Review of the Passion

Except for followers of the Marquis deSade, this is not a “spiritual” movie, and it sure won’t move the masses to acts of forgiveness and love. At least, I can’t imagine how this could be so.
The first 60-90 minutes of the film are cartoonishly hammy, especially the Sanhedrin who are inexplicably savage and blood-thirsty. The homo-erotic elements – there’s more heat between Pilate and his slave boy (a subconscious homage to Tony Curtis and Sir Laurence Olivier in “Spartacus”?) than between Pilate and his porceline doll wife, Claudia – are incongruous, the attempts to speak Aramaic are clumsily unconvincing (kind of like the wretched Elvish dialog in “Lord of the Rings”), and the flashbacks, distracting.

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Passion and the Constitution

Plenty of people are worried that Mel Gibson’s new film “The Passion of the Christ” will provide an excuse for closet anti-Semites to retaliate against the Jewish members of their community.
While anti-Semitism is regarded as unacceptable in the US, it is certainly present overseas, in Europe and elsewhere.
I plan to see “The Passion” this weekend, so my understanding of the role played by the Jewish people in the film is based right now only on other people’s comments.
These have stated pretty universally that Gibson places responsibility for the death of Jesus on the Roman government and the rabbis/institutional leadership of the Jewish populace.
Aside from what some see as the theological necessity for Jesus to be sacrificially murdered, I see his story as an example of the excesses of individuals in positions of power – and we haven’t improved a whit in the last 2,000 years.

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It’s the Voice, Stupid

I, who pride myself on overlooking the superficial when making decisions about affairs of state, have a shameful admission to make.
I loathe George “Young Master Smirk” Bush because of his voice.
More specifically, it’s that his tone of voice so perfectly encapsulates everything despicable about his policies and his background: the smugness, the affected sibilance, the brazen absence of even a micron of intellectual discipline.

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They Said It, Not Me

It is the year 2000. In the presidential campaign…
New Mexico hinges on 366 votes, Florida on only 537 votes.
Iowa is won by 4144 votes, Wisconsin by 5708 votes.
Oregon is decided by 6765 votes, New Hampshire by 7211 votes.
In the closest presidential election in modern history, 24,731 people in a nation of 280 million make the difference for 59 electoral votes. An incredible statistic when you consider just 4 electoral votes meant the difference between a President Bush and a President Gore.

Email received yesterday from the Bush (and, currently, Cheney) campaign for 2004.

Ahmad Chalabi

Our favorite girl, Maureen Dowd, was off her game these last months, but she’s back, with an enlightening and very readable piece on the Bush Administration’s Iraq war Rasputin, Ahmad Chalabi.
When you have time, please check it out.

And So It Begins

I’ve managed to avoid Ann Coulter up to now – we don’t travel in the same social circles – but my impression was that she was an all-right gal, the right-wing version of one of the savvy left-wing female columnists who delight us with their clever turn of phrase. Molly Ivins, Maureen Dowd and even Arianna Huffington come to mind.
I’m a politics junkie, have followed presidential elections since I was a kid, staying up late to total Electoral College votes with pencil and paper. I remember Stevenson’s Presidential campaigns – both of them – and his speech to the UN at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, considered by some one of the finest pieces of diplomatic oratory of the last century.
And now? My, my, my how have our standards of public discourse have sunk, to tight tank and cesspool levels.

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No Child Left Behind

“What’s interesting in this piece of legislation is that because of measuring, you’re able to determine whether or not a child can read or write and add and subtract early. And what the measurement system allows you to do is, one, analyze curriculum