Saturday, December 22, 2007

Account of Ashley Judd in Africa - saved from the lawyers!

Josh Trevino (a la Tacitus) wrote this account of uber-celebrity Ashley Judd on a trip to Africa. Someone's lawyers didn't like it - so it was removed from its initial page. Luckily for the world at large - someone over at saved a copy.

Whom the Gods Would Destroy....They first make jaw-droppingly attractive and immensely famous. Exhibit A: Ashley Judd, world-renowned actress, would-be leftist political agitator, and self-regarded humanitarian. I see in the latest issue of Glamour -- because someone showed me -- that Ms Judd has had some troubles. Deeply personal troubles. Inner, psychological troubles, including Ò[c]odependence in my relationships; depression; blaming, raging, numbing, denying and minimizing my feelings.Ó These things are, curiously, Òaddictions.Ó

As I read the Glamour piece, familiar things came back to me: Her need to mention her Òperfection.Ó Her relaying of third-party affirmations of her attractiveness and personal integrity. Her desire to make others' suffering about her. Her sly digs at her sister. And of course, her need to tell us all about it.

You see, dear reader, Ms Judd and I have spent some time together. Do read on.

To set the scene, I should note that in early 2005, my then-employer was a major donor to YouthAIDS, an ÒawarenessÓ organization that does some AIDS-prevention work abroad, but mostly appears to function as a sort of clearinghouse for the easing of the celebrity conscience. (For a sterling example of that, see its latest campaign.) One of its periodic publicity tactics is the sending of its celebrities on junkets to the wretched corners of the Earth: that's how Ashley Judd came to do a three-nation tour of Africa in the winter of that year. YouthAIDS invited the president of my employer, who didn't want to go (Africa-phobia being a common affliction of the less-traveled businessman). He passed it down to his subordinate, who passed it on to hers, who passed it on to me. For my part, several days in South Africa with a movie star sounded like a swell deal. And so I found myself on a very odd trip with a very odd person. Given that Ashley's ambitions of turning her online trip journal into a book have come to naught -- in part, no doubt, because the YouthAIDS staffers kept having to scrub it of bizarre details like rhapsodies on the tactile joys of cheetah testicles -- history must know the truth of that voyage. Or at least, my version of it.

And what, you ask, was travel with Ashley Judd like? For starters, there were the little things:

  • She obsessively wiped down her little VAIO laptop with alcohol wipes. To sterilize it. As she did after. every. use. (In her Glamour confessional, she did mention this as a ÒcontrolÓ compulsion.)

  • She was badly constipated, perhaps because she chowed down on Powerbars with alacrity. And she talked about it a lot.

  • She was prone to making pronouncements about her spirituality. After an interviewer asked her about it, she replied: ÒChurch and religion are SO important to me. The God thing, the Jesus thing, the Buddha thing, so important to me.Ó

    And then there were the bigger things.

    My first meeting with her was in the South African Airways lounge in Cape Town. She showed us this photo of her rallying the Cats fans at a Kentucky basketball game. She said, ÒHave you SEEN this photo? I LOVE this photo. We weren't doing so well, and so I came out at halftime -- even though I was on crutches! -- and rallied the crowd. And they SAY....Ó -- dramatic pause -- Ò....that that made the difference in bringing us victory.Ó

    Dumbly eager to ingratiate, and having swiftly realized that bringing up Ensign Lefler was a bad move, I responded: ÒOne of my friends sent me that photo, telling me what a big UK fan you are.Ó

    Her eyes narrowed, and she assumed a look of boredom and disgust: ÒMmm-hmmm.Ó She turned away.

