Wednesday, February 28, 2007 at 11:55 AMIt must be delightfully therapeutic for conservatives – still recovering from their political “thumpin” last November – to see liberals cannibalize each other in the press. Recall last week how we were treated to an absurdly-premature cat fight between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama over the tongue lashing Democratic kingmaker David Geffen gave the Clintons for “lying with such ease…it’s troubling”.
Now comes ABC News – as reliable a political portal for liberals as FOX News is for conservatives – defiling Al Gore’s reputation the day after Hollywood canonized him as an environmental prophet and savior of our Earth in the Balance at the Academy Awards on Sunday. Because it gave wind and credence to a story that was sailing listlessly in the blogosphere, which exposes Gore’s environmental hypocrisy in a manner eerily reminiscent of the hypocrisy he displayed by condemning cigarette manufacturers whilst profiting from their products.
In fact ABC reported the inconvenient truth that – even though he stood up at the Oscars and preached on the importance of everyman being earnest about energy conservation – Gore is the head of an indulgent family that consumed 20 times the amount of gas and electricity the average American family consumed last year.
But, where average Americans (especially liberal Democrats) might be outraged by this report, Gore’s hypocrisy will be completely lost on the Hollywood crowd who canonized him. After all. ABC is a Johnny-come-lately amongst the few conscientious liberals now railing against the hypocrites who comprise the vanguard of the (worldwide) environmental movement. For example, here’s what professor and political columnist Eric Alterman wrote about Hollywood producer Laurie David who, having married Seinfeld creator Larry David, is the de facto mother hen of environmental politics in America:
[Laurie] reviles the owners of SUVs as terrorist enablers, yet gives herself a pass when it comes to chartering one of the most wasteful uses of fossil-based fuels imaginable [a private jet].
And, to put her ironic and misguided self-righteousness into perspective, a reporter from the New Republic, Gregg Easterbrook, calculated that:
One cross-country flight in a Gulfstream is the same, in terms of Persian-Gulf dependence and greenhouse-gas emissions, as if she drove a Hummer for an entire year.
(Makes one wonder why Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger thought it was such a big deal to give up his Hummer but retain his private jet….)
Meanwhile, I’ve been practicing the religion of recycling for almost 20 years. But I felt profoundly betrayed a few years ago when I read about how environmental prophets (curiously all filthy rich people) were polluting the clean air of Davos, Switzerland by flying in on their private jets for annual gabfests on how to continue proselytising their (do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do) gospel of energy conservation to the (conserving-because-they-have-so-little-to-waste) masses; indeed, so much so that I wrote the following:
…perhaps he [keynote speaker Bill Clinton] should not have emitted so much CO2 with his speech [about global warming being ‘the one thing that could end civilization’] and, perhaps, his pals should have thought twice about flying their gas-guzzling, air-polluting private jets to Davos – both of which probably contributed, in equal measure, to the purported global warming phenomenon they’re all so concerned about.
Finally, to get a sense of why the ABC hit piece on Gore is as shocking to liberals as Geffen’s sucker punch against Hillary was, here’s a little of what I wrote about this once-thriving relationship in an article entitled The End of the world according to ABC News and Al Gore:
…until I saw that program, I had assumed that the TV network Al Gore bought last year was nothing more than a cleverly-produced website on which he could recycle streaming clips from his movie, An Inconvenient Truth, which has become the celluloid bible for his climate-change disciples. But after seeing this global-warming Cassandra [Gore] bloviating hot air as the star of this 20/20 special [entitled The Last Days on Earth], I’m beginning to think that he may, in fact, have bought ABC!
NOTE: Apropos hypocrisy, I could not be more indignant at rich environmentalists – like Gore – who seek absolution for their environmental sins by “purchasing carbon credits or offsets”- in the same spirit with which Catholics once sought absolution for their moral sins by purchasing Papal indulgences.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007 at 12:00 PMI am a secular humanist who places great faith in the findings of scientific enquiries into the origins and nature of all things. Therefore, when religious zealots repackaged the Adam and Eve creation story and began proselytizing it as an “Intelligent Design” worthy of refuting Darwin’s scientific findings on The Origin of Species (i.e., the theory of evolution), I dismissed it as rubbish.
Likewise, however, when novelist Dan Brown formulated spell-binding tales about Jesus as a married man who fathered a child, and then published them as fact (in The Da Vinci Code), I dismissed his book as a skillfully-woven web of fact and fiction, which was intended not to enlighten but simply to make money.
Now comes James Cameron – movie director of such blockbusters as Titanic and a celebrity explorer who reportedly made unprecedented discoveries about the wreck of this doomed liner – claiming that he has found evidence to support even the most blasphemous of Brown’s fairytales. And during a sensational news conference yesterday, he announced – with a smug allusion to The Greatest Story Ever Told, the movie about the life of Jesus – that he had made “…the greatest archaeological find of all time”.
Cameron then regaled the assembled press corps – as only a movie director could – by telling them about the “huge” findings his team of forensic scientists (think CSI) made after examining anew several caskets (in which dry bones were kept, not ones in which bodies were buried) that were discovered in a cave just outside Jerusalem 27 years ago. He then proclaimed that these caskets are etched with letters that his team has determined, scientifically, spell the names of “Jesus son of Joseph, Judah son of Jesus, Maria, Mariamne [his wife] (thought to be Mary Magdalene’s real name), Joseph and Matthew”.
But Cameron was clearly mindful that Israeli Antiquities experts are on record claiming that these etchings are not only open to interpretation but can relate to as many ancient Jews as the name “John Smith” can relate to modern-day Christians. Because, to distinguish his claims, he added that the caskets contained tiny traces of DNA samples that were tested and which, he claims, provides evidence that they are the remains of Jesus and his relatives.
