- The Washington Times - Monday, April 2, 2001

More power

"Perhaps Kate Michelman wants to help us understand what a post-campaign-finance-reform world will be like. On the day the McCain-Feingold bill cleared a major hurdle in the Senate, Michelman, head of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, announced that her organization will 'invest' $40 million to 'elect a pro-choice president' and 'restore pro-choice leadership in Congress.' …

"To kick off the effort, NARAL ran ads in hundreds of newspapers across the country and opened up a new Web site, Fight4Choice.com… .

"But the 'Fight4Choice' campaign is perhaps more notable because it is a preview of what will be seen more and more often, and in bigger and bigger form, if the McCain-Feingold bill in the present form becomes law. If the money now flowing into politics is channeled away from the political parties, interest groups like NARAL or People for the American Way, or the NRA, or the Christian Coalition will likely collect even more cash from supporters who in the past lavished money on the parties. Which means that rich and powerful groups will become even more rich and powerful."

Byron York, writing on "The Shape of Things to Come" in National Review on line at www.nationalreview.com

Book of the dead?

"In search of some Lenten devotional reading, my friend Bill Haley wandered into his local Christian store. 'Do you have Henri Nouwen's "Show Me the Way"?' he asked, referring to the late Catholic writer's collection of Lenten meditations. 'Oh no, dear,' said the clerk at the cash register. 'He's dead. We don't carry books by dead authors.' …

"A policy against dead authors is reasonable enough. Dead people are unable to carry out what has become the most important responsibility of a contemporary author to embark on the book tour, a whirlwind of personal appearances, radio interviews and conferences, all designed to win readers and build the author's 'brand.' … The only way to survive aside from the freak occasions when an author's 'brand' manages to eke out an existence like an exotic species on some isolated archipelago is to convince the Christian shopper that this is more than a book; it is a lifestyle enhancement… .

"The owners of Christian stores understand a little-appreciated fact: Life in the American middle class is hard. Like the princess on the pea, we've been tossing and turning all night, trying to get comfortable. We are busy, we are stressed out and we are feeling old. When we walk into our neighborhood Christian store, we are looking for some chicken soup for our soul… . In this haven from the heartless world, a dead author especially a recent dead author is indeed an embarrassment. He reminds us of our own mortality, and he refuses to court us with eager declarations of his relevance to our needs."

Andy Crouch in "Dead Authors Society" in the April 2 Christianity Today

Original intent?

"The presidential pardon of Marc Rich, the Belgian-born, naturalized American billionaire financier and fugitive who has renounced his U.S. citizenship and fled to Switzerland to avoid multimillion-dollar tax liability, evoked incredulous responses from many… .

"Rich had been involved in what NBC News called 'a complex oil scam exploiting America's energy crisis in the early '80s from which he made a profit of $100 million. And while 52 Americans were held hostage, Rich's company allegedly made a killing trading with Iran, in violation of the U.S. embargo. Then he allegedly failed to pay any taxes on the profits.

"Rich … on the FBI's Most Wanted list, was still pardoned by President Clinton… .

"Could this have been what the Framers had in mind?"

Stephen B. Presser, writing in "Cultural Revolutions," in the April issue of Chronicles

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