Politics & Policy

A Damnable Act, a Weird Place For Rush, Some Fun With Names, and More

Remember the name of Marie Leblanc and damn it. She’s the Frenchwoman who claimed an anti-Semitic attack on her and her 13-month-old child–this is the train story–lying all the way.

Why damn her (other than the most obvious)? Because anti-Semitic attacks are all too real, in France and elsewhere, and they are growing, and this hoaxer has just made something of a joke out of the whole thing.

But where is Al Sharpton insisting that Steven Pagones did it?

‐I am perhaps too harsh in saying “Damn her”–the woman may be sick; in fact, she seems certain to be. But still . . .

‐Charlie Rangel has done something good: He has protested governmental crimes in Sudan, getting himself arrested at the Sudanese embassy in Washington.

But why does this man not care about governmental crimes in Cuba–those committed by his friend Fidel Castro and the rest of that tyrannical regime?

Maybe if the Sudanese thugs were sexier–or simply flattered Rangel more. Maybe if they showed up at churches in Harlem (à la Fidel). I don’t know.

‐As you know, friends, I get several missives a day concerning Cuba and the persecution of democrats, dissidents, and others there. I’m sure I don’t do enough to publicize this.

I might simply say that two energetic websites are www.puenteinfocubamiami.org and www.netforcuba.org. I can’t vouch for the particulars of these sites, but they seem to me–certainly cursorily–to be doing noble work.

And I might take time to mention just one prisoner, Migdalia Hernández Enamorado, described by her supporters as a prisoner of conscience, which she surely is. She is locked in at Combinado de Guantánamo–but we care only about Talibanic prisoners of America, right?–and is part of the “group of 75″ who were arrested in March 2003.

According to the Information Bridge (www.puenteinfocubamiami.org), both she and her husband are in prison, and they have three daughters.

Migdalia wants the entire world to know that every Sunday, since her arrest, her daughters Lissi and Migdalia go to El Combinado de Guantánamo and stand in front of the prison until they are allowed to see their mother at a distance even though they are allowed to see her only for five minutes. When prison authorities do not allow them to see their mother they stay outside the prison waiting until nightfall.

This 35-year-old mother, a heroic human-rights activist, a daughter and a wife, suffers constant abuses from the prison guards which have caused deep states of depressions and high blood pressure. She also suffers severe stomach pains due to ulcers that were provoked by the poor diet and the constant contamination of the prison water.

Migdalia’s only crime has been demanding rights that she is entitled to have. Therefore, we request prayers and urgent solidarity from the international community by requesting her immediate release from prison so that she is reunited with her three daughters and her husband.

For more information please contact Daisy Gil Ortiz, Information Bridge Cuba Miami, at 786-255-3356.

‐On to something lighter: You know that John Kerry made that crack a few days ago about the Democratic ticket’s hair (better than the Republicans’). Well, I remember a joke made by Dennis Miller, during the primaries (I believe). Something happened that went against John Edwards–and Miller, acting as Edwards, flounced his hair and said, “But I’m the pretty one!”

‐All right, on to poverty. Marian Wright Edelman’s group, the Children’s Defense Fund, published a study claiming that one out of every six children in America lives in poverty, and that one in eight lacks health insurance. I am skeptical of this study, considering the source; Edelman is not exactly a dispassionate or apolitical analyst.

But I’m intrigued by the assertion–almost certainly true–that children in America (like adults) suffer from being overweight.

This is an odd sort of problem to have, here in the early 21st century. For eons, human beings have struggled to gain or maintain enough weight. But now that struggle–certainly in America–is over. We have the opposite problem (although it is still one of food).

Funny animal, we.

‐Michelle Malkin had a (typically superb) column yesterday: “The Mollycoddling Milksops of Manila.” (These were to be contrasted with the “Battling Bastards of Bataan.”) Those three M’s reminded me that Michelle has three M’s too: Those are her initials. (You could say, “MMM on the MMM’s.”)

While I’m at it, I noticed that the great (Wall Street Journal columnist) Mary Anastasia O’Grady’s initials were MAO (which is how she signed herself once). I said (something like), “Fine anti-Communist like you having the tag ‘Mao.’” To which she said, “Don’t forget that there is a famous liberal economist in China called Yushi Mao–a brave and lonely soul.”

I won’t forget!

‐You are probably sick of reading about Arab youth camps that teach kids how to hate, maim, and kill. I’m sick of it too. But we should keep reading stories like yesterday’s in the New York Post, just so as to remember what we’re up against.

You’ve got to be carefully taught, said Oscar Hammerstein. Boy, do they teach ‘em.

‐Care to see a validation of an ancient conservative belief–or more like enlightened understanding–in the New York Times? Under the headline “Latino Parents Decry Bilingual Programs”–here’s the piece–we read,

On a sultry night in late June, when the school term was nearly over, two dozen parents gathered in a church basement in Brooklyn to talk about what a waste the year had been. Immigrants from Mexico and the Dominican Republic, raising their children in the battered neighborhood of Bushwick, they were the people bilingual education supposedly serves. Instead, one after the other, they condemned a system that consigned their children to a linguistic ghetto, cut off from the United States of integration and upward mobility.

These parents were not gadflies and chronic complainers. Patient and quiet, the women clad in faded shifts, the men shod in oil-stained work boots, they exuded the aura of people reluctant to challenge authority, perhaps because they ascribed wisdom to people with titles, or perhaps because they feared retribution.

Etc. What we’ve always known. But why should it seem more real when it appears in the New York Times?

‐Speaking of the Times, one of the smartest, truest Bill Safire columns I’ve ever read appeared yesterday, explaining groupthink re WMDs.

‐And an outstandingly smart Journal editorial? Yesterday’s concerning the gay-marriage debate, such as it is. They’re singing my song: namely, that this whole discussion, or non-discussion, reeks of hypocrisy. For instance, liberal Democrats are talking so much about states’ rights, they sound like Lester Maddox or somebody.

Anything in the name of imposing gay marriage, I suppose (or letting a couple of Massachusetts judges do it, or whatever)!

‐An example of evisceration through ridicule and simple, superior brainpower? Anthony Daniels’s stunning takedown of Germaine Greer in The Spectator. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer girl.

‐So, I’m in my favorite Upper West Side bakery yesterday, and there is a lone employee there–a woman of about 20, I’d say. Now, this is the kind of place where . . . well, let’s put it this way: I doubt there are very many customers or employees who will be pulling the lever for W. this November.

Anyway, what to my wondering ears should appear, but Rush Limbaugh’s show, on the radio. That’s what the young worker was listening to. As I was leaving, I was worried for her. Would some of the customers get violent? Tell on her? Was she really listening to Rush, or had she simply been fiddling with the dial, and been forced to wait on a customer, or something?

I don’t know.

But it was all rather thrilling.

‐A little mail:

“Jay, you had a quote from Kerry yesterday: ‘What American would not trade the economy we had in the 1990s, the fact that we were not at war and young Americans were not deployed?’

“Eh?

“In 1993, I was the Operations Officer (#2) for an A-10 squadron in Europe. Eleven years ago this month, we got a call to deploy to Aviano ASAP to provide close air support capability, if needed, to ground troops in Bosnia. From that day to the day I left that outfit (after a year as commander), we were almost continuously deployed to Italy supporting that U.N. clusterf***. This is to say nothing of the many Guard and Reserve units who deployed from the States to spell us when we needed a break to take the jets and the troops back to Germany for maintenance, crew training, refreshing memories of your wife and kids’ faces, etc.

“Meanwhile, our sister squadrons were continually (since the ceasefire) supporting air operations over Iraq from bases in Turkey and other Middle Eastern locations, often being fired at (but returning fire with much

more effect).

“I remember working 21 days straight one time. Now, trust me, this is NO big deal for our guys on the ground today, and I don’t mean it to be, but when you’re flying a single-seat fighter and you start feeling a little too tired while filling out your knee card before stepping to the jet, it gets your attention. But the only way you know your guys are getting a little frayed is to do what they do . . . at least as much as your duties allow. But I digress. The point is that this military has been deployed, in some form or another, to deal with the Islamofascist threat in that area since the end of the first Gulf War.

“Maybe, thanks to this president, the interminable cycle will be broken. It may not work, but I certainly appreciate his trying. He might have not done it without the 9/11 provocation, but I certainly wasn’t surprised that he did . . . and didn’t blame America for al Qaeda’s pique (and good on him). Frankly, I don’t know whether to find the Dems’ selective memory insulting or just stupid. Probably both.

“But as for this contention that no Americans were deployed, what did I miss?”

‐”Jay, I was listening to NPR on a certain morning–this was Alexandria, Va.–and they were asking listeners for donations. For a particularly handsome contribution, they’d give you a complete set of Michael Moore movies and books. That was about their highest offering. I thought, ‘That’s just perfect! It says everything about how NPR sees itself, and its audience.’”

‐”Jay, I thought you might like to know about a conversation I just overheard among middle-school students here in Idaho. They were discussing their parents’ political affiliations when one girl, who happens to dress as a ‘Goth,’ piped up and said, ‘My dad’s a Democrat, but I’m a Republican. I don’t believe in killing babies.’

“Can you believe it?”

‐”Dear Jay: Ever notice how the media (i.e., the AP, N. Y. Times, Wash. Post, etc.) always refer to the entity of the ‘Bush administration’ when the news is perceived as bad, as in, ‘The Bush administration scaled back the EPA standards for arsenic content . . . ,’ but when the news is perceived as good, it’s always something disconnected from ‘the administration,’ like, ‘Prosecutors from the Justice Department’s Enron Task Force presented an indictment to U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy in Houston on Wednesday for Kenneth Lay . . .’? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just my right-wing prism I look through when I read the news.”

Dunno! Let’s watch it!

‐Hey, my homegirl Eliana Johnson has alerted me to a group that is fighting for “Merry Christmas,” as against–you know: “H. H.” (Regular readers know that this is a cause dear to my heart. Last Christmas–there, I said it!–I published a piece in NR called “December’s C-Word.”) Anyway, the group’s website is here.

‐And let me leave you with this, since we’re talking about workplace revelry: Two days ago, Mike Potemra was commenting on that singular and memorable name in journalism: Katherine Boo. I wish she had reviewed that Jane Smiley novel–so you could say “Boo on Moo.” Also, what if she wrote about Alger Hiss? And what if she wrote about the Chinese strongman Hu?

I know, I know–juvenile stuff. But this is the end of Impromptus. (And sometimes we do it at the beginning!)

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