Radical Nexus

By Josh Lefkowitz and Erick Stakelbeck March 10, 2005

Later this month, in a Dallas courtroom, the U.S. government’s efforts to dismantle the terrorist group Hamas’s American infrastructure will face an important test. Five Palestinian brothers, the Elashis, face charges that their computer company, Infocom—which was shut down by federal investigators in 2001—received $250,000 from accounts controlled by Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzook.

This is the second time in less than a year that the brothers will be tried on federal charges. In July, a federal court convicted them of, among other counts, violating U.S. sanctions against Syria.

From the outset of the Elashis’ legal troubles, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the most influential radical Islamist group in the United States, has been their most vocal supporter. Both the national headquarters and Dallas-Fort Worth branch of CAIR—a partially Saudi-funded organization that claims to “build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding”— have made defending the Elashis a top priority.

For example, on September 6, 2001, the day that federal agents first raided Infocom’s Richardson, TX headquarters, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad appeared at a press conference outside the company’s offices and blasted the government for “tak[ing] us back to the McCarthy era.”

Similarly, CAIR’s Dallas-Fort Worth chapter labeled the Elashis’ December 2002 indictment “a war on Islam and Muslims” and alleged that the brothers were convicted “for their crime of being Muslims in America.”

CAIR's passionate defense of the Elashis is no coincidence. In fact, the incestuous connections between CAIR, the Elashi family, and two key players in Hamas's U.S. network, the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) and the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), are well-established. One of the Elashi brothers, Ghassan, even helped found IAP and CAIR branch offices in addition to serving as HLF national chairman.

The IAP/HLF nexus ultimately leads back to Musa Abu Marzook, who is married to the Elashis’ cousin and who was himself indicted in Chicago in August 2004 for conspiring to finance Hamas. Although he currently lives in Damascus—where he serves as Hamas’s deputy political chief—Marzook spent over a decade in the U.S. and was instrumental in building Hamas’s American network.

For instance, Marzook provided $210,000 to HLF, which was indicted last summer for funneling over $35 million to Hamas. He also helped found IAP and provided it with $490,000. In December, a Chicago judge included HLF and IAP in a $156 million libel judgment related to the 1996 Hamas murder of an American citizen in the West Bank.

Just as CAIR has defended the Elashis throughout their legal troubles, it has also publicly supported IAP, HLF and Marzook against either government or media scrutiny.

But this should come as no surprise given CAIR’s close ties to IAP and HLF. For instance, before founding CAIR together in 1994, Omar Ahmad and Nihad Awad both had held leadership positions with IAP. And shortly after its incorporation, CAIR received $5,000 from HLF. CAIR returned the favor by soliciting funds for HLF until its closure in 2001.

These dizzying connections were solidified in Philadelphia’s Marriot hotel in October 1993 when—under the watchful eye of an FBI surveillance team—Ghassan Elashi, future CAIR Chairman Omar Ahmad and leadership from IAP, HLF, and Hamas came together to plot the direction of Hamas’s U.S. network and develop a strategy to defeat the Oslo peace accords.

Tellingly, just a few months after the Philadelphia meeting, CAIR's current Executive Director, Nihad Awad, stated, “I am in support of the Hamas movement” during a speech at Florida’s Barry University.

Despite its nefarious links and public statements, CAIR has never been subject to government action. In fact, since 9/11, its officials have met with President Bush and former Secretary of State Colin Powell and have regularly provided “sensitivity training” to the FBI.

CAIR’s well-documented history of extremism is what makes this continued mainstream acceptance so troubling. For instance, just last April, former CAIR employee Randall “Ismail” Royer was sentenced to 20 years in prison for “participation in a network of militant jihadists centered in Northern Virginia,” according to the Department of Justice.

But a recent civil suit filed by the estate of 9/11 victim and former high-ranking FBI counter-terrorism agent John O’Neill, Sr. may have best described CAIR’s true agenda, stating: “their goal is to create as much self-doubt, hesitation, fear of name-calling, and litigation within police departments and intelligence agencies as possible so as to render such authorities ineffective in pursuing international and domestic terrorist entities.”

These are words to remember when the Elashi brothers stand trial this month.

Josh Lefkowitz is a terrorism analyst and Erick Stakelbeck is senior writer at the Investigative Project, a Washington, D.C.-based counterterrorism research institute.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Michelle Malkin: Floridians Don't Like Bush's Guestworker Program

[This little nugget is from Malkin's blog...Bush' stance on illegal immigration is ridiculous...we're supposed to be fighting a "War on Terror" and yet we continue to have jarringly little control over our own borders while National Guardsmen are deployed en masse in Iraq. Recently heads of a number of intelligence organizations spoke about the possibilty of terrorists paying people to sneak them across the Southwestern border...why have I known about this for months and months? Why are these people only now talking about this? The cynical among us would suggest that we had to wait until the November elections were over before we mentioned the idea that our Mexican border situation was extremely troubling. - jtf]

March 09, 2005 07:50 AM

A poll sponsored by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Florida Times-Union found strong opposition in Florida to President Bush's guestworker/amnesty proposal:

Two-thirds of likely voters in Florida would oppose a plan to allow some undocumented immigrants to live and work legally in the United States, according to a new poll conducted for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Florida Times-Union.

That puts them at odds with President Bush, who has advocated a guest-worker program that would allow at least some undocumented immigrants the right to live and work legally in the United States.

The survey also found that likely voters oppose, by a more than 50-point margin, allowing states to issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

Last week, a Field Poll found that Californians also oppose (62% to 35%) giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens.

At least Bush's Open Borders policies will help Republicans pick up crucial Hispanic votes, right? Apparently not in Florida:

In the Sun-Sentinel poll, Hispanics, who made up 15 percent of the respondents, were no more supportive of pro-immigration changes than other groups polled. Only two in 10 Hispanics favored a law allowing undocumented immigrants to work legally in the country. Only two in 10 favored issuing driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. And only 38 percent of Florida's Hispanics who are likely voters said they thought immigration helped the United States.

Robert Spencer on the Armanious Murders in New Jersey

March 09, 2005
From Spencer's blog-

Why I will not bow to the Internet Torquemadas

Many people from across the political spectrum have criticized me harshly in recent days for not apologizing or admitting I was wrong for my reporting on the Armanious murders. Numerous Internet Torquemadas are firing up their torches, demanding I recant. Some have resorted to the time-honored smear tactic of quoting comments at Jihad Watch as if I wrote them.