    Days later, sitting across from Ashley at a pleasant little patio-restaurant on the sunny veld, I tried again: ÒMy wife wants me to tell you that she just saw De-Lovely, and she really liked your work in it.Ó

    ÒWell, yeah,Ó replied Ashley, as if I'd just announced a blue sky, ÒIt's a good movie.Ó

    Nothing quite seemed to work, and things only went downhill. One morning, just after 10am, I found myself in the lobby of our hotel in Johannesburg, waiting with the YouthAIDS personnel for a very late Ashley. I called up an acquaintance in town with whom I was planning to have dinner later, and in the course of the conversation, she expressed immense excitement at the nearness of Ashley Judd, whom she apparently admired. As she gushed about her admiration, lo, Ashley appeared, walking a bit aimlessly through the lobby, holding a steaming teapot in one hand and a handbag in the other. I should preface the following by relating that when at the RNC in 2004, Mo Rocca was actually generous enough to take my cellphone and chat with my wife for a minute (thus earning me some points on the home front). I figured I might do the same for this die-hard African Ashley Judd fan. Cell phone in hand, I walked up to Ashley, who wore a confused look as I approached. She pulled her handbag and teapot close to her, and I noted that the latter had a large WOMEN FOR KERRY-EDWARDS sticker on it.

    ÒAshley, I don't mean to impose, but would you mind saying hello to one of your South African fans?Ó

    She narrowed her eyes at me and snapped, ÒYes, I would mind. You need to give me some time to get the cobwebs out!Ó I apologized and backed away. My acquaintance did not speak with her adored celebrity, but she did get to overhear someone she knew annoy her. I ended the conversation and followed the YouthAIDS entourage out to the waiting vehicles. Ashley staggered forward, gripping her pot of tea and taking it into the car with her. One of the YouthAIDS staffers asked, ÒDo you want a cup for that tea?Ó She mumbled, ÒI have one somewhere.Ó But where? In that newly-rented Land Rover? She slouched into the back seat and disappeared.

    When we arrived at the clinic we were visiting, a couple of the YouthAIDS people came up to me: ÒWhat on earth did you do to Ashley this morning?Ó I explained, and they told me that she was feeling terrible. Make that TERRIBLE, in all caps. The poor woman had her massage at 7pm the previous night, and went to bed shortly thereafter. If this seems absurdly early, know that Ms Judd required a whopping fourteen hours of downtime -- most of which was sleep -- per day. But Òtraffic noiseÓ woke her up at 6am (which struck me as unlikely -- she was on the tenth floor of a well-appointed luxury hotel in placid, leafy Rosebank). With the appointed fourteen hours thus interrupted, she slept again till about 9:45am -- which meant that when I ambushed her with the cell phone, she had just awoken. To top it all off, she was now convinced that she had caught some manner of cold or flu from one of the YouthAIDS staff members.

    I need to add that this afflicted YouthAIDS staff member was a total trouper. She worked hard all day, despite her constant sneezing, sniffling, and coughing: three things Ashley Judd had not done once since awakening and seizing her teapot. The staff member? Sent home. Ashley Judd? She demanded the summoning of a Chinese healer-acupuncturist so she might be cured immediately.

    Now, let me remind the reader that we were in bloody Africa. There are many lovely things about Africa, and especially about South Africa. Still, continent-wide, the standard for a good day there is pretty set:

  • Do I own nothing?
  • Is my flesh rotting?
  • Do I have to sleep near or on feces?

    If you can answer no to all three questions, you have had a good day in Africa! The YouthAIDS staff scattered to the four winds, seeking a Chinese healer-acupuncturist for Ashley. Mercifully, the hotel staff knew of one. They'd dealt with American celebrities before.

    Slumming it for the shorties.
    Meanwhile, we went to clinics. We went to an orphanage. We went to Soweto. And we saw horrible things. Dire things. Things like a kid so poor he glided past us on a single rollerblade. Yeah -- one on one foot. That impressed me. And every place we went, Ashley Judd swooped down like a good Southern matron and hugged the small children. She cried with destitute mothers. She stroked the heads of poor black people. The photographers from Glamour and Conde Nast loved it. And then, she's back in the car, and Ashley is tired, and Ashley is sick, and Ashley needs acupuncture. I asked the YouthAIDS senior person whether maybe Ashley was a bit spoiled, and she told me the story of how Ashley refused to do their first promotional tour to Cambodia unless she was allowed to fly British Airways first class all the way. ÒThat's quite an expense for us as a humanitarian organization....but we ended up having to do it.Ó

    A profound love for humanity, but no time for humans: the very picture of the narcissist celebrity leftist.

