- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 10, 2006

No fading star

“To read some reporting on the film industry over the past six months, you’d think the sky was falling — and the ‘H’ on the ‘Hollywood’ sign was about to fall off and crash down onto Mulholland Drive. It is true that this year has presented challenges for movie makers, but to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the death of our industry have been greatly exaggerated. …

“The opening weekend of ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ was the biggest debut ever for the comparable weekend and the second highest December opening of all time. ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ was the 20th film to cross the $700 million mark in world-wide box office. The Johnny Cash biopic ‘Walk the Line’ has grossed $82 million domestically — outstripping last year’s biopic masterpiece ‘Ray.’ And the numbers for ‘King Kong’ and ‘Narnia’ kept climbing as they were discovered by families on holiday vacations.”

Dan Glickman, writing on “No, This Story Has a Happy Ending,” Jan. 3 in the Wall Street Journal

Anti-dog jihad

“There are few areas where multicultural reality is more at odds with its supporters’ sentimentalized view than the treatment of animals. …

“We love our furry friends and regard our pets as part of the family. Last year, there were many reports from Hurricane Katrina of persons who didn’t want to abandon their pets and so didn’t evacuate because animals weren’t accommodated in shelters. When Hurricane Wilma was approaching Florida, Governor Jeb Bush made a point of announcing that shelters would be equipped to handle pets so that more people would utilize shelters and be safe. …

“But in many non-western cultures, animals endure brutality that Americans can hardly imagine. Animals are despised. Gratuitous cruelty is the norm.

“In the Islamic world, dogs are considered unclean. Their ownership is sometimes regarded as a western corruption. Iranian hardliners have even campaigned for the arrest of dog owners. In fact, the cleric Gholamreza Hassani called dog ownership a ‘moral depravity.’ ”

Brenda Walker, writing on “Diversity Is Strength. It’s Also Cruelty To Animals,” Wednesday at www.vdare.com

Gambling man

“The usual good government types will point to the Abramoff scandal as yet another reason we need tougher campaign finance laws and more stringent ethics rules in Washington. Maybe they’re right. But there’s a deeper kind of corruption here. …

“Jack Abramoff was a lobbyist for Indian gambling. Over the years Abramoff and his now-indicted partner took more than $80 million from a half a dozen tribes in return for their efforts to keep Indian gambling revenues tax free.

“Step back and think about this for a second. Indian tribes get a special pass from the federal government to run a high-margin monopoly simply because they are Indian tribes, which is to say, simply because of their ethnicity. This is the worst, least fair form of affirmative action, and it should be anathema to conservatives. Conservatives are supposed to support the idea of a meritocracy, a country where hard work, not heredity, is the key to success and everyone is equal before the law. Conservatives should despise Indian gambling on principle.

“And some still do. But others got rich from it, and now they’re likely headed to jail.”

Tucker Carlson, writing on “What really smells about Abramoff scandal,” Wednesday at msnbc.com

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