I usually don't do Friday morning posts, today was one of those exceptions occasioned by the death of Ted Kennedy. As a result this roundup will be shorter than usual.
But I'm not the only one remembering Mary Jo Kopechne today. The Atlantic has a short piece titled, The View From Chappaquiddick;
Next to the bridge, the flag was at half-staff outside the shack run by the Trustees of Reservations: I mentioned the oddness of the half-staff flag to one of the wizened volunteers at the bridge, and he said, "It's for Mary Jo, I guess." That seemed about right.
What also seems about right is Marc Ambinder's analysis of Kennedy's path to redemption, which he calls a specifically Jewish kind of redemption, redemption through deeds. This is not to say that Kennedy was right about everything, not by a long shot, but that he spent the 40 years after the incident on Chappaquiddick trying to save his soul, and did so quite effectively.
The two paragraphs are of course a contradiction in terms. And I'll also thank Ambinder not to credit Ted Kennedy with some kind of Jewish redemption, as if taking an easy paycheck in a job he couldn't be shoved out of, was somehow redeeming.
It's also interesting that so many respond to after-death criticisms by warning that only G-d can judge, to then somehow place themselves in a godlike position by proclaiming that Ted Kennedy did save his soul. A statement that only a higher power can make, not an Atlantic blogger. It's the same cynical game that was on the one hand used to proclaim Bob Novak, as a child of light, and on the other to condemn any critics by warning that only God can judge him. Of you course you can't have it both ways.
The Atlantic piece carries the same uncomfortable ambiguity, that the widely circulated Huffington Post piece that suggested that Mary Jo would be okay with dying in a car for two hours, to enable Ted Kennedy's legacy.
We don't know how much Kennedy was affected by her death, or what she'd have thought about arguably being a catalyst for the most successful Senate career in history. What we don't know, as always, could fill a Metrodome.
Still, ignorance doesn't preclude a right to wonder. So it doesn't automatically make someone (aka, me) a Limbaugh-loving, aerial-wolf-hunting NRA troll for asking what Mary Jo Kopechne would have had to say about Ted's death, and what she'd have thought of the life and career that are being (rightfully) heralded.
Who knows -- maybe she'd feel it was worth it.
It's easy enough to shred the reasoning here to pieces, but it's more interesting to note that like the Atlantic piece this defines the discomfort zone among liberals with who Ted Kennedy was as a person, vs his legacy as a liberal legislator. That same kind of discomfort was present with Bill Clinton, that only truly emerged at the end of his term after the impeachment issue had gone away, and during the 2008 primaries, and with John Edwards, after he was no longer in the running and the story of his adulterous relationship had blown up.
That same kind of discomfort may yet emerge with Obama, when it no longer conflicts with a liberal legislative agenda. We'll see.
Additional ponderings on the topic come from author Joyce Carol Oates who relentlessly praises Ted Kennedy's greatness, only to finally ask the unanswerable question,
Yet if one weighs the life of a single young woman against the accomplishments of the man President Obama has called the greatest Democratic senator in history, what is one to think?
Yes, what is one to think indeed.
At Vanity Fair, Henry Rollins is predictably blunt enough asking, Where's Mary Jo Kopechne's Eulogy?
I am very well known, a United States senator. My family is incredibly powerful. There are allegations that I had been drinking heavily hours up to the time I got into the vehicle with the passenger. I deny this for the rest of my life. That at no point did I make an attempt to call for rescue would probably be considered by many people to be outrageous and horrible, perhaps a crime that would carry a prison sentence. Can you imagine what the parents of the deceased would be going through when they found out that their 28-year-old daughter died alone in total darkness? I serve no time. Not inconvenienced by the burdensome obstacle of incarceration, I seek to maintain my elected position. I am successful and remain a senator for the next four decades. Would any deed I performed in that time, besides going to prison for the negligent homicide I committed all those years ago, be enough to wipe the slate clean?
Clearly people like Oates and many other columnists and pundits, after some hemming and hawing, think that the answer is yes.
Julia Gorin has her own take on it with, God Takes Ted Kennedy, Reluctantly
As news reports profiling his life and career gush on, most of them mention the Chappaquiddick incident and then quickly move on to all the good that he did, in a manner suggesting that such an event might have derailed someone else, but it didn’t derail this crusader. Indeed, to be derailed by such a thing would have required character...
ndeed, it’s very much the Bill Clinton approach: after raping an unknown number of women (at least two that we know of, and probably Hillary, according to Ed Klein’s book), he became an advocate for the poor, the fat, the AIDS-infected, and the weather. Such things always help a person to not look back. Conspicuously, Clinton never set up any rape crisis centers or other violence-against-women outfits — or anything at all related to his crimes. Just as Ted Kennedy never joined Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.