Much of this, of course, is politically motivated: Lefties in bed with the global jihad, or at least unwilling to resist it, have seized on this as a new stick with which to beat Jihad Watch.
I will not apologize because there is nothing to apologize for: I was not wrong. I said that Copts had contacted me and given me information about the killings, and that that information was being investigated. I reminded readers on several occasions that I did not know whether or not these allegations were true, and I never asserted that they were. I waited a considerable time after receiving this information before posting anything about it, and only did after some details were confirmed by a reporter.

Some are accusing me of being disappointed that the killers are apparently not Muslim. That's a despicable charge, and not worth dignifying; the arrests are a relief, and I am glad that this was apparently not a jihadist killing on American soil. Still, we should not deceive ourselves into thinking that therefore such killings cannot happen, or forget that there have already been such killings: Rashad Khalifa and Mohammed Ali Alayed come to mind. However, some questions remain, as I have outlined here. I am confident that there will be entirely reasonable explanations forthcoming, but they haven’t yet.

My information came not from third-hand rumors, but from people who asserted they were privy to plans to kill the Armanious family. Perhaps this information was complete fantasy on their part; perhaps it is an unfortunate coincidence -- a case of people talking big and doing nothing. The information I received about these plans seemed to coincide with what was reported about Hossam Armanious receiving a death threat on the Net; many have pointed out how common threats are in Internet discussions, but I would remind readers that around the same time we discovered posters at taking the further step of posting names, addresses and photos of Coptic Christians, along with hopes that Allah would grant them the privilege of allowing them to be the murderers of the people pictured.

Copts know all too well from their experience in Egypt that Muslims do indeed do carry out such threats -- and that is why these stories spread so quickly through the Coptic community in New Jersey.

I don’t know why these Copts passed on to me such detailed and apparently well substantiated information that turned out to be false. I am trying now to find out the full story. But in any case that is just how I reported it all here at Jihad Watch: as information from Coptic sources that may or may not be true. I called for it to be investigated, and as far as I know it was. Consequently there is simply nothing for which I should apologize.

Posted by Robert at 12:02 PM Comments (3) Email this entry Print this entry

Ben Shapiro: Jada Pinkett Smith Angers Harvard's BGLTSA

The radical homosexual agenda and the destruction of standards

Ben Shapiro (archive)
March 9, 2005

The Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Supporters Alliance (BGLTSA) of Harvard University is fighting mad. Last week, actress Jada Pinkett Smith won an award from the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations. During her acceptance speech, she told women in the audience, "you can have it all -- a loving man, devoted husband, loving children, a fabulous career … To my men, open your mind, open your eyes to new ideas." Rather sweet, no? Not to the BGLTSA, which called for an apology from the organizers of the Cultural Rhythms show, explaining that Smith's statements were "extremely heteronormative."

"Heteronormative," for those who don't speak the radical homosexual lingo, may be defined as the viewpoint that heterosexual relationships are normal, and others are not. The organizers immediately complied with the BGLTSA's demand, issuing a mea culpa stating, "She wasn't trying to be offensive. But some felt she was taking a narrow view, and some people felt left out." The Foundation also pledged to "take responsibility to inform future speakers that they will be speaking to an audience diverse in race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender and class."

The BGLTSA, as a wing of the radical homosexual movement, is looking to broaden the definition of normality to include deviant behavior. They're not looking for passive tolerance. They're looking for active acceptance. Now, ignoring homosexuality is no longer allowable; we must instead champion it, equating it with heterosexuality. In fact, homosexuality must be prized over heterosexuality; an open homosexual may proclaim to his heart's content that "dreams can come true -- you can find a same-sex partner," but an open heterosexual may not state that marriage constitutes "having it all."

Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan noted such a broad societal trend toward normalizing the deviant as early as 1993, when he coined the term "defining deviancy down." He posited that "the amount of deviant behavior in American society has increased beyond the levels the community can 'afford to recognize' and that, accordingly, we have been re-defining deviancy so as to exempt much conduct previously stigmatized, and also quietly raising the 'normal' level in categories where behavior is now abnormal by any earlier standard."

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer pointed out that alongside the movement to "define deviancy down," there was a concurrent movement to "define deviancy up": "As part of the vast social project of moral leveling, it is not enough for the deviant to be normalized," Krauthammer wrote. "The normal must be found to be deviant." One of the agendas of the "defining deviancy up" movement, Krauthammer noted, was promoting "an underlying ideology about the inherent aberrancy of all heterosexual relationships."

The Moynihan-Krauthammer prediction has come to pass. Straight men and women may no longer consider themselves normal, unless they also consider homosexuality normal. The rage against "heteronormalism" is rage against traditional societal standards as a whole. Exclusive morality has always offended the immoral. The only difference is that now offensiveness receives a stiffer societal sentence than blatant immorality. This is what political correctness -- the "live and let live" societal model -- has wrought.

The rise of the homosexual movement is a textbook example of societal amorality devolving into societal immorality. The rationale behind societal amorality is the myopic question: "How does my immoral behavior hurt you?" The answer is: It may not, in the short term. But when society sanctions your immoral behavior, that does hurt me. If millions of people accept the deviant as normal, that reshapes society in vastly destructive ways. Your moral self-destruction may have no consequences for me, but destruction of societal standards always has consequences.

When the stigma left single motherhood, society felt the sting in rising rates of single motherhood and juvenile crime. When the stigma left sexual licentiousness, society felt the sting in rising rates of teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, emotional emptiness and nihilism. Your immoral personal behavior may not affect me, but exempting your immoral behavior from societal scrutiny certainly does. A society without standards is an unhappy, unhealthy society -- a society with no future. And all of us have to live in that society.

The BGLTSA isn't asking for tolerance on a person-to-person level. Instead, they're asking us to continue lowering societal standards. If we must choose between alienating the immoral and ravaging societal standards for the personal comfort of the immoral, then choosing the former is the only rational decision.

