We are now making eye contact with a man who is tragically trapped and confused. Embarrassed eyes tell us of one who is ashamed of his duplicity and humiliated by calling for “change” in racial relations while yet being willing to “change” his racial identity by “changing” the color of his skin. We see a man who sings of a utopia - where all human beings are naturally beautiful, but yet this is a man so uncomfortable with his own appearance that he is willing to “change” the created and natural to the contrived and plastic through the use of surgery.
Within a week we’ve seen the untimely deaths of two cultural icons, the sentencing of our most heinous Ponzi schemer and the reversal of the Ricci case concerning discrimination against white firemen in New Haven. The overwhelming hype over Michael Jackson is spearheaded by the two most famous race vultures in America - Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton - two unelected demagogues who never miss an opportunity to glom on to someone else’s celebrity and cheapen any cause they touch. In this case, they’ve chosen a talented, even trail-blazing performer who was a drug-addicted anorexic at his demise but in life, clearly suffered from numerous other mental problems including pedophilia, body dysmorphic disorder and compulsive spending that surpassed the stratospheric bounds of hundreds of millions of dollars in income. It is unimaginable that this confused person should be held up as a tribute to anything other than musical talent. Michael Jackson didn’t see himself as Black; he changed his skin color, his hair, his facial features and was the custodial father to white children who had no biological relation to him. Yet the reverends Sharpton and Jackson have insinuated themselves as pallbearers to some implied black martyrdom with presumed racial overtones.
A new report by the Civitas think tank estimates that some 85 sharia courts currently operate in the United Kingdom, usually in mosques and behind closed doors. Many of their cases have to do with marriage or divorce. According to fatwas on websites of UK mosques, the courts are supposed to forbid Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men unless the latter convert. They are also supposed to grant custody of any male children over the age of seven to the father, regardless of other circumstances.
Within a week we’ve seen the untimely deaths of two cultural icons, the sentencing of our most heinous Ponzi schemer and the reversal of the Ricci case concerning discrimination against white firemen in New Haven. The overwhelming media hype concerning Michael Jackson is spearheaded by the two most famous race vultures in America - Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton - two unelected demagogues who never miss an opportunity to glom on to someone else’s celebrity and never fail to cheapen any cause they touch. In this case, they’ve chosen a talented, even trail-blazing performer who was a drug addicted anorexic at his demise but clearly suffered from numerous other mental problems including pedophilia, body dysmorphic disorder and compulsive spending that stratospherically surpassed the bounds of hundreds of millions of dollars in income. It is unimaginable that this confused person should be held up as a tribute to anything other than musical talent. Michael Jackson didn’t see himself as Black when he was alive; he changed his skin color and his features and was the custodial father to white children who had no biological relation to him. Yet the reverends Sharpton and Jackson have insinuated themselves as pallbearers to some implied black martyrdom with presumed racial overtones.
For Barack Obama, it has become woefully apparent that some meddling is “more equal” than other meddling. Ordinary Iraqi citizens protesting totalitarianism and getting killed for it? Let’s wait and see what happens. Honduras ousting a president attempting to illegally re-write the Country’s constitution? Illegal and a “terrible precedent.”
Words mean something. As human beings we stand alone in our use of language as our primary method of communication. We debate and we argue. We make speeches and we deliver sermons. We teach lessons. We pontificate, we preach, and we proclaim. We espouse liberal and conservative agendas ad infinitum. Our “bigger ideas” are framed and defended with emotion, passion, anger and indignation. We have confidence in our words and we resist any attempt of to co-op, twist or manipulate their meaning. We defend our words with tenacity. If they deceive we call them lies. If they embolden we call them inspiring. If they make promises we call them contracts. Words indeed mean something and history shows that they have the power to build nations, define religions, inspire revolutions, defend what is true or even hide what is false.
Good news. If Washington Institute’s David Pollock report on the Middle Eastern/Muslim reaction to events in Iran is to be trusted, Iranian opposition forces can expect some serious help. It is Saudi financial support, rather than Obama’s Cairo speech, that was behind the recent electoral victory of the anti-Syrian, anti-Hezbollah forces. The Saudis, unlike the Americans, have money, are willing to spend it and need to answer to no one.
This July 4th, I have a wish. My wish is that a cure for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) be found. A cure that will save over one million lives—the number currently lost to TBI each year. Many of those lives belong to our brave men and women in uniform. We live in the most advanced country in the world, and this gift should be used to end the pain of those who are suffering. As President Lincoln stated regarding veterans, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle.” We have a particular obligation to care for those injured in service to our country.
In the last century, conventional thinking was that women were unsuited for political leadership because they were overly emotional and prone to hysteria, a word that derives from the Greek “hutera” meaning uterus. You see the connection - hormones, pms, pre-partum, post-partum - women were a minefield of volatility and therefore not as rational and clear-thinking as men. Our hands had to be kept away from that red button in the White House and our national role models were strong Teddy Roosevelt/John Wayne types or feisty little fighters like Harry Truman and James Cagney. Marlon Brando changed the image of masculinity in this country; his body was sculpted, his face was chiseled but he was an emotional firecracker, capable of breaking down unpredictably and that was an androgynous conceit.
According to Osama Bin Laden, one of the principle reasons for the perpetration of the 9/11 atrocities was to cripple the American economy. He and al Qaeda needn’t have bothered. A feckless Congress and a clueless president are more than up to the job.
Much has been said, and justifiably so, about the role the poor Iranian economy plays in the current Iranian election crisis. Much less attention has been played to the role the global economic recession has already played in the rage sweeping the country and the role it is bound to play in its aftermath. Emad Gad, an Egyptian expert in international affairs, suggests that “Ahmadinejad will concentrate in the economic field to improve living conditions for his population after this crisis.”
A Wall Street Journal article about an unemployed woman living on less in New York City asks us to believe that previously, Rachel Rachelson was able to live in Manhattan, rent a summer house and car in the Hamptons, have a yearly vacation in Acapulco, shop “without qualms” at Bergdorf, own 140 pairs of shoes, eat out daily at trendy restaurants, have weekly manicures and expensive haircuts - drum roll please - on a salary of $57,000 a year. We are talking about 33 years from 1975 - 2008, assuming that she lost her job in the past year and assuming that the salary quoted represented what she earned most recently. Does this make any sense to anyone alive in New York in the 21rst century? Did a sloppy editor eliminate another digit that belonged in front of 57 because even a single person would have to earn at least $157,000 to attempt that lifestyle.
South Carolina Governor Sanford has admitted to being in Argentina with his mistress while telling staffers he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail. He is being criticized for lying to his family and constituents, but being praised for inventing a great new euphemism.
Eli Lehrer at National Review Online wrote a nice piece about the new federal proposal to eliminate prison rape, to which Andrew Sullivan, to his credit, linked approvingly. One of Lehrer’s points is that the subject of prison rape - in a nation which professes horror at all sorts of hazing practices that are called “torture” - remains funny rather than horrible: “But, somehow, prison rape remains a perfectly acceptable topic for sitcoms, widely trafficked websites, and late-night comedians.”
Like the conservatives and liberals alike who were outraged by Playboy.com’s hate-sex fantasies about Republican women this month, I also took exception to Guy Cimbalo’s immediately-pulled piece “So Right It’s Wrong.”
President Barack Obama is about to hold a press conference in the Rose Garden and liberal blogger, Nico Pitney, is hopeful that finally, finally, Obama will condemn the bloody repression in Iran which Pitney has so passionately and tirelessly documented. He is not alone. Last night I saw David Gergen on CNN lose it. Yesterday, E.J. Dionne expounded on the Liberals’ Iran Dilemma. Liberals wish to avoid criticizing their “chosen one” but they can no longer bear his amorality and stubborn refusal to face an unwanted reality: