Wednesday, 27 February 2008

R.I.P. WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY

Ken Berwitz

Politically William F. Buckley and I had areas of agreement and areas of disagreement. 

But I don't think it can be denied that, in his heyday (roughly, the 1960's through the 80's) he was this country's most famous conservative; the most read and listened to of them all.

In recent years, Mr. Buckley has not been in the public eye much.  But his most enduring legacy, National Review magazine, is still going strong and then some.

William F. Buckley died today, at the age of 82.  May he rest in peace.


PROOF THAT PIGS REALLY CAN FLY

Ken Berwitz

If this can be said in Iran, pigs really can fly.

Rare criticism in Iran of Ahmadinejad rhetoric on Israel

Hassan Rowhani, a former top nuclear negotiator who still holds several influential positions, said that Iran needed to show more flexibility and desire for dialogue in its dealings with the international community.

"Does foreign policy mean expressing coarse slogans and grandstanding?" Rowhani asked in a speech to a foreign policy conference in Tehran.

"This is not a foreign policy. We need to find an accommodating way to decrease the threats and assure the interests of the country."

His comments came a week after the latest verbal attack on Israel by Ahmadinejad, who described the Jewish state as a "dirty microbe" and "savage animal" in a speech to a public rally.

The president has already made calls for Israel to be wiped off the map and predicted it is doomed to disappear, provoking international uproar and sharpening tensions in Iran's nuclear standoff with the West.

Rowhani warned starkly: "If the international community thinks that a country wants to play troublemaker and eliminate others, it will not let the country do this and will confront it.

"We must act in such a way that the world understands that we are ready for more flexibility and more dialogue."

Rowhani headed the relatively moderate nuclear negotiating team that served under former president Mohammad Khatami before Ahmadinejad took power in 2005.

He still holds a string of important positions, including membership of the elite clerical body the Assembly of Experts, and is a representative of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Iran's supreme national security council.

Rowhani is considered a top lieutenant of Iran's pragmatic 1989-1997 president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was crushed by Ahmadinejad in the 2005 presidential elections.

Let's hope there are more flights of a similar nature real soon.


LOUIS FARRAKHAN: OBAMA'S EXPLANATION

Ken Berwitz

Did you catch Barack Obam's explanation of Louis Farrakhan during yesterday's debate?  I was particularly impressed with his answer - what he said and what he did not say:

-What Mr. Obama said was great.  He denounces farrakhan and the repulsive, anti-Semitic vomit that has come out of him all these years.  Exactly the right words.  He could not have been more direct and forthcoming.

-What Mr. Obama did not say, however, is why he belongs to the Trinity United Church of Christ.  TUCC reveres farrakhan.  Its pastor, Jeremiah Wright calls farrakhan a man of greatness.  Its church magazine named farrakhan its most recent man of the year.

Suppose, for the sake of comparison, that Hillary Clinton belonged to a church that reveres david duke. Suppose its pastor called him a man of greatness.  Suppose its magazine named duke its most recent man of the year.

Now suppose that Ms. Clinton joined that church 20 years ago and has never left it.  Suppose she called its pastor her "spiritual mentor". 

Would you accept a statement about what a bad guy duke is from Ms. Clinton without challenging her continuing membership?  Would you be demanding that she explain why that church and its love affair with duke was ok with her until she was running for president?

Well, that is PRECISELY Mr. Obama's situation with Trinity United Church of Christ.  He joined TUCC 20 years ago and only now is he publicly decrying farrakhan (still not a bad word about the pastor or the church's love affair with him). 

So you'll pardon me if I listen to Barack Obama's direct, specific denunciation of farrakhan with a grain of salt.  Make that a shakerful.

I think Mr. Obama is playing us.  Personally, I won't be played.  Will you?

Sherry Clark AMEN to that!!! (03/14/08)


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