- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Ancient wisdom

“As for the remarks [Mel] Gibson made while intoxicated, ancient Jewish wisdom informs us that one way we can know what a person is really like is by how he behaves when he is drunk. From this, we can safely assume that Mel Gibson doesn’t think much of Jews. …

“If Gibson never makes another film, he will still be able to buy gas for his Lexus. He is not a politician trying to win an election after an imprudent remark, like Georgia state Rep. Billy McKinney, who blamed ‘J-E-W-S’ after his daughter, U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney, was defeated in a congressional primary in 2002.

“By the way, there was virtually no Jewish criticism of that remark for which there was little apology and which was not made while Billy was drunk. More cynical observers than I suggest it might have something to do with the McKinneys being Democrats. …

“Film maker and Democratic propagandist Michael Moore has made the most preposterous statements about Israel for which he has never apologized and for which the Jewish community has never criticized him. … Yet, Gibson publicly apologized and the Jewish response was so beyond ungracious that one must ask what exactly would Gibson have had to do or say in order to win Jewish absolution? … Furthermore one would have to ask why would any rampant bigot even bother to do this? … I haven’t heard any apologies from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”

—Rabbi Daniel Lapin, writing on “Mel Gibson and Me,” Aug. 1 in Toward Tradition at www.towardtradition.org

Seat belt nannies

“If you think those ‘Click It or Ticket’ seat belt enforcement drives are all about your safety, give it another think. State and local law enforcement agencies have a huge financial incentive to dole out as many tickets as they possibly can — in order to qualify for the federal grant boodle dangled before their noses like a savory pork chop in front of a hungry blue tick hound.

“The more tickets they write, the more money they get — and each year, the prize gets fatter. Successful departments (those that crank out the most tickets) qualify for ever-larger handouts of taxpayer dollars — in order more thoroughly to fleece those very same taxpayers via trumped-up traffic charges that have grow ever more penny-ante as the years roll on. Literally millions of dollars are being spent … to use law enforcement as 9 millimeter-packing nannies ensuring we’re ‘buckled-up for safety.’”

—Eric Peters, writing on “Seat Belt Lashes,” Monday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

Military regime

“Fidel Castro has never taken off his uniform (except for the tailored suits he dons for appearances at international conferences) since the day he took power. … Cuba has been a garrison state run by a military caudillo for most of the past half-century. More than anything, the maximum leader always based his legitimacy on his status as commander in chief. The dynastic succession of his brother only formalizes the situation. As was once said of Prussia, Cuba is not a country that has an army but an army that has a country.

“Nor does this army confine itself to the stern questions of political and military power. Under the stewardship of Raul Castro, it has extended itself to become a large stakeholder in the few areas of the Cuban economy that actually make money. A military holding company known as ‘La Gaviota’ oversees perhaps as much as 60 percent of Cuban tourist revenues.”

—Christopher Hitchens, writing on “The 18th Brumaire of the Castro Dynasty,” Monday in Slate at www.slate.com

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