- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Hometown hero
"Before the Baltimore Sun turned into a branch of the Chicago Tribune and the Baltimore Orioles turned into a bush league ball team, Baltimoreans were a proud race of hometown chauvinists with many gods to adore. Among them were the enlightened capitalists Enoch Pratt and Johns Hopkins, Johnny Unitas, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and Edgar Allan Poe.
"Of all its human monuments, however, the two most cherished have long been Babe Ruth and Henry Louis Mencken. Babe Ruth was one of those rare American men of the people whose name resounded beyond the oceans. Baltimore took pride in having begot him.
"And yet its heart belonged to Mencken. This was probably because Mencken never left Baltimore. Babe Ruth went to New York and didn't come back. Mencken went to New York, too, but never let it turn his head. Mencken was a hometown booster as hard-core middle-class as any prairie Rotarian extolling the wonders of his native ground."
Russell Baker, writing on "Thus Spake Henry," in the Jan. 16 issue of the New York Review of Books-1f"FranklinGothicBT-RomanCondensed"
Star suspects
"Rock legend Peter Townshend, 57, was arrested by Scotland Yard detectives on charges of making, possessing and incitement to distribute 'indecent images of children.'
"The arrest stems from information provided by U.S. law enforcement officials who found that Townshend's name and credit card were entered four times in the database of a couple convicted in the largest child-pornography case in U.S. history, which became known as 'Candyman.' Townshend's information was included in a list of more than 7,200 British citizens who were in the database. British authorities have dubbed their investigation 'Operation Ore.'
"Until Townshend's arrest, 'Operation Ore' received scant mention by any media outside of Great Britain, where it has received huge, daily coverage because of the continued arrests of men of all ages and occupations.
"The suspects now number more than 1,300. They include a judge, doctors, a deputy school headmaster, the deputy director of a prison, a civil servant, two hospital consultants, a classics teacher at a public school, and police officers 50 of them eight of whom have been charged formally. They are 'ordinary and regular' people who are neighbors of ordinary and regular people who have children. Few of them or their children are likely to come in contact with a celebrity like Townshend.
"The media will continue to focus on Townshend, and the ordinary and regular folks will miss the bigger picture."
Janet LaRue, writing on "Rock Legend's Arrest is Tip of Child Porn Iceberg," in the Jan. 16 issue of the Culture and Family Report
Willing sacrifice
"I've never seen a rendering [of the life of Jesus] that equals this for reality. The versions I've seen either suffer from bad hair, inaccurate history, or not just being real. And somehow, because of that, I think I think you're distanced from them somehow. They're more like fairy tales. And this actually happened. It occurred. I'm exploring it this way, I think, to show the extent of the sacrifice willingly taken.
"But, when you look at the reasons behind why Christ came, why he was crucified, he died for all mankind and he suffered for all mankind, so that, really, anybody who transgresses has to look at their own part or look at their own culpability.
"It's time to sort of get back to a basic message, the message that was given. At this time, the world has gone nuts, I think. Christ spoke of faith, hope, love and forgiveness. And these are things I think we need to be reminded of again. He forgave as he was tortured and killed. And we could do with a little of that behavior."
Mel Gibson, interviewed about the movie "The Passion," which he is producing and directing, Jan. 14 on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor"



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