The Real News of the Month

April 2005
Volume 12, Number 4

Editor: Joe Sobran
Publisher: Fran Griffin (Griffin Communications)
Managing Editor: Ronald N. Neff
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  -> The Schiavo Case
  -> The Moving Picture (plus electronic Exclusives)
  -> Improving on the Gospels
  -> John 6 and Persecution
  -> Studying the Tribe
List of Columns Reprinted in This Issue


The Schiavo Case
(page 1)

     The plight of Terri Schiavo, ignored for many years 
by the news media, exploded into national attention only 
when it was almost too late to save her. As President 
Bush and Congress tried to intervene with emergency 
legislation, the entire judicial system united against 
her to the end. The media parroted the line that she was 
in "a persistent vegetative state," ignoring evidence 
that this was untrue, that she responded, even vocally, 
to the presence of her mother, and that her condition had 
been brought on by unexplained traumas that left her with 
broken bones. No wonder the public overwhelmingly 
supported her husband, despite his compromised position, 
implausible story, and strange behavior.

     The Florida judge in the case consistently ruled in 
favor of her husband. In the talk-show debates, that 
phrase "persistent vegetative state" was repeated ad 
nauseam, though nobody really knew how much she was aware 
of, or whether she felt pain. At any rate, her physical 
survival wasn't endangered by her condition; her life 
could have been prolonged indefinitely, as long as she 
received medical care -- and food and water.

     My first thought is that our legal system must be 
seriously askew if a woman's life, however tenuous, can 
be placed at the mercy of her worst enemy -- the 
estranged husband who evidently wanted her dead. Michael 
Schiavo has a girlfriend by whom he has already fathered 
two children. It would be presuming a lot to suppose 
that, under the circumstances, he could be either 
sympathetic or even impartial toward his disabled wife. 
Such an obvious interest would disqualify him as a juror 
if she had been on trial for her life.

     Husbands, after all, are sometimes less than 
solicitous for their wives' welfare. In recent times 
we've been reminded of this grim truth by the cases of 
O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, and Scott Peterson, to 
mention a few examples. Imagine asking such men to decide 
whether, say, the lives of their comatose wives should be 

     You don't have to read the tabloids to realize that 
conjugal love often proves far from unconditional. 
Wedding ceremonies may include the words "till death do 
you part," but until now it has been assumed that this 
formula doesn't and probably shouldn't mean "until one of 
you pulls the plug on the other."

     Hard cases make bad law, but was this case really 
all that hard? The decision didn't seem to be terribly 
hard for Michael Schiavo, who refused an offer of a 
million dollars to spare his wife. Meanwhile, Terri 
Schiavo's parents wanted her to live, showing that 
parental love usually is unconditional, even when 
children become inconvenient. For one thing, parents 
don't "cheat" on their children by, say, abandoning them 
for other children.

     Sometimes agonizing decisions must be made, 
including the decision to end life-preserving care. But 
in that case, it should be made by someone whose motives 
aren't in doubt, whose love for the patient is assured, 
and who stands to gain nothing from the patient's death. 
Terri Schiavo's parents seemed to meet that standard. Her 
adulterous husband didn't.

The Moving Picture
(page 2)


     Teresa Wright has died at 86. Don't remember her? 
She was the eternally believable good girl of such 
memorable movies as MRS. MINIVER, PRIDE OF THE YANKEES, 
Hitchcock's SHADOW OF A DOUBT, and William Wyler's BEST 
YEARS OF OUR LIVES. I still have a crush on her; they 
don't make 'em like her anymore. I can't even picture her 
in jeans, on a cell phone, with her belly button showing. 
In fact, her studio finally fired her for refusing to 
pose in swimsuits.

*          *          *

     Condi versus Hillary in 2008? Maybe not. The 
secretary of state has disclaimed flickering speculation 
that she harbors presidential ambitions. Along the way, 
it transpired that she favors legal abortion. She also 
has tacky taste in clothes. Perhaps all is for the best. 
But we're still waiting for Hillary to drop out of the 

*          *          *

     Father Richard McBrien, head of Notre Dame's 
theology department and as solid a Unitarian as you'll 
find anywhere, says he thinks Christ's divinity would be 
uncompromised by marriage (as in THE DA VINCI CODE). He 
even suggests that he finds the idea appealing, because 
it challenges the Church's traditional negative attitude 
toward human sexuality, et cetera. (as exemplified, 
presumably, by the teaching of the Virgin Birth). Ironic, 
isn't it, that "Notre Dame" means "Our Lady."