    Fast-forward a few days. The road to the De Beers mines in Cullinan is a long one, and so there was plenty of time for Ashley Judd, teapot in hand and this time with a cup, to hold forth on the critical issues of the day to the captive audience in her Land Rover. I sat behind her and listened to her monologues on her constipation, her preferences in clothing, and her water temperature preferences:

    ÒYou have to drink warm water -- body temperature is best -- because otherwise the cold makes your gut clench up and the body has to expend energy warming it. That's why I never use ice.Ó

    No one, including those who understood that this was utter nonsense, contradicted her. After all, she also believes in qi energy and the manipulation thereof by healer-acupuncturists. And that's not all she believes in:

    ÒWe got this little wood ring....what was the tree called? Anyway, you burn it because, according to African folklore, it wards off evil spirits. Sort of like Native Americans and sage -- which I carry lots of and burn all the time.Ó

    And then there was her little amulet around her neck:

    ÒThat? That's Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of Montana.Ó

    No further explanation was offered. The amulet, by the bye, rested underneath another, cross-shaped one. [Ed. note: as I look up Lakshmi, I see that she is sometimes perceived as the Hindu goddess of money, so in fairness, perhaps I mis-heard that one.]

    And then there was her participation in the great moral struggles of the modern era:

    ÒI was so thrilled to meet Bishop Tutu. He has been such a hero to me. I used to listen to records of his speeches smuggled out in the 1980s. He so inspired me, with his fight against these forces that totally perverted and distorted what spirituality and religion are supposed to mean. I really think that his fight then echoes my fight today in my own country. I've gone and spoken with so many of these Evangelicals and these conservative churches, trying to open their eyes to what faith is supposed to be about.Ó Sigh. ÒIt's so much like Bishop Tutu's struggle.Ó

    Historical NB: in the 1980s, Bishop Desmond Tutu was internationally known and his speeches were widely available. Furthermore, no one smuggled anything out on records. I'm just saying. On the positive side of things, Judd is one of the few Americans I've spoken with to appear to grasp that apartheid was at bottom a theological problem: although comparing the Afrikaner perversion of Dutch Calvinism with Christian conservatism in the United States is damned foolish.

    In time, Ashley fell silent and began to brood. The other women in the car started complaining about how the Bush Administration makes NGOs receiving aid sign a pledge that they don't support prostitution. YouthAIDS founder Kate Roberts fumed, ÒThat's fucking ridiculous!Ó

    ÒWhy,Ó I asked, Òdo you think it's ridiculous?Ó
    ÒBecause it just stigmatizes and denies aid to a whole class of people, and it's an absurd precondition.Ó
    ÒYou don't have to eschew prostitutes,Ó I said, Òjust prostitution. It's not like you support that, right?Ó
    ÒOf course we don't support prostitution, Josh.Ó
    ÒDoes it deny aid to anyone or restrict your work?Ó
    ÒWell, no.Ó
    ÒThen why not sign it if it's just pro forma?Ó (Ed. note: because they are pathologically unable to accept anything at all from the Bush Administration -- even aid grants.)

    Like a descending Fury, Ashley Judd whipped about to face me. She barked, ÒWhy don't they ask them to sign pledges that they support gender equality? Equal pay for women? Education for women and little girls? Huh?Ó

    A deathly silence descended. Did I want to get into a shouting match with the avatar of Desmond Tutu-in-America? No. Ashley rolled her eyes, let out an exasperated sigh, and faced forward.

    We reached the mines and went into a local clinic. There, I sat across from Ashley Judd at a long table as we listened to a briefing on the facility. It was sweltering hot, and she shortly gripped her empty glass and looked around, mouthing the word Òwater.Ó I swiftly seized the nearby pitcher and poured Ashley Judd a cool, tall, refreshing glass of ice water. She looked shocked, and then glared at me. She released her glass, turned around, and pulled a bottle of (hopefully warm) water out of one of the YouthAIDS staffer's hands. She guzzled it all.