©2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Contact Ben Shapiro Read Shapiro's biography

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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Frank J. Gaffney: Set America Free

The Washington Times
8 March 2005

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi recently said he expected the price of oil to remain at unconscionably high levels of between $40 and $50 per barrel through 2005. Ironically, every American should be grateful.
Such gratitude is not, of course, due the Saudis — who, we are endlessly told, are among our most reliable "friends" in the Middle East — for working to drive down the price set by the OPEC oil racketeers. The Saudis seem content to keep prices exorbitantly high, though they are well aware of the adverse effect of such artificially inflated costs on the financial well-being of their principal protector, the United States.

Rather, we should appreciate what should be the proverbial camel's back-breaking straw: A final wake-up call, one that establishes unmistakably it is neither in the United States' strategic, national security nor economic interests for this country and other industrialized nations to continue relying on imported oil from those who wish to do us harm.

Fortunately, as Fareed Zakaria noted in the March 7 Newsweek, we can respond immediately to this call: "Tomorrow, President Bush could make the following speech: 'It is now possible to build cars that are powered by a combination of electricity and alcohol-based fuels, with petroleum as only one element among many. My administration is going to put in place a series of policies that will ensure that in four years, the average new American car will get 300 miles per gallon of petroleum. And I fully expect in this period to see cars in the United States that get 500 miles per gallon.' " Needless to say, the widespread availability of such cars — and the alternative fuels they would utilize — would change the world.

Our enemies would be denied the geostrategic leverage they currently enjoy, as indigenously produced energy sources derived from coal, biomass and garbage knock the pegs out from under the cartel's control of the commodity upon which our transportation sector heavily depends.

We would particularly no longer need export tens of billions in petrodollars used, in part, to promote the Islamofascist ideology that animates many who are determined to kill us.

We can also greatly reduce our vulnerability to disruptions of critical energy infrastructures, at home and abroad. Our foes have learned how easy it is to cost us dearly by blowing up a pipeline or sinking a tanker. Creating diverse alternative fuel sources here at home is, simply, a national security imperative.

Not least, this is true because we are likely to find increasing competition from China for limited oil will become a flash point for future conflict, if not an actual casus belli. Already, China is frantically making strategic alliances with oil-exporting terrorist-sponsoring states like Iran, Sudan and Venezuela. It also is moving to buy up Canadian, Brazilian and Indonesian energy sources, transparently with a view to denying them to us as well as meeting their own burgeoning demands.

As Mr. Zakaria reports, there is now a blueprint for energy security ( that can translate available technologies into widely available fuel and automotive products and catalyze the sorts of outcomes described above.

Specifically, this blueprint envisions a new Manhattan Project on energy independence that will, for a federal investment of $12 billion over the next four years, reduce projected oil imports in 2025 by at least 50 percent.

This blueprint envisions allocating such expenditures in the following, practical ways:

"$2 billion for automotive manufacturers to cover one-half the costs of building flexible fuel vehicle-capability [[EnLeader] autos that can use ethanol or methanol based fuels] into their new production cars (i.e., roughly 40 million cars at $50 per unit)."

"$1 billion to pay for at least 1 out of every 4 existing gas stations to add at least one pump to supply alcohol fuels (an estimated incentive of $20,000 per pump, new pumps costing approximately $60,000 per unit). "

"$2 billion in consumer tax incentives to procure hybrid cars."

"$2 billion for automotive manufacturers to commercialize plug-in hybrid electric vehicles [that is, cars that can be plugged into the electrical grid to recharge their batteries]."

"$3 billion to construct commercial-scale demonstration plants to produce nonpetroleum-based liquid fuels (utilizing public-private cost-sharing partnerships to build roughly 25 plants to demonstrate the feasibility of various approaches to perform efficiently at full-scale production)."

And "$2 billion to continue work on commercializing fuel cell technology."

In the course of the 1988 presidential campaign, George H.W. Bush declared: "Detroit is ready now to make cars that would run on any combination of gasoline and alcohol — either ethanol, made from corn or methanol, made from natural gas or coal or even wood. ... Let us turn away from our dependence on imported oil to domestic products — corn, natural gas and coal — and look for energy not just from the Middle East but from the Middle West."

This was a sensible strategy before September 11, 2001. Today, it is absolutely mandatory. Like Nixon going to China, a president from Texas oil country is just the man to launch the Manhattan Project that Sets America Free.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy, a sponsor of the Set America Free initiative and a columnist for The Washington Times.

Monday, March 07, 2005

More on the Terry Schiavo Case From the Blog of Touchstone Mag

[I'm past being shocked by what commonly occurs in a country founded on Judeo-Christian values and principles. However, this is nothing but wanton savagry...where are those who continually cry "foul!" in defense of the oppressed, the helpless, the weak?]

Mr. Schiavo & Adultery

From a reader re: "Is Terry Schiavo Less Than a Junkyard Dog?" (See the post below):

Just one little note on the Schiavo case, which I have not followed closely until recently. The article mentions that the husband is "openly adulterous." Just consider for a moment how different the case might look if adultery were illegal as until a generation ago it was nearly everywhere. It would be much harder to defend him as a viable guardian if he were a criminal!

Isn't this exactly the sort of case that prompted repeal of adultery laws? How cruel and heartless of society (it was said) to make it a crime for a man whose wife is permanently incapacitated to seek a little satisfaction elsewhere. Yet the effect is that a man in a sexual relationship with another woman can still claim the rights of a husband with respect to his legal wife.

I have long found it curious that so few conservatives publicly call for the reinstatement of adultery laws, because to me there is a clear "seamless garment" argument to be made connecting the legalization of adultery with the decline of marriage (indeed it's more obvious than the problem with "gay" marriage). Personally I would favor making adultery a low-grade misdemeanor. This case well illustrates the unintended consequences that can flow from supposedly compassionate law.

Posted by James M. Kushiner at 06:33 PM Permalink TrackBack (1)

Is Terry Schiavo Less Than a Junkyard Dog?

That's a shocking title, I admit, but Julianne Loesch Wiley, who has written for Touchstone and led a workshop at our conference on the family last fall, takes up the cause for Terry Schiavo in a broadcast e-mail message:

I would not permit a convicted criminal, a captured terrorist, or a junkyard dog to die of starvation/dehydration. I don't think you would, either. If I am right about this, please click here.

Maybe you already know a great deal about Terri Schiavo and her parent's struggle to establish her most basic human right of all: the right to simply go on living.

I have been studying this situation carefully over the last 2 or 3 years, and I have come to the conclusion--- as have many human rights advocates familiar with the facts --- that the ONLY course of action now open to save Terri Schiavo's life -- yes, really, the ONLY one ---- is to obtain the removal of Judge George Greer from the bench.

