- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Sick system

“Michael Moore, the American film director, who has recently been praising the [Cuban health care] system should take note of the real-life stories beneath the statistics. I went into a couple of hospitals for locals on my latest visit. … I was appalled by the hygiene and amazed at the antiquity of the building and some of the equipment. I was told that the vast majority of Cuban hospitals, apart from two in Havana, were built before the revolution. …

“There are plenty of visitors to Cuba from rich countries … who believe they have encountered a true alternative to capitalist democracy. Why? Perhaps it is a way of keeping alive the idea of some ideal society, without having to experience the disadvantages oneself. It may also be a facet of a general dislike of the U.S., or a way of expressing unease with capitalist excesses.

“But it is also, in all probability, related to a nostalgia for the political certainties and the handsome design of the 1950s and before: the cars, the bars and the glamour. It is not for nothing that Cuba sells itself with the music of the pre-revolutionary period. If North Korea had charm and salsa and innuendo and beaches, perhaps a lot of politically naive people would be advocating its merits, too.”

— Bella Thomas, writing on “A Cuban death rehearsal,” in the June issue of the British magazine Prospect

‘Jesus Freaks’

“The Jesus Freaks, or Jesus People, emerged out of the hippie scene in the late ‘60s, mixing countercultural style and communalism with evangelical orthodoxy. As the hippie phenomenon faded in the ‘70s, many veterans of the Jesus Movement made their way into the larger, socially conservative evangelical revival. …

“As liberal dominance was shaken by successive blows of social and economic turmoil in the 1960s and ‘70s, a New Right energized by the evangelical counter-counterculture seized the opening and established conservatism as the country’s most popular political creed by the ‘80s. Yet the conservative triumph was steeped in irony.

“Capitalism’s vigor was restored, and the radical assault on middle-class values was repulsed. But contrary to the hopes of the New Right’s traditionalist partisans, shoring up the institutions of mass affluence did not, and could not, bring back the old cultural certainties.”

— Brink Lindsey, writing on “The Aquarians and the Evangelicals” in the July issue of Reason

Joe’s courage

“In 1990, former Sen. Lowell Weicker avoided a daunting Republican primary showdown with then-Rep. John Rowland by running as an independent candidate for Connecticut governor. Upon winning a narrow plurality over Rowland in the general election, Weicker quickly reneged on his explicit campaign promise to oppose a state tax on earned income.

“Roughly a year later … Gov. Weicker was presented with the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. The presenter was none other than Ted Kennedy.

“Last year, far from skirting a primary showdown, Sen. Joe Lieberman willingly subjected himself to the highly personalized vitriol and barely disguised anti-Semitism of his Democratic challenger’s most vocal Web-based supporters. Having attempted in vain to stem the tide of a partisan purge, Lieberman then followed in Weicker’s footsteps by running and winning as an independent. …

“Last year, the Profile in Courage Award Committee conferred the prize upon Rep. John Murtha.”

— Charles G. Kels, writing on “Joe Versus the Volcano,” Monday in the American Spectator Online at www. spectator.org

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