- The Washington Times - Friday, September 6, 2002

Quitter Cuomo

"[Republican Gov.] George Pataki knocked out Mario Cuomo eight years ago. Andrew's plan was to avenge his dad and restore the family dynasty.

"But first, there was the little matter of the Democratic primary race, which Cuomo abandoned on Sept. 3. What went wrong? Part of the problem was the essential preposterousness of the son of Mario Cuomo, a Cabinet secretary to Bill Clinton and husband of Kerry Kennedy, trying to position himself as an 'outsider' in a Democratic primary.

"But in a funny way, Andrew Cuomo really was the outsider in the race. Cuomo's opponent was New York state Comptroller Carl McCall, 66, an agreeable but uninspiring veteran of state politics. McCall should have been vulnerable to an aggressive idea-driven politician 20 years his junior. But McCall has a political base in New York state and Cuomo had none.

"Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton backed McCall without endorsing him. On Monday, she marched with McCall in the West Indian American Day Parade, giving him a 'photo-op to die for.' Last week, Clinton and Cuomo happened to be attending the New York State Fair in Syracuse at the same time, and she made sure their paths did not cross for a photo op.

"It was a bit pathetic to see someone so connected unable to win any significant endorsements."

Brian Lehrer, writing on "Raggedy Andy," Wednesday in Slate at www.slate.com

Just the facts

"Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary (generally found around Page A-12 of the [New York] Times), Americans have been cowed into perseverating that Islam is a 'religion of peace.' Candid conversations about Islam are beyond the pale.

"In a fascinating book written by two Arab Muslims who converted to Christianity, Ergun Mehmet Caner and Emir Fethi Caner give an eye-opening account of Islam's prophet in 'Unveiling Islam: An Insider's Look at Muslim Life and Beliefs.'

"Citing passages from the Hadith, the collected sayings of Muhammad, the Caners note that, by his own account, the founder of Islam was often possessed by Satan. The phrase 'Satanic Verses' refers to words that Muhammad first claimed had come from God, but which he later concluded were spoken by Satan.

"Muhammad married 11 women, kept two others as concubines and recommended wife-beating (but only as a last resort!). His third wife was 6 years old when he married her and 9 when he consummated the marriage.

"To say that Muhammad was a demon-possessed pedophile is not an attack. It's a fact."

Ann Coulter, writing on "Murder for Fun and Prophet," Thursday in Front Page at www.front-pagemag.com

Ruins of Havana

"Fidel Castro is no 18th-century English gentleman, and Havana is not his private estate, for use as a personal memento mori. The ruins of Havana that he has brought into being are, in fact, the habitation of over 1 million people, whose collective will, these ruins attest, is not equal in power to the will of one man.

"Havana has changed a little since I was last there, a dozen years ago. The vast Soviet subsidy has vanished; the economy now depends on European tourism.

"The terrible damage that Castro has done will long outlive him and his regime. Untold billions of capital will be needed to restore Havana; legal problems about ownership and rights of residence will be costly, bitter, and interminable; and the need to balance commercial, social, and aesthetic considerations in the reconstruction of Cuba will require the highest regulatory wisdom. In the meantime, Havana stands as a dreadful warning to the world if one were any longer needed against the dangers of monomaniacs who believe themselves to be in possession of a theory that explains everything, including the future."

Theodore Dalrymple, writing on "Why Havana Had to Die," in the summer issue of City Journal

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