"The left needs two things to survive. It needs mediocrity, and it needs dependence. It nurtures mediocrity in the public schools and the universities. It nurtures dependence through its empire of government programs. A nation that embraces mediocrity and dependence betrays itself, and can only fade away, wondering all the time what might have been."
- Urgent Agenda
I have a new piece up at the Hudson New York website, suggesting New Year's resolutions for the mainstream media. It's here.
I have a new piece up at Power Line, about Hollywood. It's here.
THE GOVERNOR SPEAKS - AT 10:03 P.M. ET: CHICAGO (AP) -- Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (bluh-GOY'-uh-vich) says that if what he's done as Illinois governor is an impeachable offense, he's living on the ''wrong planet'' and is in the ''wrong place.''
COMMENT: The flight to Mars leaves as soon as the flight crew clears security. Is it conceivable that members of the Obama transition team, based in Chicago, didn't know what this man is about?
THIS JUST IN - AT 4:55 P.M. ET: From the UK's Daily Mail: Hundreds of schools have barred teachers from marking in red in case it upsets the children. They are scrapping the traditional method of correcting work because they consider it ‘confrontational’ and ‘threatening’. Pupils increasingly find that the ticks and crosses on their homework are in more soothing shades like green, blue, pink and yellow, or even in pencil.
COMMENT: This is the country that stood alone against Hitler's Luftwaffe.
MORE ON IRAN, FROM BANAFSHEZ ZAND-BONAZZI - AT 2:09 P.M. ET:
Iranian regime-run television reported that today another series of shoe-throwing contests organized by the Mohammad Rassoolollah Brigade was held in Tehran, after the Friday prayers. For today's shoe- throwing contest, however, footwear was stolen from around the mosques in Tehran! The competition was devised in order to support the pro-Mullah Iraqi who threw his shoes at President Bush during his trip to Baghdad two weeks ago. Reportedly, those who flung their shoes and hit the "target" - a George Bush poster printed and provided by the Mohammad Rassoolollah Brigade - were given a prize.
COMMENT: More mullah education for the 21st century.
MEANWHILE, IN IRAN
Posted at 8:35 a.m. ET
My Iranian dissident friend, Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, and her techno-whiz husband and political commentator husband, Elio, have written a tough piece exposing the disgusting behavior of Code Pink, whose pinkish leaders recently visited Iran to grovel before the dear leaders. Expect more of this kind of thing as the new administration takes office:
On Wednesday, November 26, a 39-year-old woman, Fatemeh Haqiqat-Pajouh, was hanged, together with nine male prisoners, in Tehran’s infamous Evin prison. In 2001, Fatemeh had killed her husband while he was attempting to rape Fatemeh’s then-14-year-old daughter, Zahra, born from a previous marriage. She was given a stay of execution twice in the past by Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, the head of the Islamic judicial authority of Iran. Twice she was returned to her cell from the gallows in light of public and international protest.
Just cultural characteristics. That's all. Nothing to see here.
On a per capita basis...Iran is by far the number one country in the world to administer death sentences to its citizens.
Why should that stop death penalty opponents on the extreme left?
A few days before Fatemeh’s execution, Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, two wealthy American women and co-founders of Code Pink, arrived in Tehran on a “citizen diplomacy” trip.
Benjamin and Evans wrote daily accounts of their trip to Tehran on their blog — and wasted not a word on poor Fatemeh or on the tragedy of women’s rights in Iran under the mullahs and their Sharia laws. Benjamin and Evans portray a rosy and unrealistic situation, where Iranians of all social classes and political persuasions welcome them enthusiastically, share their anti-war sentiments, and desire for peaceful and loving relations with the U.S. and all nations. Medea Benjamin, who lived for seven years in Cuba calling the Castro dictatorship “a paradise on earth..."
Medea Benjamin appears on TV in the United States often. None of this background is ever brought out. If someone mentioned the Cuba years, that someone would immediately be accused of "McCarthyism."