Never mind that Cameron has no way of authenticating these findings unless he takes a titanic leap of faith by relying on samples from the fabled Shroud of Turin, which is purported to be the cloth that covered Jesus when he was placed in his tomb, or from one of the many descendants of Christ – like The Expected One, Kathleen McGowan, which Da Vinci Brown spawned after he popularized the myth of a very consummated marriage between the Son of God and Mary Magdalene.
But when Cameron’s findings are finally peer reviewed by internationally-respected scientists, I suspect they will amount to nothing more than a forensic attempt to shake the foundations of Christianity to no avail. After all, he posits what is simply impossible to prove scientifically.
Meanwhile, Cameron has cast himself as a latter-day Galileo Galilei to preempt the barrage of criticisms that he knows will be forthcoming – from devout Christians as readily as from historians, archaeologists and forensic scientists. But, in fact, he has miscast himself as a modern-day Galileo as much as he typecast Arnold Schwarzenegger as a futuristic terminator. Because far from being prosecuted as a heretic and prevented from disseminating his scientific findings (as Galileo was by the Catholic Church), Cameron is being allowed to broadcast them to the four corners of world, and stands to make a fortune proselytizing his specious claims.
Indeed, Dan Brown proved that there are multitudes of doubting Thomases (many of them professed Christians) who are eager to buy into any apocryphal yarn that challenges Christian orthodoxy. And, in this respect, Cameron seems poised to profit from the greatest hoax ever sold. Indeed, as an intellectual curiosity, even I shall tune in to watch the official presentation of his alleged discoveries on the Discovery Channel on 4 March.
Monday, February 26, 2007 at 11:55 AM
I have little regard for preening, pampered poseurs showing-off their borrowed frocks and bling-bling as a prelude to a three-hour program – only six minutes of which anyone cares about (i.e. the time it takes to present Oscars for best supporting actor and actress, best actor and actress, best director and best picture). And, remarkably enough, the tedium of the interludes between these carefully spread-out moments is hardly ever broken by the host comedians who invariably deliver more bombs than comic relief. Good luck Ellen….
Given the above, which I wrote yesterday as part of the introduction to the article below on My (Oscar) picks, I really should audition to replace infamous Psychic Miss Cleo who has reportedly gone underground to escape fraud charges.
Apropos fraud, the director of last night’s telecast should be arrested for perpetrating the biggest one in the history of the Academy Awards. Because that had to have been the most boring show ever! In fact little, if any, of the entertainment that advertised was actually delivered. Moreover, holding the audience in suspense is one thing. But holding us hostage for a full hour before awarding the first of the six Oscars anyone cares about amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.
But since I am more a Psychic than TV critic, I shall defer to Tom Shales of the Washington Post to explain just how much of a criminally-misleading farce that show was last night.
Nonetheless, when the first (relevant) winner was finally announced, my clairvoyant powers were immediately confirmed:
ALAN ARKIN in Little Miss SunshineNow I dare you to cite a single critic who picked Arkin to win. But instead of gloating too much, I shall suffice to refer you to this list of winners to compare with my article below to see why I am so worthy of replacing Miss Cleo:
Best Motion Picture: “The Departed”
Lead Actor: Forest Whitaker, “The Last King of Scotland”
Lead Actress: Helen Mirren, “The Queen”
Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin, “Little Miss Sunshine”
Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson, “Dreamgirls”
Directing: Martin Scorsese, “The Departed”
UPDATE 8:42 am
André (the giant) Leon Talley of Vogue will turn purple with resentment when he learns that so many of you are interested in who gets my Oscar for Best Dressed. Accordingly, the Oscar goes to Beyonce! For looking so poised and elegant despite having to play second fiddle to Jennifer Hudson (which we all know she detests and finds utterly incomprehensible) and being dumped by Jay Z on the eve of the biggest night of her showbiz career.
But, because I find Beyonce’s fake hair such a turn-off, I feel obliged to give Cate Blanchette an honorable mention as the most attractive woman of the evening.
Sunday, February 25, 2007 at 6:01 PMI really enjoy cinema. And I appreciate the attention the Oscars often give to good but relatively unseen films like Babel. Of course, with all due respect to critics and members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Academy), how much a film makes, not whether the Academy awards it an Oscar, is the generally-recognized measure of its success.Indeed, it might surprise, if not disillusion, many of you to learn that studios covet an Oscar for Best Picture primarily because – as Sumner Redstone, the owner of Paramount, conceded in moment of extraordinary candor – it guarantees millions more in box office receipts.Admittedly, there have been rare instances when certifiable blockbusters have also won critical acclaim and the Oscar for Best Picture: eg., Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003); Titanic (1997); Braveheart (1995); and Forest Gump (1994).But it’s undeniable that winning an Oscar is more often the result of crass PR campaigning than a critical assessment of artistic achievement.That said, I am not a big fan of shows like tonight’s 79th Annual Academy Awards telecast. Because I have little regard for preening, pampered poseurs showing-off their borrowed frocks and bling-bling as a prelude to a three-hour program – only six minutes of which anyone cares about (i.e. the time it takes to present Oscars for best supporting actor and actress, best actor and actress, best director and best picture). And, remarkably enough, the tedium of the interludes between these carefully spread-out moments is hardly ever broken by the host comedians who invariably deliver more bombs than comic relief. Good luck Ellen….Nevertheless, my blogging contract obliges me to share my Oscar picks. But I suspect the following will finally give regular readers of my weblog fodder to revel in schadenfreude at my expense. Therefore, without further ado, the Oscar for:Best supporting actor
ALAN ARKIN in Little Miss Sunshine. Even though Eddie Murphy is the more popular choice for his James-Brown parody in Dreamgirls, Arkin will win because he’s by far the actors’ actor in this category. And the members of the Academy (who vote for the winners) have shown a patented prejudice against comedians doing their shtick in movies. Arkin also enjoys considerable goodwill and respect for his longevity in the business and for producing such a rich body of work, which includes great performances in The Russians Are coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966) and Glengarry Glen Ross (1922). Although, my favorite of all his action roles was the irascible judge he played on the A&E TV series 100 Centre Street.
