"Put down the candles and step slowly away from the menorah." Reading her pay-per-view New York Times column of today, that's what I felt like shouting at Jennifer Michael Hecht. Hecht manages to turn the Festival of Light into a celebration of the rejection of traditional Judaism - and an odd bow in the direction of colonialism and cultural imperialism.
Hanukkah celebrates "a revolution against assimilation and the suppression of Jewish religion." Syrian-Greeks had colonialized Israel, overturned the Temple, and turned Jews away from their religion. A small band of faithful Jews defeated the Greek army, drove them from the Israel, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of God.
According to Hecht, that was . . .a bad thing. In her view, "progressive, modern Jews" should actually consider the Syrian-Greeks the heroes of the story, and those who fought against them to restore traditional Judaism the villians.
In the era of Bill Clinton, the liberal media was not shy about locating "Clinton haters." In March of 1994, Washington Post reporter Ann Devroy reported from the front of conservatism, "Bill Clinton’s enemies are making their hatred clear, with a burning intensity and in some case with an organized passion." She listed as haters Rush Limbaugh, G. Gordon Liddy, Michael Reagan, and so on. But the Post doesn’t seem to use the term "Bush hater," even when Bush haters are dancing right in front of them.
See Monday’s Style section for a feature on a Bush-hating ballet. Sarah Kaufman’s review of a Kennedy Center performance by the Paul Taylor Dance Company is mildly headlined "Paul Taylor, Hitting Close To Home: At His 'Banquet of Vultures,' George Bush Is the Centerpiece." What a treat, another "antiwar" artist trashing the warmongers, with Bush cast as uncaring about troop deaths, and even committing one himself:
Editor and Publisher seems hardly able to hold back their excitement over the possibility that someone has found proof of the existence of the mysterious "Captain Jamil Hussein" who the Associated Press claimed as a source for the supposed burning of 6 Sunni Iraqis in retaliation for the depredations of that sect on their Shi'ite neighbors.
Steven Spruiell of NRO Media Blog offered a few thoughts on Tony Snow's apology to David Gregory for suggesting a question about how Bush is a failure was partisan in character. (To me, it had a bit of a "sorry I said the sky is blue" logic to it.) I'm more in line with Steve's POV than Noel Sheppard's praise for Snow's decency:
Snow's smart enough to realize that the White House simply doesn't enjoy the kind of popularity it would need to survive a war with the beltway media right now, and the last thing he needs is the Milbanks of the world attacking his credibility on the eve of a major policy change in Iraq.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was Tim Russert’s "guest" on “Meet the Press” Sunday, and it’s safe to assume the eloquent Georgian would have preferred something more pleasant for Christmas like a root canal, a colonoscopy, or an income tax audit. In fact, Russert gave Gingrich a grilling that many murder suspects don’t receive from hostile police officers in an interrogation room.
With that as pretext, while you read some of Russert’s inquiries, just imagine how incredibly unlikely it is that any Democrat candidate for president will ever face the kinds of questions Gingrich did this fine day. For instance, can you in your wildest dreams envision Russert asking John Edwards or Hillary Clinton something like this:
Imagine for a moment you were ABC’s Chief Washington Correspondent, as well as a former member of the Clinton administration who was currently quite opposed to the Iraq war. Further assume that in the months leading up to the recent midterm elections, the Democrat Senate minority leader had been aggressively advocating immediate troop withdrawals from the region, a position you agreed with. Contrary to his previous view of this incursion, when you interviewed this Senator after the elections, he stated that he could actually support an increase in troops.
Given his expressed positions before the elections, and the fact that he was about to be sworn in as the new Senate majority leader, would you aggressively challenge this high-ranking official about his sudden change of heart, or give him a pass? Well, on Sunday’s “This Week”, America got its answer as another pre-election myth was retired, and unceremoniously put out to pasture (must-see video available here, relevant section at minute three, transcript follows).