Go read the entire post. It's worth reading.
Finally to close it off, the video which reveals that Ted Kennedy collected Chappaquiddick jokes.
Who knows, maybe O.J. Simpson collected O.J. Simpson jokes.
To switch gears to another recently deceased fellow, at the Tablet, James Kirchik follows up on Novak's hostile relationship with Israel and Jews.
In 1997, Novak wrote a series of columns attempting to resuscitate the reputation of Louis Farrakhan, encouraging Republicans to give a hearing to the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam Leader, who, he wrote, was “knocking on the GOP’s door.” The brainchild of this effort was Novak’s friend Jude Wanniski, the Reaganite supply-side guru who later became a crank, penning screeds denying Saddam’s gassing of the Kurds and promoting political cultist Lyndon Larouche. Novak believed that a Republican alliance with Farrakhan could have “vast future implications,” fruitful ones. For a man now lauded as one of the most perspicacious political commentators of his era, this was a curious, if not dangerous, assessment.
But Novak’s real provocation of American Jewry waited until after the September 11 attacks, which he blamed on America’s support for Israel. Two days after the attacks, he wrote that “the hatred toward the United States today by the terrorists is an extension of [their] hatred of Israel” and that “the United States and Israel are brought ever closer in a way that cannot improve long-term U.S. policy objectives.” Was this neo-isolationism, befitting of the paleoconservative right to which Novak had a close ideological kinship? If so, he took it a step further when, the following month, he referred to senior Hamas terrorist Mahmoud Abu Hanoud as a “freedom fighter” on CNN.
Further there's a piece in a far right magazine that I won't directly link to, that covers some of Novak's other history
On Oct. 20, 1997 Novak shocked many with a column in The Washington Post describing “grave and disturbing questions” raised by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, a distinguished British journalist, who was suggesting mysterious German immigrant Andreas Strassmeir—who had been operating in “patriot” and “white separatist” circles in the United States—may have been an undercover informant moving alongside Tim McVeigh in the days preceding the Oklahoma bombing.
Novak emphasized Evans-Pritchard was “no conspiracy-theory lunatic” but instead “was known in Washington for accuracy, industry and courage” and that he had “offered leads to discovering a pattern of lies and deception after Oklahoma City that, if verified, would approach Vietnam and Watergate in undermining American citizens’ confidence in their government.”
This would suggest that Novak's Trutherism did not begin with his post 9/11 column suggesting the attacks had been an inside job, but dates back to the OKC bombing.
Meanwhile via Gateway Pundit, beloved hatemonger Desmond Tutu is picking up an old theme about the Holocaust and Israel
The lesson that Israel must learn from the Holocaust is that it can never get security through fences, walls and guns," Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu of South Africa told Haaretz Thursday.
Actually that is precisely the opposite lesson of the Holocaust. Which is that those who can't defend themselves will always be victimized.
Tutu has a long history of ugly and anti-semitic statements. After Jeremiah Wright's speech, he claimed that was a universal sentiment. Of course more defining than that, was Tutu's rant at a Jewish luncheon on seeing gefilte fish, about how his mother used to work for Jews.
Lemon Lime Moon has her own take on Tutu here
Meanwhile on the lighter side of socialism, in Cuba there is a grave shortage of toilet paper forcing Cubans to buy copies of propaganda Communist newspapers to use as toilet paper
Cuban officials quoted earlier this month in the official Radio Rebelde predicted ``an important importation of toilet paper'' by the end of the year ``to supply this demand that today is presenting problems.''
The Productos Sanitarios Proa factory in Matanzas province also produces toilet paper, branded ``hygienic and ecological.'' Many Cuban factories have suffered from shortages of imported raw materials and government-forced closings to save on electricity.
But the government-imposed closings of factories and offices to save on electricity may ironically also be helping to resolve the toilet paper shortage, according to the Havana retiree.
Many copies of Granma and other newspapers sent to distribution points for later delivery to factories and offices are not being picked up when the intended recipients are closed, the retiree said, and are being sold to anyone else.
Lots of retirees, he added, are hitting pre-dawn lines at those distribution points to buy 10-15 copies of both daily and older versions of the newspapers for bathroom use, wrapping garbage and other household uses.
The retirees pay 20 Cuban cents per copy -- about .007 U.S. cents -- and re-sell it to neighbors for up to 20 Cuban pesos, or about 71 U.S. cents.