I realize that that's a shocking step, but we have reached this shocking extreme: Judge Greer has not merely permitted, he has ORDERED that an innocent 41-year-old disabled woman be killed by starvation/dehydration, with the total removal of food and water to commence on March 18 at 1:00 p.m.

And Judge Greer has denied, WITHOUT ACCESS TO HEARING, motions filed by Terri Schiavo's immediate family for MRI tests to prove that she is not "brain dead" and would benefit from rehabilitation; and motions to replace her estranged and openly adulterous husband Michael as her guardian. (He has refused her any therapy for years, and has spent her rehabilitation funds to pay lawyers to obtain her death.)

The link she provides above is to a site of a petition calling for the impeachment of the judge in question. It makes for sobering, compelling reading.

I remind readers of something posted yesterday and reported by someone who visited Terry Schiavo not too long ago:

"When we were preparing to leave, ... Terri was visibly upset [her family members] were leaving. She almost appeared to be trying to cling to them. ... She was definitely not in a coma, not even close. This visit certainly shed more light for me on why the Schindlers are fighting so hard to protect her; to get her medical care and rehabilitative assistance, and to spend all they have to protect her life."

—Barbara Weller, writing on "A Visit With Terri Schiavo," in the Winter 2005 issue of Lifeline
Really: would any judge tolerate the death penalty being executed upon a convicted death row inmate by starving him to death? If that's cruel and unusual punishment for a murderer, what about doing it to Terry Schiavo? A judge like that should have to look Terry Schiavo in the face daily while she wastes away without food and water until she dies. Reagardless, she will have to look God in the face and explain why she allowed, nay, ordered that this be done to Terry Schiavo.

Posted by James M. Kushiner at 01:26 PM Permalink TrackBack (0)

Mark Landsbaum: Al-Qaeda's Illegal Immigration Threat

By Mark Landsbaum March 7, 2005

The convergence of terrorist threats, a nuclear weapon black-market, a porous national border and escalating illegal immigration is finally attracting the attention the growing crisis deserves. Unfortunately, the attention is being paid by terrorists, not by the U.S. government.

“Several al-Qaeda leaders believe operatives can pay their way into the country through Mexico and also believe illegal entry is more advantageous than legal entry for operational security reasons,” Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Admiral James Loy testified on February 16 before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “At home, we must prepare ourselves for any attack, from IEDs (improvised explosive devices) to Weapons of Mass Destruction…from soft targets like malls to national icons.” Loy is hardly a lone voice.

“Al-Qaeda is intent on finding ways to circumvent U.S. security enhancements to strike Americans and the homeland,” CIA director Porter Goss told the committee, adding “it may be only a matter of time before al-Qaeda or another group attempts to use chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons.”

FBI director Robert Mueller reinforced the ominous assessment, explaining that the FBI’s top concerns are covert operatives, who may already be in the country planning attacks. Additionally, there are increasing reports that al-Qaeda seeks Weapons of Mass Destruction, and concerns terrorists will recruit radical Americans to their cause.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who testified to the House Armed Services Committee last week, warned of “troubling” evidence pointing to terrorists seeking non-conventional weaponry. In Rumsfeld’s words, “We can reasonably predict that future foes might use cyberattack or Weapons of Mass Destruction.”

The continuing terrorist threat, coupled with fresh concerns about infiltration across the U.S.-Mexico border, is exacerbated by Russian nuclear stockpiles believed to be missing, perhaps sold to terrorists. “I can’t account for some of the material,” the CIA’s Goss conceded.

A National Intelligence Council report in November raised the specter of nuclear material diverted or stolen in Russian since the 1991 breakup of the USSR. Although Russian authorities twice frustrated terrorists’ attempted surveillance of weapon storage facilities in 2002, the whereabouts of suspected missing weapons-grade nuclear material remains a question. “We find it highly unlikely that Russian authorities would have been able to recover all the material reportedly stolen,” the report said.

“There is sufficient material unaccounted for so it would be possible for those with know-how to construct a nuclear weapon,” Goss testified. He also wouldn’t rule out the possibility terrorists may be supplied through the network of Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan, who remains under house arrest for selling weapons expertise.

Such warnings of impending danger close to home increasingly raise concerns across the political spectrum.

“We really don’t know who comes into this country illegally over the Southwest border,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA. “This is a big problem.”

For months Solomon Ortiz, Democratic congressman from Corpus Christi, Texas, has voiced concerns about the release of non-Mexican immigrants awaiting deportation hearings for illegally entering the country. Ortiz spokeswoman Cathy Travis said some of those released are from “countries of interest,” such as Brazil. “It's a visa-waiver country with Mexico,” Travis said. “A bad guy who wants to go to the United States can first go to Brazil and then go to Mexico, and at that point it’s easy to go north and cross illegally and not be caught – or be caught” then released.

While there remain those on the Left like Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, who claim the allegations of terrorists entering the country by abusing the asylum process are exaggerated, there nevertheless seems to be growing concern about such potential dangers.

The 9/11 Commission warned in August that “the challenge for national security in an age of terrorism is to prevent the very few people who may pose overwhelming risks from entering or remaining in the United States undetected.”

Complicating the challenge is what the FBI believes may be cooperation between al-Qaeda terrorists and Central American gangs that already have infiltrated the United States. Central American and U.S. authorities are conferring on ways to keep the gang known as the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, from spreading.

In Mexico, gangs have taken over some migrant smuggling routes, and the FBI and U.S. Homeland Security officials are interested in charges by Honduran Security Minister Oscar Alvarez, who has accused al-Qaeda of trying to recruit Central American gang members to sneak terrorists into the U.S.

This month a man considered a leader of MS-13, gang, who also is accused of masterminding a Christmas bus massacre in Honduras, was jailed after he was arrested 110 miles inside the U.S.-Mexico border. Ever Anibal Rivera Paz previously was deported four times from the U.S before his February 10 arrest in South Texas. Authorities said Rivera Paz, known as “El Culiche” (“The Tapeworm”) is being held in federal custody, facing up to 20 years for felony re-entry after deportation.