Best supporting actress
JENNIFER HUDSON in Dreamgirls. Aside from appealing to Hollywood’s fondness for black-Mammy characters, I honestly don’t get this. In fact , 67 years after Hattie McDaniel became the first black to win an Oscar for playing a Mammy in Gone With the Wind, one would’ve thought black actresses would be recognized for more dignified roles. (Hell, Hudson was “even ordered to gain weight” and nappify her hair to look like a bona fide Mammy, em…er “Effie”.)
Indeed, but for this fondness, Hudson would (and should) lose to Cate Blanchette, the actors’ actor in this category. Nonetheless, I grant you, the woman can sing. And for that she deserves to have a Grammy on her mantle. But an Oscar for this role (her acting debut)? I don’t think so. After all, just as Murphy parodied Brown in his role, Hudson merely imitated original Dreamgirl Jennifer Holliday in hers….
FOREST WHITAKER in The Last King of Scotland. From the time I saw him play Charlie “Bird” Park in Bird, I have been extremely impressed with Whitaker’s acting talent. And, no one is this category is more deserving of the Oscar than he is for channeling genocidal megalomaniac Idi Amin for our ghoulish entertainment. Although, I wonder why no actor has ever won for playing Adolf Hitler….
Meanwhile, some people expect Peter O’Toole to win in an upset for the same reason they expect Martin Scorsese to win: Because, after being nominated for so many brilliant performances and never winning (7 times for O’Toole), it would redound more to the Academy’s embarrassment than to O’Toole’s disappointment for him to be snubbed yet again. But since O’Toole accepted an honorary Oscar in 2003 “for his entire body of work”, I suspect most members think that was his due and would rather seem him retire gracefully. And this notwithstanding his 8th nomination for a role for which it seems he peeled and pulled back the skin on his face in pathetically vain attempt to recapture the stunning good looks he projected on screen for his first-nominated performance 45 years ago in Lawrence of Arabia.
HELEN MIRREN in The Queen. For everything an Oscar for acting represents, Mirren deserves to win for her uncanny portrayal of HM Queen Elizabeth II. Moreover, as one who is resolutely opposed to Monarchies, I relish any exposé of the anachronistic, superficial, indulgent and spiteful nature of the British royal family.
MARTIN SCORSESE in The Departed. By Scorsese’s standards, established with brilliant directing performances in Taxi Driver (1976) and Raging Bull (1980) amongst many others, this effort was second-rate. Nevertheless, for the same reason (uninformed) people expect Peter O’Toole to win, Scorsese actually will. Because, unlike O’Toole, he has never accepted an honorary Oscar for his entire body of work. And, having been nominated six times without a win, the Academy will embrace this opportunity to make amends and give him his due.
Besides, the fact that the three giants of the directors guild, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, and George Lucas (all previous winners themselves), have agreed to present this award telegraphs the fact that this will be the belated induction of Scorsese into their ranks.
BABEL. It will win because the only other worthy nominee, Letters from Iwo Jima, would award
Clint Eastwood with another Oscar, and he’s won enough already. But this film stands on its own as eminently worthy, despite Brad Pitt. And in the spirit of Gandhi and Schindler’s List, it dramatises the frailties and cruelties of human nature that unite us all, despite our differences: a fact our souls can never tire of having reinforced.
And, it’s worth recalling that a similar theme carried Crash to an improbable Oscar in this category last year. Although I suspect there’s a loose conspiracy in Hollywood to reward films that are made on the cheap ($100 million) to reap as much profit as possible for the studios.
As for the other awards…really, who cares?!
NOTE: Politically-engaged celebrities are salivating over the prospect of Al Gore winning an Oscar for the power-point lecture on global warming he delivers in An Inconvenient Truth. But the real agenda being furthered by his nomination is the contrived launch of a draft-Gore campaign for him to run for president next year. And, he will do nothing when he accepts his Oscar to disabuse anyone of the wistful fantasy of seeing him elected.
Saturday, February 24, 2007 at 1:34 PM
Friday, February 23, 2007 at 11:32 AMYesterday, in a blabbering, blubbering and bloviating ruling, the Judge in the Anna Nicole burial farce ordered his “friend of the court” to supervise the return of her body to The Bahamas to be buried next to her son (who died from a drug overdose just three days after the birth of her daughter last September).
But, for the record, I feel obliged to note that I declared this would be the outcome long before this courtroom circus became more macabrely fascinating to watch than a 20-car pile up!
Nevertheless, when they meet, I hope Marilyn Monroe validates Anna Nicole’s life by telling her how flattered she is that someone was actually willing to die to be like her.
Meanwhile, click here to read my denouement to the Anna Nicole burial show published today at CNN.
Anna Nicole Smith (a.k.a. Norma Jane): R.I.P.
UPDATE: Friday at 3:00 pm
In re: Aaliyah’s comments on portrayal of The Bahamas in the media
Why is the American Media portraying the Bahamas as some haven where the courts give babies to fake fathers and beat back real fathers….Furthermore the plaintiff in the Marshall case is now an innocent baby, not her mother, and the defendant is no longer Marshall’s son, but his daughter in law. You couldn’t have a more sympathetic plaintiff.
