- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 8, 2007

The Plains truth

“Shalom” may not be forthcoming down in Georgia: Former President Jimmy Carter has lashed out at the Simon Wiesenthal Center for compiling a 25,000-signature petition against his new book about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“I don’t believe Simon Wiesenthal would have resorted to falsehood and slander to raise funds,” Mr. Carter said in a handwritten letter to Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Jewish human rights center named for the late Holocaust survivor and Nazi hunter.

The rabbi lashed back.

“I believe that Simon Wiesenthal would have been as outraged by your book, ‘Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,’ as I was,” he wrote Friday. “It is incredible to me that, after your historic achievement of brokering peace between Israel and Egypt, you could write such a book.”

Critics say the book is inaccurate and presents Mr. Carter’s distorted take on history.

“He could be the director of public relations for the Palestinian cause,” Mr. Hier told Fox News yesterday. “The book was a litany of complaints blaming Israel for everything. … He has come down 100 percent on the Palestinian side.”

During a Jan. 23 appearance at Brandeis University, Mr. Carter defended himself, saying, “This is the first time that I’ve ever been called a liar and a bigot and an anti-Semite and a coward and a plagiarist.”

Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz, meanwhile, is upset about the $95,000 security bill for the appearance, the Boston Herald reported.

Blog bog

“The right-wing blogosphere has gotten its scalps — John Edwards has fired the two controversial bloggers he recently hired to do liberal blogger outreach,” Salon noted yesterday.

“The bloggers, Amanda Marcotte, formerly of Pandagon, and Melissa McEwan, of Shakespeare’s Sister, had come under fire from right-wing bloggers for statements they had previously made on their respective blogs. A statement by the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue, which called Marcotte and McEwan ‘anti-Catholic vulgar trash-talking bigots,’ and an accompanying article on the controversy in the New York Times [yesterday], put extra pressure on the campaign. …

“This isn’t the first Internet-related misstep for the Edwards campaign, which had been making an effort to reach out to the ‘netroots’ but has found its popularity dropping in a straw poll done on the landmark liberal blog Daily Kos.”

Miss Marcotte at one point wrote that the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to contraception forced women “to bear more tithing Catholics” and made blasphemous comments about the Virgin Mary. Of the three Duke University lacrosse players accused of sexual assault, she sarcastically observed, “Can’t a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair.”

Miss McEwan, meanwhile, chastised President Bush’s “wingnut Christofascist base” and demanded that religious conservatives “stop meddling with women’s reproductive and sexual rights.”

The Times observed, “Other campaigns are likely to face similar controversies as they try to court voters using the latest techniques of online communication.”

Article of faith

Administrators at Mercy High School, a Catholic school in Michigan, have canceled an appearance Monday by pro-life author Dan Flynn, who was to address the student Pro-Life Club on Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, according to Young America’s Foundation (YAF).

Principal Carolyn Witte told YAF that the lecture was unsuitable for “sensitive” students and could be misunderstood.

“The principal didn’t mention how information exposing Sanger’s nefarious programs to sterilize large segments of the blacks, Italians, and Jews — whom Sanger referred to as ‘human weeds’ — could be ‘misunderstood,’ particularly by a pro-life club sanctioned by a Catholic school,” YAF noted. “Mr. Flynn’s speech is taken from his book, ‘Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall For Stupid Ideas’, which is backed by 985 footnotes.”

YAF also pointed out that although the school was censoring a topic related to abortion, it previously brought in speakers to talk about chastity and sexual abuse.

“Principal Witte admits to never hearing Mr. Flynn talk, then cancels his appearance because of his message? What sense does that make? We’re high school students, not first-graders. I think we can handle a controversial topic. History is replete with unpleasant facts, including slavery, racism and Native American genocide, but that doesn’t mean we should be sheltered from learning the past,” said Pro-Life Club member Kathryn Stickley.

Err America

The bankrupt, liberal radio network Air America will be sold to Stephen Green, the founder of a New York real estate firm, for the rock-bottom price of $4.25 million, the Smoking Gun reported yesterday.

Main talker Al Franken,who is planning to run next year for a U.S. Senate seat from Minnesota, will do his final show on Valentine’s Day.

Put it in a park

President Bush and first lady Laura Bush flew aboard Marine One to the snowcapped Blue Ridge Mountains yesterday to promote a new initiative that could bring $3 billion in public and private funds to the national parks system in the next decade.

“I hope the citizens groups who are concerned about the parks beat a hasty trail to the Congress and remind the Congress about what we have done, and what we need to do as good stewards of the parks,” Mr. Bush said.

His 2008 budget would give the National Park Service its largest-ever funding increase — $2.4 billion — a boost that could add 3,000 new seasonal employees and increase park maintenance. Mr. Bush also called for $100 million in federal money to match citizens’ contributions — a move critics said “reflects a troubling reliance on private funds to pay for park operations,” according to the Associated Press.

Attention FCC

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has “lurched even further off the deep end,” said Rich Noyes of the Media Research Center who chronicled Mr. Matthews’ appearance yesterday on “Imus in the Morning.”

“After praising the ‘great job’ Rudy Giuliani did in cleaning up New York City, the MSNBC star, who appeared by phone, went on a rant declaring how he’s ‘sick of Southern guys with ranches running this country.’ Losing control, Matthews dropped the F-bomb on national television: ‘I want a guy to run for president who doesn’t have a [expletive] I’m sorry, a ranch.’ As host Don Imus began to snicker, Matthews plowed ahead with his Democratic talking points: ‘Wouldn’t that be good, Don, a guy who wasn’t on the ranch during Katrina, he was on the street corner answering questions?’

“Executive producer Bernard McGuirk suggested Matthews was the sort who would ‘put on a diaper and drive 900 miles to abduct Dick Cheney or somebody,’ and someone else offered that ‘he’s crazy.’ ”

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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