Mexico’s state-run National Migration Institute estimates there are 100 migrant-smuggling rings operating in Mexico. But it is not just the criminal element making terrorists’ entry to the U.S. easier. The Mexican government has printed a guide for those seeking to illegally enter the United States. Arizona congressman J.D. Hayworth says the guidebook could be termed, “how to enter the United States illegally.”

Many in the U.S. in and out of government appear to be losing patience with floods of job-seeking illegal immigrants that mask potential terrorists intent on murderous missions, aided by the Mexican government and criminal networks alike.

A bill has been introduced in Texas legislature to allow fingerprinting at hospitals in an effort to stop terrorism. The legislation’s intent is to prevent terrorists from entering the United States untracked, said State Rep. Armando “Mando” Martinez, D-Weslaco, the bill’s author. Not surprisingly, self-declared “civil rights groups” opposed the bill on the grounds it violates the illegals’ “freedoms” and may discourage people from seeking medical care.

Martinez argues, however, that a recent explosion in Mexico illustrated how terrorists might fake injury as a guise to enter the U.S, because customs officers don’t ask questions of someone crossing the border to seek medical care. Martinez asked, “What is to prevent a terrorist from staging a possible bombing or explosion, acting like they’re injured...and once they’re in a room and everybody walks out, and they can just get up and walk out AMA (against medical advice)?”

Homeland Security officials have warned that bankrolled terrorists can traverse the border by paying professional smugglers. A Juarez television station recently reported a suspected terrorist paid a taxi driver $400 to take him to Juarez, and that the driver left the man at the Santa Fe, New Mexico, bridge.

“We know that terrorists in our hemisphere are increasingly engaged in narcotics and weapons smuggling, and money laundering, as a means to fund their criminal agendas,”
Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson said recently. “What we have to do in the future is to continue to adjust to new tactics of the terrorists,” said Hutchinson, making a case for international information sharing and intelligence sharing:

And whenever there is one vulnerability in one country, with the interconnectedness of our transportation industry – whether it is cargo containers or whether it is aviation – that becomes a vulnerability to all of us…whether it is Brazil, whether it is Ecuador, whether it is a Caribbean nation – all of those can be avenues of access that will ultimately lead to the southern border between the United States and Mexico.

U.S. Border Patrol has arrested tens of thousands of illegal immigrants with criminal records, ranging from suspected murderers to child molesters, since installing a fingerprinting system last year. About 30,000 of the 680,000 illegal migrants arrested from May through December were shown to have criminal records, compared to only 2,600 identified with criminal records during the same period in 2002.

Despite stepped-up Border Patrol efforts, increasingly the U.S. citizenry appears less willing to sit idly by as the threat mounts. There has been reaction in Arizona state government, where new legislation requires proof of citizenship or of legal immigration status for voting and receiving some public benefits, to several other states, where similar legislation is under consideration.

Private citizens, too, are getting into the act. The “Minutemen Project” seeks to secure the Arizona border against illegal immigrant crossings, despite U.S. officials’ warnings against taking the law into their own hands. About 500 volunteers promising to stay within legal limits have vowed to patrol a 40-mile stretch of the southeast Arizona border throughout Apri, the month when illegal immigration peaks. “I felt the only way to get something done was to do it yourself,” said Jim Gilchrist, a retired accountant and decorated Vietnam War veteran who is recruiting Minutemen.

The grassroots movements and voter pressure on state legislatures appears to reflect growing opinion that despite new technology and increasing crackdowns, the Border Patrol remains overwhelmed by the flood of illegal immigration. Even though armed with underground sensors and cameras to pan the desert, agents catch only about one-third of the three million illegal immigrants crossing the border yearly.

Moreover, increasing numbers of the illegal immigrants originate from Asia, Central and South America and the Middle East. In 2003, the Border Patrol apprehended 39,215 illegal immigrants described as “other-than-Mexicans,” along the Southwest border. The next year the amount increased 68 percent to 65,814.

The federal government reacted to the imminent peril posed by foreigners streaming across the Mexican-U.S. border when the House of Representatives last week overwhelmingly approved a strong measure to combat the illegal alien influx, and its terrorism component.

Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-WI, sponsored the Real ID Act, which passed 216-161. The bill gives immigration authorities and judges the ability to expeditiously deport illegal aliens and prevent foreigners from taking advantage of asylum rules. The bill also speeds construction of a security fence along the U.S.-Mexico border authorized nearly a decade ago, but delayed by challenges from open-borders advocates and environmentalists. The bill creates minimum standards for Driver’s Licenses and identification cards to prevent illegal aliens from obtaining the forms of identification needed to board planes, access federal buildings or use federal services. The legislation has been sent to the Senate.

“[T]he House of Representatives took a small step toward keeping faith with the families of victims of September 11th by acting to implement what are perhaps the most important recommendations that the 9/11 Commission made,” said Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-CO, chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus. He described the legislation as, “possibly the most significant improvement of border security and immigration law in nearly a decade.”
But stronger action is needed and soon. Our enemies are aware of our porous border, but our political leaders still seem blissfully unaware.

Mark Landsbaum is a freelance writer, author and former award-winning Los Angeles Times reporter in Diamond Bar, California.

Deadwood Links: News Articles About the TV Show

This page will direct you to the latest news and best sites about HBO Network's Deadwood show

About the Deadwood Show

This series based in Deadwood, South Dakota will integrate real-life historical characters with fictional ones from the post-Civil War era and will begin in 1876, ten weeks after Custer was defeated at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

News Articles about HBO Networks Deadwood
Denver Post 3/6/05 "Deadwood" tells new tales
Star Ledger 3/6/05 Welcome (back) to 'Deadwood'
NY Daily News 3/6/05 Dirtier still in 'Deadwood'
Toledo Blade 3/5/05 Blood's red, language blue
Mercury News 3/5/05 'Deadwood' shoots down view of Old West 3/5/05 Weeding out the lawless on Deadwood's new season
Washington Post 3/5/05 'Deadwood': Still Shooting From the Hip
Chicago Tribune 3/4/05 'Deadwood' is alive and kicking off its 2nd season
Cincinnati Post 3/4/05 'Deadwood' spins more sex, intrigue 3/4/05 TV's Deadwood is 'living history'
Knox News 3/4/05 Galloping plotlines redeem 'Deadwood'
NY Times 3/4/05 In a Cramped, Claustrophobic Wild West
SF Chronicle 3/4/05 'Deadwood' and right-wing blowhards
Post Gazette 3/4/05 On the Tube: 'Deadwood' comes out with guns blazing
USA Today 3/4/05 'Deadwood' aims high
NY Daily News 3/4/05 There's no deadwood in this cast
Hollywood Reporter 3/3/05 Deadwood
Boston Herald 3/3/05 HBO's `Deadwood' shows how wild West really was
NY Post 3/3/05 'Dead' Heat
Mobile Register 3/1/05 'Deadwood' delivers a wild, wild West on TV and DVD
Chicago Sun-Times 3/1/05 The substance on 'Deadwood' isn't just mud
Tampa Bay Online 3/1/05 Law And Disorder In Old West Sure Makes A `Deadwood' Lowlife Curse
Reality TV World 2/23/05 HBO planning to offer cleaned up 'Deadwood' episodes for syndication
NY Post 2/23/05 HBO Horse Opera Bleep
RTE Interactive 2/23/05 Sopranos Falco joins Freedomland cast