    For lunch, we went to a delightful open-air restaurant run by an elderly Boer couple. We drank rooibos tea and scarfed down biltong in the heat of a veld afternoon, and all was lovely. Ashley Judd regaled us with tales of profound human suffering:

    ÒI will never fly Virgin again. Last time, Dario and I were in the first-class section, and they seated us where we could hear EVERYTHING going on in the galley. Clink, clink, clink, the whole time. I asked them to stop, and the little motherfuckers gave me such attitude. It was horrible -- my husband saw what was coming, and he reached out to hold my hand, and I bawled all the way from Los Angeles to London.Ó

    Later, emerging from a Catholic-run mental-retardation care facility with some particularly horrific cases of human misery, she leaned over to confide, ÒMy sister could never handle this. Not like I can.Ó

    Ah, Wynonna. Fragile, glasslike Wynonna. Not durable and hardy like your sis.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Its a Quagmire!... Media Reports 6 Bogus Stories in 6 Weeks!

Gateway Pundit exposes the Real Faux News

On Monday October 29, 2007... The Multi-National Force Iraq turned over Karbala Province to the Iraqis.
This was supposed to be good news, right?
It wasn't.

The good news was drowned out by media reports that 20 headless bodies were found in Diyala Province.

On Tuesday, after there were already questions about this Diyala slaughter, TIME Magazine based their report on this horrible massacre:

The horrible discovery in Diyala Province Monday was disturbing even by the standards of Iraq's running sectarian violence. Iraqi police said they found 20 decapitated bodies dumped near a police station west of Baquba, the capital of Diyala province.
It was a lie.
The 20 headless bodies story was a hoax.
It never happened.

** There was never any evidence of this event.
** There was no official report on this event.
** There were no photos of this event.
** The Iraqi media denied this event.
** The MNF-I officials denied the event.
** The Diala Security Operations Chief denied the event.

TIME Magazine has never corrected their bogus report.

* * * * * * * * * *

On November 29, 2007... It happened again.
The Western media including the Reporters Without Borders organization reported:

11 close family members of Jordanian-based Baathist reporter Dia al-Kawwaz, who runs the online anti-Iraq newspaper Shabeqat Akhbar al-Iraq, were slaughtered in Baghdad. The attack occurred in the Al-Shaab neighborhood shortly after 7 a.m. Shia militia men shot dead two of Kawwaz’s sisters, their husbands and their seven children, aged 5 to 10. They then exploded the house on their way out.
This made headlines around the world.
This was a lie, too.

Two days later, the "dead family members" of Dia Al-Kawwaz appeared on Iraqi television smiling and waving to the cameras.

They managed to convince the Iraqi audience that they were in fact quite alive.

** Not one Western Media Organization showed this photo or film of the waving family members.
Not one.

* * * * * * * * * *

On Thursday November 29, 2007... The mainstream media reported that 12-25 "construction workers" were killed in a Bombing by NATO forces in Afghanistan this time.
The so-called construction workers ended up being Taliban fighters after all.

* * * * * * * * * *

On December 2, 2007... The Dwelah Massacre made major headlines.
In the reports 13 people were slaughtered by Al-Qaeda in their sleep and their homes were torched in the village of Dwelah, Iraq... including a young child.

This was also a lie.
MAJ Peggy Kageleiry from Task Force Iron PAO responded to the reports:

"The story you are reading in the news is NOT true... CF assessment: Wildly inflated, irresponsibly exaggerated claims-no 600 families displaced, no 200 terrorists, no evidence of civilian KIA."
It was just another bogus media report from Iraq.

* * * * * * * * * *

On December 10, 2007... There was an explosion at a refinery in Baghdad.
The media immediately reported it as a rocket attack:

A plume of smoke rises from Doura refinery after a rocket attack in Baghdad December 10, 2007. A rocket attack sparked a big fire at a domestic oil refinery in southern Baghdad on Monday but the plant was still operating, Iraqi police and officials said.
(REUTERS/Mahmoud Raouf Mahmoud)

Flames and smoke rises from al Dora oil refinery in South Baghdad, Iraq, on Monday, Dec. 10, 2007. A rocket or a mortar shell hit the oil refinery, early Monday, police and an Oil Ministry spokesman said. The U.S. military confirmed an attack in the area. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

However, the fires were not set off by a a rocket attack.
The MNF-Iraq Press Desk confirmed:

RELEASE No. 20071210-03
December 10, 2007

Baghdad refinery fire deemed accidental
Multi-National Division – Baghdad PAO

BAGHDAD – Multinational Division – Baghdad forces determined that the cause of a fire at the Doura Oil Refinery today was the result of an industrial accident.

