Saturday, May 19, 2007
at the John Wayne/Orange County Airport
After all these years, he's still in our hearts, so of course celebrations are planned.
By Susan King, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
May 18, 2007
In January, Denzel Washington topped the annual Harris Poll ranking of America's favorite movie stars, with Tom Hanks coming in second.
Placing third was an actor who's been dead for 28 years — John Wayne, the two-fisted Oscar-winning star of such classics as "True Grit," "Stagecoach," "Red River," "The Quiet Man," "The High and the Mighty" and "The Searchers" and frequent collaborator of directors John Ford, Howard Hawks, Henry Hathaway and William Wellman.
Wayne, who was born 100 years ago on May 26, is the only deceased performer in the rankings, and the only one who has appeared on the top 10 list every year.
"I think he's alive in people's minds," says Gretchen Wayne, the widow of Wayne's eldest son, Michael, and current head of the Duke's production company, Batjac. "I think he's embedded in our psyche."
John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn and Kim Darby as Mattie Ross in the 1969 film version of 'True Grit.' Wayne won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role.
In celebration of Wayne's centennial, Turner Classic Movies is presenting a festival of films next week, and Warner Home Video and Paramount Home Video have joined forces for a Tuesday release of special editions of such Wayne classics as "The Cowboys," "True Grit" and "Rio Bravo," as well as a set of new-to-DVD tiles including "Trouble Along the Way."
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is throwing its birthday party Thursday with the restored CinemaScope print of 1954's action-adventure "The High and the Mighty," directed by Wellman.
After the film, there will be an onstage discussion hosted by Variety columnist Army Archerd with Gretchen Wayne, William Wellman Jr., and actresses Angie Dickinson, Nancy Olson and Karen Sharpe Kramer.
"John Wayne was larger than life," says Archerd, who was a good friend of the Duke's. "Even though we were on diametrically [opposite] political points of view" — Wayne was proudly on the right — "I always respected him because he was so intelligent. We always got along great."
Archerd says that the tall, rugged actor was also surprisingly tender.
"I remember one of the People's Choice award shows," says Archerd. "He had won many, many times as a favorite actor, and one year, he was in the hospital when he was the winner of the all-time favorite motion picture actor. He wanted to accept the award, so we had tied in a line from the stage to his room. We had Tatum O'Neal make the presentation to Wayne on the phone. Wayne was so sweet on the phone to her and to everybody. It was one of the most touching moments."
William Wellman made six films for Batjac; his son also appeared with Wayne in two Ford movies, 1959's "The Horse Soldiers" and 1962's "How the West Was Won."
"He had the most wonderful attitude," says Wellman Jr. of Wayne. "People always wanted to take pictures with him. He just stood out no matter what he did. He found time for everybody. He always had a sense of humor, every day from the crack of dawn until the end of the day; he just personified a kind of positive attitude."
Wellman Jr., though, was shocked at the way the cantankerous Ford treated Wayne. "Ford was constantly berating him," he recalls. "He would say [to Wayne], 'You are nothing but a lousy cowboy actor' and call him names. I think he stood for it because John Ford was a father figure to him and John Ford gave him his career. Wayne never cringed. He stood there and took it and went on with business as usual."
Dickinson played Wayne's love interest in Hawks' "Rio Bravo." She previously had met him on the set of the western "Gun the Man Down" and had appeared with him in a movie-within-a-movie scene in a long-forgotten George Gobel comedy, "I Married a Woman."
Still, Dickinson says, she didn't know Wayne that well when she reported to work on "Rio Bravo" in Tucson. "He couldn't have been more welcoming and warmer," Dickinson recalls. "He didn't talk a lot, not unless you got on a certain topic. I didn't get on those topics because I was a young liberal."
Just as Archerd, Dickinson found Wayne to be a gentle soul. "He was a very amusing guy … a sweetheart."
And ever the stuff of fantasy.
"I always wondered what would have happened if I had not had a boyfriend at the time and he had not had a girlfriend," Dickinson says. "I always felt like I could get hung up on him!"
`A Centennial Salute to John Wayne'
Where: Samuel Goldwyn Theater, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 8949 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Price: $3 and $5
Contact: (310) 247-3000 or go to http://www.oscars.org .
May 19, 2007
Most Americans know that we have an illegal immigration problem in this country, with perhaps as many as 20 million people residing here unlawfully. And I think most Americans have a pretty good idea about how to at least start solving the problem - secure our nation's borders.
But there's an old saying in Washington that, in dealing with any tough issue, half the politicians hope that citizens don't understand it while the other half fear that people actually do. This kind of thinking was apparent with the "comprehensive" immigration reform bill that the U.S. Senate and the White House negotiated yesterday.
I'd tell you what was in the legislation, but 24 hours after the politicians agreed the bill looked good, the Senate lawyers were still writing what may turn out to be a one thousand page document. In fact, a final version of the bill most likely will not be made available to the public until after the legislation is passed. That may come five days from now. That's like trying to digest an eight-course meal on a fifteen-minute lunch break.
We've tried the "comprehensive" route before to solve the illegal immigration problem with a bit more care and deliberation, and the results haven't been good. Back in May 1985, Congress promised us that it would come up with a comprehensive plan to solve the problem of illegal immigration and our porous borders. Eighteen months later, in November 1986, that comprehensive plan was signed into law.
Twenty-two years and millions of illegal immigrants later, that comprehensive plan hasn't done what most Americans wanted it to do -- secure America's borders. Now Washington says the new "comprehensive" plan will solve the problem that the last comprehensive plan didn't.
The fact is our border and immigration systems are still badly broken. We were reminded of this when Newsweek reported that the family of three of the men, arrested last week for allegedly plotting to kill American military personnel at Fort Dix, New Jersey, entered the U.S. illegally more than 20 years ago; filed for asylum back in 1989, but fell off the government's radar screen when federal bureaucrats essentially lost track of the paperwork. Wonder how many times that's been replicated?
Is it any wonder that a lot of folks today feel like they're being sold a phony bill of goods on border security? A "comprehensive" plan doesn't mean much if the government can't accomplish one of its most basic responsibilities for its citizens -- securing its borders. A nation without secure borders will not long be a sovereign nation.
No matter how much lipstick Washington tries to slap onto this legislative pig, it's not going to win any beauty contests. In fact, given Congress's track record, the bill will probably get a lot uglier -- at least from the public's point of view. And agreeing to policies before actually seeing what the policies are is a heck of a way to do business.
We should scrap this "comprehensive" immigration bill and the whole debate until the government can show the American people that we have secured the borders -- or at least made great headway. That would give proponents of the bill a chance to explain why putting illegals in a more favorable position than those who play by the rules is not really amnesty.
By Byron York
May 18, 2007 4:00 PM
There’s been some confusion in the last few days about the latest development in the classified-documents-theft-and-destruction case of former Clinton national-security adviser Samuel Berger. When Berger announced that he had agreed to give up his law license, some readers wondered, perhaps hopefully, whether that meant the Justice Department was still pursuing the case — prosecutors still have the right to subject Berger to a polygraph examination, even after his guilty plea, $50,000 fine, agreement to perform community service, and three-year ban on handling classified material — or that perhaps Berger was under some sort of pressure from congressional investigators.
The answers are no and no. Berger’s voluntary disbarment has nothing to do with the Justice Department or Capitol Hill. It is entirely the result of Berger’s desire to head off an investigation by the District of Columbia Bar. By giving up his license voluntarily, before an investigation was set to begin, Berger effectively closed another probe into his activities.
Word of Berger’s action came Tuesday, when his lawyer, Lanny Breuer, released this statement from his client:
Three years ago, I pleaded guilty and accepted the penalties sought by the Department of Justice.
I recognized then that my law license would be affected, and I have decided to voluntarily relinquish my license. While I derived great satisfaction from years of practicing law, I have not done so for 15 years and do not envision returning to the profession.
I am very sorry for what I did, and deeply apologize.
Berger’s agreement stopped a process that was about to begin in the DC Bar. The Bar’s counsel, Wallace Shipp, tells National Review Online that the case is confidential — Shipp is not allowed to give out any information about it — but he did outline the process the Bar uses to investigate allegations of wrongdoing. An investigation begins when a complaint is filed, or when the Bar itself becomes aware of some allegations of misconduct a particular lawyer. “Generally, our investigations originate with a complaint,” Shipp says, “but we can begin our own investigation based upon what we read in the press — in other words, we read the paper.”
Once a complaint is received, the Bar Counsel starts an investigation. If the complaint is found to have merit, the matter goes to a hearing committee. If the committee finds that the complaint should go forward, it then sends it on to the DC Bar Board of Professional Responsibility. If, after investigation, the Board decides to recommend action — it could range from a verbal censure all the way to the ultimate punishment, disbarment — the case goes to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. The court usually accepts the Board’s recommendation.
Once the process has begun, when the complaint first goes to the hearing committee, the process becomes public, and the Bar releases documents and evidence from the case. But Shipp says a lawyer can prevent that by agreeing to disbarment ahead of time. “If an attorney decides he wishes to consent to disbarment, rather than going through the process,” Shipp explains, “he can file an affidavit and a petition to consent to disbarment and avoid the whole process.”
And not just avoid the process; the lawyer also avoids public exposure of the process. “The benefit that attorneys realize out of that is that the entire process is then confidential,” says Shipp. “The only thing that is public is the Board’s report to the Court of Appeals saying, ‘You should accept this.’“
And that is apparently what Berger did. Shipp is not allowed to discuss the case, so all we have is the report sent from the DC Bar to the Court of Appeals recommending that the court accept Berger’s agreement to give up his license. It is a brief document, but it does say that Berger is “aware that there is currently pending an investigation into, or a proceeding involving, allegations of misconduct”; that he “acknowledges that the material facts upon which the allegations of misconduct are predicated are true”; and that he “knows that if disciplinary proceedings based on the alleged misconduct were brought, [he] could not successfully defend against them.”
And that, apparently, is the end of the Berger matter. Some Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform wanted to hear more from Berger about some of his still-unexplained actions — “We had more questions for him,” says one GOP aide. But Republicans are now in the minority, and there is no chance that Democratic chairman Henry Waxman will pursue the matter. For its part, the Justice Department, wracked by internal scandals, has shown no interest in further investigation. So now, with his decision to give up his law license, Berger has apparently shut off the last chance for anyone to learn more about the case.
Byron York, NR’s White House correspondent, is the author of the book The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of How Democratic Operatives, Eccentric Billionaires, Liberal Activists, and Assorted Celebrities Tried to Bring Down a President — and Why They’ll Try Even Harder Next Time.
Friday, May 18, 2007
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, May 18th 2007, 4:00 AM
CHICAGO - For years the Yankees dreaded playing the Mets simply because of the overhyped media attention and their role as prohibitive favorites, a combination that created the feeling they weren't allowed to lose - at least not without a certain amount of shame attached.
Ah, but times have changed, and now the Yankees should dread this weekend's Subway Series for a different reason. At a point in the season, when they desperately need to string a few wins together, the Mets loom as big trouble, a hot ballclub with the type of bring-it-on swagger that these Yankees can barely remember.
Yesterday provided the perfect illustration: the way the Yankees are going, it's impossible to imagine them pulling off the type of miracle rally the Mets used to stun the Cubs at Shea.
Indeed, while the Mets were scoring five runs in the ninth, the Yankees were slogging along here in a 4-1 loss to the White Sox, not only mired in their team slump for another day but showing off some of the worst situational hitting you'll ever see.
Makes you wonder if there is something more going on here. Is it karma? Maybe it's time to sacrifice a live chicken or something to the Bull Durham gods.
Or how about a team head-shaving ritual? Oh, wait, the Mets did that, and it seems to be working out pretty well for them.
It's hard to imagine the buttoned-up Yankees engaging in such a college fraternity-type form of bonding anyway - who's tougher to picture as bald, Jeter or A-Rod? - and maybe that's part of the problem.
However, Andy Pettitte, who knew far better days during his first stint in pinstripes, insists the problem isn't a matter of chemistry.
"This is a great group of guys," he said yesterday. "Everybody's frustrated, but we're not going to show it in front of the media. We've just gotta play better than this. We're too good not to."
Maybe it would help if there were a Paul O'Neill on this team to break some furniture or something in a slump-busting rage. Maybe these Yankees worry too much about their image.
Of course, Johnny Damon, the free spirit of this bunch, wasn't in the lineup yesterday, and that was probably a mistake on the manager's part. At times like this, Damon is probably the one regular you'd pick to lift a slumping team by the force of his personality.
Joe Torre, however, looked in other directions in trying to spark his underachieving superstars. He liked what he saw from Melky Cabrera during Wednesday's doubleheader, particularly the nightcap, and decided to keep him in center field yesterday.
"Melky gave us some energy," he explained. "And we're looking for a jump-start."
Fair enough, but if you're looking for energy, Bobby Abreu hardly seems to be the right guy to bat leadoff. His mild-mannered disposition and patient hitting style fit in nicely among all the star power last year when the lineup was clicking, but in times of crisis, he doesn't seem to be the guy you want leading the troops, Braveheart-style.
Still, Torre thought he saw the light go on for Abreu in the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader, when he had a couple of hits, including a home run. So he moved him from the No.7 spot to leadoff, and in the two games at the top of the lineup, Abreu is 1-for-9 with three strikeouts.
So now he's hitting a quiet .236, with his two home runs, and is surely the single biggest problem in the lineup. After all, if he were doing his job as the original No.3 hitter, connecting the dots between Jeter, A-Rod and the hot Jorge Posada, surely the Yankees would not be scratching for runs every day.
Of course, Damon hasn't hit much himself while battling back and leg injuries, but he wanted to be in there yesterday.
Then again, nothing seems to matter at the moment, as the Yankees look helpless to end their funk. Breaking out Wednesday night by pounding a mop-up reliever in the late innings proved to have no effect yesterday, as they failed repeatedly against White Sox starter Jon Garland with runners on base.
In consecutive innings, in fact, they couldn't convert leadoff doubles into so much as a run, failing both times to get the runner at least to third base with one out.
It doesn't mean the Yankees won't pull themselves out of the quicksand, as they have the last couple of seasons, especially as their pitching continues to get better. But as they flail around, it does change the context of the Subway Series.
Torre yesterday made the case that nothing has changed, saying, "The Mets obviously have proven over the last couple of years they're a first-place type ballclub, but I still think the Yankees are the Yankees. We always seem to be the team that has the most to lose."
For a long time that was true in a figurative sense. The problem now is that it's all too literal.
Andy Pettitte gets the series off on the right foot for the Yankees, but Tom Glavine silences the Bombers' bats Saturday and the Mets offense proves too much for Tyler Clippard on Sunday night.
Mets will send Yanks into double-digits back of Red Sox.
May 17, 2007
Even in death, the Rev. Jerry Falwell on Thursday was clutching a Bible, which had been his centerpiece for most of his adult life.
And to the thousands who filed past his body in the grand lobby of Liberty University’s Arthur S. DeMoss Learning Center, remembrances were deeply personal.
They remembered the man who loved to laugh, lived to minister, or simply scared the daylights out of you with his loud truck horn.
Beyond his résumé - which includes being the founding father of LU, Thomas Road Baptist Church and the Moral Majority - Falwell’s legacy is built on little kindnesses.
Dwayne Carson, a campus pastor and director of the school’s office of student leadership, said nearly 5,000 people had paid their respects by 2 p.m. Thursday.
By 9 p.m. when the viewing ended for the day, that number jumped to about 13,000.
“We’ve seen a lot of students because exams are nearly over,” Carson said. “We’ve seen a lot of parents because the students are checking out of school for the summer.”
The final half hour of Thursday’s viewing was an unsteady stream of people, some crying, others leaning on each other for support. Sometimes only a few people stood at his casket and sometimes the line stretched to the door.
At just a few minutes before 9 p.m., two children walked up to the casket alone. One knelt down to her little sister and whispered in her ear while the small child pointed up at Falwell’s body.
Once the doors closed and the tables brought in, the students and staff who helped direct the public to Falwell’s body paused to pay their own respects.
All were deeply touched by the 73-year-old Falwell, who died Tuesday after collapsing in his campus office.
“What stands out is that many of the people need to stand in there and cry,” Carson said. “Jerry Falwell was more than just somebody behind a pulpit. He listened to them. He talked to them.