*          *          *

     Robert Blake, the has-been actor, has been 
acquitted of shooting his wife in the head, though it's 
rather glaringly obvious that he, well, shot his wife in 
the head. The verdict makes O.J. Simpson's acquittal 
seem, by comparison, like poetic justice. But then, 
considering Mrs. Blake's character, the murder itself 
seems like poetic justice. Maybe the jury was just trying 
to even the whole mess out. Hey, it's California!

*          *          *

     Speaking of crime, the following sentence was 
uttered in a news report of a big shooting spree (in 
Wisconsin, not California): "The alleged gunman then 
turned the weapon on himself." Talk about careful 
phrasing! We mustn't jump to the conclusion that the guy 
who shot himself was the same guy who'd just shot a dozen 
other people in the room.

*          *          *

     Obesity, the Propaganda Machine assures us, is a 
"national problem," even an approaching "crisis"! What, 
are all the fat people going to collapse at once? Why, 
then, let's have some Federal legislation! There's 
apparently no such thing as a personal problem anymore. 
In fact, some obese people don't think they have a 
"problem" at all. As if it were up to them to decide. 
Dream on, fatso.

*          *          *

     Terry Schiavo is dead. Her parents, Florida's 
governor and legislature, and countless well-wishers 
wanted her to live. But the courts ruled that her life 
was at the mercy of her worst enemy, her estranged 
husband, who now lives with another woman and who had 
even refused an offer of a million dollars to spare 
Terry's life. So someone -- we don't know who -- 
obediently disconnected her feeding tube, escaping all 
legal responsibility and public notice because he or she 
was obeying the relevant authority of the state.

Exclusive to electronic media:

     Odd, isn't it, this modern fascination with politics 
and "public service"? A man who runs for office is, after 
all, "promising" to make new laws, to create even more 
new and arbitrary legal obligations for everyone. At what 
point will we -- or rather, =did= we -- have =enough= 
laws? Why is making new ones still thought of as an 
achievement, or a form of production? Just asking.

Improving on the Gospels
(pages 3-4)


     THE DA VINCI CODE, by Dan Brown, published by 
Doubleday, is easily the most successful novel in years, 
and in some respects it deserves to be. After more than a 
year it remains high on the bestseller lists. It's a 
brilliant thriller that ingeniously blends fiction, 
history, and occult pseudo-history. Its target is the 
Catholic Church. Despite my antipathy to its premises, I 
couldn't stop reading it.

     The story begins with a murder in Paris. Jacques 
Sauniere, curator of the Louvre, is shot in the museum 
after hours -- by (as we soon learn) a deranged albino 
acting on orders of a priest of Opus Dei. Before he dies, 
Sauniere manages to leave a coded message, in his own 
blood, for the American academic he was supposed to have 
met that night.

     That academic, Robert Langdon, a renowned Harvard 
professor of symbology, manages to decode the message, 
solve the murder, and elude the police, who suspect him 
as the killer. In all this he is assisted by a brilliant 
young Frenchwoman, Sophie Neveu, a gifted cryptographer, 
who turns out to be Sauniere's granddaughter and has some 
interesting family secrets.

     The mystery of Sauniere's killing leads Langdon and 
Sophie to retrace the secret history of Christianity. 
They enlist the help of an eccentric English scholar, Sir 
Leigh Teabing, who fills in the historical blanks and 
takes his own crucial role in the unfolding action. He 
finally gives THE DA VINCI CODE its most stunning plot 
twist, a stroke of dramatic genius.

     According to Teabing -- and Brown, by implication -- 
Jesus Christ was a mere human whose divinity was first 
proclaimed by the Emperor Constantine nearly three 
centuries after his death. Jesus had married Mary 
Magdalene and had a daughter by her, born in France, 
where she fled after the {{ Crucifixion, when she was no 
longer safe in the Holy Land; Peter and the other male 
leaders of the Church had it in for her. }}

     Brown doesn't even pretend there's hard evidence for 
this, except some Gnostic gospels (and the Dead Sea 
Scrolls, which in fact are pre-Christian documents that 
say nothing about Jesus); but the early Church, 
male-dominated and misogynist, would have covered up the 
marriage if it had happened; therefore we can assume it 
did happen. The fact that no records confirm Teabing's 
(and Brown's) version proves that the records were 
destroyed. Teabing even says that the Holy Grail was not 
the cup passed at the Last Supper, but Magdalene herself 
-- the "vessel" of Jesus' bloodline. (The Crusades were a 
long quest to find, and destroy, information about the 
line of Jesus and Magdalene.)

