- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 16, 2001

Cool conservative

"Tucker Carlson the talking head in the bow tie may be the first star of the new Bush administration. He's a genuinely likable conservative. He's jocular. He's optimistic. He's cool, even. He hates Clinton, but he can riff in funny ways about Bill; Tucker isn't tainted by Republican rage. He's as much of a wisecracking, pour-the-beer sort as his fraternity brothers… . But he's also something of a reassuring goody-goody… .

"His preppy-good-guy-I-can-make-a-joke conservatism is obviously meant to complement Bush's… .

"Tucker is a programmer's high concept a conservative who does humor and affability instead of Bill Bennett disapproval or Ann Coulter rage. It's confidence rather than resentment."

Michael Wolff, writing on "Pundit's Progress," in the Jan. 15 issue of New York

MTV hypocrisy

"[On Thursday], MTV suspended regular programming to fight hate crime. For nearly 18 hours, the [rock music network], known for 'real life' programming, music news and occasional videos, broadcast nothing but stories about hate crime victims. This money-losing venture launches MTV's year-long campaign titled 'Fight For Your Rights: Take a Stand Against Discrimination.' …

"MTV [also broadcast a] movie about murdered college student Matthew Shepard, who was a homosexual.

"Is the 20-year-old network that made Madonna, gangsta rap and Eminem famous suddenly developing a conscience? …

"Beseiged with complaints from gay organizations … MTV cut back on Eminem programming. The hate-filled lyrics of this superstar rapper have made the Hollywood elite uncomfortable, even though the artist was nominated for several music awards… .

"My only question for MTV is: Aren't you being a little hypocritical? The idea of the network that peddles non-stop sex, violence and stupidity taking a moral stance on anything is somewhat laughable."

Chris Sicks, on "Has MTV Developed a Conscience?" posted Friday at www.crosswalk.com.

Nation of believers

"According to … a comparative study of beliefs and practices in 31 nations … a mere 3.2 percent of Americans will agree flatly that they 'don't believe in God' ….

"So who in her right mind would want to be an atheist in America today, a place … where Sen. Joseph Lieberman can declare we shouldn't deceive ourselves into thinking that our constitutional 'freedom of religion' means 'freedom from religion' … and for his atheism-baiting receive the lightest possible slap on the wrist from his more secularized Jewish counterparts? …

"I'm an atheist. I don't believe in God, gods, godlets, or any sort of higher power beyond the universe itself, which seems quite high and powerful enough to me… .

"I don't need pollsters … to tell me that I'm in the minority. I'm in the minority even among friends and family… . When I sent out a casual and nonscientific poll of my own to a wide case of acquaintances, friends and colleagues, I was surprised, but not really, to learn that maybe 60 percent claim a belief in God of some sort, including people I would have bet were unregenerate skeptics… .

" 'There remains a sense among a lot of Americans that someone who actively doesn't believe in God might not be morally reliable, or might not be fully trustworthy,' says James Turner, a professor of history and philosophy of science at Notre Dame."

Natalie Angier, writing on "Confessions of a Lonely Atheist," in Sunday's New York Times Magazine

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