Former CBS anchorman Dan Rather was Howard Kurtz’s guest on Sunday’s “Reliable Sources,” and the interview went in a lot of fascinating directions. One of the most telling parts was when Rather said Saddam Hussein’s contentions that Iraq didn’t possess weapons of mass destruction were clearly more accurate than those who suggested otherwise – certainly implying President Bush.
Early in the segment, Kurtz played a clip of a controversial 2003 interview that Rather did with Saddam Hussein wherein the now deposed despot claimed Iraq had no WMD. Kurtz asked Rather, “Does that answer seem different to you now than it might have seemed at the time when most people did believe that Saddam had WMD?”
Why isn't Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, who first broke the "fauxtography" scandal out of Lebanon, among Time's "digital democracy" change agents?
After looking at the weak collection of candidates available to vote for as Time's Person of the Year last week (based on what they did in 2006, which wasn't much), I wrote:
Perhaps YouTube, online forums, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and online media should be the Thing of the Year: The Shadow Media. Of course, Time would be writing about its own likely eventual demise, but it would fit.
That's essentially what Time has done in its mostly (in my opinion) good decision to name "You" as Person of the Year:
..... for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you.
Time named as "You" everyone trying to influence the world just a bit from their keyboard. That would include, to a miniscule degree, yours truly, and, again of course, many people who are reading this post.
Oh-so-predictably, two of the three "hard-news" members of the magazine's "15 citizens of the digital democracy" are influencers from the left side; none are from the right -- sorry, libs, a milblogger is not presumptively "conservative" (direct links may not work unless you have already visited Time's web site):
Chris Wallace had Ted Kennedy cornered. The Fox News Sunday host displayed Kennedy's 1995 bitter condemnation of welfare reform: "legislative child abuse . . . let them eat cake." As Wallace began to reference the statement, Kennedy blustered "this is 2006" - as if his past misjudgments are irrelevant though he palpably has learned nothing from them.
Wallace made the point that, contrary to Kennedy's dire predictions, the employment rate among unmarried women has soared and the child poverty rate has dropped. He put it to Kennedy: "hasn't welfare reform worked?" Fighting back, the senior senator from Massachusetts claimed that Wallace's numbers on child poverty "are absolutely wrong," asserting there has been an increase in the number of children living in poverty in the United States. He then dropped this bomb:
"We have 36 million Americans that are going to bed hungry every night. 36 million Americans! And 12 million of those are children!"
The MRC's new Culture and Media Institute has already drawn national press attention by making a Christmas list -- not your everyday Christmas list, mind you, but a list of who's been naughty in denying Christmas in the public square, and who's nice in upholding traditions. The list of "Santa's Helpers" and "Grinches" is here. CMI's Kristen Fyfe explained:
It seems almost ridiculous that acknowledging Christmas should be controversial. In a country where 96% of the citizens celebrate it, why do so many feel like Christmas is under attack? An online poll done by the Chicago Tribune last week showed that 68% of respondents think there is a war on Christmas. Why?
Actor William Shatner, left, and former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, right, pose prior to an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame induction ceremony, during which they were inducted, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2006, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
On Saturday's NBC Nightly News, while filing a story on the "mind-boggling" bonuses going to those who are "striking it rich" on Wall Street, correspondent Mike Taibbi downplayed the strength of the current economy in comparison to the "Clinton years," and also pointed out the "struggle" of "working Americans." While Taibbi argued that his reference to the "Clinton years" was a "chronological, not political distinction," he praised that period for "lifting more boats" while finding fault in the present. Taibbi: "But to many, today's version of the haves and have-nots feels different. In the boom of the Clinton years -- and I'm talking a chronological, not a political distinction -- the rising tide of that bull market truly did lift all boats, or at least a whole lot more of them." (Transcript follows)
How do you know the Iraq Study Group report is dead? When on this evening's Fox News Watch conservative columnist Jim Pinkerton declares its "total evaporation" and the most aggressive liberal panelist doesn't bother to deny it.
"I think the most interesting thing has been the total evaporation of the Baker-Hamilton commission as a force in American politics. Of all people Laurence O'Donnell at the Huffington Post had a headline: 'Rush Limbaugh Is Right,' about the report, saying it is a formula for surrender. And whether you like it or not, Neal, Bush is not going to surrender Iraq."
This is way too funny, and definitely requires all sensitive electronic equipment be placed at a safe distance from consumable fluids.
While eating lunch at an outdoor café in Hollywood, former Partridge Family star Danny Bonaduce was rudely interrupted for an interview with an extraordinary left-wing whacko named John Conner (must-see video available here, hat tip to Hot Air).
To get an idea of just how far out in the ozone this character is, he has a movement and website called Resistance Manifesto wherein he expresses sincere devotion to the conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 espoused in the film “Loose Change,” and claims that President Bush is the anti-Christ.
On Thursday, NewsBusters reported the disgraceful behavior of the media following the announcement of Sen. Tim Johnson’s (D-SD) illness the day before. Sadly, as NB was chronicling report after report by press representatives showing much more concern for how this unfortunate event could impact the balance of power in the Senate than for the health of the man in question, Newsweek columnist Eleanor Clift was jumping on the conscienceless bandwagon a mere seven and a half hours later.
Do you eat with the same hands you type with, Eleanor? Regardless of the answer, Clift began her abomination by suggesting Johnson’s malady might have been something prayed for by the President, and that Republicans are on their knees hoping for the worst (emphasis mine):
Reading this AP article on Evan Bayh's announcement that he won't seek the Dem presidential nomination because he's concluded the odds are too long, I kept searching for the predictable labeling reference. And sure enough it came:
"Bayh has charted a centrist's course throughout his political career."
That sent me scurrying to a favorite source, Project Vote Smart, to check Bayh's ratings from various interest groups. Yes, he's probably less liberal than, say, Barbara Boxer. But check out some of his ratings:
Well, it seems that such statements do indeed have an impact on how others view things, for in an interview that is going to be aired on “Hardball” Monday, “Saving Private Ryan” actor Matt Damon says that people only enlist for financial reasons. Damon also takes a shot at the President’s daughters for not volunteering themselves (must-see video available here).
What follows is a brief segment of Damon's statement that host Chris Matthews showed during his Friday installment to advertise next week’s show, and an update that includes insults of Vice President Cheney by the actor:
Mickey Kaus, the iconoclastic Democrat who loves picking on Democrats, points to this posting from Lt. Col. Bateman, which asks many pertinent and justified questions about a suspicious Associated Press story about six Sunnis burned to death and four mosques destroyed in the Baghdad neighborhood of Hurriya.
The AP doubled down on the story's veracity (though other press outlets, including Al Jazeera, have yet to confirm it) and insisted the story's main source, Iraqi police captain Jamil Hussein, does in fact exist.
A bloody civil conflict between distinct Muslim factions that has left thousands dead and many more displaced. Should America be involved? For the MSM, the obvious answer is 'no' if you're talking about Iraq. None of our business. A quagmire. We can't referee a civil war. Get out now.
But Darfur, another bloody conflict between warring Muslim groups? Well, that's different. Not only can and should we be involved, but, we're blithely informed, "this is one we can fix."
What's the difference? As more than one commentator has observed, liberals are all in favor of American intervention - so long as we have no national security interest at stake.
Brent Bozell's entertainment column this week focuses on a Simon Dumenco column in Advertising Age magazine demanding the resignation of FCC Chairman Kevin Martin because he's too cozy with "ultra-conservatives" who want the FCC to uphold broadcast decency standards in any way:
If Dumenco wants to play Donald Trump and fire assorted government officials that bring him displeasure, perhaps he shouldn’t start with Mr. Martin, who is merely enforcing the law as it stands. Memo to Mr. Dumenco: If Martin refused to enforce decency provisions, then he would be in violation of the law.