The fire, which began around 9 a.m., was initially believed to have been started by indirect fire, but when units of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div. arrived on the scene, its cause was determined to be the result of a pipe explosion.
(The MNF-I forces have not been able to conduct a definitive crater analysis to resolve what caused the explosion.)

* * * * * * * * * *

On December 13, 2007... The media reported that 12 mutilated bodies were found in Muqdadiya.
CNN reported:

Iraqi soldiers have found a mass grave of mutilated bodies in a restive region north of Baghdad, a local security official told CNN Thursday.
It was another bogus report.
Task Force Iron's PAO- "This appears to be false reporting."

* * * * * * * * * *

In roughly six and a half weeks the mainstream media reported 6 bogus stories from Iraq and Afghanistan.
There certainly could be more.
They all reflected poorly on the US and US military.

Isn't it past time that the media be held accountable for their horrible record?

And... Is it really surprising that only 29% of Americans, Germans and Brits trust their media?

UPDATE: Doug Ross has more on The Real Faux News.


20 Years Since Its Founding Hamas Remains on Message

Some things never change.
As Hamas celebrated 20 years since its founding today in Gaza the organization remains clear on one thing...
...The annihilation of Israel.

Palestinian Prime Minister of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, waves a Palestinian and a green Hamas flag in front of Hamas supporters during a rally in Gaza city, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2007. (AP)

Not a bad start.
It only took 20 years for this radical organization to take control of Gaza. It took them less time to win an election. Just think what the next 20 years will bring.

Palestinian Hamas supporters burn Israeli flags during a rally in Gaza city, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2007. (AP)

A Sea of Terror:

Palestinian Hamas supporters attend a rally organised by the Hamas movement to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its foundation, in Gaza December 15, 2007. Hamas threatened to launch a new uprising against Israel on Saturday when hundreds of thousands of Islamist supporters rallied in Gaza City to mark the group's 20th anniversary. (REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)

The BBC said 150,000 people were in the crowd.

Hamas ladies came dressed in black except for their bombs:

Female Palestinian militants take part in a rally organised by the Hamas movement to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its foundation, in Gaza December 15, 2007. (Reuters)

UPDATE: Khaled Abu Toameh has more on the Hamas party at the J-Post.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Good vs Evil [God vs Science]

A science professor begins his school year with a lecture to the students, "Let me explain the problem science has with religion." The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.

"You're a Christian, aren't you, son?"

"Yes sir," the student says.

"So you believe in God?"


"Is God good?"

"Sure! God's good."

"Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?"


"Are you good or evil?"

"The Bible says I'm evil."

The professor grins knowingly. "Aha! The Bible!" He considers for a moment. "Here's one for you. Let's say there's a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?"

"Yes sir, I would."

"So you're good...!"

"I wouldn't say that."

"But why not say that? You'd help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn't."

The student does not answer, so the professor continues. "He doesn't, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?"

The student remains silent.

"No, you can't, can you?" the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.

"Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?"

"Er...yes," the student says.

"Is Satan good?"

The student doesn't hesitate on this one. "No."

"Then where does Satan come from?"

The student falters. "From God"

"That's right. God made Satan, didn't he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?"

"Yes, sir."

"Evil's everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything, correct?"


"So who created evil?" The professor continued, "If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil."

Again, the student has no answer. "Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?"

The student squirms on his feet. "Yes."

"So who created them?"

The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. "Who created them?" There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. "Tell me," he continues onto another student. "Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?"

The student's voice betrays him and cracks. "Yes, professor, I do."

The old man stops pacing. "Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?"

"No sir. I've never seen Him."

"Then tell us if you've ever heard your Jesus?"

"No, sir, I have not."

"Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?"

"No, sir, I'm afraid I haven't."

"Yet you still believe in him?"