Aaliyah raises some interesting points that – based on independent conversations and emails – reflect the grievance many of my fellow Bahamians have with the media coverage of the Anna Nicole baby-Daddy tragedy on the one hand, and prevailing misinformation about the Marshall probate case on the other. Therefore, I hope the following disabuses them of their grievance and all others of their ignorance about Anna Nicole’s purported inheritance:
As it happens, under Bahamian law in this respect (which is based on the anachronistic presumption that no man would rush in to claim a baby that he does not genuinely believe is his), Stern is presumed to be this child’s (legal) father because he cohabited with Anna Nicole and had his name placed on its birth certificate. Never mind that everyone in the world seems to think Stern’s a “fake” father.
Meanwhile, Bahamian authorities appear to be erecting formalistic road blocks to prevent Birkhead (the man, ironically enough, who is in fact rushing in to claim paternity – albeit with a cloud of $$$ over his head) from challenging that presumption with a simple and universally-recognized DNA paternity test.
Moreover, facts and circumstances exist that give rise not only “to presumptions of paternity in respect of more than one father”, which nullify Stern’s presumption, but also to the reasonable suspicion that Stern and Anna Nicole sought safe “haven” in The Bahamas merely to deny Birkhead’s natural rights. And, to the extent we delay this test, which Bahamian law on the Status of Children calls for under these circumstances, we appear complicit in their dastardly deeds.
Therefore, to further the best interest of the child and honor the administration of justice in The Bahamas, our courts should facilitate DNA testing to determine paternity, “forthwith”!
Regarding the alleged “fortune” in waiting, the lawyer for the new executors and surviving beneficiaries of Marshall’s estate has disclosed that they all remain determined to carry out his wishes that Anna Nicole (and all of her heirs – no matter how innocent or sympathetic) shall not receive a single dime of that estate. And, reports that Anna Nicole was once offered 9 million to settle her claims are not credible.
That said, if The Bahamas declares Birkhead, not Stern, as the father in due course, I would not be at all surprised if the Marshalls decided to offer him a few million dollars to put this matter to rest. After all, compared to Anna Nicole and Stern, he and this child seem eminently more worthy of – what would be for the Marshalls – this simple act of kindness.
* Pictured is Hon Sir Burton Hall, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of The Bahamas
Thursday, February 22, 2007 at 11:54 AMNothing has distinguished Sen Barack Obama’s nascent presidential campaign quite like the rush of Hollywood players – who supported Bill Clinton in two elections – enlisting to help Obama defeat Hillary. And no one has unnerved the Clintons more with his defection than entertainment mogul David Geffen (center) – the man credited with raising over $18 million for Bill and to whose home the Clintons coveted an invitation as much as celebrities coveted an invitation to the White House.
Here, in part, is how Geffen testified about his political conversion as reported yesterday by Maureen Dowd of the New York Times:
Everybody in politics lies, but they [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it’s troubling…. God knows, is there anybody more ambitious than Hillary Clinton? Obama is inspirational, and he’s not from the Bush royal family or the Clinton royal family.And, to baptize A-list celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney and Tom Cruise with Obama’s cleansing grace, Geffen (along with his movie-mogul partners, Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg) hosted a fundraiser in his honor in Beverly Hills on Tuesday night that was akin to winning the Oscar for favorite presidential Candidate and the California lottery.
Meanwhile, instead of being the belle of this Hollywood ball – as she and Bill clearly felt she was entitled to be – Hillary was reduced to issuing a patently jealous, fatuous and hypocritical statement admonishing Obama to “denounce Geffen and return his money”.
That said, I am not at all impressed by these celebrities who are suddenly becoming morally indignant about the Clintons’ political venality now that Obama offers them a more virginal vessel in which to pour their noblesse oblige. After all, some of us have been raging against their pathological lies for over a decade. Indeed, I was inspired to declare my own disaffection after former Clinton advisor George Stephanopoulos – who now hosts the ABC News political program “This Week” – chronicled his conscientious objections to Bill and Hillary’s co-presidency in his 1999 book, All Too Human.
Therefore, I admonish Obama to beware that where it’s politically sensible to take their money, it would be politically foolish to take the endorsements of these fickle celebrities too seriously or to become too enamored of them – as the Clintons clearly have become…much to their chagrin..
Finally, I warned Obama (in the Related Articles linked to below) about the dirty tricks the Clintons would deploy to derail his campaign. And, true to form, they have already planted stories insinuating that because his middle name is “Hussein” and he attended grade school in Indonesia, he must be a closet Muslim Jihadist who cannot be trusted to be president of the United States. Never mind that Obama is a devout Christian who attended an entirely secular public school in the most pro-American Muslim country in the world.
So, just imagine what scurrilous slime the Clintons will unleash when Obama reduces Hillary’s lead in the polls to a single digit….
Wednesday, February 21, 2007 at 11:53 AMMany people around the world are familiar with the persistent pleadings by black Americans for the U.S. Congress to apologize and pay reparations to them for slavery, which ended almost 150 years ago. In fact their pleadings have even inspired political leaders in the Caribbean to file similar claims with the UK Parliament. But I have argued for years (most recently in the Related Article linked to below) that such pleadings are not only politically untenable but also legally infeasible.
By contrast, I have repeatedly argued that the Japanese Parliament should apologize and pay reparations to the tens of thousands of women from China, Taiwan, Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines who were used as sex slaves by Japanese soldiers during World War II. Moreover, I have urged it to emulate the precedent the U.S. Congress established by apologizing and paying reparations to black Americans who were used as guinea pigs for the government-sponsored Tuskegee Syphilis Study, which ended only 35 years ago.
Unfortunately, despite years of heart-wrenching pleadings by these emancipated sex slaves (a.k.a. comfort women), the Japanese have remained defiantly opposed to granting them any formal compensation. Therefore, I was not at all surprised on Monday when it rejected a non-binding resolution by the U.S. Congress on behalf of these victims calling upon them to do so.