Click here for previous news articles

Websites - Deadwood

Official Site
Deadwood Fan Site
TV Tome - Deadwood

Clubs/Forums for Deadwood

Deadwood Fans
The Deadwood Stage
Yahoo Group – Deadwood

Black Hills Pioneer: Deadwood DVD Features 'The Real Deadwood'

By Heather Ziegenbein, Black Hills Pioneer
February 16, 2005

DEADWOOD - Taking our little town of Deadwood and placing it in front of millions of viewers every Sunday night has changed a lot for some who live and work here.

One particular group of individuals will remember this experience and the relationships they have made because of it. Adams Museum director Mary Kopco and researcher Jerry Bryant, who have been involved with the HBO series since its birth, and Dr. Dave Wolff, a professor of Black Hills history at Black Hills State University, all were interviewed for a documentary produced by KiKim Media in August that appears on the series DVD released in February.

"About three years ago someone from David Milch's office called and said they were doing preliminary research for a possible series on Deadwood that they were going to pitch to HBO," Kopco said.

Since that afternoon, when HBO calls the Adam's Museum, they drop everything. It could be the production artist, the costume designer or a writer asking a question. Everything from the set design, the make-up or the hair styles is questioned.

"It is kind of neat to see that what you are doing is actually showing up on television," Kopco said.

KiKim media visited the Black Hills both in June and August of this year. For a week and a half, Alex Beckstad, an associate producer of "The Real Deadwood," from Menlo Park, Calif., cruised the Hills. His tour guide was Bryant, a resident archaeologist and research curator for the Adam's Museum. The man with gray hair and a wild beard was the perfect tour guide. He looks Deadwood, talks Deadwood and knows his history like no other resident here.

"It was different being in a small town, but working with the Adams Museum was the best part.

We spent days just tooling around with Jerry and picking his brain on absolutely everything he knew about Deadwood," Beckstad said. "The most interesting part for me was the fact that Deadwood has changed, but it hasn't changed. There is a real 'Live and let live' attitude with the people there."

This documentary touches on the Native American history of the Black Hills, the regular use of extreme profanity, the misuse of women and the fact that Deadwood wasn't even a part of the United States at the time.

In 1874 when Gen. George A. Custer traveled into the Black Hills, he started a wave of pioneers. There was an economic depression and gold seemed to be the only quick fix. In 1876, the last big gold rush in America was on. By June, Deadwood had grown to more than 10,000 people. Main Street was formed by prospective businessmen searching for a fortune of their own. Outlaws, gun slingers and prostitutes littered the roads and they weren't even supposed to be there. But because Deadwood was not a state at that time, there was no legal basis to convict anyone.

"There is a deep veneer and it's a deep veneer of extreme scholarship. But, you must never forget that this is a piece of fiction. The real history is that someone only got shot or stabbed in the Gem Theater once a week for at least a year," Bryant said.

After these local historians had seen "The Real Deadwood," they were proud of how it turned out.

KiKim Media is an award winning producer of documentaries and worked hard to get the information correct.

"They definitely did their research and they asked such great questions. Because of this experience we have become better historians. I mean, I knew things about Bill Hickok but now I have a deeper sense of this time in history," Kopco said. "It (the documentary) is a well-crafted piece of art."

©The Black Hills Pioneer, Newspapers, South Dakota, SD 2005

Jim Beckerman: The Language of the Day? Says Who?

Sunday, March 21, 2004
The Bergen County (N.J.) Record

Smile when you say what, pardner?

It's the gol-darned language that has everyone talking about "Deadwood," a new 12-part HBO western that debuts at 10 tonight.

Salty isn't the word for the language these folks use. Peppery, Tabasco-y, jalapeƱo-y is more like it.

"I'll [expletive] knock you into the middle of [expletive] next week."

"Get the [expletive] out of here for a moment, sir."

"Excuse my ill humor, but certain people wear on my [expletive] nerves."

Clearly "Deadwood" is not your grandmother's western - which may be part of the point for HBO. In a month of promotional buildup, the cable network has been marketing the series to "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City" audiences.

"Deadwood" is set in an outlaw shantytown in 1876 South Dakota and features such historical characters as ex-marshal Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant), Wild Bill Hickok (Keith Carradine), and Calamity Jane (Robin Weigert), but in language, at least, most of them sound more like Tony Soprano on the range.

Graphic? Yes. Contemporary-sounding? Bet your [expletive]. But did folks really talk like that back then?

Series creator David Milch ("NYPD Blue," "Hill Street Blues") has two comments: (1) Why does it matter? and (2) Yes.

"It's a question that gets asked a good deal, and I find it a little surprising," he says.
"Deadwood," he says, is art, not a research paper.

"I'm a storyteller. To say that one has to have evidence to prove [the language] is really to misunderstand the nature of storytelling." The point, he adds, is whether "viewers experience the piece as real."

That, of course, has always been the crux of Hollywood historical movies.

Most are, bluntly, inaccurate - including, as Milch points out, almost all previous westerns. The question is whether the movie succeeds in drawing you into its world and making you believe it.
"When I'm watching 'My Darling Clementine' [the 1946 John Ford western], I believe the people spoke that way even though I know they didn't," Milch says.

Almost always, historical movies don't reflect the period, says Simon Bronner, who teaches Americana Studies and Folklore at Penn State, Harrisburg.