     For a world-famous expert on Christian history, 
Teabing commits a lot of basic factual blunders. Nor does 
he explain why the testimony of other documents should be 
preferred to the four Gospels accepted as authentic by 
early Christians.

     The descendants of Jesus and Magdalene, as Teabing 
(Brown's mouthpiece) tells it, eventually begot a royal 
line in France, but the Church had managed to conceal 
these facts from all but a few. These few initiates 
included a secret society called the Priory of Sion, 
whose members, over the centuries, included early 
Gnostics, Sir Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, Botticelli, Jean 
Cocteau, and Leonardo da Vinci; Langdon learns that 
Sauniere had belonged too. Teabing and Langdon (speaking 
for Brown, of course) assert that Leonardo's ostensibly 
orthodox religious paintings subtly affirm his occult 
beliefs -- hence, the "Da Vinci code."

     Brown's fiction is thus based on an entire 
alternative "history," derived from other popular 
authors, which he means the reader to take seriously. 
Among other things, Brown expects us to believe that 
Constantine originated the idea that Christ was divine, 
in spite of the New Testament, the early Church, the 
writings and teachings of the Church Fathers, the 
martyrs, and so on. He also tells us that early 
Christians worshipped goddesses until the Church stopped 
the practice and suppressed alternative gospels that told 
the truth; in fact, the Church was so hostile to all 
things female that it blamed Eve for the Fall of Man, 
restricted priesthood to men, and, in the late Middle 
Ages, burned =five million= women as witches. In our own 
time, Brown has "Cardinal" Josemaria Escriva (he was 
actually a monsignor) founding Opus Dei, which Brown has 
plotting murders to protect the Church's ancient and 
guilty secrets.

     All this is so batty it's hard to know where to 
start refuting it. Books have already been published 
refuting Brown's "history," which he claims has been 
solidly researched. Even two authors of his dubious 
sources, one of them the real-life model for Teabing, are 
suing him for plagiarism and charging that he has 
misrepresented their work. Some of his falsehoods are 
obvious and baseless, but there are enough partial truths 
to make the whole business confusing.

     There really was a Priory of Sion; in fact three 
distinct groups took that name at various times; but none 
of them was devoted to the weird doctrines Brown alleges. 
And of course there was a real Leonardo da Vinci, who may 
have had his heterodox moments; but he apparently died a 
devout Catholic, and his paintings don't bear the occult 
meanings Brown professes to see in them. For that matter, 
there really was an Emperor Constantine, an early Church, 
a Jesus ... but why go on?

     Brown's human Jesus interests us only because the 
divine Jesus of the Gospels interests us. If Brown's were 
the real Jesus, there would be no such religion as 
Christianity; his early death would have been a merely 
unfortunate interruption of a promising career, like 
Mozart's, rather than the event that gave his whole life 
its point -- the culmination of all his works, words, 
miracles, teachings, parables, and predictions. Why would 
anyone have bothered crucifying such an ordinary, 
inoffensive man? Why would his message -- reduced to "Be 
nice to other people" -- have upset either Roman or 
Jewish authorities? Why would martyrs have died to bear 
witness to him?

     And why would a huge church spring up to honor him? 
Why, in particular, would it have taken pains to conceal 
his true -- and rather pointless -- story? How could it 
have managed to fool nearly everyone for two millennia? 
And if the church survived that long, would it still be 
in conscious possession of those "facts"? Was the Pope, 
in his last hours, still keeping the secrets Brown 
insists he was privy to? Is Catholicism a huge conspiracy 
to prevent us from learning those secrets?

     If Brown is right, you might think someone along the 
way -- a frisky Arian bishop, perhaps -- would have 
spilled these explosive beans. Or we might have heard 
from embittered survivors of some of those five million 
unlucky women. Keeping sensational secrets just isn't 
that easy, even for a large and powerful Catholic Church. 
Brown's unbelief requires us to believe too many 
improbable things. His Catholic Church, even today, seems 
to exist for the sole purpose of hiding its own origins.