Benjamin and Evans, Code Pink women, have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to political campaigns, including to those of Democrats Obama, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, and Republican-cum-truther Ron Paul. They can afford to travel to Tehran, stay in one of the best hotels, and cozy up to the same regime that put Fatemeh and so many other women and children to death. Jodie Evans candidly admits on her daily blog report that she and Benjamin had introductions to people they cannot meet because it would upset the government, the same government which gave the consent to visit Iran. She is so eager to please her hosts that she thinks she will be able to keep her scarf on much more than the last trip, as, she admits, “we are all on our best behavior.”
Pathetic. Utterly pathetic. These are Lenin's "useful idiots," carried to an extreme.
It is revolting to even consider the self-aggrandizement of these women in contrast to the self-stifling required of Iranian women today. Benjamin and Evans should have stayed in Iran, where they might learn something about freedom.
Obama’s position is not an enviable one when it comes to having to deal with the Code Pink pest; in accepting these frivolous women’s bundles of campaign contributions and by offering to hold direct and unconditional dialogue with the mullahs, he has put himself in the position of having to deliver. If he goes along with Code Pink’s demand he stands the chance of alienating Europeans who have finally begun to see the mullahs for who they really are and, at least verbally, are taking them to task as well as resisting the call for dialogue without precondition.
Yes, it's true. In certain areas the Europeans are actually getting tougher than we are.
What we have here is a group, Code Pink, that has benefited enormously from the willful blindness of the mainstream media. If Code Pink were right wing, its entire history would be examined in impeccable detail. But it is a leftist group; therefore, no questions are asked. After all, we don't want to crush dissent, do we? We don't want to go back to the Red Scare, do we?
And that's the argument. And that's how Code Pink gets away with it.
WARMTH? - AT 7:40 A.M. ET: We've printed some comments and cited some links regarding the "climate change" and "global warming" issues. Here are some others that may interest you:
The late Michael Crighton discusses his doubts about global warming in a three-segment interview with Charlie Rose, via YouTube here.
There was a vigorous debate in Australia, noted by reader James Croak. Also via YouTube here.
COMMENT: We claim no independent knowledge about global warming here at Urgent Agenda. We do insist that each aspect of the subject needs to be examined constantly, that dissenters be permitted to present full arguments, that attacks on dissenters as "heretics" cease, and that the full extent of scientific dissent be reported by the press. Comments like "the debate is over" are militantly anti-intellectual and have no place in research. No debate is ever completely over because debate, and further research, might turn up something new and startling.
We must also be aware that science makes mistakes, that there is a mob effect in science as in other disciplines, and that the need to beg for funding can produce distorted effects.
HORROR IN THE HOLY LAND - AT 7:12 A.M. ET: As we celebrate the holidays, their place of origin is seeing a dramatic increase in tension. We're just not paying attention, but major combat may break out at any minute. From The Jerusalem Post:
Palestinian militants fired 22 mortar shells from the Gaza Strip overnight Thursday and early morning Friday, as the Israel Defense Forces continued its preparations for military action in Gaza...
...Reportedly, a "limited operation" will begin within days that will combine an air attack with some ground operations against Hamas and other Gaza terror groups.
COMMENT: The latest barrage follows a day in which scores of rockets were sent into Israel. What is the motive of Hamas? Possibly to draw Israel into a military operation for which "the world" will then blame Israel.
ABSENCE OF CHALICE - AT 7:08 A.M. ET: From the Chicago Tribune:
HONOLULU — Barack Obama has long stressed the importance of religion in his life. But as his fellow Christians around the world attended Christmas services on Wednesday and Thursday, the president-elect and his family remained sequestered at their vacation compound on the windward coast of Oahu.
His lack of attendance at formal religious services showcased a dilemma faced by Obama, who is between churches and often expresses concern about bringing the disruption of his security detail into the lives of others. Still, he has not attended a public church service since before being elected, a departure from the actions of his two immediate predecessors.