"According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?"

"Nothing," the student replies. "I only have my faith."

"Yes, faith," the professor repeats. "And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith."

The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of His own. "Professor, is there such thing as heat?"

"Yes," the professor replies. "There's heat."

"And is there such a thing as cold?"

"Yes, son, there's cold too."

"No sir, there isn't."

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. "You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don't have anything called 'cold'. We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees."

"Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit
energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it."

Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.

"What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?"

"Yes," the professor replies without hesitation. "What is night if it isn't darkness?"

"You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? That's the meaning we use to define the word."

"In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn't you?"

The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. "So what point are you making, young man?"

"Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed."

The professor's face cannot hide his surprise this time. "Flawed? Can you explain how?"

"You are working on the premise of duality," the student explains. "You argue that there is life and then there's death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought."

"It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it."

"Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?"

"If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do."

"Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?"

The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

"Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?"

The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.

"To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean."

The student looks around the room. "Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor's brain?" The class breaks out into laughter.

"Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor's brain, felt the professor's brain, touched or smelt the professor's brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir."

"So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?"

Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable.

Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. "I guess you'll have to take them on faith."

"Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life," the student continues. "Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?"

Now uncertain, the professor responds, "Of course, there is. We see it everyday. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil."

To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light."

The professor sat down.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

An Open Letter to NBC's Jeff Zucker

Jeff Zucker
President and Chief Executive Officer, NBC Universal
30 Rockefeller Plaza
12th Floor
New York, NY 10112

Dear Mr. Zucker,
My name is Xxxxxx Xxxxxxx. I've served in the military over seas. I know how hard it is to be away from family during the holidays. I can remember how the slightest mention or reminder of home, family, or loved ones would send my stomach and my emotions into full throttled anxiety. The feeling was an unbearable reminder of the overdose of loneliness I regularly experienced. But whenever I heard from home, in a letter or on the telephone, it was like a huge burden was lifted off my shoulders making my job much easier.

That is why when I heard about NBC's refusal to air a holiday advertisement meant to thank troops for serving overseas I could not stay silent. NBC's rejection of Freedom’s Watch's ad because the web address appears in the TV spot might be well intentioned company policy. However, not airing the ad while following that policy does more harm than good. The policy, however well intentioned, should be waived in this instance. Our military deserve to hear from America during this holiday season telling them thank you. Trust me, the comfort this will bring them will be priceless. And NBC, and you, Mr. Zucker, would be giving them a great Christmas gift by not enforcing this policy just this once. Please reconsider?

Sadly, and with deep regret, if NBC doesn't waive their policy, which is NBC's absolute right, I will have no choice but to officially disassociate myself, and my business with anything involving or relating to GE and NBC Universal. I will not watch your programming. I will not buy your products. I will not recommend your products. And I will officially, for ever after, associate GE and NBC Universal as an organization that holds American military members in less regard than a somewhat meaningless company policy. I hope this will not be the case.

I own a chain of preschools. And on a daily basis I personally interact with hundreds, and sometimes thousands of military and non-military families as well as service members. Unfortunately, I will not in good conscience stay silent on this issue. I will have no choice but to bring this situation to the attention of every person I come into contact with. I will use my limited but fairly significant platform to inform everybody I can about this unfortunate decision by NBC. I will also, respectfully, call for a boycott of GE's products which will include NBC Universal. And because my schools produce a bi-weekly newsletter that's sent out to all parents and guardians I will be sure and include this story in it as well as a detailed list of GE products they may choose to boycott.

This isn't something done for personal gain. Nor is it a political vendetta or revenge of any kind. This is an attempt by myself to get NBC to waive, just this once, a policy that hurts our military members serving over seas. In fact, any actions taken on this matter will be an unwelcome inconvenience on my part. But knowing first hand the feelings of sadness from being away from family during the holidays gives me more of a perspective on this matter, therefore I know it's importance. There is no way to repay our military and their families for them sacrificing so much. Telling them thank you this holiday during these trying times is a start that NBC should gladly embrace. Please reconsider your policy for the sake of our military members?

Thank you for your prompt attention to this request.
Very Truly Yours,

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx