Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Snarlin' Arlen v. The ABA

Evidently Arlen Specter doesn't think much of the ABA's hatchet job on Michael Wallace, a nominee to the 5th Circuit. Sentaor Specter has asked the Judiciary Committee to reject the ABA's report, among other measure. Fox News had the story earlier today. Hat Tip: Bashman

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Ms. Schori is a Fraud

So it appears that the presumptive Presiding Bishopette of the Episcopal Church is not only a radical, non-Christian revisionist, but she's a fraud, too. Seems she falified her resume. Or at least majorly self-aggrandized. Just what we want in a primate.

More on L'Affaire Mel

Dean Bartlett, Hugh Hewitt's guest blogger, had a very good post this evening on Mel Gibson and anti-Semitism. Because I am stupid and could not figure out how to find a permalink to posts on Hugh's blog, I have taken the liberty of reproducing Dean's post in its entirety below. While I agree only partially with Dean's conclusion (he reluctantly forgives Gibson for his transgressions, while I would forgive completely and unreservedly, given what I believe to be Mel's sincere attempt at Christian repentance) I expect Dean and I differ as a consequence of the differing religious or cultural perspectives that we bring to the table. In any event, I agree with 95% of Dean's analysis, and I recommend that, if you've got the time, you read the whole thing: As Hugh noted, Mel Gibson has apologized. I think its a pretty moving act of contrition. For appropriate context, here it is in full: There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of Anti-Semitic remark. I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI charge I am a public person, and when I say something, either articulated and thought out, or blurted out in a moment of insanity, my words carry weight in the public arena. As a result, I must assume personal responsibility for my words and apologize directly to those who have been hurt and offended by those words. The tenets of what I profess to believe necessitate that I exercise charity and tolerance as a way of life. Every human being is Gods child, and if I wish to honor my God I have to honor his children. But please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith. Im not just asking for forgiveness. I would like to take it one step further, and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one on one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing. I have begun an ongoing program of recovery and what I am now realizing is that I cannot do it alone. I am in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display, and I am asking the Jewish community, whom I have personally offended, to help me on my journey through recovery. Again, I am reaching out to the Jewish community for its help. I know there will be many in that community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable. But I pray that that door is not forever closed. This is not about a film. Nor is it about artistic license. This is about real life and recognizing the consequences hurtful words can have. Its about existing in harmony in a world that seems to have gone mad. Now, a few random thoughts, speaking only for myself and not as a kind of self appointed pope of the Jewish community. (That's Abe Foxman's job, anyway): 1) FIRST A MINOR QUIBBLE: I don't like the world gone mad ending. In an otherwise forthright acceptance of his own culpability, that verbal tic seems to shift some of the blame on to the crazy world and off of Gibson. We all live in the crazy world; most of us successfully avoid delivering racist harangues. In other words, its not the world's fault; its Mel's. 2) NOW, A DISCLAIMER: I'm a fan of Gibson's - a big one. Or at least I was. Braveheart is one of my favorite movies. Hell, I even liked "The Bounty." One of the things I've often said about Braveheart is that no actor could impersonate heroism as well as Gibson did in that film. In other words, to so convincingly portray a hero, Gibson had to have some hero in him. So I was more than just a fan of his work I was an admirer of the man. 3) HOW DID I FEEL AFTER HEARING HIS COMMENTS? In a word, disappointed. Deeply. 4) ANOTHER THING ABOUT GIBSON. And it would be dishonest to deny this had some effect on me - he was hated by all the right people. Frank Rich, Andrew Sullivan, other self-righteous media types. Gibson was loathed by a virtual Who's Who of annoying Americans. It would also be dishonest to deny that it has been dispiriting to see these people get a victory lap because of Gibson's antics. It was bad enough to watch Abe Foxman claiming vindication, but what was really painful was clicking over to Andrew Sullivan's site to see Gibson's shame had triggered a 48 hour gloat-fest on the Sage of Provincetown's part. Somehow I doubt Frank Rich will be any more gracious in his column this Sunday. 5) BUT SHOULD THEY BE GRACIOUS? This is where we have to deal with the magnitude of Mel's crime. Like I said up top, I'm a fan. I really want to forgive him. He's apologized pretty much unconditionally, which seems to put the ball in my court. Here I have to digress and give you my own little personal taxonomy of anti-Semitism and anti-Semites. The worst kind of anti-Semites are people who hate Jews and want to act on that hatred. Call this the Hitler standard. Of course, Hitler wasn't the last anti-Semite who hated Jews and wanted to do something serious about it. The guy running Iran right now seems to be cut from the same cloth. The entire Middle East seems to be teeming with people for whom their dislike of Jews goes well beyond drunken rants. A grade below the Hitler type is the kind of anti-Semite who doesn't like Jews but will settle for something less draconian than mass murder or any kind of felonious action. For this kind of anti-Semite, merely excluding Jews from their private clubs or avoiding unnecessary interactions with Jews is sufficient. As America has progressed, the second kind of anti-Semite has become increasingly less common and more marginalized. In the not too distant past, it used to be perfectly acceptable to have a country club that openly excluded Jews. While that kind of thing still goes on, it happens much less than it used to and earns the deserved opprobrium of polite society. A third category of anti-Semite is what I'll refer to as the Jesse Jackson kind of anti-Semite. Given some of his comments and actions, Jesse didn't seem to have much fondness for the Jewish community. But, I always argued, that lack of fondness would never manifest itself in him taking any kind of action beyond saying the occasionally stupid thing. A lot of Jews feared Jesse Jackson's not-so-implausible presidential run in 1988 for what would happen to America's Jews if he ever won. I didn't share that concern. (I was concerned about a man of Jackson's dubious character becoming president for obvious reasons and for all Americans, but never mind that for now.) So where does Gibson fit in on this spectrum? Some would say he acted on his anti-Semitism when he made "The Passion of the Christ." I disagree. I never saw the movie that way, and I still don't. I put him in the Jesse Jackson category, but I'm sure Gibson knows that his antics make even that undesirable position hostile terrain to defend. I should add that obviously I find the Mahmoud Ahmadenijad or Yussef al-Qaradawi kind of anti-Semite to be of a lot more concern than a million Gibsons would be. And I would be remiss if I failed to note the irony that a lot of people who habitually ignore or dismiss the "descendants of apes and pigs" rhetoric that comes out of the Middle East (where the rhetoric is meant as a prelude to action) seem oddly scandalized by Mel's tirade. 6) SO, YOU SAY, HE'S BETTER THAN HITLER. BIG DEAL. Actually, because all anti-Semitism is usually lumped together, distinguishing between Gibson and Hitler is actually necessary. The Jewish community is by nature, and justifiably, always on guard. We are also fearful that anti-Semitic words will lead to anti-Semitic actions of the worst kind. While this may sound somewhat daft in 21st century America, it isn't and it's understandable. Every Jew who attends Temple is likely personally acquainted with a Holocaust survivor. Virtually very American Jew is three generations or less removed from an ancestor who came to America because they were fleeing persecution. Fear of persecution is more than a mere aspect of our ancestral DNA. The living reminders of that persecution are still with us. So identifying Gibson as someone with a case of pernicious diarrhea of the mouth as opposed to someone like al-Qaradawi, who is truly a man with a plan, matters. 7) WILL THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMUNITY FORGIVE GIBSON - Doubtful. Very doubtful. Put plainly, in the eyes of most American Jews, Gibson's outburst is probably a hanging offense. It's hard to imagine the campaign of contrition that would get him the community's forgiveness. Gibson was already (undeservedly) on thin ice with America's Jews after making "The Passion." He slipped through that ice this weekend. Or to use another cliche, this genie cannot be put back in the bottle. 8) CAN HE RESUME HIS CAREER - I imagine that he can. American celebrities have a 12 step Kabuki ritual of image rehabilitation that Gibson has already begun, but with apparent sincerity. When he cries on Oprah's couch, we'll know the end is near. America's a pretty forgiving place for the famous and infamous. Tonya Harding remains a celebrity, and all she did was pay a few guys to maim a competitor. 9) CAN I FORGIVE GIBSON? I found his letter of apology moving. I'm also a lot more concerned about anti-Semites who are unrepentant in their anti-Semitism. So yes, somewhat reluctantly, I'll forgive him. The holiest of Jewish holidays is Yom Kippur which translates into "Day of Atonement." Judaism puts a high value on atoning; I think Mel also deeply believes in the power of repentance and the quest for redemption. So let's let him redeem himself. Let him use his magnificent talents to benefit the Jewish community if he so wishes. Let him make a "Schindler's List" or a "Life is Beautiful." That would be great. Besides, right now, we can use all the friends we can get.

Happy Anniversary, Rush Limbaugh!!

Today marks the 18th anniversary of The Rush Limbaugh Show. I'd like to join all in the Conservative community in wishing Rush well, and thanking him for all he has done for the cause. It is simply not possible that the sonservative movement wwould have enjoyed anywhere near the level of success that it has without El Rushbo these past 18 years. Congratulations, Rush. Here's to many, many more. (Hat tip: Erick at Red State)

I'll bet dollars to doughnuts

That the Old Goat has already croaked, especially in light of this report out of Cuba. History teaches that totalitarian regimes are nothing if not peddlers of mendacious lies. May he rot in Hell.

'Nuf Said

Like a Man

Mel Gibson has issued an apology to the Jewish community for anti-Semitic slurs that he made after having been arrested on suspicion of DUI. Gibson's original statements were reprehensible. His apology appears, on its face, to be sincere, heartfelt and without qualification. The slurs that he made, and the sentiments that underlay them, are to be abhorred. But he is to be commended for taking responsibility like a man, for making no excuses, and asking for forgiveness. The Faith to which Mel Gibson subsrcibes holds that we are all sinners needing to repent and seek forgiveness. Far from besmirching the Catholic faith, Mr. Gibson's fall and effort at public repentance is a stark reminder that we are indeed all sinners in need of God's grace. I wish Mr. Gibson well on his path to recovery.

Castro Ailing

So Fidel apparently is ailing. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if, as in the days of the old Soviet Union, he's already dead and the government is for whatever reason -- most likely the fear of popular unrest and the potential overthrow of the regime -- is holding off on letting out the good news. In any event, let's all raise a Cuba Libre, and hope that the old goat doesn't linger for too long.

Le John Captivates the Crowd.

This photo of John Kerry speaking to a relative handful of old coots in Iowa pretty much sums up the senator's current status in his party and as a presidential candidate. Here's to Le John! (Hat tip: Drudge)

A Slip of the Pen - New York Times

Walter Dellinger cogently defends the use of presidential signing statements by the executive to enunciate the reasons for refusing to enforce provisions of enacted legislation that the president believes to be unconstitutional. Setting aside for the moment whether or not Dellinger is correct that President Bush espouses in some cases an interpretation of the constitution that is incorrect -- and I am inclined to disagree with Professor Dellinger while granting that reasonable legal minds may differ -- I think he is absolutely correct in his criticisms of the report issued by the ABA Task Force.