Politics & Policy

The Lady From Philadelphia, &C.

Last week, I was in the post office, on my annual visit–I buy Christmas stamps. While I was there, I spotted a Marian Anderson stamp. Marian Anderson! One of my favorite singers, one of my favorite people. I figured I would get a zillion of them, to last me through 2006.

When I inspected the stamp more closely, I saw that it said, over Anderson’s portrait, “BLACK HERITAGE.”

Yes, she’s part of black heritage, all right. But, even more, she’s part of American heritage. (You could even go for musical and world heritage.)

I didn’t buy the stamp. I’m so sick of race, and racialization, I could puke. Of course, I’ve been in this condition since I was about seven.

‐I have a new hero, Morgan Freeman, the actor. A friend of mine sent me an article about an interview that Freeman gave to 60 Minutes. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Freeman notes there is no “white history month” [as there is a Black History Month] and says the only way to get rid of racism is to “stop talking about it.”

The actor says he believes the labels “black” and “white” are an obstacle to beating racism.

“I am going to stop calling you a white man and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man,” Freeman says.

Holy mackerel.

‐I quote Dick Cheney, and make a comment about unreasonable prudence. I’ll explain what I mean in a second.

Speaking to troops in Iraq, he said, “You’ve heard some prominent voices advocating a sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq. Some have suggested that the war is not winnable and a few seem almost eager to conclude the struggle is already over. But they are wrong. The only way to lose this fight is to quit and that is not an option.”

Okay, that is very nice, vice-presidential speechmaking–even hard-hitting. But let me show you what I mean by “unreasonable prudence.” Cheney said, “Some have suggested that the war is not winnable.” No, they haven’t “suggested” that–they have outright said it. For example, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee has declared, “… the idea that we’re going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong.”

And the “Defeaticrats,” as Mark Steyn has labeled them, do not seem eager to conclude that the struggle is already over (in the terrorists’ favor)–they are eager to do so.

We all insert these hedges, and this politeness, in our writing (I know I do it, quite a bit)–but sometimes we slight the truth.

I have learned to watch this. Sometimes a spade is a spade, not a spade-like entity.

‐Received a T-shirt of Che, from a reader (I’ve received lots of them!). This one says “VIVE” (“He lives”) over the sacred image, and, underneath, “ASI DICEN LOS ATURDIDOS” (“So say the bewildered”).

Writes my reader, “No one has ever commented on this shirt, even in a city [Austin, Texas] that has a high proportion of Spanish speakers, and a high proportion of PC people.”

They’re too busy admiring the image!

(By the way, don’t forget the old saying about Austin, quoted by certain lefties there without irony: “Texas for people who hate Texas.”)

‐Received another T-shirt from another reader–this one a man who sells his shirt over the Internet, at EncourageDemocracy.com. The shirt is a handsome purple and white, and features a proud stained finger, Iraqi-style. Its slogan: “Encourage Democracy.”

Nice going.

‐I’m going to pass over Time magazine’s “Persons of the Year” to ask this question: When did Time go so heavily into opinion journalism? A few issues back, they had, “America’s 5 Best Governors” and “America’s 5 Worst Governors.” I have nothing against that–but wasn’t Time, at one time, essentially a news magazine? Naming best governors and worst governors is the job of opinion journalists.

I swear, what’s the fun of being an opinion journalist–as I am–when all the mainstreamers get to do the same thing?

‐You have heard me say it many times: One of the glories of “global warming,” from the Left point of view, is that it’s an all-purpose bogey. It’s responsible for everything–everything under the sun, climatologically. Global warming is fingered for heat (natch). It is fingered for cold. It is fingered for drought. It is fingered for flood. It is simply fingered.

It’s sort of like the Jew, traditionally, who was both the ultimate capitalist and the ultimate communist–whatever you needed him to be, depending on the circumstances.

Well, Mark Steyn published a nice quote, in a recent column on that U.N. conference in Montreal. Said Steven Guilbeault of Greenpeace, “Global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter, that’s what we’re dealing with.”

Oh, yeah.

And, by the way, I don’t believe for one minute that Bill Clinton–the leading global-warming alarmist in Montreal–believes in global warming, or gives a rip about it. It’s just that his crowd–the “international community”–is obsessed with global warming, and he feels the need to get out ahead of it. To lead his crowd. Global warming is a very big deal in Davos, and in all the other places he likes to haunt. And if he’s going to be secretary general of the U.N.–boy, he’s going to have to be Mr. Global Warming.

A cynic, Bill Clinton, in addition to the other things.