Language, hairstyles, clothing styles might offer a nod to the intended period, but most historical films will tell you more about the time in which they were made than the time in which they were set.

"I'm not expecting these movies to be accurate," Bronner says. "I see them as statements about today, expressions of contemporary attitudes toward the past."

The trick is to make it seem accurate. It's when movies and TV shows cross that fine line into blatant anachronism that viewers revolt - though, of course, each viewer has a different threshold.

You might, for instance, have to be a historian to know that bicycles didn't exist in 1862, the year in which Jodie Foster's character sings "Bicycle Built for Two" to the King of Siam in the 1999 historical epic "Anna and the King.

And it might not occur to you to wonder where "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" (1991) learned about comparative religion in 12th century England when Kevin Costner breezily says to the Sheriff of Nottingham: "Did I do something to you in a previous life?"

Other than director James Cameron, most would think it out-of-period for Leonardo DiCaprio to tell Kate Winslet aboard the deck of the "Titanic" (1997), set in 1912, that she needs to relax and "go with it."

A line like that, says author and historian Marcia Landy ("Cinematic Uses of the Past"), is enough to bring back any disbelief she might have suspended.

"It's sort of like being on a smooth surface, and suddenly you hit a bump that's not supposed to be there," she says.

Which brings us to "Deadwood's" liberal - nay, prodigal - use of modern-sounding swear words.
The key four-letter words in the show, Milch says, are documented as far back as Chaucer's 14th century "Canterbury Tales." There is no reason to think that people in an outlaw 19th century mining community wouldn't have used them. And Milch, who spent a year researching the project, has no doubt they did.

"We are speaking now of mining communities, not farming communities," Milch says. "The language of miners universally is sort of recognized for its profanity and obscenity. And this is an illegal camp, sort of the most extreme of the extreme."

But it's not merely that swearwords are used - and used constantly, in "Deadwood." It's how they're used.

"[Expletive]," yes. But "What the [expletive]," and other phrases used constantly in the show have a much more contemporary flavor.

"To me, that sounds more like urban street language," Bronner says. "Did they use those words? Yes. But to the best that we know, not with that rhythm or those combinations."


David Bianculli: 'Deadwood' Swears It Well

Series mines profane gold in them hills
The NY Daily News
March 18, 2004

DEADWOOD. Sunday night at 10, HBO.

"Deadwood," the new series from David Milch, a creator of "NYPD Blue," introduces itself with a salvo of such unrelentingly raw language that some viewers may either reject or laugh at it outright. Those who stay with the HBO show will eventually be rewarded - but at first blush (and you're likely to), it's a long #!@% haul.

"Deadwood," premiering Sunday night at 10, is set in 1876, in the real-life frontier town of the same name. Deadwood was established, illegally, on a Sioux reservation in the Black Hills of South Dakota, as hundreds flocked there in search of the newly discovered gold reported by experts accompanying Gen. George Armstrong Custer.

No white men were supposed to live there, so Deadwood was a famously lawless place - no sheriffs, no courthouses, only a ruthless town boss named Al Swearengen, who controlled everything from the drugs and liquor to the local saloon and whorehouse.

The series opens just a few weeks after Custer and his cavalry, who were charged with keeping whites off reservation land, were massacred by the Sioux at Little Big Horn. But settlers kept organizing wagon trains and arriving in Deadwood, chasing gold, opportunity, or total, frightening freedom.

Milch uses the actual history of Deadwood to inform stories that otherwise would seem like far-fetched concoctions. Wild Bill Hickok lit out for Deadwood; so did Calamity Jane. And many characters in this series, from the bullying Swearengen to low-life gambler Jack McCall (Garret Dillahunt), affected the town and its residents in real life, just the way they do in Milch's story.

Milch defends the excessively crude language of "Deadwood" by saying it was historically documented, and altogether fitting for a town with constant danger and no laws. That's true, though several language experts contacted by the Daily News, including Geoffrey Numberg of National Public Radio, expressed great skepticism that some of the curse words heard in "Deadwood," but not documented until a century after the time the drama is set, were actually used then.

Get past the language, though, and "Deadwood" slowly but surely draws you in. Keith Carradine, as Hickok, brings quiet stoicism and strength to a new level; Timothy Olyphant as Seth Bullock, who has hung up his lawman's badge to hang a hardware-store shingle in town, isn't far behind.
Other very memorable characters include Ian McShane as the venomously evil Swearengen; Paula Malcomson as Trixie, his most unpredictable prostitute; Molly Parker as Alma Garrett, a prim drug addict whose well-bred husband is seeking a gold claim; Robin Weigert as "sewer-mouth" Calamity Jane; Powers Boothe as a rival saloonkeeper; William Sanderson as Swearengen's conflicted assistant; and Brad Dourif as the town doctor.

The leads all are strong. So are the scenes, from a cleverly staged gunfight to a brutally sloppy method of corpse disposal.

The violence in "Deadwood," as in "The Sopranos," is sudden and disturbing. Disturbing, too, is the actual history of Deadwood, which includes underground cities, a Pony Express connection and a series of fires and floods.

If HBO and Milch keep this show on the air for a few more seasons, then no matter how many people die and cheat and scheme in these first hours of "Deadwood," we ain't seen nothin' yet.

Originally published on March 18, 2004

Matt Feeney: The Linguistic Brilliance of HBO's Deadwood

Talk Pretty
By Matt Feeney
Posted Friday, May 21, 2004, at 4:05 PM PT

Deadwood: Purty durn lively
In scheduling their new Wild West series Deadwood (Sundays, 9 p.m. ET) to appear immediately after The Sopranos, HBO's head honchos are guilty of a massive programming screw-up. Several people have told me that, after that first Sopranos episode, they just couldn't bear to spend another hour immersed in the kind of violence and squalor suggested by the fulsome use of the f-word in Deadwood's dreary promos. Others actually watched the first episode and—perhaps already in a weakened state from the Sopranos' taxing combination of crime and psychoanalysis—wilted in the face of Deadwood's relentless cursing, casual violence, and total moral chaos, never to tune back in.

This is understandable. Executive Producer David Milch (the former English Lit lecturer at Yale who created NYPD Blue) has created a harrowing example of the imaginary condition of pre-governmental lawlessness that political theorists have called a "state of nature." To be more precise, Deadwood shows a combination of Locke's commercial utopia and Hobbes' "war of all against all," where a person can top off a day of fruitful labor by being murdered in his sleep. Milch renders that condition palpable by saturating Deadwood with unpleasant tactile detail—blood, pus, piss, and, above all, mud. Milch appears to be torn about what's a more important missing feature of the state of nature—settled laws and recognized authority or effective drainage.