But it behooves Japan to “formally acknowledge, apologize and accept historical responsibility” for the systematic sexual enslavement of these women. After all, just as Germany was compelled – not only politically but also morally – to offer an official apology and commensurate compensation to victims of the Holocaust, so too Japan should recognize its political and moral duty to offer an official apology and commensurate compensation to the victims of these crimes against humanity. And this is especially imperative given that the claims of these former sex slaves are not hopelessly-encumbered by the passage of time and the inability to show proximate harm as were those of black Americans, none of whom are former slaves.
Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that in 1998 the hopes of these former sex slaves were lifted when a Japanese lower court ruled that they were in fact entitled to compensation. Alas, even though the court only awarded the three named claimants an insulting $2,500 and no formal apology, the High Court overturned that ruling in 2003, reasoning that any compensation for the alleged crimes was a matter to be decided by parliament, not the courts.
Therefore, I urge U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney to take a moment during his meeting in Japan today with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to reframe and present that Congressional resolution – with a demand for commensurate compensation – as the last outstanding requirement of Japan’s unconditional surrender after World War II….
Demand for reparations for African slavery
Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at 11:30 AMA week ago today, after pictures showing Bahamian Minister of Immigration and Labour Shane Gibson in compromising positions with the late Anna Nicole Smith were published all over the world, I wrote the following:
…[W]hether she actually gave him some pregnant (or post-partum) nookie is immaterial. Although, for what she will end up costing him, I hope she did.
At any rate, to preserve the integrity of his government, Prime Minister Perry Christie must demand Gibson’s resignation…forthwith! And this week’s scheduled meeting of his Party’s re-nomination committee for candidates to stand at the forthcoming general elections provides a fortuitous opportunity for the PM to sack Gibson along with other undesirable incumbents.Therefore, I was not at all surprised on Sunday night when Gibson appeared on national television to announce that he had tendered his resignation “with immediate effect”. I was disappointed, however, that he turned what should have been an honourable gesture into a pathetic spectacle by blaming a vast anti-government conspiracy for his predicament and claiming that he was resigning only to preserve what remains of his family’s integrity.
After all, his assertions in this respect are patently undermined by the fact that – just days before – Gibson embarrassed his wife by having her to sit by her man for a contrived, nationally-televised interview, during which he tried in vain to spin the damage to save his job. Never mind that he hardly enhanced his family’s integrity by allowing his mother to serve as Anna Nicole’s baby Mammy and his father as Howard Stern’s step-and-fetch-it man who reportedly skippered back to The Bahamas the boat (curiously christened “The Cracker”) which Stern induced Anna Nicole to buy in Florida just days before she died. Indeed, only God knows what other domestic services Gibson enlisted other family members to perform as part of the “immigration services we provide all applicants for permanent residency”.
Even worse, however, Gibson insulted the intelligence of all Bahamians by admonishing them to believe him when he says he did “nothing to be ashamed of” and not their lying eyes when they look at those compromising pictures.
This, alas, brings me to the antic support he received from our beloved prime minister – who wistfully described Gibson as a “competent and capable individual [whose resignation will be] a loss for the entire country”. Because, frankly, I was stupefied when he echoed the charge that Gibson was a victim of “an organized conspiracy to take him out”.
After all, if Mr Christie believed that the leader of the opposition (FNM) party was trying to scapegoat such a valuable member of his cabinet and a man he considers a “genuine friend”, then he should have encouraged Gibson “to stand to slug it out” – as Gibson made clear he wanted to do during that ill-fated interview. Especially since, after accepting his resignation, the prime minister lamented the irony, if not hypocrisy, that when three members of the opposition were similarly compromised they refused to resign….
That said, here’s how this rubbernecking drama will unfold:
After hearing arguments from lawyers about who has the right to Anna Nicole’s embalmed body, the Florida judge (who seems as clueless about American law as he is about Bahamian law) will rule – pursuant to what is so patently obvious – that her body must be returned to The Bahamas to be buried next to her son Daniel.
The Bahamian Judge who will hold hearings later this week to determine who’s the Daddy of her baby Dannielynn will rule that Howard K. Stern and all other plausible claimants in this respect must submit to DNA testing to determine paternity. And when it’s proved that Larry Birkhead, not Stern, is the child’s biological Daddy, the Judge will award him sole custody, at which time Birkhead will take his daughter back to America to continue Anna Nicole’s gold-digging quest for a cut of her late husband’s fortune.
Finally, Stern will continue to peddle any picture or story about this tragedy that tabloids are willing to buy. But, when he returns from the baby-Daddy hearing mentioned above, I hope Bahamian authorities confiscate his passport pending next month’s inquest into Daniel’s death, for which he may be found complicit and promptly incarcerated.
If the inquest is inconclusive, however, the Bahamian government will summarily deport Stern to the U.S. to face disbarment proceedings for his unethical and unprofessional relationship with Anna Nicole.
The mess Anna Nicole left behind in The Bahamas
Sunday, February 18, 2007 at 12:55 PM
Saturday, February 17, 2007 at 1:06 PM
Saturday, February 17, 2007 at 12:50 PMBut never mind North Korea’s scary Valentine because the scary news most people will be talking about today is that Britney Spears has gone (even more) wild and exposed her unsightly bald spot…again. But this time she’s decided to expose her bald head to match the bald crotch that she’s become so fond of showing off.
Reportedly, after her family and friends tried – to no avail – to force her into celebrity rehab this week, Britney decided to show them that she’s in full control of her life (and career?) by shaving her head….
Friday, February 16, 2007 at 11:26 AMYesterday, I celebrated the two-year anniversary of The iPINIONS Journal, which is quite a feat considering I did not think it would survive two months.
Therefore, I would like to celebrate the occasion by thanking all readers, especially the few who have supported it from day one.
