- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 15, 2001

'In sheep's clothing'

"After years of pushing most every government program imaginable, the Rev. Jesse Jackson has discovered a downside to accepting money from Uncle Sam. Jackson two Sundays ago expressed concern that President Bush's faith-based initiative could compromise the integrity of black churches.

" 'I am for faith-based programs, after-school programs, senior citizens program, transportation ministries. But I fear federally funded faith-based initiatives,' Jackson declared in a fiery address to parishioners at the Ebenezer AME Church in Fort Washington, Maryland. 'Don't let them get into your books, because they are wolves in sheep's clothing. Money is seductive; the church needs money, but it needs independence even more.'

"Ah, the government-fostered 'culture of dependency.' Isn't that just what conservatives decry and Jackson implicitly accepts when the issue is welfare payments or food stamps? Once upon a time, Jackson had no compunction about accepting government money. In the 1970s, his supposed educational organization for minorities received millions of dollars from at least three different federal departments."

Evan Gahr, writing on "Operation PUSH Back," Feb. 9 in the American Spectator Online at www.tas.org

'Big box of lies'

"Many Americans are no doubt disturbed by the new Kaiser study showing that three-quarters of prime-time television shows include some type of sexual content… .

"The alarm is understandable, especially among parents. Their sons watch sex on television, go to school and make eyes at the girls, and get sent up on harassment charges. The girls see flat-bellied guys on television, go to school and notice there are far more chunks than hunks, and also suffer profound disillusionment.

"In the long run, however, this is a positive development. The sooner the children figure out that television is one big box of lies, the better off they'll be. The only real danger is that television will eventually make sex boring."

Dave Shiflett, writing on "The Joy of Sex Scribbling," posted Monday on National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Oscar battle

"It's a motley bunch that will be flashing smiles on the red carpet come the 73rd Academy Awards ceremony on March 25.

"Among them: a drug trafficker, a Roman gladiator, a French chocolate maker, a working-class crusader in stiletto heels, and demure Chinese women who double as kung fu warriors by night.

"But colorful characters aside, this year's Oscar nominees haven't bucked the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences' penchant for placing more importance on the commercial success of a picture than whether it made a critic's top 10 list.

"This is exemplified by the 12 nominations for box-office bonanza 'Gladiator,' which leads the pack with 12 nominations, including Best Picture. The Hong Kong adventure 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' follows close behind with an unexpected 10 nods. 'Chocolat,' 'Erin Brockovich,' and 'Traffic' round out the Best Picture list, with five nominations apiece.

"It's the surprise nomination for 'Chocolat' that will likely have all of Hollywood talking. Or seething. 'It's a Hershey masquerading as a Godiva,' carped one critic… .

"Miramax ordered a marketing blitz [for 'Chocolat'] in national newspapers and industry trade papers like Variety, touting the film's worthiness for a golden statuette in the hopes that it would influence the Academy… .

"But Miramax's marketing blitzes of recent years may have helped 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.' It was Miramax that successfully lobbied for the inclusion of Italy's 'Life is Beautiful' in the Best Picture list in 1998, breaking the traditional divide between Best Foreign Picture and Best Picture."

Stephen Humphries, writing on "Oscar war: kung fu vs. the Colosseum," in Tuesday's Christian Science Monitor

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