The price of 20 Cuban cents per copy is the same for the day's edition and old copies, the retiree said, ``because they all have the same use.''
Indeed, they all do have the same use. I wonder how long it'll be before Obama supporters are wiping themselves with their Fairey "Hope and Change" posters.
At Pajamas Media, a simple test to determine if you are an Islamophobe
At Israpundit, Ted Belman writes that the Saudi Plan is really the US plan . It's a post worth reading, but this has also been the approach all along, as Arabist diplomats and oil industry execs in the thrall of the Saudi lobby have repeatedly sold the idea that the solution to any problem in the Middle East is... through Israel.
The easiest way to appease the Arabs, it's held, is to feed them some Israel. It's not an original idea. Everyone from Gandhi to the British colonial authorities have pushed it.
Also at IsraPundit, Yoram Ettinger's piece, "Terror State"
The idea that a Palestinian state can lead to enduring peace in the Middle East has become a diplomatic obsession for American policy makers. Bringing such a state into being has become the equivalent of finding the Holy Grail. In fact, however, a Palestinian state would not only fail to bring peace and stability to the region, but would make it an even more dangerous place than it already is. And ironically, given its adamant backing for a government that would have been led by Yasser Arafat and now would be headed by Abu Mazen, U.S. support for the creation of “Palestine,” which would immediately ally itself with and become a client of rivals and enemies of America such as Iran, would harm American, Israeli, and even Arab interests..
The history of the PLO’s Abu Mazen - who is hailed by the US administration as a peaceful leader - tells us something important about the likely character of a Palestinian state. As a graduate of Moscow University (Ph.D. thesis: Holocaust Denial) and a beneficiary of KGB training, he managed the logistics of the Munich Massacre of eleven Israeli athletes in 1972. He was the architect of PLO ties with ruthless communist regimes until 1989 and, since 1993, a series of PLO accords with Hamas. In 1950, 1966 and 1970, he was forced to flee Egypt, Syria and Jordan, respectively, for subversive activities.
During the 1970s and 1980s he participated in PLO attempts to topple the Christian regime in Beirut, which resulted in the 1976 Syrian invasion of Lebanon and a series of civil wars, causing close to 200,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of refugees. As Yasser Arafat’s confidante and first deputy for over fifty years until Arafat’s death, Abu Mazen is one of the engineers of contemporary Palestinian hate education, which has become a production line for terrorists. In 1990, he collaborated with Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, despite the Gulf country’s unique hospitality to 400,000 PLO-affiliated Palestinians.
This history is not that of a peace maker, and the PLO’s track record of inter-Arab treachery, non-compliance, corruption, repression and terrorism does not give evidence of peaceful Palestinian state of the future. Since its makeover from a terrorist organization to a semi-independent entity in 1993, the Palestinian Authority, which has been led by PLO graduates of terrorist bases in Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria and Tunisia, has become an incubator for terrorist tactics, which have been exported to Iraq, Afghanistan, England, Spain and other countries
The entire thing is worth reading, but it's essentially a sketch of the wages of terrorism. The reality is even worse.
Meanwhile at Lgstarr, Obama is to have emergency powers over the internet... just the thing if you've got popular protests being organized via the internet... and it's not like politicians have a history of declaring emergencies when there is no emergency.
Meanwhile Van Jones is showing even more of his ugly side, at WND via Islamic Danger to Americans
JERUSALEM – One day after the 9/11 attacks, President Obama's "green jobs czar" led a vigil that expressed solidarity with Arab and Muslim Americans as well as what it called the victims of "U.S. imperialism" around the world.
I actually remember signs like that in New York City. I tore enough of them down myself. But the radicals of the past are now the rulers of the present.
At Israel Against Terror, a Barry Rubin article, Let's Pretend We're Making Arab-Israeli, Israel-Palestinian Peace.
Actually achieving Middle East peace is of no importance. The only thing that is important is saying that progress is being made and that peace will come soon.
I don’t mean that as a statement of cynicism but as an accurate analysis of what goes on in international affairs at present. What’s achieved by pretending there is progress and there will be success? Some very real and—in their way—important things:
--World leaders are saying that they are doing a great job, doing the right things, remaining active and achieving success.
--By saying peace is near, the issue is defused. Why fight if you are about to make a deal?
--Israel (and anyone else from the region who joins in—see below) shows that it is cooperating so others should be patient and not put on pressure.
--Since the West is taking care of business, Arab states supposedly will feel comfortable working with it on other issues, like Iran for example.