I launched this journal after being persuaded that it would be a convenient way to share thoughts about current events amongst my small circle of friends. Indeed, I suspect many of you can relate to having such busy lives that you communicate primarily by emails and debate issues more often on blogs than in personal gatherings.
I was too ignorant about the pervasive nature of the blogosphere, however, to appreciate its potential for disseminating my daily musings to every corner of the earth. And I’ve been humbled and honoured by the interest so many people outside my inner-circle have shown in them.
So, here’s to what I hope will be another year of my dutiful rendering and your faithful reading of my daily iPinions.
NOTE: On Tuesday the host of the annual conference of Caribbean Heads of Government, St Vincent and Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, decided to ape black Americans by calling on Caribbean governments to demand a full apology and reparations from Europeans for African slavery.
But click here to read my article – published today at CNN – detailing why this is such a hopelessly misguided idea.
Thursday, February 15, 2007 at 12:16 PM
U.S. military officials on Sunday accused the highest levels of the Iranian leadership of arming Shiite militants in with sophisticated armor-piercing roadside bombs that have killed more than 170 American forces. [The Associated Press 12 February 2007]Before President George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq in February 2003, the universally-accepted principle of national defense that 9/11 brought into stark relief was that if the U.S. had the fingerprint of any organization or country on a terrorist attack against Americans anywhere, then swift and decisive retaliation was imperative. But it’s important to understand that this principle was developed as a deterrent – after discovered al-Qaeda military manuals showed that a record of terrorist attacks with impunity against Americans had emboldened Osama bin Laden to order the 9/11 strikes in New York City and Washington DC. (Recall that those attacks included the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000, US Embassies in Africa in 1998 and, most inspiring of all, the World Trade Center in NYC in 1993.)
Unfortunately, Bush’s reliance on “sexed-up” and faulty intelligence, which has American soldiers now stuck (and dying) in the vice grip of a civil war in Iraq, has led to a cognitive dissonance against this principle that will condemn America to a pre-9/11 state of vulnerability.
In fact, this cognitive dissonance is already very much in evidence in the way the U.S. is responding to known terrorist attacks against Americans by Iranian operatives. After all, despite having Iranian fingerprints all over explosives (as dipicted this photo released by the U.S. military) that have killed scores of American soldiers in Iraq, political leaders in the U.S. seem to consider it a red-white-and-blue badge of courage to declare any thought of mounting a swift and decisive retaliation against Iran not only prohibitive but, in fact, unconscionable.
We all know that Iran is involved to some degree in Iraq, but the idea, to start building this case to support a military invasion of Iran, I think it’s a huge mistake. I think Congress ought to stand up very early on, and let the president know that we will not tolerate that kind of an action….I would strongly oppose that direction, I think it’s the wrong thing to be doing now. [2008 presidential candidate Sen Chris Dodd (D-CT)](For the record, the Iranians deny any involvement and claim that the format of the date on these signature weapons exculpates them. This, from the same PR flaks who deny that Iran is developing nuclear weapons….)
Now, contrast this prevailing sentiment expressed by Dodd with the following declaration, which aroused a bipartisan standing ovation when Bush delivered it at a joint session of Congress in the immediate aftermath of 9/11:
Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.Clearly, by any criterion, Iran today is as hostile to America as al-Qaeda was pre-9/11. Indeed, reports out of Iraq on Tuesday confirmed that Iran is even harboring (America’s-most-wanted) radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr whose Mehdi Army (funded by Iran) has killed almost as many Americans in Iraq as Sunni insurgents have. (Sadr is pictured here with Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council on the occasion last year when he pledged to defend Iran against any attack by the U.S.)
Yet even Bush has become so cowered by military failures in Iraq that he’s bending over backwards to assure the world that he will allow Iran perpetrate terrorist attacks against American soldiers there with impunity.
But as one who is on record not only opposing Bush’s decision to invade Iraq but also decrying his refusal to deploy the Powell Doctrine to ensure a swift and decisive victory, I feel obliged to warn that abandoning the post 9/11 principle of retaliation is just as misguided as Bush’s misuse of it to justify the invasion of Iraq. After all, redressing the national and international problems this war has spawned does not require abrogating the categorical imperative to retaliate against Iran.
Indeed, arguing against military action – no matter how justified – is tantamount to rationalizing cowardice in the face of terror. And, just as such arguments emboldened bin Laden to perpetrate 9/11, they will embolden Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to perpetrate even more daring and catastrophic attacks.
It is ironic, however, that where Bush relied on political hacks to spin circumstantial evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq, he’s now relying military generals (namely Gen Peter Pace pictured here on the occasion of his nomination by Bush to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) to spin direct evidence (Iranian fingerprints) to justify his fear of retaliating against Iran.
Never mind that Pace came across more like Bill Clinton expounding on “what the meaning of is is” when he attempted to explain Bush’s retreat from his 9/11 declaration as follows:
It is clear that Iranians are involved, and it’s clear that materials from Iran are involved, but I would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit. [Gen George S Patton must be rolling over in his grave….]For his part, Bush confirmed that he has turned into a wimp when he echoed Pace’s vacuous and paralyzing assessment of the situation during his news conference yesterday, only with even more tortured language and incomprehensible logic. But his equivocation raises an extremely important question that he and all presidential candidates must be made to answer definitively:
Is it not a dereliction of duty for an American president- as Commander in Chief – to admit (as Bush did) that he knows a “vital part of the Iranian government” (i.e. the Quds Force) is responsible for killing over 170 Americans, without provocation, but that he’s unable to avenge their deaths because he does not know “whether Ahmadinejad…picked up the phone and said the Quds Force ‘go do this”?
