Apr 092003
Authors: Becky Waddingham

In light of the vicious personal attacks I received in response to my column last week, and because of things like the USA PATRIOT Act, I’ve come to understand that free speech, opposition and dissent are no longer desired in America.

Granted, men like Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and their pals would probably disagree, but they’re dead, so who cares what they said?

Since I’ve come around and realized I shouldn’t oppose anything anymore, and I shouldn’t speak my mind because someone might take it the wrong way, I decided to write about what everyone wants to hear.

So here you are: my weekly compilation of things that don’t matter, culled from the nation’s best gossip rags.

The New York Post’s Page Six reports that “First Freeloaders” Bill and Hillary Clinton plan to vacation on Martha’s Vineyard this summer on someone else’s bill. Apparently Ted Danson (Sam on “Cheers”) will let the ex-presidents stay at his New England farmhouse.

Must be nice to be a privileged world leader and get things for free.

In other news, Jeannette Walls reports that ABC has been lambasted for working on a new sitcom starring outspoken liberal war protester Janeane Garofalo.

According to Walls, the pro-war protesters are threatening to organize a major campaign against the Mouse network, including a boycott of advertisers, if ABC airs the show. Someone e-mailed ABC and said, “We do not wish to see the faces of liberal Hollywood.”

Now when will Hollywood learn how to shut up and stop boycotting ABC and Disney? Probably never, as long as people like Garofalo and Michael Moore exist. What a pain they are.

Also, my personal favorite gossiper, Lloyd Grove of the Washington Post’s “Reliable Source,” reported an interesting French twist.

Some patrons of the Washington Opera, angry with France for opposing the war in Iraq, are upset that this year’s Opera Ball is being hosted by French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte.

Grove wrote that the chairman of the fundraiser, newspaper heiress Betty Scripps Harvey, was told a regular donor would be boycotting the $3 million fundraiser. Harvey’s mother was French, and apparently, the press heir didn’t agree with the boycott.

“It’s very simple. This is about supporting the opera. It has nothing to do with the war,” she told Grove.

Harvey added that President Bush and first lady Laura Bush have agreed to be honorary chairmen of the ball, Grove said.

And finally, for good measure, I’ve included a piece of actual news for my loyal readership to contemplate.

Toronto’s Globe and Mail reports that among the largest aid groups preparing to provide humanitarian assistance to Iraqis are a number of Christian charities that desire to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Not shockingly, this has raised concerns in the Muslim community.

The Globe and Mail reported that the largest of the Christian groups is the Southern Baptist Convention, which said it has 25,000 trained evangelists ready to enter Iraq.

“Muslim groups say they believe the presence of evangelists is a sign that President Bush is trying to impose his own evangelical Christianity on Muslims,” wrote Globe and Mail reporter Doug Saunders.

He also quoted Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic relations, who said, “This is creating a real serious problem of perception: Here we have an army invading Iraq, followed by a bunch of people who want to convert everyone to Christianity. How’s that going to look in the Muslim world?”

I guess we’ll see.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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