Watching the first episode, you felt like you had actually been cast into a lawless corner of the old West, with strange characters coming at you from all sides, cursing and killing each other. The show began with a hanging—a gruesome, do-it-yourself job where the gallows was a porch beam and the hangman had to yank down on the condemned man's hips so as to break his neck faster—which was presented, oddly, as an act of mercy. The next scene captured the chaos of a wagon train broken down on a mountain road, and the scene after, which introduced the defining filth of the eponymous camp, culminated in a prostitute shooting a man through the head for "beatin' on" her.

If you gutted out that first exhausting night and tuned in to subsequent episodes, you've witnessed a show both politically insightful and aesthetically rousing. As the season has progressed, the characters' motivations have become more transparent, their relationships more stable and human, and public crisis has spurred them to form a loose political order. Plot lines have become not just discernable but elegant and bracing. And the saturated setting has become—thanks to an aching mandolins-and-fiddles score and the stunning natural-light cinematography—sometimes overwhelmingly beautiful.

But Deadwood was a real place—a 19th-century gold mining camp on Sioux treaty land in the Black Hills of what is now South Dakota—not a thought experiment, and this is where Milch has courted some trouble and confusion. In interviews, he has insisted that the show, particularly the flamboyantly vulgar dialogue, is based on rigorous historical research. Milch might be right that the quantity of swearing is historically accurate , but his show's language is dotted with obvious neologisms (one character uses the term "triangulate"; a drug addict refers to some opium as "good shit"). Some dimly literal-minded critics have used Milch's assertions against him, tallying up discrete anachronisms and mistaking these for aesthetic shortcomings. This is predictable but unfortunate, as it is precisely the dense mix of accuracy and artifice that makes Deadwood such a gorgeous creation.

The show centers around Al Swearengen (played by Ian McShane), a vicious operator who controls Deadwood's gold claims and owns the Gem Saloon, where he also pimps for a stable of extremely haggard prostitutes. Early on, Swearengen seemed destined to butt heads with celebrity gunslinger Wild Bill Hickok (Keith Carradine, in a lovely, mournful portrayal) but, as in life, Wild Bill is shot dead not long after he enters Deadwood, and former U.S. Marshal Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) emerges as Swearengen's primary antagonist. Seth—laconic, feral, hot-tempered, and a little vain—is not so much played as embodied by Olyphant (best known for his turn as the unnervingly attractive ecstasy dealer in Go). He seems to represent the promise—especially to the women he encounters—that order will emerge out of the town's chaos, simply because he's so damned sexy.

Milch uses Swearengen to push the conceit of Deadwood's historical verisimilitude, primarily by having him use some form of the word "fuck" at every conceivable opportunity. (This is an unfortunate distraction in the promos and comes off as a bit excessive in the first episode, but you get used to it and, in fact, come to anticipate the word's emphatic consonants with a certain pleasure.) McShane, a dashing, hawk-faced English actor who's made a career as a villain in B-movies and miniseries, is a strange actor to choose if verisimilitude is what you're after, as his idea of realism is a bit, well, operatic. He thunders and snarls through the first episode, though, like much else in the show, he settles down. As the camp's chaos subsides, Swearengen uses his Machiavellian acuity to civically useful ends (if for selfish reasons), and his aggression is increasingly expressed not in physical violence but in high-wire verbal gamesmanship and hilarious insults.

Milch's attempt to capture a sense of historical distance with the speech patterns of Deadwood succeeds marvelously, but not because the dialogue achieves true realism or gritty accuracy. Deadwood's characters don't talk quite like us, but neither do they talk like Dakota scalawags in 1876 probably talked. Instead, the show's fidelity to the idea that the past is a foreign country results in dialogue that is just slightly stilted and formal, even as Deadwood's characters say the earthiest and vilest things. The combination yields the most deliciously literary television dialogue I've ever heard. For example: Wild Bill Hickok's killer, Jack McCall, is acquitted and he bellies up to Swearengen's bar to celebrate. But the threat of retribution hovering around the acquitted killer is bad for business. So, as Swearengen sees it, McCall's future doesn't involve celebrating in Deadwood:

"You buy me a drink and I'll make my mark," McCall crows.

"Stick around camp, Jack, and I'll make mine for you."

"What in the hell's that supposed to mean?"

"It means there's a horse for you outside you want to get on before somebody murders you who gives a fuck about right and wrong, or I do."

Deadwood's characters utter long, serpentine sentences, in diction that—depending on the speaker—can ascend to courtly abstraction or sink to the ripest vulgarity. Newspaperman Merrick (Jeffrey Jones), distraught over Hickok's death and disgusted with McCall's acquittal, offers a sarcastic toast: "Should it ever be your misfortune, gentlemen, or mine, to need to kill a man, then let us toast, together, the possibility that our trials be held in this camp."

Given the show's treacherous context, the formality of much of the dialogue offers all kinds of room for strategic insincerity and corrosive irony. When a Deadwood character talks he's almost never saying just one thing. Indeed, one of the pleasures of Deadwood is observing what characters are doing when they speak, where they're heading, whom they're trying to fool and what secret messages they're transmitting. The camp's doctor (Brad Dourif, in perhaps the finest performance of his weird career) examines the corpse of a man who apparently fell to his death, but who was actually pushed off a ridge and then bludgeoned, as he lay groaning on the rocks, by one of Swearengen's men. When the man's widow (Molly Parker) presses the doc on whether he was murdered, the doc—who fears Swearengen like everyone else—responds with a perfect touch of overstatement: "Mrs. Garrett, I do not know how your husband's skull got caved in." Say no more, doc.

While this linguistic artfulness serves the necessary caution of Deadwood's inhabitants, it signals the sheer audacity of David Milch and his writers. They have staked themselves to a dramatic idea that, in its openly literary ambition, could have been laughable. Deadwood is a funny show alright, but that's because, in the unflagging brilliance of its execution, it fulfills its ambition.

Matt Feeney is a freelance writer in Oakland, Calif. Still by Sam Emerson © 2004 HBO. All rights reserved.