Because, by this logic, the world was wrong to blame Bush for Abu Ghraib. After all, he probably did not pick up the phone and say to American GIs “abuse and hum
iliate them Iraqi prisoners”.
Nevertheless, if anyone needs further confirmation of the dire consequences this failure of nerve portends, consider the following EU, not U.S., intelligence report that was published on Monday by the Financial Times of London:
Iran will be able to develop enough weapons-grade material for a nuclear bomb and there is little that can be done to prevent it, an internal European Union document has concluded. Attempts to engage the Iranian administration in a negotiating process have not so far succeeded….
In practice…the Iranians have pursued their programme at their own pace, the limiting factor being technical difficulties rather than resolutions by the UN or the International Atomic Energy Agency. The problems with Iran will not be resolved through economic sanctions alone.Alas, sometimes a shoot-out with the Sheriff is the only way to deal with an outlaw….
This report renders specious the suggestion that – instead of retaliating with military force – the U.S. should negotiate with Iran the way it has done with North Korea (or did with the Soviet Union). What is more troubling, however, is that this suggestion ignores the nature of Iranian hostilities against the U.S. and only promises comfort to fools. After all, the blood of American soldiers is not on the fingers of North Koreans.
Moreover, where North Korea’s Kim Jung-il is merely leveraging his nuclear weapons to bargain for oil and luxury goods, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is vowing to use his to drive America out of the Middle East and wipe Israel off the map. And, just as he has no compunction about giving conventional weapons to terrorists to kill American soldiers in Iraq, he would probably have none about giving nuclear weapons to jihadists to detonate in the heartland of the United States.
That said, I think Bush’s refusal to talk with the Iranians under any circumstances is juvenile and furthers no strategic interest. In fact I think he should meet with Ahmadinejad just as he meets with that neo-Stalinist Russian president, Vladimir Putin. But this should not preclude him from ordering proportionate retaliation against the Iranians for killing Americans. (And proportionate in this context means that for every American they kill, Bush should order U.S. Special Forces to take out 3 Iranians….)
After all, the EU report cited above makes it patently clear that dialogue alone will deter the Iranians neither from developing nuclear bombs, despite worldwide disapproval, nor from mounting terrorist attacks against American shoulders in Iraq. And I am acutely mindful that it’s foolhardy to insist that because Bush relied on false and misleading intelligence to invade Iraq that he must be doing the same to invade Iran; especially since the Iranians have provided completely independent and verifiable evidence of their genocidal intent.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007 at 11:11 AMAnd, here’s a little trick to get lovers in the mood to give a little treat later tonight…
Tuesday, February 13, 2007 at 11:09 AMThese photos of our Bahamian Minister of Immigration, Hon. Shane Gibson, spread across the front page of a national newspaper had heads spinning and tongues wagging all over the country today. Not least because, when members of the Opposition accused him of fast-tracking Anna Nicole’s application for permanent residency as a special favor, Gibson not only denied their accusation, he actually demanded their resignations “forthwith” for even implying such an inappropriate and scandalous relationship between him and this buxom blonde.
When I first heard about government officials and respectable lawyers in The Bahamas becoming ensnared in the tragic life of Anna Nicole, I admonished them to keep her at arms length in a commentary dated 3 November 2006, which I concluded as follows:
The Bahamians responsible for elevating this farce to a national debate should be ashamed of themselves. Indeed, who would’ve thought that Anna Nicole could make erstwhile respectable politicians and accomplished professionals, even in a “banana republic”, look like fools?
Moreover, instead of demanding the heads of the lawyers involved, I suggest the minister of immigration [Shane Gibson] demand that Anna Nicole produce the documents and financing necessary to fund her permanent residency, forthwith, or be deported… post haste!But who knew that Anna Nicole had already cast her spell over him? And, whether she actually gave him some pregnant (or post-partum) nookie is immaterial. (Although, for what she will end up costing him, I hope she did.)
At any rate, to preserve the integrity of his government, Prime Minister Perry Christie must demand Gibson’s resignation…forthwith! And this week’s scheduled meeting of his Party’s re-nomination committee for candidates to stand at the forthcoming general elections provides a fortuitous opportunity for the PM to sack Gibson along with other undesirable incumbents.
Finally, who do you think got paid good money for pimping these exclusive pictures to the newspaper…? I urge Bahamian authorities to confiscate Howard K. Stern’s passport immediately pending the inquest into the death of Anna Nicole’s son….
Anna Nicole Smith’s Bahamian…baby-Daddy drama
Monday, February 12, 2007 at 12:23 PMAmongst the places I am licensed to practice law are The Bahamas and the United States. Therefore, ever since Anna Nicole Smith died, I’ve been fielding questions – from the sublime to the ridiculous – about what will happen to her baby and the hundreds of millions to which she claimed she was entitled.
Unfortunately, almost all of the questions were premised on faulty media reports surrounding Anna Nicole’s death. And the most egregious of these were reports concerning the misguided motivation of all of the men swarming like bees to a honeycomb claiming to be her baby Dannielynn’s Daddy. Because gossip peddlers masquerading as news reporters – especially from UK tabloids and U.S. Cable stations (including CNN and FOX News) – have given so many people the impression that whoever proves to be the Daddy will gain immediate control of a $400 million trust fund in Dannielynn’s name. But nothing could be further from the truth.
First of all, when Anna Nicole’s 90-year old husband, Texas oil billionaire J. Howard Marshall, died in 1995 – after only 7 months of connubial bliss – he left her none of his estimated $1.6 billion estate in his will. And, why should he. After all, Marshall probably thought he paid his 26-year old stripper of a wife rather handsomely for all of the services she rendered during their marriage.