     The enormous success of THE DA VINCI CODE reminds us 
how far some people -- millions, in fact -- will go in 
order to reject Catholicism. Rather than believe that a 
man rose from the dead, they will be willing to believe 
that the Church has possessed near-miraculous powers of 
deceit and concealment. If you're distressed about the 
decline of Catholicism in France, Brown will reassure 
you: it seems that the Parisian police are headed by a 
crafty Vatican agent (who wears a telltale cross that 
Langdon, ever alert to symbolism, notices). Able to see 
Catholicism only as a racket, Brown isn't the least bit 
interested in its spiritual life. {{ In fact he shows no 
interest in any religious truth or experience, except 
insofar as religion produces fanatics like the albino who 
murders Sauniere. Christian teachings are mere 
abstractions, used by cynical men, that make no real 
difference to the world. }}

     It isn't just that Brown is ignorant of some of the 
plainest facts of history; he simply can't imagine why 
anyone should care about any religion. One is as good as 
another, though Christianity is worse than the 
goddess-worship it supplanted. No soul is at stake. 
Believe what you like.

     I once knew a woman who had been raised and educated 
as a Catholic but later joined the Mormon Church. I asked 
her why she had converted, and she told me how helpful 
Mormons had been to her and which Mormon doctrines she 
"liked." I said nothing, but these struck me as arbitrary 
reasons for adopting a religion. Later I came to see that 
many Catholics remain in the Church for no better reasons 
than these; the idea that a religion can actually be true 
or false -- or that it matters, either way -- simply 
never occurs to them. Believe what you like.

     Brown, obviously an intelligent man, simply can't 
conceive of religion offering a compelling and universal 
truth, or at least of seeming to. The albino killer has 
become a Catholic out of mere gratitude to an Opus Dei 
priest who has rescued him from a wretched life; 
well-to-do people like Langdon and Sophie have no 
spiritual needs, and they examine religions in the manner 
of people looking for possible hobbies.

     Brown treats Jesus' impact on the world as a given; 
but he never asks whether that impact would have been 
possible if Jesus were the merely human figure he assumes 
him to have been. And wouldn't his widow Magdalene have 
had something illuminating to say about him? Wouldn't her 
intimate knowledge of him have thrown new light on his 
message? Wouldn't she have been privy to thoughts and 
sayings unrecorded in the four putatively misleading 

     Such questions never occur to Brown, though his 
story makes them unavoidable. If the Church has given the 
world only the partial truth, what is the whole truth? 
Brown has written an immensely entertaining tale, but as 
an improvement on the New Testament, it leaves something 
to be desired.

John 6 and Persecution
(page 5)


     Dan Brown's head-spinning "history" of the early 
Church is an offshoot of certain academic fads. These 
range from the long (and continuing) search for a 
"historical" Jesus behind the Jesus of the Gospels to the 
feminist campaign to revive Gnosticism, with the claim 
that the early Christians were Gnostics. According to 
this line of thinking, we can start with the assumption 
that the canonical Gospels represent the Church's 
distortion and suppression of the true facts, while 
adding bogus supernatural details -- miracles, and all 

     Luke Timothy Johnson, a former priest and monk who 
teaches at Emory University, begs to differ. In THE REAL 
JESUS (HarperCollins) -- pugnaciously subtitled THE 
THE TRADITIONAL GOSPELS -- he argues that to use the four 
Gospels as historical documents is to abuse {{ them, 
whether your agenda is "higher" criticism or 
fundamentalism. }} They aren't interested in literal 
factual accuracy, but in bearing witness to Christ. The 
methods of historical investigation -- and history is no 
more than a method of inquiry -- can never prove them 
true or false.

     {{ But this doesn't mean that they are "fictions." 
either. }} It means that we must read them in the spirit 
in which they are written. In fact, they are trustworthy 
records of what early Christians believed.

     How can we know this? Johnson draws heavily on the 
earliest Christian documents: the Epistles of St. Paul. 
In writing to the Roman Christians, whom he had not yet 
met, Paul assumes that his readers know and accept the 
Gospel story, in which the central event is the 
Resurrection. Indeed =all= the Epistles, not just Paul's, 
support the Gospels. Johnson shows that {{ such 
historicist critics, as John Crossan, Elaine Pagels, and 
the Jesus Seminar, }} eager to debunk Matthew, Mark, 
Luke, and John, have given little or no weight to the 
testimony of the Epistles; by contrast, they are always 
ready to credit such dubious sources as the Dead Sea 
Scrolls of the pre-Christian Essene sect and various 
apocryphal gospels, many of whose "facts" are simply 
outlandish. The historical method has been applied with 
considerable madness. No wonder it has produced no solid 
or uniform results; each historicist critic has adopted 
the materials that suit his own taste, and "constructed," 
as Johnson puts it, his own {{ Jesus stripped of 
divinity. }}

     The four Gospels show a supernatural Jesus, but they 
don't show him always finding easy assent among his own 
disciples. He repeatedly rebukes their lack of faith. In 
the sixth chapter of John's Gospel, he has just fed a 
crowd of five thousand with five loaves and two fishes, 
when he twice announces, "I am the bread of life." Lest 
they assume this to be a merely figurative saying 
{{ (like "I am the good shepherd") }} he explains it in 
shockingly literal terms: "I am the living bread that has 
come down from heaven.... Unless you eat the flesh of the 
Son of Man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life 
in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life 
everlasting and I will raise him up on the last day. For 
my flesh is food indeed and my blood is drink indeed. He 
who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I 
in him."