COMMENT: A mistake on Obama's part. He should have shown respect by attending a Christmas church service. Parishioners understand the security.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2008
AND NOW THE GOOD CHANNEL 4 - AT 9:44 A.M. ET: We were critical of Britain's Channel 4 broadcasting a Christmas message from the warped president of Iran. (See "Christmas Disgrace" below.) But Channel 4 has done some good things as well. A distinguished American linguist, and Urgent Agenda reader, refers us to a decidedly non-PC documentary on "global warming" that is hard-hitting, well done and enlightening. It's here.
WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL - AT 9:35 A.M. ET: You really must read the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's reprint of letters to Santa Claus, written more than 100 years ago by children, who sent them to the paper. The feature is here.
Posted at 8:55 a.m. ET
Since we're doing a bit of UK bashing today, let us by all means continue. (Actually, we love true Brits, those who are left.)
It seems that the rewriting of traditional Christmas carols is a growth industry in the more politically correct outposts of British society. Consider this from The Telegraph:
A modern version of Joy to the World rewritten to remove references to Jesus has been voted the worst politically-correct carol by churchgoers.
The bowdlerised song, which replaces "Joy to the world, the Lord is come, Let earth receive her King" with the lines "Joy to the world, for peace shall come, Let this be our refrain" came out top of a poll hosted by Ship of Fools, the religious humour website.
Other Christmas favourites altered for the politically-correct age include O Come All Ye Faithful, with some congregations told to sing "O come in adoration" instead of "O come let us adore him", which is apparently considered too gender specific.
No matter what one's religious outlook, that is appalling.
The website's Steve Goddard said they were inspired to start the poll after dozens of readers complained that their local churches had made clumsy alterations to songbooks...
"...Theologically-modified carols will ring out everywhere this year. Innocents like king, man, son, virgin and Lord have been slaughtered to make carols more modern and inclusive. In some cases, entire verses have been rewritten."
May the rewriters be haunted by the original composers and lyricists, and their lawyers.
He added: "How long will it be before we have to sing 'Oh Vertically Challenged Town of Bethlehem' because 'little' is perceived to be politically incorrect?"
And remember, "Silent Night" may be offensive to those who like the daytime. Think about it.
In an insult to believers and to decency itself, Britain's Channel Four is broadcasting a Christmas message to the UK from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is offering season's greetings to Christians in a British TV address and suggesting that if Jesus were alive he would oppose "bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers" -- an apparent reference to the United States and its allies.
Another message of peace. Of course, Middle East "scholars" will eat it up.
Ahmadinejad's Christmas Day broadcast will be delivered on Britain's Channel 4 television, occupying a slot that provides an often controversial counterpoint to Queen Elizabeth II's traditional annual message, the station said Wednesday. A leading British Jewish body said it was appalled.
Well, it's 1943, and here's Chancellor Adolf Hitler in a Christmas message to the British people. Can't let the king have the only word, can we?
"If Christ were on earth today, undoubtedly he would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity to oppose warmongers, occupiers, terrorists and bullies the world over," Ahmadinejad said, according to the English translation of the Farsi-language speech. The broadcast will air with subtitles.
There are protests to this obscenity, but, sadly, not many:
The Israeli ambassador to Britain condemned the speech as a "bogus message of goodwill."
"That [Channel 4] should give an unchallenged platform to the president of a regime which denies the Holocaust, advocates the destruction of the sovereign state of Israel, funds and encourages terrorism, executes children and hangs gay people is a disgrace," Ron Prosor said.
"Outrage doesn't begin to explain it," he said.
British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell echoed the comments, saying the broadcaster was "aiding and abetting a tyrant."
At least Britain has one human rights campaigner who's actually interested in human rights.
There's a time and a place. Channel 4 has done some good things. But this is an affront to Christians and Jews, and the management might reflect.
"What you see is news. What you know is background. What you feel is opinion."
- Lester Markel, late Sunday editor
of The New York Times.
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Part I of a two-part edition of The Angel's Corner was sent Wednesday. Part II will be sent today, and will feature a remembrance of Marilyn Monroe.
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