Nevertheless, Anna Nicole challenged his will by filing bankruptcy and claiming that she could not pay her debts because she became a spendthrift in reliance on a verbal promise she claims Marshall made to leave her half of his fortune. And, California being the most indulgent legal jurisdiction in the entire world, a bankruptcy judge there awarded her $474 million based on this improbable claim to help her pay her creditors, including the nanny of her son (from her first marriage to a short-order cook) who sued Anna Nicole for forcing her to have lesbian sex and was awarded almost $1 million.
But Marshall’s legitimate heirs appealed and – following a series of court proceedings and rulings over the past decades, including a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court – Anna Nicole’s $474 million was reduced to $88 million, and then to $0. And, as proceedings stand, her posthumous digging for his millions must now continue back in a Texas federal court, where the chances of anyone who picks up her shovel finally striking gold are slim to none!
Therefore, it’s only chasing a fool’s promise if these men, including the mercenary and very suspicious Howard K. Stern, think that – by claiming Dannielynn as theirs – they will get their hands on the millions that Anna Nicole worked so hard to inherit.
That said, the entire legal hullabaloo surrounding Stern’s efforts to keep Dannielynn ensconced in the bosom of a Bahamian Mammy (who happens to be the mother of the minister of immigration) will be resolved as soon her paternity is established. Then I suspect the world will learn not only that Stern is not her biological father, but also that he has no cognizable parental rights under Bahamian law because he and Anna Nicole were never legally married. Indeed, Bahamian authorities will order him to hand Dannielynn over to her legitimate father and that will be the end of her life as a refugee in The Bahamas.
Alas, it’s unfortunate that so much idle speculation and sheer lunacy has been reported as relevant to the tragic mess Anna Nicole left behind. And, in this regard, it would be remiss of me not to condemn the media platform that was laid at the feet of Zsa Zsa Gabor’s Viagra-popping husband, Prince Frederick (I-paid-good-money-for-this-title) von Anhalt, to tell the world about his alleged 10-year affair with Anna Nicole and declare that he is “one of 20 men” who could be Dannielynn’s Daddy.
(It is noteworthy, however, that the most intriguing contender for this dubious honor is none other than the deceased Marshall himself – based on reports that Anna Nicole had herself inseminated with his frozen sperm to conceive Dannielynn. Which, of course, raises the ironic prospect that Dannielynn would suddenly become more entitled to hundreds of millions from his estate than her mother ever was. But as miracles go, I think we should wait for scientific confirmation of this one. After all, I doubt Marshall was capable of getting it up, let alone shooting off enough to preserve for this shrewd purpose.)
I don’t know what else to say about the aforementioned Stern except to note the even greater irony looming that the same Bahamian laws he attempted to use to shield Anna Nicole and him from the long-arm of American law may eventually seal his doom if the inquest (scheduled for 26 March) finds that he supplied the drugs that led to her son Daniel’s death. And what poetic justice that would be for him to finally get the Bahamian permanent residency he so coveted – by being remanded to our notorious Fox Hill Prison for life.
Finally, my heart goes out to the only person involved in this tragedy who not only seems to have some integrity but also, god willing, will prove to be Anna Nicole’s baby Daddy, Larry Birkhead (seen here with his lawyer doing all he can to vindicate his paternal rights in a court of law, not in the tabloids or on showbiz TV programs).
NOTE: In addition to conducting an inquest to determine the cause and manner of Daniel’s death, Bahamian authorities will also have to figure out how to extract hundreds of thousands of dollars from Stern. After all, he and Anna Nicole racked up all kinds of legal and other bills that have not been paid, perhaps because they persuaded people that $474 million would soon be wired into their Bahamian bank account.
Therefore, as a courtesy to help my fellow Bahamian lawyers collect from Stern for services rendered, I suggest they file attorney’s liens against the income he’s still generating as the paparazzo who is profiting most from pimping pictures and stories to the media about the tragic life and death of Anna Nicole Smith.
ENDNOTE: Whatever their interest today, when this matter is resolved and no longer tabloid fodder, Anna Nicole’s mother and other family members will have as much guardianship over and interest in Dannielynn as (a jailed) Howard K. Stern retains.
Surreality TV star Anna Nicole Smith is dead
Sunday, February 11, 2007 at 1:34 PM
Saturday, February 10, 2007 at 1:55 PMPreliminary results indicate that Premier Dr Michael Misick and his ruling PNP were reelected in a landslide victory last night. Now they will control the elective seats in the TCI House of Assembly by an unprecedented margin of 13 to 2 over the opposition PDM. The previous margin was 9 to 6.
Therefore, here’s to the PNP: a government of All the people, by Almost-all the people, for All the people.
Congratulations Premier Misick!!!
With our contentious political business now settled, TCIslanders invite people from all over the world to come and luxuriate under sunny skies on our beautiful beaches (see picture in Related Article) for what we guarantee will be the vacation of a lifetime.
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Saturday, February 10, 2007 at 1:15 PMNASA is in full damage control because astronaut Lisa Nowak (43) drove 900 miles from Houston to Orlando last week – armed with an arsenal of girlie weapons and wearing a diaper to avoiding having to stop to go to the toilet – on a mundane mission to take out fellow astronaut Colleen Shipman (30) who she thought was messing with her man, another fellow astronaut, Bill Oefelein.
But I’m wondering about not only what psychological screening NASA puts these space trekkers through but also what combat training they receive (you know, in case they encounter hostile aliens in space). Because, despite all of her planning, which included two months of stalking Shipman before assassination day last Monday, the only thing Nowak managed to do was to spray her love rival with a few squirts of mace. (Now, how girlie is that!)
We know sex can make smart men do stupid things. Apparently love can make smart women do even more stupid things. After all, this space-nut Nowak committed attempted murder because she claims to be madly in love with a man with whom she admits she’s never even had sex….Go figure!
Sex makes smart men do stupid things