     The evangelist tells us that many of the disciples 
left him at this point, muttering, "This is a hard 
saying; who can listen to it?" It sounds as if Christ 
lost most of his following {{ (maybe nearly all of it) }} 
at this moment, for he asked the Twelve, "Do you want to 
leave me too?" In retrospect we can see that he was 
announcing the Eucharist, which he would institute on the 
eve of his death: "This is my body ... This is my 
blood.... Do this in memory of me." It seems strange to 
deny that he meant those words literally at this most 
solemn moment with his closest followers.

     In his first letter to the Corinthians (chapters 10 
and 11), Paul emphasizes that communicants are sharing in 
the Blood and Body of Christ, and that those who do so 
unworthily are eating and drinking "judgment" -- 
damnation -- to themselves. He could hardly say this if 
the Christians believed they were consuming only bread 
and wine, mere =symbols= of Christ's Body and Blood. Here 
again the epistles illuminate the early Christians' 
understanding of the canonical Gospels.

     In a perverse way, the doctrine of the Eucharist is 
further confirmed by one of the earliest slanders against 
the Church: that its members practiced cannibalism! One 
can see how its enemies might distort the Communion meal 
into this lie in order to egg on persecution.

     But how do the Church's modern debunkers explain it? 
It appears that the Christians weren't persecuted for 
holding the Gnostic, Essene, feminist, or other 
enlightened views the debunkers say they held, but for 
holding something like Catholic views. The facts are 
pretty obscure by now, but somehow I doubt that the 
Romans, so tolerant of most eccentric religions, would 
have cracked down so hard on Gnostics.

Studying the Tribe
(page 6)


     Kevin MacDonald, of California State University at 
Long Beach, has written a learned trilogy on what he 
calls "Judaism as an evolutionary strategy," analyzing 
Jewish conduct through the ages, right up to the present. 
Most recently he has written three penetrating essays in 
THE OCCIDENTAL QUARTERLY, one of them "Neoconservatism as 
a Jewish Movement"; it shows the movement's roots in the 
Trotskyite Jewish left of yore, as well as its ancient 
roots in Jewish tribalism. {{ It's a fascinating 
dynamic. }}

     You can't read MacDonald's work, either the imposing 
trilogy or his shorter essays, without feeling that such 
a study of Jewish influence is long overdue. He isn't 
accusatory; he's quite attentive to strategic differences 
that have divided the Jews themselves. But he does make 
it clear that the extreme elements among them have always 
had advantages over the others. Hence, for example, Ariel 
Sharon's ruthless Likud coalition has muscled out the 
Labor Party in Israel, with vigorous support from 
erstwhile "moderate" Jewish organizations in the 
Diaspora. Not long ago, those organizations appeared 
firmly in the Labor camp; but MacDonald explains how 
seemingly unpredictable alignments arise from Jewish 
culture. We shouldn't have been surprised.

     One quibble. I'm allergic to the word 
"evolutionary"; the pattern seems to me quite conscious 
and intelligent, and indeed everything MacDonald adduces 
confirms this: the cunning combination of group 
self-interest with pseudo-universalist rhetoric (liberal, 
conservative, Marxist, democratic, patriotic, et cetera) 
designed to fool outsiders; the long and vengeful 
historical memory; the use of guilt and victimhood for 
advantage; the severe measures of group self-discipline. 
Neoconservatism is just a new application of some very 
old tactics. MacDonald is telling in great detail and 
depth what a few brave Jews -- such as the late Israel 
Shahak and, today, Israel Shamir -- have tried to tell us 
from inside the fanatical world of Zionism.

     MacDonald's reward for his labors has been 
predictable. He has been smeared as anti-Semitic, and 
some Jews have tried to get him fired from his university 
and ostracized in academia. Even to describe and analyze 
organized Jewish behavior, however objectively, is to be 
an enemy deserving destruction. Accurately quoting Jewish 
sources themselves, from the Talmud to recent 
publications, only makes the offense worse!