He knew them. They’d tell stories about what Jerry Falwell said to them. Then they cry because the pastor is no longer here. The man who made a difference in their life is gone.”
Many of the students remembered the man who ran at them with his truck or punched them on the arm, laughing the whole time.
“You can’t talk about Jerry Falwell without talking about his laughter,” Carson said. “While this is sad we’re still celebrating his life. We’ll be remembering the good times with Jerry Falwell.”
The well-wishers came from all walks of life to silently pass his flower-covered coffin. There were longtime associates, church members, students and friends who Falwell touched during his lifetime in the Lynchburg community.
Many LU students volunteered their time to help greet visitors as they came to say goodbye.
Jonathan Davis, a 22-year-old LU senior, was stationed at the lobby doors.
“He was a great man and a great visionary,” he said. “He was my idol basically. I hope to live up to his standards.”
For the past several days, Davis, like many LU students, has been stunned by news of Falwell’s death.
“It was like the untouchable was touched and gone,” he said. “He always had a smile on his face, but he always knew when to be serious. He was just a real nice guy. He cared more about people than anybody I have seen in my life.”
Davis, who will graduate next semester, said he’ll miss Falwell when graduation time rolls around.
“I’m kind of sad that he won’t be there when I walk across the stage,” he said. “I was looking forward to shaking his hand. It won’t be Liberty without him, but Jerry would want us to go on.”
Bryan Stafford, a 20-year-old junior, said he was honored to help out at the public viewing of Falwell’s body.
“We are being able to pay our respects to the founder of our school,” he said. “He was always there for us. He always gave us time to talk to him, whether it was at a basketball game or after convocation. He was more than happy to talk to the students.”
Stafford remembered talking to Falwell twice at Cracker Barrel, where Falwell had gone to eat with his wife of 49 years, Macel.
“He took time out of his meal to talk to me,” Stafford recalled. “He playfully punched me a couple of times. It was a nice little friendly hit in the arm.”
Betty Rucker, who has been a waitress in Lynchburg for over 37 years, had tears in her eyes as she recalled meeting Falwell in several restaurants.
“I was 14 years old when I started,” she said. “I waited on him for years. He was always kind. I knew him before he became a minister. He went on to put Lynchburg on the map. I just wanted to see him one last time.”
Carolyn Ford, 60, has been a member of Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church for 45 years.
“It will never be the same without him,” she said. “He will be greatly missed. He was down to earth and a Lynchburg, Virginia, and Campbell County country boy.”
Ford said Falwell had a pastor’s heart.
“He loved people and helped people,” she said. “He’s been there for me as a pastor and friend.”
Boyd C. Rist, LU’s provost and vice president of academic affairs, has been at the school nearly 35 years.
“I have never known a more committed, caring and loving person than Dr. Falwell,” he said. “His life and legacy is enormous. We’ll miss him, we pray for his family and we’ll move forward with the work he’s so nobly begun. He was always looking forward. This is a school that will stand and grow and continue to prosper because of the foundation he laid.”
Another longtime Falwell associate is Duke Westover, an executive assistant to the chancellor and travel companion on many of Falwell’s out-of-town trips.
“I’ve been with him for 39 years,” Westover said. “Jerry is the only real visionary I have ever known. This is a day we knew was coming, but we never really expected it. I guess we should have expected it because I’ve heard Dr. Falwell say at least 100 times that God’s man is invincible until he completes the work that God wants him to do.”
Public viewing begins as the Rev. Jerry Falwell lies in repose in the grand lobby of the Arthur S. DeMoss Learning Center at Liberty University, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Public viewing continues at the DeMoss Learning Center,
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Liberty University baccalaureate service, Thomas Road Baptist Church sanctuary, 7 p.m.
commencement, Arthur L.
Williams Stadium, 9:30 a.m.
Public viewing continues,
Thomas Road Baptist Church
sanctuary, 1 to 8 p.m.
Final day for public viewing,
TRBC sanctuary, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Funeral, TRBC, 1 p.m.
Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming - Now Skeptics
By EPW Blog
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Growing Number of Scientists Convert to Skeptics After Reviewing New Research
Following the U.S. Senate's vote today on a global warming measure (see today's AP article: Senate Defeats Climate Change Measure,) it is an opportune time to examine the recent and quite remarkable momentum shift taking place in climate science. Many former believers in catastrophic man-made global warming have recently reversed themselves and are now climate skeptics. The names included below are just a sampling of the prominent scientists who have spoken out recently to oppose former Vice President Al Gore, the United Nations, and the media driven "consensus" on man-made global warming.
The list below is just the tip of the iceberg. A more detailed and comprehensive sampling of scientists who have only recently spoken out against climate hysteria will be forthcoming in a soon to be released U.S. Senate report. Please stay tuned to this website, as this new government report is set to redefine the current climate debate.
In the meantime, please review the list of scientists below and ask yourself why the media is missing one of the biggest stories in climate of 2007. Feel free to distribute the partial list of scientists who recently converted to skeptics to your local schools and universities. The voices of rank and file scientists opposing climate doomsayers can serve as a counter to the alarmism that children are being exposed to on a daily basis. (See Washington Post April 16, 2007 article about kids fearing of a "climactic Armageddon" ) The media's climate fear factor seemingly grows louder even as the latest science grows less and less alarming by the day. (See Der Spiegel May 7, 2007 article: Not the End of the World as We Know It ) It is also worth noting that the proponents of climate fears are increasingly attempting to suppress dissent by skeptics. (See UPI May 10, 2007 article: U.N. official says it's 'completely immoral' to doubt global warming fears )
Once Believers, Now Skeptics ( Link to pdf version )
Geophysicist Dr. Claude Allegre, a top geophysicist and French Socialist who has authored more than 100 scientific articles and written 11 books and received numerous scientific awards including the Goldschmidt Medal from the Geochemical Society of the United States, converted from climate alarmist to skeptic in 2006. Allegre, who was one of the first scientists to sound global warming fears 20 years ago, now says the cause of climate change is "unknown" and accused the "prophets of doom of global warming" of being motivated by money, noting that "the ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people!" "Glaciers’ chronicles or historical archives point to the fact that climate is a capricious phenomena. This fact is confirmed by mathematical meteorological theories. So, let us be cautious," Allegre explained in a September 21, 2006 article in the French newspaper L'EXPRESS. The National Post in Canada also profiled Allegre on March 2, 2007, noting "Allegre has the highest environmental credentials. The author of early environmental books, he fought successful battles to protect the ozone layer from CFCs and public health from lead pollution." Allegre now calls fears of a climate disaster "simplistic and obscuring the true dangers" mocks "the greenhouse-gas fanatics whose proclamations consist in denouncing man's role on the climate without doing anything about it except organizing conferences and preparing protocols that become dead letters." Allegre, a member of both the French and U.S. Academy of Sciences, had previously expressed concern about manmade global warming. "By burning fossil fuels, man enhanced the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which has raised the global mean temperature by half a degree in the last century," Allegre wrote 20 years ago. In addition, Allegre was one of 1500 scientists who signed a November 18, 1992 letter titled "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity" in which the scientists warned that global warming’s "potential risks are very great."
Geologist Bruno Wiskel of the University of Alberta recently reversed his view of man-made climate change and instead became a global warming skeptic. Wiskel was once such a big believer in man-made global warming that he set out to build a "Kyoto house" in honor of the UN sanctioned Kyoto Protocol which was signed in 1997. Wiskel wanted to prove that the Kyoto Protocol’s goals were achievable by people making small changes in their lives. But after further examining the science behind Kyoto, Wiskel reversed his scientific views completely and became such a strong skeptic, that he recently wrote a book titled "The Emperor's New Climate: Debunking the Myth of Global Warming." A November 15, 2006 Edmonton Sun article explains Wiskel’s conversion while building his "Kyoto house": "Instead, he said he realized global warming theory was full of holes and ‘red flags,’ and became convinced that humans are not responsible for rising temperatures." Wiskel now says "the truth has to start somewhere." Noting that the Earth has been warming for 18,000 years, Wiskel told the Canadian newspaper, "If this happened once and we were the cause of it, that would be cause for concern. But glaciers have been coming and going for billions of years." Wiskel also said that global warming has gone "from a science to a religion" and noted that research money is being funneled into promoting climate alarmism instead of funding areas he considers more worthy. "If you funnel money into things that can't be changed, the money is not going into the places that it is needed," he said.
Astrophysicist Dr. Nir Shaviv, one of Israel's top young award winning scientists, recanted his belief that manmade emissions were driving climate change. ""Like many others, I was personally sure that CO2 is the bad culprit in the story of global warming. But after carefully digging into the evidence, I realized that things are far more complicated than the story sold to us by many climate scientists or the stories regurgitated by the media. In fact, there is much more than meets the eye," Shaviv said in February 2, 2007 Canadian National Post article. According to Shaviv, the C02 temperature link is only "incriminating circumstantial evidence." "Solar activity can explain a large part of the 20th-century global warming" and "it is unlikely that [the solar climate link] does not exist," Shaviv noted pointing to the impact cosmic- rays have on the atmosphere. According to the National Post, Shaviv believes that even a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere by 2100 "will not dramatically increase the global temperature." "Even if we halved the CO2 output, and the CO2 increase by 2100 would be, say, a 50% increase relative to today instead of a doubled amount, the expected reduction in the rise of global temperature would be less than 0.5C. This is not significant," Shaviv explained. Shaviv also wrote on August 18, 2006 that a colleague of his believed that "CO2 should have a large effect on climate" so "he set out to reconstruct the phanerozoic temperature. He wanted to find the CO2 signature in the data, but since there was none, he slowly had to change his views." Shaviv believes there will be more scientists converting to man-made global warming skepticism as they discover the dearth of evidence. "I think this is common to many of the scientists who think like us (that is, that CO2 is a secondary climate driver). Each one of us was working in his or her own niche. While working there, each one of us realized that things just don't add up to support the AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) picture. So many had to change their views," he wrote.
Mathematician & engineer Dr. David Evans, who did carbon accounting for the Australian Government, recently detailed his conversion to a skeptic. "I devoted six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian government to estimate carbon emissions from land use change and forestry. When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty conclusive, but since then new evidence has weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause. I am now skeptical," Evans wrote in an April 30, 2007 blog. "But after 2000 the evidence for carbon emissions gradually got weaker -- better temperature data for the last century, more detailed ice core data, then laboratory evidence that cosmic rays precipitate low clouds," Evans wrote. "As Lord Keynes famously said, ‘When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?’" he added. Evans noted how he benefited from climate fears as a scientist. "And the political realm in turn fed money back into the scientific community. By the late 1990's, lots of jobs depended on the idea that carbon emissions caused global warming. Many of them were bureaucratic, but there were a lot of science jobs created too. I was on that gravy train, making a high wage in a science job that would not have existed if we didn't believe carbon emissions caused global warming. And so were lots of people around me; and there were international conferences full of such people. And we had political support, the ear of government, big budgets, and we felt fairly important and useful (well, I did anyway). It was great. We were working to save the planet! But starting in about 2000, the last three of the four pieces of evidence outlined above fell away or reversed," Evans wrote. "The pre-2000 ice core data was the central evidence for believing that atmospheric carbon caused temperature increases. The new ice core data shows that past warmings were *not* initially caused by rises in atmospheric carbon, and says nothing about the strength of any amplification. This piece of evidence casts reasonable doubt that atmospheric carbon had any role in past warmings, while still allowing the possibility that it had a supporting role," he added. "Unfortunately politics and science have become even more entangled. The science of global warming has become a partisan political issue, so positions become more entrenched. Politicians and the public prefer simple and less-nuanced messages. At the moment the political climate strongly supports carbon emissions as the cause of global warming, to the point of sometimes rubbishing or silencing critics," he concluded. (Evans bio link )
Climate researcher Dr. Tad Murty, former Senior Research Scientist for Fisheries and Oceans in Canada, also reversed himself from believer in man-made climate change to a skeptic. "I stated with a firm belief about global warming, until I started working on it myself," Murty explained on August 17, 2006. "I switched to the other side in the early 1990's when Fisheries and Oceans Canada asked me to prepare a position paper and I started to look into the problem seriously," Murty explained. Murty was one of the 60 scientists who wrote an April 6, 2006 letter urging withdrawal of Kyoto to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper which stated in part, "If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary."
Botanist Dr. David Bellamy, a famed UK environmental campaigner, former lecturer at Durham University and host of a popular UK TV series on wildlife, recently converted into a skeptic after reviewing the science and now calls global warming fears "poppycock." According to a May 15, 2005 article in the UK Sunday Times, Bellamy said "global warming is largely a natural phenomenon. The world is wasting stupendous amounts of money on trying to fix something that can’t be fixed." "The climate-change people have no proof for their claims. They have computer models which do not prove anything," Bellamy added. Bellamy’s conversion on global warming did not come without a sacrifice as several environmental groups have ended their association with him because of his views on climate change. The severing of relations came despite Bellamy’s long activism for green campaigns. The UK Times reported Bellamy "won respect from hardline environmentalists with his campaigns to save Britain’s peat bogs and other endangered habitats. In Tasmania he was arrested when he tried to prevent loggers cutting down a rainforest."
Climate scientist Dr. Chris de Freitas of The University of Auckland, N.Z., also converted from a believer in man-made global warming to a skeptic. "At first I accepted that increases in human caused additions of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere would trigger changes in water vapor etc. and lead to dangerous ‘global warming,’ But with time and with the results of research, I formed the view that, although it makes for a good story, it is unlikely that the man-made changes are drivers of significant climate variation." de Freitas wrote on August 17, 2006. "I accept there may be small changes. But I see the risk of anything serious to be minute," he added. "One could reasonably argue that lack of evidence is not a good reason for complacency. But I believe the billions of dollars committed to GW research and lobbying for GW and for Kyoto treaties etc could be better spent on uncontroversial and very real environmental problems (such as air pollution, poor sanitation, provision of clean water and improved health services) that we know affect tens of millions of people," de Freitas concluded. de Freitas was one of the 60 scientists who wrote an April 6, 2006 letter urging withdrawal of Kyoto to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper which stated in part, "Significant [scientific] advances have been made since the [Kyoto] protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases."
Meteorologist Dr. Reid Bryson, the founding chairman of the Department of Meteorology at University of Wisconsin (now the Department of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, was pivotal in promoting the coming ice age scare of the 1970’s ( See Time Magazine’s 1974 article "Another Ice Age" citing Bryson: & see Newsweek’s 1975 article "The Cooling World" citing Bryson) has now converted into a leading global warming skeptic. In February 8, 2007 Bryson dismissed what he terms "sky is falling" man-made global warming fears. Bryson, was on the United Nations Global 500 Roll of Honor and was identified by the British Institute of Geographers as the most frequently cited climatologist in the world. "Before there were enough people to make any difference at all, two million years ago, nobody was changing the climate, yet the climate was changing, okay?" Bryson told the May 2007 issue of Energy Cooperative News. "All this argument is the temperature going up or not, it’s absurd. Of course it’s going up. It has gone up since the early 1800s, before the Industrial Revolution, because we’re coming out of the Little Ice Age, not because we’re putting more carbon dioxide into the air," Bryson said. "You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide," he added. "We cannot say what part of that warming was due to mankind's addition of ‘greenhouse gases’ until we consider the other possible factors, such as aerosols. The aerosol content of the atmosphere was measured during the past century, but to my knowledge this data was never used. We can say that the question of anthropogenic modification of the climate is an important question -- too important to ignore. However, it has now become a media free-for-all and a political issue more than a scientific problem," Bryson explained in 2005.
Global warming author and economist Hans H.J. Labohm started out as a man-made global warming believer but he later switched his view after conducting climate research. Labohm wrote on August 19, 2006, "I started as a anthropogenic global warming believer, then I read the [UN’s IPCC] Summary for Policymakers and the research of prominent skeptics." "After that, I changed my mind," Labohn explained. Labohn co-authored the 2004 book "Man-Made Global Warming: Unraveling a Dogma," with chemical engineer Dick Thoenes who was the former chairman of the Royal Netherlands Chemical Society. Labohm was one of the 60 scientists who wrote an April 6, 2006 letter urging withdrawal of Kyoto to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper which stated in part, "’Climate change is real’ is a meaningless phrase used repeatedly by activists to convince the public that a climate catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause. Neither of these fears is justified. Global climate changes all the time due to natural causes and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural ‘noise.’"
Paleoclimatologist Tim Patterson, of Carlton University in Ottawa converted from believer in C02 driving the climate change to a skeptic. "I taught my students that CO2 was the prime driver of climate change," Patterson wrote on April 30, 2007. Patterson said his "conversion" happened following his research on "the nature of paleo-commercial fish populations in the NE Pacific." "[My conversion from believer to climate skeptic] came about approximately 5-6 years ago when results began to come in from a major NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Strategic Project Grant where I was PI (principle investigator)," Patterson explained. "Over the course of about a year, I switched allegiances," he wrote. "As the proxy results began to come in, we were astounded to find that paleoclimatic and paleoproductivity records were full of cycles that corresponded to various sun-spot cycles. About that time, [geochemist] Jan Veizer and others began to publish reasonable hypotheses as to how solar signals could be amplified and control climate," Patterson noted. Patterson says his conversion "probably cost me a lot of grant money. However, as a scientist I go where the science takes me and not were activists want me to go." Patterson now asserts that more and more scientists are converting to climate skeptics. "When I go to a scientific meeting, there's lots of opinion out there, there's lots of discussion (about climate change). I was at the Geological Society of America meeting in Philadelphia in the fall and I would say that people with my opinion were probably in the majority," Patterson told the Winnipeg Sun on February 13, 2007.
Patterson, who believes the sun is responsible for the recent warm up of the Earth, ridiculed the environmentalists and the media for not reporting the truth. "But if you listen to [Canadian environmental activist David] Suzuki and the media, it's like a tiger chasing its tail. They try to outdo each other and all the while proclaiming that the debate is over but it isn't -- come out to a scientific meeting sometime," Patterson said. In a separate interview on April 26, 2007 with a Canadian newspaper, Patterson explained that the scientific proof favors skeptics. "I think the proof in the pudding, based on what (media and governments) are saying, (is) we're about three quarters of the way (to disaster) with the doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere," he said. "The world should be heating up like crazy by now, and it's not. The temperatures match very closely with the solar cycles."
Physicist Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski, chairman of the Central Laboratory for the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Radiological Protection in Warsaw, took a scientific journey from a believer of man-made climate change in the form of global cooling in the 1970’s all the way to converting to a skeptic of current predictions of catastrophic man-made global warming. "At the beginning of the 1970s I believed in man-made climate cooling, and therefore I started a study on the effects of industrial pollution on the global atmosphere, using glaciers as a history book on this pollution," Dr. Jaworowski, wrote on August 17, 2006. "With the advent of man-made warming political correctness in the beginning of 1980s, I already had a lot of experience with polar and high altitude ice, and I have serious problems in accepting the reliability of ice core CO2 studies," Jaworowski added. Jaworowski, who has published many papers on climate with a focus on CO2 measurements in ice cores, also dismissed the UN IPCC summary and questioned what the actual level of C02 was in the atmosphere in a March 16, 2007 report in EIR science entitled "CO2: The Greatest Scientific Scandal of Our Time." "We thus find ourselves in the situation that the entire theory of man-made global warming—with its repercussions in science, and its important consequences for politics and the global economy—is based on ice core studies that provided a false picture of the atmospheric CO2 levels," Jaworowski wrote. "For the past three decades, these well-known direct CO2 measurements, recently compiled and analyzed by Ernst-Georg Beck (Beck 2006a, Beck 2006b, Beck 2007), were completely ignored by climatologists—and not because they were wrong. Indeed, these measurements were made by several Nobel Prize winners, using the techniques that are standard textbook procedures in chemistry, biochemistry, botany, hygiene, medicine, nutrition, and ecology. The only reason for rejection was that these measurements did not fit the hypothesis of anthropogenic climatic warming. I regard this as perhaps the greatest scientific scandal of our time," Jaworowski wrote. "The hypothesis, in vogue in the 1970s, stating that emissions of industrial dust will soon induce the new Ice Age, seem now to be a conceited anthropocentric exaggeration, bringing into discredit the science of that time. The same fate awaits the present," he added. Jaworowski believes that cosmic rays and solar activity are major drivers of the Earth’s climate. Jaworowski was one of the 60 scientists who wrote an April 6, 2006 letter urging withdrawal of Kyoto to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper which stated in part: "It may be many years yet before we properly understand the Earth's climate system. Nevertheless, significant advances have been made since the protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases."
Paleoclimatologist Dr. Ian D. Clark, professor of the Department of Earth Sciences at University of Ottawa, reversed his views on man-made climate change after further examining the evidence. "I used to agree with these dramatic warnings of climate disaster. I taught my students that most of the increase in temperature of the past century was due to human contribution of C02. The association seemed so clear and simple. Increases of greenhouse gases were driving us towards a climate catastrophe," Clark said in a 2005 documentary "Climate Catastrophe Cancelled: What You're Not Being Told About the Science of Climate Change." "However, a few years ago, I decided to look more closely at the science and it astonished me. In fact there is no evidence of humans being the cause. There is, however, overwhelming evidence of natural causes such as changes in the output of the sun. This has completely reversed my views on the Kyoto protocol," Clark explained. "Actually, many other leading climate researchers also have serious concerns about the science underlying the [Kyoto] Protocol," he added.
Environmental geochemist Dr. Jan Veizer, professor emeritus of University of Ottawa, converted from believer to skeptic after conducting scientific studies of climate history. "I simply accepted the (global warming) theory as given," Veizer wrote on April 30, 2007 about predictions that increasing C02 in the atmosphere was leading to a climate catastrophe. "The final conversion came when I realized that the solar/cosmic ray connection gave far more consistent picture with climate, over many time scales, than did the CO2 scenario," Veizer wrote. "It was the results of my work on past records, on geological time scales, that led me to realize the discrepancies with empirical observations. Trying to understand the background issues of modeling led to realization of the assumptions and uncertainties involved," Veizer explained. "The past record strongly favors the solar/cosmic alternative as the principal climate driver," he added. Veizer acknowledgez the Earth has been warming and he believes in the scientific value of climate modeling. "The major point where I diverge from the IPCC scenario is my belief that it underestimates the role of natural variability by proclaiming CO2 to be the only reasonable source of additional energy in the planetary balance. Such additional energy is needed to drive the climate. The point is that most of the temperature, in both nature and models, arises from the greenhouse of water vapor (model language ‘positive water vapor feedback’,) Veizer wrote. "Thus to get more temperature, more water vapor is needed. This is achieved by speeding up the water cycle by inputting more energy into the system," he continued. "Note that it is not CO2 that is in the models but its presumed energy equivalent (model language ‘prescribed CO2’). Yet, the models (and climate) would generate a more or less similar outcome regardless where this additional energy is coming from. This is why the solar/cosmic connection is so strongly opposed, because it can influence the global energy budget which, in turn, diminishes the need for an energy input from the CO2 greenhouse," he wrote.
More to follow...
Scientific Smackdown: Skeptics Voted The Clear Winners Against Global Warming Believers in Heated NYC Debate
Global Warming on Mars & Cosmic Ray Research Are Shattering Media Driven "Consensus‚Äô
Global Warming: The Momentum has Shifted to Climate Skeptics
Prominent French Scientist Reverses Belief in Global Warming - Now a Skeptic
Top Israeli Astrophysicist Recants His Belief in Manmade Global Warming - Now Says Sun Biggest Factor in Warming
Warming On Jupiter, Mars, Pluto, Neptune's Moon & Earth Linked to Increased Solar Activity, Scientists Say
Panel of Broadcast Meteorologists Reject Man-Made Global Warming Fears- Claim 95% of Weathermen Skeptical
MIT Climate Scientist Calls Fears of Global Warming 'Silly' - Equates Concerns to ‚ÄòLittle Kids‚Äô Attempting to "Scare Each Other"
Weather Channel TV Host Goes 'Political'- Stars in Global Warming Film Accusing U.S. Government of ‚ÄòCriminal Neglect‚Äô
Weather Channel Climate Expert Calls for Decertifying Global Warming Skeptics
ABC-TV Meteorologist: I Don't Know A Single Weatherman Who Believes 'Man-Made Global Warming Hype'
The Weather Channel Climate Expert Refuses to Retract Call for Decertification for Global Warming Skeptics
Senator Inhofe Announces Public Release Of "Skeptic‚Äôs Guide To Debunking Global Warming"
May 18, 2007 12:00 AM
The U.S. has now constructed .286 percent of the 700 miles of fencing on the southern border provided for in 2006’s Secure Fence Act. That is sufficient for a bipartisan group of senators to want to effectively declare this brief national experiment with immigration enforcement effectively over.
Enough with the harsh exclusionary measures! Two miles of fencing out of 700 passed by Congress on a border stretching 1,952 miles is a milestone that should mark our departure to the next phase of immigration policy — a sweeping amnesty of illegals and an increase in legal immigration. Thus, another confirmation of the iron rule of the nation’s immigration politics: No matter how discontented the public is with our broken immigration system, the political elite’s answer is always higher levels of immigration.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, (R., Calif.), noted at the second Republican presidential debate that the Department of Homeland Security has $1 billion for the fence, but “they want to drag their feet and hook this up with amnesty.” Give him points for clairvoyance. The sweetener luring some conservative Republicans into the Senate deal is that it would have enforcement benchmarks that would have to be met in theory before other provisions kick in.
The benchmarks include 370 miles of fencing on the border (half what was in the Secure Fence Act) and the hiring of thousands more border agents. If these things happen, however, it still might be that more illegals come here, pulled by the allure of amnesty. The only meaningful benchmarks would be reductions in the number of border crossings and the size of the illegal population already here.
The deal also provides for an electronic system to verify the legal status of employees at the workplace. This is important. But as a writer on the PowerLine points out, government is good at handing out benefits like amnesty, but bad at creating and competently running complex systems. Maybe when the FBI finally has up-to-date computers we can believe promises of a new workplace-enforcement system to accompany an amnesty.
And it is an amnesty, no matter what supporters call it. Sen. John McCain, a backer of the deal, unleashed this howler at the GOP presidential debate: “I have never supported amnesty and never would.” But the 12 million illegals here before January would get probationary legal status immediately when the bill passes. Effectively, that’s amnesty. (It’s unclear why illegals arriving here after January would be excluded so coldheartedly. What does McCain want to do, deport them all?)
Another 400,000 people a year would come into the country as guest workers on visas good for two years and renewable only three times. Will we have the will to hold them to that? In a nod to the fact that importing so many low-skill workers makes no sense, the deal would put a new emphasis on skills rather than family unification in admitting new legal immigrants. But before doing so, it would work through the current backlog of applicants, admitting another roughly five million people over the next eight years.
All of these provisions would never pass on their own without the cover of enforcement. Which raises the question, Why not just do the enforcement? Backers of amnesty reply that it’s impossible to deport 12 million illegal immigrants. So it is. But that’s not necessary.
Last year, 221,664 illegal immigrants were deported, an increase of roughly 20 percent from the year before. If we determined to keep that pace of increase during the next few years, the number of illegals deciding to come here and deciding to stay would decrease with the realization that the climate of tolerance for illegality had ended. Then, the magnitude of the problem would be more manageable, but that’s not what the bipartisan political elite wants. Instead, it wants its rotten deal.
© 2007 by King Features Syndicate
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Lynchburg News & Advance
May 17, 2007
When I started writing this column in 1981, the Rev. Jerry Falwell was just hitting his stride as a national figure.
I had never heard of him when I came to Lynchburg in 1977 as a sportswriter, and for a while, my only real contact came in connection with Liberty University (then Liberty Baptist College) athletics.
That changed when I changed jobs. Not writing about Jerry as a Lynchburg columnist would be like not writing about gambling in Las Vegas or football in Green Bay. He was unavoidable.
And Jerry was good for The News & Advance, if not necessarily good to us. He almost always returned our phone calls (except for the two years he stopped talking to us altogether), and was an ideological magnet who drew national figures to the city for us to write about.
Plus, he was always finding himself in hot water of one kind or another, whether it was financial trouble or attacks from some group infuriated by his often-outrageous pronouncements. He was, as they say in the news business, good copy.
Unlike an elected official, Falwell didn’t have to worry about what he said. The only people he had to please were those in his own constituency.
I always saw Jerry Falwell as two people. First, there was Jerry from Fairview Heights, the happy-go-lucky small-town preacher who loved to officiate at weddings and go to football games and play practical jokes on his friends. He enjoyed sneaking up behind people he knew and grabbing them in a sudden bear hug (he did that to me once, and it was pretty startling).
The other Jerry thought of himself as a political kingmaker and arbiter of American morals in general. He was well-read, shrewd, calculating and a canny judge of people. He wore a three-piece pinstriped suit so regularly that I often joked that he probably had three-piece pinstriped pajamas.
Nothing I write is going to convince Jerry’s followers that he was anything less than a saint nor his detractors that he was any better than a bigot. And who cares what I think, anyway?
Instead, I wanted to list my 10 favorite Falwell moments over the years. If nothing else, it may give you an idea of what good copy he was.
• The Falwell-Flynt trial, later made into a movie starring Woody Harrelson as Larry Flynt.
It took place in U.S. District Court in Roanoke, and Flynt attorney Roy Grutman tried to get under Falwell’s skin by referring to him repeatedly as “Reverend Foulwell.”
At issue was an ad parody Flynt ran in his Hustler magazine in which Falwell supposedly confessed that his first sexual experience had been with his mother, in an outhouse.
“Rev. Foulwell,” Grutman asked him at one point. “Did you or did you not have sex with your mother in an outhouse?”
Falwell looked at the defense counsel as if he were a cockroach and said, with as much dignity as he could muster: “Certainly not.”
• The waterslide stunt. Back in 1987, when he temporarily took over the financial operations of Jim and Tammy Bakker, Falwell vowed he would go down the waterslide at Heritage USA - the Bakkers’ Christian amusement park in Rock Hill, S.C. - if donations to the PTL Club reached a certain level. They did, and he did.
It happened on a Friday afternoon, and despite the fact that hundreds of people went down that slide daily, there were two rescue squad vehicles parked at the foot in case something went wrong. Falwell made his descent wearing, of course, a three-piece pinstriped suit, arms folded across his chest.
• The PTL press conference. A couple of months earlier, Falwell had stood on a stage at ground zero of the Bakkers’ crumbled empire and single-handedly answered questions from over 100 reporters, many of them from national publications.
• Jerry and Ted Kennedy. In October of ’83, for reasons that escape me now, Falwell invited his ideological arch-enemy, Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, down to Lynchburg to speak at Thomas Road. The night before, there was a reception at Falwell’s house in the Sandusky area, and it was decided that the only media allowed in would be the local newspaper - which meant, at the time, me and photographer Mark Bailey. I sat at a table next to the swimming pool and interviewed Kennedy as dozens of other media types glared at us from beyond the restraining ropes.
• Jerry and Jesse Jackson. The Rev. Falwell was never reluctant to make comments about international politics, often from the hip, and his criticism of South African bishop and apartheid opponent Desmond Tutu in 1985 flushed out the equally outspoken Rev. Jackson. They both spoke on a warm night inside Court Street Baptist Church, and Falwell used the opportunity to confess to having been a segregationist in earlier years. This wasn’t news to anyone, but it provided a bit of drama.
• Jerry the sports fan. Lots of memories here, such as Falwell being passed down through the bleachers like a rock star by Liberty students during a football game.
I also remember sitting in the press box at another game and talking with a writer from a North Carolina paper.
“Do you ever see Jerry Falwell?” he asked. “Does he ever come to games?”
Just then, Liberty scored a touchdown and Falwell rose up from the row right in front of us and started high-fiving everybody in sight.
“That’s him!” said the North Carolina writer.
• Jerry threatens to leave. Unable to convince the city to give him a tax break on some Old Time Gospel Hour properties, Falwell threatened to move his ministries to Atlanta. The move never materialized, but I had some fun noting the occasion with a song parody of Billy Joel’s “Allentown.”
• Oliver North re-emerges. North’s first public appearance after he was convicted on three charges in the Iran-Contra affair was at Liberty University’s graduation. The national media descended upon Lynchburg, and North received several standing ovations when he spoke.
• Hosting a president. That crowd was nothing, however, compared to the mob scene when President George Bush (the elder) gave the commencement address in May of 1990.
• The 70th birthday party. A relaxed Falwell entertained well-wishers on the lawn outside his Liberty University office, the same two-story house once home to U.S. Sen. Carter Glass, Lynchburg’s other national figure.
At one point, I asked him what he thought would happen to his empire when he left the scene, and he talked about it freely. It was the last conversation we ever had face-to-face.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
LYNCHBURG, Va. -- Realtor Brenda Phelps likes to point out the sights to those contemplating a move to this city: "There's Jerry's church. There's Jerry's mountain." Once, when asked if Jerry Falwell personally owned that land overlooking the city, she said no, Liberty University did -- "but it's Jerry's mountain."
Lynchburg, Va., in the Roman tradition, claims to be built on seven hills, and Falwell, who died Tuesday at age 73, was a man of many mountains: the Moral Majority, which grew to 6.5 million members in the 1980s before fading; Liberty University, which now claims almost 10,000 students in residence (with 15,000 more in distance learning programs); and the 22,000-member Thomas Road Baptist Church, which he started with 35 members in 1956 in an abandoned Donald Duck Bottling Company plant.
He was also a mountain of a man, with a girth that long put his health in jeopardy, but he remained optimistic about his remaining time in this life. On the phone in March, he told me that he planned to continue as chancellor for another 13 years, until he was 86. In his 1997 autobiography, he wrote that "God may call me home today, and I would have no regrets or complaints, but in my heart of hearts I actually believe that he is going to give me another 20 or 30 years. If you read some day soon that 'Jerry Falwell has died,' be assured that I was greatly surprised."
Last month, during a meeting in his office in Liberty's administration building, the Carter Glass Mansion, he was clearly enjoying life as he sat in the former home of Sen. Carter Glass, Secretary of the Treasury under Woodrow Wilson, surrounded by plaques and art work (including one depicting Mickey Mantle) that displayed his accomplishments and passions (he was a New York Yankees fan). He discussed his willingness to make provocative statements: He didn't mean to be harsh, but he wanted to tell the truth, and he had long ago realized that bold speaking would bring press attention to issues that otherwise would be ignored.
His pronouncements about homosexuality, in which he expressed love for sinners but hatred for the sin, were what critics most remembered after he collapsed in that office on Tuesday. Later that day in San Francisco, one demonstrator at Castro and 18th streets, sometimes called "the crossroads of Gay America," put down a square of Astroturf to represent Falwell's grave and invited people to dance on it; some did. But others asked for politeness: "Hey man, regardless of your thoughts, the man is dead and a whole community is grieving. Give it some time before you bash."
Here in Lynchburg, a whole community was grieving. Phelps described how, five days before Falwell died, he handed out diplomas to pre-kindergarten kids at his church's early learning center. He tapped her grandson on the head with his diploma, hugged others and posed for photos. "It was such a proud thing for us," Phelps recalled. "How loved he was."
She also described how in the 1960s she lived near Falwell's early church building and her father despised the young pastor: "My daddy absolutely could not stand him." One Sunday churchgoers parked in front of their house, and after that, "my daddy would take kitchen chairs and sit out in the street just so they couldn't park there. He said to Jerry, 'You may get all of Lynchburg, but you'll never get me.' A couple of years later, Jerry reminded my daddy of that when he baptized him."
Lynchburg has many stories like that, and Falwell knew about how God changes people, including himself. He admitted in his autobiography that he was once a racist. He at times apologized for over-the-top statements. He repeatedly in recent years said that he was not a fundamentalist. But he persevered in his goal for Liberty University's football team: "One day in a wheelchair, I plan to be at the 50 yard-line in South Bend when we whip Notre Dame I may be in a coffin, but that's where we're headed."
Marvin Olasky is a professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin,the editor-in-chief of World, and author of Scimitar's Edge.
May 17, 2007
By Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Free Press, $26, 353 pp.
The mainstream news and entertainment media's reaction — or, rather, non-reaction — to Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s best-selling Infidel is Exhibit One in the case that multiculturalism trumps all other values held dear by the Left.
Could there be a more perfect Oprah guest than an African-born feminist who survives female genital mutilation, resists a forced marriage, becomes a lawmaker in a foreign land, is forced to flee to America because of a fatwa by terrorists, and rejects the domination of women by an oppressive religion-based system?
Does Oprah really believe her book club star Wally Lamb (She’s Come Undone) can spin a more compelling story of female oppression than Hirsi Ali’s triumphant real-life memoir?
And how about a Tonight Show appearance for this attractive, well-spoken woman whose wit, optimism and love of people is undamaged by her horrible experiences? Before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the fight against female genital mutilation was gaining ground as Hollywood’s fashionable cause celebre. In fact, it had even obtained acronym status -- FGM -- thanks to Tonight host Jay Leno’s wife, Mavis, who made Afghanistan's ruling Taliban her special target.
The crusade was ideal for the Hollywood set, pitting right-thinking liberals against misogynistic religious extremists and making them icons of women’s rights worldwide. Best of all for them, there was nothing concrete the liberals could do about the matter but rant. The only way to stop the barbaric practice would be to invade the countries where FGM was practiced, which no one was likely to do. Thus, the stage was set for decades of feel-good UN and private sector conferences where American feminists could congratulate themselves on their righteousness.
Then George W. Bush spoiled the party by invading Afghanistan and actually doing something about women’s rights. Not since the Hitler-Stalin Nonaggression Pact have the Hollywood Left and its allies switched their wrath so quickly from one archenemy to another. The fear and loathing they once reserved for fundamentalist Islam has been replaced by abiding concern that the rights of all Muslims -- including suspected terrorists and guerrillas -- not be constrained. As Bush wages war with Islamofascism, perhaps the most illiberal force of the past millennium, the American Left wages war on him.
So far, Jay Leno's only reference to Ayaan Hirsi Ali by Jay Leno has been as an admittedly funny joke in his "Best Seller/Worst Seller" segment. (Best seller: A woman battles oppression in Infidel; worst seller: Castro’s proctologist tells all in In Fidel.) Meanwhile, Hirsi Ali rates no mention on the website of Mavis Leno’s pet project, the Feminist Majority Foundation.
Why? She’s too dangerous. While the Left is bashing Bush for being too aggressive in the fight against Islamofascism, Hirsi Ali makes that case that he is far too diplomatic about Islam’s intrinsically oppressive nature. That is anathema to liberal partisan goals and flies in the face of the multiculturalism that is the primary tenet of the Left’s political faith.
That the left-wing blogosphere is savage to Hirsi Ali because of her general support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is a measure of its fanaticism. Even more surprising than Newsweek’s dimwits calling Hirsi Ali a “bombthrower” for opposing terrorists was the scorn by the usually reasonable liberal Ian Buruma for her "absolutism" in a New York Times review. Buruma dished out plenty of scorn for fellow libs who contended the U.S. and Soviet Union were moral equivalents during the Cold War. Now, he dutifully registers his multicultural platitudes in every discussion of Muslim extremism.
But Hisi Ali rises above — far above — her petty critics with her beautifully written and captivating memoir. Perhaps the most surprising thing about Infidel is how little of it is devoted to direct discussion of politics and philosophy in favor of recounting the details of her life — and what a life it's been!
Most of the world first heard of her when a deranged young man Muslim stabbed to death Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, Hirsi Ali’s collaborator on a short film called Submission that focused on the condition of women in the Muslim world. The killer left a threat to Hirsi Ali, then a member of the Dutch Parliament, pinned to Van Gogh’s chest with the murder weapon.
It was a bizarre and unlikely moment for a woman who describes herself as "born in Digfeer Hospital in Mogadishu in November 1969." But as Hirsi Ali muses, how many of the girls born in her maternity ward "are even alive today? And how many have a real voice?"
From the first line of the book -- "I am Ayaan, the daughter of Hirsi, the son of Magan," as Ayaan, then 5, sits on a grass mat with her grandmother reciting the names of her ancestors -- she learns her identity belongs to the men in her line, living and dead. "If you dishonor them," she is warned, "you will be forsaken. You will be nothing. You will lead a wretched life and die alone."
But as Hirsi Ali grows up, she observes that honoring the system her grandmother and mother venerate is quite likely have the same sad result. One by one, her terrified friends are married off to strangers, often to become the second or third wife to an older man. Her own mother is the second wife of Hirsi Ali's father, who abandons them in a war zone while he starts another family with wife No. 3.
Hirsi Ali's family is fairly modern and liberal by the standards of Mogadishu. Her father is a political activist and anything but a religious fanatic. But that doesn't her from the gruesome practice of female excision. Though her mother was against the practice, her traditional grandmother seized the 5-year-old child while her mother was out of town and — in the book’s most chilling and graphic passage — has her ritually circumcised.
As Hirsi Ali bluntly explains, "In Somalia, like many countries across Africa and the Middle East, little girls are made ‘pure’ by having their genitals cut out." While female circumcision may not be required by Islam, she adds, whenever she was abused for being female, the Quran was given as a justification.
She and her girlfriends found hope and inspiration in the unlikeliest of places -- Nancy Drew mysteries and Harlequin romances. To them, a world in which women could make any kind of determinative choice about their own lives and destinies was as magical as Narnia is for Western kids.
As Hirsi Ali and her family bounce from civil war in Somalia to an apartment in Mecca, from the relative calm in Nairobi to the refugee camps at the Somali border, one thing remains constant: women’s lives are at the whim of the men around them.
In her adolescence, Hirsi Ali tries to satisfy her culture by embracing the preaching of the Muslim Brotherhood, but she eventually drifts toward an independent mind. The last straw is when her father arranges a marriage to a dolt from their clan who has immigrated to Canada. En route, Ayaan bolts to the Netherlands by way of her layover in Germany and is granted political asylum, though she has to embellish her personal story to get it.
Hirsi Ali is so dazzled by the orderliness and civility of Holland after the grime, wars and brutishness of her past homes that she wonders if citizens can even be motivated to vote. But she eventually becomes politically active when she sees Islam's Sharia law being imported to her new homeland in its unassimilated Muslim communities.
While she was dazzled by the freedom of Europe and the efficiencies of modern life when she arrived, she became more sophisticated. Her crusade began as an effort to reform the Dutch multicultural attitude toward Muslim immigrants, and her naivete does not grow during her involvement in politics.
The attacks of 9/11 are the last straw for Hirsi Ali’s faith. She examines Osama bin Laden’s quotes from the Quran and finds they are accurate. She rejects not only Islam, however, but the notion that a God exists at all. She writes:
"I left the world of faith, of genital cutting and forced marriage for the world of reason and sexual emancipation. After making this voyage I know that one of these two worlds is simply better than the other. Not for its gaudy gadgetry, but for its fundamental values."
Hirsi Ali describes the condition of vast numbers of Muslim woman as the next thing to slavery. She advocates an idealistic aggressiveness that goes beyond what even Bush has engaged in:
"We in the West would be wrong to prolong the pain of that transition unnecessarily, by elevating cultures full of bigotry and hatred toward women to the stature of respectable alternative ways of life."
U.S taxpayers already support the Arabic TV network Al Hurra. How about instead of running speeches by Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah and lending credence to Iran’s Holocaust denial panel, (http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010011) giving Hirsi Ali a platform to speak to women in the Muslim world about what the West is really about? Why not run features on the new freedoms given to Afghanistan’s women thanks to the United States?
The United States should also make clear that we will secure the blessings of liberty for Muslim women within our own borders. It should be clear to everyone that Sharia is not operational in the United States — unlike concessions being made in some European countries. Spousal abuse laws must be enforced as strictly in immigrant enclaves in Michigan and Minnesota as they are in Manhattan, and the victims will be protected even if it means granting political asylum.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the Frederick Douglass of women living under the oppression of Sharia Law; and conservative organizations—especially on campus—should be moving heaven and earth to get her as a speaker.
She is as potentially valuable to the fight against Islamofascism as Alexander Solzhenitzen was to the struggle against Communism. The mainstream media may never embrace her, but it’s high time the Bush administration—and the rest of us—make up for this defect.
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May 17, 2007
No man in the last century better illustrated Jesus' warning that "All men will hate you because of me" than the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who left this world on Tuesday. Separately, no man better illustrates my warning that it doesn't pay to be nice to liberals.
Falwell was a perfected Christian. He exuded Christian love for all men, hating sin while loving sinners. This is as opposed to liberals, who just love sinners. Like Christ ministering to prostitutes, Falwell regularly left the safe confines of his church to show up in such benighted venues as CNN.
He was such a good Christian that back when we used to be on TV together during Clinton's impeachment, I sometimes wanted to say to him, "Step aside, reverend – let the mean girl handle this one." (Why, that guy probably prayed for Clinton!)
For putting Christ above everything – even the opportunity to make a humiliating joke about Clinton – Falwell is known as "controversial." Nothing is ever as "controversial" as yammering about Scripture as if, you know, it's the word of God or something.
From the news coverage of Falwell's death, I began to suspect his first name was "Whether You Agree With Him or Not."
Even Falwell's fans, such as evangelist Billy Graham and former President Bush, kept throwing in the "We didn't always agree" disclaimer. Did Betty Friedan or Molly Ivins get this many "I didn't always agree with" qualifiers on their deaths? And when I die, if you didn't always agree with me, would you mind keeping it to yourself?
Let me be the first to say: I ALWAYS agreed with the Rev. Falwell.
Actually, there was one small item I think Falwell got wrong regarding his statement after 9-11 that "the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians – who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle – the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'"
First of all, I disagreed with that statement because Falwell neglected to specifically include Teddy Kennedy and "the Reverend" Barry Lynn.
Second, Falwell later stressed that he blamed the terrorists most of all, but I think that clarification was unnecessary. The necessary clarification was to note that God was at least protecting America enough not to allow the terrorists to strike when a Democrat was in the White House.
(If you still think it isn't Christ whom liberals hate, remember: They hate Falwell even more than they hate me.)
I note that in Falwell's list of Americans he blamed for ejecting God from public life, only the gays got a qualifier. Falwell referred to gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle.
No Christian minister is going to preach that homosexuality is godly behavior, but Falwell didn't add any limiting qualifications to his condemnation of feminists, the ACLU or People for the American Way.
There have always been gay people – even in the prelapsarian '50s that Jerry Falwell and I would like to return to, when God protected America from everything but ourselves.
What Falwell was referring to are the gay activists – the ones who spit the Eucharist on the floor at St. Patrick's Cathedral, blamed Reagan for AIDS and keep trying to teach small schoolchildren about "fisting."
Also the ones who promote the gay lifestyle in a children's cartoon.
Beginning in early 1998, the news was bristling with stories about a children's cartoon PBS was importing from Britain that featured a gay cartoon character, Tinky Winky, the purple Teletubbie with a male voice and a red handbag.
People magazine gleefully reported that Teletubbies was "aimed at Telebabies as young as 1 year. But teenage club kids love the products' kitsch value, and gay men have made the purse-toting Tinky Winky a camp icon."
In the Nexis archives for 1998 alone, there are dozens and dozens of mentions of Tinky Winky being gay – in periodicals such as Newsweek, the Toronto Star, the Washington Post (twice!), the New York Times and Time magazine (also twice).
In its Jan. 8, 1999, issue, USA Today accused the Washington Post of "outing" Tinky Winky, with a "recent Washington Post In/Out list putting T.W. opposite Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche, essentially 'outing' the kids' show character."
Michael Musto of the Village Voice boasted that Tinky Winky was "out and proud," noting that it was "a great message to kids – not only that it's OK to be gay, but the importance of being well accessorized."
All this appeared before Falwell made his first mention of Tinky Winky.
After one year of the mainstream media laughing at having put one over on stupid bourgeois Americans by promoting a gay cartoon character in a TV show for children, when Falwell criticized the cartoon in February 1999, that same mainstream media howled with derision that Falwell thought a cartoon character could be gay.
Teletubbies producers immediately denounced the suggestion that Tinky Winky was gay – though they admitted that he was once briefly engaged to Liza Minnelli. That's what you get, reverend, for believing what you read in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time magazine and Newsweek. Of course, Falwell also thought the show "Queer as Folk" was gay, so obviously the man had no credibility.
Despite venomous attacks and overwhelming pressure to adopt the fashionable beliefs of cafe society, Falwell never wavered an inch in acknowledging Jesus before men. Luckily, Jesus' full sentence, quoted at the beginning of this column is: "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."
Ann Coulter is a bestselling author and syndicated columnist. Her most recent book is Godless: The Church of Liberalism.