Love of the Land has David Wilder's horrifying retelling of the Hebron Massacre
Eighty years ago today, Arabs massacred 67 Jews in Hebron and wounded 70 more. Incited by the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini, and shouting "Kill the Jews!", the perpetrators raped, mutilated, tortured, beheaded, or dismembered men, women, children, and even babies in a two-day spree of violence. The victims were guilty of no crime. Jews had lived there for hundreds of years in peace with their neighbors. But Arab instigators preached hateful sermons and spread malicious rumors that boiled over into bloodshed.
Ben-tzion Gershon, a doctor and pharmacist who treated Jews and Arabs in Hebron, defied his wife's warnings and opened the door to an Arab woman who feigned that she was about to give birth. The woman moved aside, and a murderous mob stormed in and gang-raped his wife. When Dr. Gershon begged them to stop, they answered: "If you don't want to see it, you don't have to" – and gouged his eyes out before killing him, according to the testimony of one of Gershon's daughter.
As British High Commissioner Sir John Chancellor put it: "I do not think that history records many worse horrors in the last few hundred years...."
Three days after the massacre the ruling British expelled the surviving victims from Hebron, leaving the city without a Jewish presence for the first time since 1260.
It wasn't until 1967, following the Six-Day War, that Jews returned to Hebron. They did not occupy a foreign city; rather they came back home, to the first Jewish city in the land of Israel. They returned to worship at the Caves of Machpela, the second-holiest site in the world to Jews, after Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This site had been declared off limits to Jews and Christians for 700 years. Today it is open to all who desire to visit this hallowed burial ground for the Hebrew patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Hebron is not just the source of Judaism. It is the source of monotheism for all peoples of the world.
The only reason that the Caves of Machpela are still accessible to Jews is because there is a permanent Jewish presence in the city. The disappearance of the Jewish community of Hebron would be tantamount to abandoning the founders of our people. Would any American dream of abandoning Philadelphia, Boston, or Mount Vernon to the Taliban or Al Qaeda, "in the name of peace"? Today, I proudly live in Hebron, along with hundreds of other Jews. Despite media reports, our goal is not to expel the Arabs living here. Anyone of any race or religion should be able to live in Hebron.
However, we demand that our Arab neighbors accept the fact that the Jews have an eternal, legitimate right to live in the first Jewish city in the land of Israel. This is our goal: to live normal lives, just as anyone else, anywhere in Israel. Our goal is to ensure that our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will be able to live in Hebron. Our goal is to make sure that all Jews will have access to the caves, that Jews will never again be told that this holy site is off limits. Eviction from Hebron, the first Jewish city in Israel, would be tantamount to acquiescence that can only be defined as a reward for terrorism, continuing in the footsteps of el-Husseini.
Unfortunately there is a longtime ongoing campaign by the left, in and out of Israel, to demonize Hevron's Jewish residents.
At the Counter Jihad meanwhile, the revelation that NATO is going Dhimmi
NATO's new secretary general reiterated respect for Islam on the first day of his visit to the alliance's only predominantly Muslim member.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen is in Turkey for two days to discuss NATO operations in Afghanistan and improve relations ith the Muslim world.
"Please see my presence here tonight as a clear manifestation of my respect for Islam as one of the world's greatest religions," Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday at an iftar - the evening meal that breaks the fast during the holy month of Ramadan - with Turkey's leaders.
"I have he deepest respect for people's religious feelings," he said.
Fogh Rasmussen became secretary general Aug. 1, after Turkey withdrew its objections to his candidacy. Turkey initially opposed his appointment because, as Denmark's prime minister, he infuriated many Muslims following the publication in 2005 o cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
Somehow Denmark just can't seem to be forced to apologize enough for having free speech.
Finally to close off the weekend roundup, only 4 percent of Israelis think Obama is pro-Israel... down from 6 percent.
Israelis have never been fooled by Obama. Obama's visit to the Western Wall was greeted with protests of "Jerusalem is not for Sale", back when Obama was a candidate.
Israelis for Obama was a scam, as I reported back in the day, with two orgs, one that could not write in Hebrew, and another run by an African-American cult with ties to Michelle Obama and the rabidly anti-semitic Leonard Jeffries.
And finally to dispose of the fiction that Rahm Emanuel has any status with Israelis, here's a video from Israel, "Rahm Emanuel, the Musical." It's not subtle but Israeli political satire or comedy for that matter, does not lean to the subtle. Next time someone tries to claim that Rahm Emanuel means anything to Israelis, show them this video.