- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Muppet comeback
"It is not now nor has it ever been easy being green. For evidence, look no further than Kermit the Frog, who trudges through the opening of his new TV movie, 'It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas' looking every minute of his 47 years. He's frustrated and emotional and not just from the pressure of working on an estimated $10 million production with Whoopi Goldberg, William H. Macy, Kelly Ripa, and Molly Shannon.
"The venerable (and still profitable) Muppets franchise has languished in a creative lull since the Jim Henson Co. was sold in 2000 to German entertainment megalith EM.TV for a reported $680 million. Now the Henson Co. is staging an all-out comeback campaign. In addition to the [Christmas movie], Kermit and the gang are featured in a recent MasterCard commercial, NASCAR endorsements, a new line of toys pegged to 'The Muppet Show's 25th anniversary, and even the video for [rock band] Weezer's latest single, 'Keep Fishin'.' Says Charles Rivkin, president and CEO of Henson, 'We've had more activity with the Muppet franchise in the last six months than we've probably had in the last five years.'"
Scott Brown, writing on "Greener Pastures," in the Nov. 22 issue of Entertainment Weekly

Trashy excitement
"Listen, after the Clinton administration, World War III would be boring. I started in politics with Kennedys, and those were excruciatingly exciting days because the Kennedys were so glamorous. Then it was a vast wasteland for years and years and years and years. And then came the Clintons. We had a different kind of excitement with the Clintons. It was trailer trash excitement. Every day there was something outrageous.
"[In 1998] I had half the media world waiting in the lobby of my apartment building. The story had broken that President Clinton had a girlfriend and that there was an agent in New York City who had explicit tapes of conversations with the girlfriend. I had to decide whether I was going to curl up in a ball, face that thundering herd, or send a spokenoid down to deal with it. And I thought, look, I'm telling the truth. I have nothing to hide. This won't be comfortable, but it won't be the most painful thing in the world. I'm going to walk down there and tell them what I know. So I was out there by myself thank God, with a wonderful supportive family and friends around me that cushioned some of it but it was brutal. But if you know you're telling the truth, you're going to be okay."
Lucianne Goldberg, interviewed by Charlotte Hays, in the autumn issue of the Women's Quarterly

Immigrant myth
"'We are a nation of immigrants.' It is every American politician's incantation, usually prefatory to some shibboleth lauding 'strength in our diversity.'
"American schoolchildren are taught that the Statue of Liberty is a monumentto immigration and that e pluribus unum on our currency celebrates the melting pot.
"As for the Statue of Liberty, it is a gift from France to honor the centennial of American independence. EmmaLazarus' 'Give me your tired ' a cri-de-coeur against Russian pogroms is a later add-on. E pluribus unum explicitly commemorates the union of 13 British colonies into one nation. The statue and the motto do not celebrate immigration; they salute the achievement of the settlers who found those colonies and, in time, won independence from their Mother Country. It was the settlers' nation, not empty wilderness, that later gave immigrants a new home.
"In short, the ['nation of immigrants] creed has become a weapon for those who would dissolve America and replace it with something else. Those who would conserve this country need to know enough history to refute it."
Howard Sutherland, writing on "The 'Nation of Immigrants' Myth," in the Nov. 18 issue of the American Conservative


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