- The Washington Times - Monday, March 15, 2004

Welfare cheese

“Whatever eventually happens to [former Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Officer Michael] Eisner, one thing is assured: He has helped Disney achieve a place as one of its biggest beneficiaries in the annals of corporate welfare. …

“Few have panhandled for taxpayer dollars as successfully as Disney during Eisner’s reign. It has received at least $4.5 billion in subsidies, low-interest loans, land grants and ‘joint venture’ investments from governments in Florida, Pennsylvania and Hong Kong. …

“Disney doesn’t exactly need the welfare cheese. Last year, it generated $27 billion in revenues. …

“Now, with Eisner’s future in question, Disney may end up losing its key tool in getting more taxpayer dollars. But it’ll probably be OK in that department. Besides its name and its own group of lobbyists, it also has its new chairman, George Mitchell, to step in and help bring in more subsidies. After all, if the former Senate Majority Leader can bring peace to Northern Ireland, he can probably get Mickey more cheese.”

RiShawn Biddle, writing on “Welfare Mouse,” Wednesday in Reason Online at www.reason.com

Thinly veiled ‘assault’

“‘The Passion of the Christ’ has been the target of an extraordinary campaign of attempted prior censorship on the part of Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). …

“More than any other film I’ve seen of Jesus’ life, ‘The Passion’ goes out of its way to establish the Jewishness of Christ, His mother, and His apostles — from costumes to casting. …

“In fact, to the fair-minded viewer, Foxman’s attack upon the film will seem like a thinly veiled assault on the Gospels themselves. And this is supposed to be good for the Jews? …

“[The ADL] provides on its Web site a comprehensive guide for members on how to purge holiday celebrations in public schools and civic spaces of any reference to Jesus, the Nativity, or Christmas.

“Perhaps it’s time to turn the tables on Foxman, who freely attributes to his opponents the darkest of motivations, and demand of him: How much of our faith do you demand that we renounce? How far do you intend to go?”

John Zmirak, writing on “The Christ — The Controversy,” in yesterday’s issue of the American Conservative

Republican ‘swine’

“[T]ales of life in his fictional Minnesota hometown, Lake Wobegon, have provided a soothingly wry view of life in small-town America. … [Garrison] Keillor has also built himself a reputation as a consistently astringent critic of the Right.

“[Keillor says:] ‘Republicans might be heathens and out to destroy all that we hold dear, but that doesn’t mean we need to take them seriously. Or be bitter or vituperative just because they are swine. I think one can still have friends who are Republicans.’ …

“[His] family were Plymouth Brethren and Keillor was the third of six children. Although he left the sect as a young man, he says he has ‘no choice but to accept that it was a very happy upbringing. I did grow up among fundamentalist people whose theology was very stark and absolute. But to their own children and relatives they were nothing but kind and generous. … When outsiders look at this upbringing they look at the long list of prohibitions. But none of that bothers you as a child. You never went to movies or dances and so it seemed a perfectly reasonable way to grow up.’”

Nicholas Wroe, writing on “Minnesota Zen master,” March 6 in the Manchester (England) Guardian

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