‐Care to spend some time with golf? I do–this is an amazing story. Tiger Woods was talking about last summer’s British Open, which he won. Before the final round, he was warming up on the range, and … Well, I’ll let Tiger tell it. I’ll quote an article from the AP:

“I hit the 100-yard sign four straight times,” Woods said in an interview last week. “That was the start of my warmup. I hit a couple of little wedges to loosen up, then hit to the sign. Peppered it four straight times in the air, on the right zero–not the middle zero, the right zero.”

His swing coach, Hank Haney, was standing behind him, and remarked to Woods’s caddie, “The first time he gets inside 100 yards, you might want to tell him to aim away from the flag.” That is, Woods would not want to hit the pin, deflecting his shot and giving him an unreasonably long putt (or even a chip).

Ha, ha, right?

Well, “first time I’m inside 100 yards is on No. 6″–that’s Tiger. “I had 98 yards to the hole. What happens? I one-hop it off the [pin] and it spins off the shelf.” His caddie then told him what Haney had said, on the practice range.

Absolutely dizzying, Tiger Woods–an endless source of amazement.

‐We have a new man in Havana, replacing the former U.S. mission chief, James Cason–who was magnificent, and magnificently brave. The new man is Michael Parmly, and he appears to be doing a good job, too. The other day–International Human Rights Day (whatever that is)–he hosted dissidents at his residence. He had some pointed things to say (i.e., some truthful things to say):

“The Cuban regime does not represent the people. It maintains itself by isolating Cubans from the rest of the world, keeping Cubans artificially poor and dependent on a state that demands unquestionable compliance, and instilling fear among those who question the regime’s lies.”

And I was struck by this, from the Reuters story:

Dr. Hilda Molina, who pioneered neurosurgery in Cuba, said: “In my opinion, not a single human right is respected in Cuba. We have a government that operates entirely by whim.”

Molina quit the ruling Communist Party a decade ago because she disagreed with preferential treatment given to foreigners by Cuba’s medical system to generate hard currency.

The Cuban government has denied Molina’s requests to travel to Argentina to visit her son and see two grandchildren she has never met.

“The public health system is caring for foreigners and discriminates against Cubans,” she said.

Whether anyone else has or not, National Review readers have long known this, I’m happy to say.

‐You won’t want to miss the latest column by Mary Anastasia O’Grady, of the Wall Street Journal–because you don’t want to miss any column by this remarkable journalist. Her latest is on “the Ladies in White,” Cuban relatives of political prisoners who shame the government merely by walking from church to a park, garbed in their color.

They have won an award from the European Parliament, which is one of the few positive things I have ever known about the European Parliament.

‐And I thought you would want to see a letter sent to Bud Selig, commissioner of baseball, by Cuban-American congressmen, plus a few of their allies (some not from Florida!):

Dear Mr. Selig,

In light of recent reports that Major League Baseball (MLB) has been denied a license by the U.S. Treasury Department for the Cuban dictatorship to send a team to participate in the upcoming World Baseball Classic (WBC), we urge you to allow a team of free Cuban and Cuban-American players to represent Cuba in the WBC.

Numerous players would be honored to represent Cuba in the WBC and have already expressed their support for this initiative. We sincerely hope that, as players organize and formalize this proposal, MLB will embrace a team of free Cuban and Cuban-American players to compete in the World Baseball Classic. A team of free players, competing in a tournament with teams representing free peoples, is the best way to celebrate America’s game on a world stage.

Cordially …

I doubt that will happen, but it’s a plucky ploy, typical of these congressmen, led by the Diaz-Balart brothers and the incandescently wonderful Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

‐Some music criticism, from the New York Sun? For a review of a recital by Richard Stoltzman, clarinet, and Emanuel Ax, piano, followed by a review of an all-Rachmaninoff evening presented by Dicapo Opera Theatre, please go here.

‐Finally, there are some jokes going around the Internet, purporting to be from a Palestinian comedian. And if this is true, that’s good news about liberalization–even inchoate liberalization–in the Middle East. A sampling:

“What do you say to a Muslim woman with two black eyes? Nothing! You told her twice already!”

“How many Palestinians does it take to change a light bulb? None! They sit in the dark forever and blame the Jews for it!”

“What do you call a first-time offender in Saudi Arabia? Lefty!”

“Why do Palestinians find it convenient to live on the West Bank? Because it’s just a stone’s throw from Israel!”

“What does the sign say above the nursery in a Palestinian maternity ward? ‘Live ammunition.’”

“Palestinian girl says to her mommy: ‘After Abdul blows himself up, can I have his room?’”

Etc.

Enjoy your Monday, dear hearts.

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