- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 26, 2006

Risky Congress

“Most parents feel a twinge of anxiety at the thought of leaving their teenagers unsupervised for any length of time. It’s not that the kids are bad; it’s just that, set free from parental oversight, the urge to run wild can prove irresistible. The 1983 Tom Cruise hit ‘Risky Business’ provided a worst-case template for how quickly things can spiral out of control: One minute, your super-responsible son is lip-syncing Bob Seger tunes in his underpants. The next, he has wrecked your Porsche, turned your home into a brothel and gotten all your furniture stolen by Guido the Killer Pimp.

“For House Republicans, the breakdown in discipline that followed scandal-plagued Tom ‘The Hammer’ DeLay’s resignation as majority leader last year was like ‘Risky Business’ for the Beltway set — the legislative equivalent of the caucus stripping down to its skivvies and bebopping through the halls of the Rayburn House Office Building.”

— Michelle Cottle, writing “Daddy Dearest,” from the Oct. 30 issue of the New Republic

Publicly apart

“Western democracies pride themselves on religious freedom and on the separation of religion and state. From this point of view, we are upholding our own most cherished values by allowing diverse expressions of faith. However, this may also prove to be our downfall. The veil in Muslim lands is imposed upon women whose religious training and opportunities for scholarship and ritual authority is practically nonexistent. The veil is no more freely chosen than is their religion, which neither women nor men are allowed to leave without risking exile or death. …

“However, when Muslim women in Western countries wear the veil it has some additional connotations. Veiling is a visible, public, symbolic and very aggressive statement about refusing to assimilate. … It is a way of remaining apart, different. …

“If we allow our Western views about tolerance to force us to tolerate the intolerant; if we allow human-rights violations to flourish as expressions of religious liberty — then we are lost.”

— Phyllis Chesler, writing on “An Unveiling,” Wednesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Whither Clint?

“Some men (and women) whom the gods would destroy, they first raise high for all to see. These men (and women) have been so successful, have amassed such wealth and have acquired so many playthings … that they yearn for things that wealth cannot buy. These are men (and women) like George Soros, Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg. Besotted with their wealth they forget that they are ordinary men (and women) with small gifts for entertaining or trading in markets. The gods first enchant them with dreams of changing the world and then cast them into the outer space of narcissistic illusion, where they are doomed to watch their own inner movies forever.

“One fears that Clint Eastwood is heading in that direction. …

“Now he wants to teach us something important, to tell us what is right and what is wrong about the world. In his new movie, ‘Flags of Our Fathers,’ based on the best seller by James Bradley published in 2000, he wants to teach us how we should feel about the tragedy of war and about heroism, together with a little bit about our soulless, lying, cynical government.”

— Yale Kramer, writing on “The View From Mt. Suribachi,” Wednesday in the American Spectator at www.spectator.org

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