     Everyone knows this is a subject protected by 
profound taboos; indeed the mere mention of those taboos 
is an offense. The taboos themselves, in other words, 
force us to pretend that there are no taboos, as 
MacDonald has found. The relevant Jewish powers -- the 
Tribe, as I call them (to distinguish them from 
independent Jews) -- insist that they favor complete 
freedom of speech, and woe to him who says otherwise. In 
fact it's not always wise to observe that those powers 
exist, even though politicians, journalists, churchmen, 
and other influential people constantly kowtow to them.

     No other topic requires such mental and verbal 
contortions in order to avoid ugly, and damaging, 
accusations. The Tribe resists being studied, especially 
by those who are wary of it. Even wariness is 
anti-Semitic, you know -- though the Tribe wants to be 
feared. It's striking how freely the Christian Right can 
be discussed in public, while Jewish power may be alluded 
to only in euphemisms. The difference is especially 
startling when you consider the relative numbers of 
Christians and Jews.

     The rules of this game are head-spinning. Kafka and 
Orwell might have collaborated on them. Except, of 
course, that they're unwritten, and must remain so. Just 
as the Talmud says that no gentile may study the Law, to 
formulate the rules is to violate them. You can't win. 
Not if you're a gentile, anyway. That's really the whole 
point of the game. No wonder the Tribe is winning.

     {{ If you're so much as accused of anti-Semitism, 
you lose. And what's the penalty for making false charges 
of anti-Semitism? There is none. There is no such thing 
as a false charge of it; to be accused is to be guilty. 
If nothing else, you're guilty of having been accused.

     {{ The neoconservatives have used, without 
compunction, every trick in their very old book to defeat 
and destroy the few traditional conservatives who have 
resisted their takeover of what is still called the 
"conservative movement." After accusing his own dead 
father of anti-Semitism, Bill Buckley virtually deeded 
the whole movement over to the neocons.

     {{ Zionist power has long controlled the American 
Congress. Today the neocons have gained nearly total 
control of the executive branch too. After all, the 
United States is fighting Israel's enemies, and may soon 
be fighting two more: Syria and Iran. }}

     The neocons have succeeded almost too well: Their 
success has gotten them more media attention than they 
probably wanted -- much of it critical, in a guarded 
(given the taboos) way. More and more Americans now know 
what a "neocon" is and don't need MacDonald to tell them 
that the neocons are a specifically Jewish and Zionist 
movement. {{ (Some of my old friends in the Midwest are a 
lot less naive about this than they used to be.) }}

     Some neocons, uneasy at their recent exposure, have 
in effect tried to go underground: They deny that there's 
even such a thing as a "neoconservative." The word, they 
say, is an anti-Semitic code word for "Jew." Have they 
already forgotten that it was once their own code word?


THE MAN FOR THE JOB: President Bush has named Paul 
Wolfowitz to head the World Bank. Wolfowitz's 
qualifications are that he is a neocon hawk and 
reportedly has a bank account. (page 8)

BASEBALL, RIP: Spring is here, and baseball has come back 
to Washington, D.C., in more ways than one: The city 
again has a major-league baseball team and Congress has 
held hearings on steroid abuse. It's clear that all the 
slugging records of recent years are highly dubious, and 
the sport will never be the same. Sad news on the heels 
of one of its most thrilling moments: the amazing victory 
of the Boston Red Sox in last fall's playoffs and World 
Series. (page 9)

FAREWELL: George Kennan has died at 101. Best known as 
"Mr. X," the author of the containment doctrine of Cold 
War, he insisted he'd been misunderstood. Be that as it 
may, he wrote trenchantly about geopolitics and 
diplomacy, and he had a healthy reactionary streak that 
would have shocked his liberal admirers. (page 10)

PLAYING GAMES: An indignant congressman has given us an 
interestingly mixed metaphor, calling one controversial 
subject "a pawn in a political football game." As far as 
I'm concerned, anyone who uses pawns in a football game 
is nothing but a sissy. (page 11)

(pages 7-12)

* Justifying War (March 1, 2005)

* Our Divine Tribunal (March 3, 2005)

* English Usage, Old and New (March 8, 2005)

* Bastiat and "Organized Plunder" (March 10, 2005)

* Kramer versus Coherence (March 15, 2005)

* The Vatican Cover-Up (March 17, 2005)


All articles are written by Joe Sobran.

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