In the 1994 movie Stargate, director Roland Emmerich presented us with an interstellar portal leading to a planet populated by ancient Egyptian look-alikes. Two years later, with Independence Day, he offered a genocidal alien invasion that was overcome by two guys spreading a computer virus. And two years after that, his Godzilla featured a 200-foot-tall radioactive iguana running amuck in Manhattan.
Jerusalem, Israel--The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, had planned on offering the usual complaints when he visited Prime Minister Ariel Sharon last week. There was the stalled road map, Israel's security fence, and the recently announced expansion of West Bank settlements close to the Green Line. But, before he arrived in Jerusalem, something happened that changed Lavrov's agenda: the massacre of Russian children by Chechen Islamist terrorists.
Well, at least we find out how it ends. After two installments and four hours of running time, Kill Bill finally reveals whether it will fulfill the promise of its title. Now we can all move on. Regular readers may recall that I was not fond of Volume 1 of Quentin Tarantino's epic homage to kung fu movies, spaghetti westerns, and Uma Thurman's feet. The good news is that there is less to dislike in Kill Bill Volume 2--no parents casually murdered in front of their children, no jokes about pedophilia or raping the comatose, a vastly diminished body count.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge by the Boy Scouts of America to Connecticut's removal of the organization from a state-employee workplace charity drive. The Court's decision attracted little public notice, earning just a single paragraph in The New York Times and five in The Washington Post. But the Court's refusal to hear the case was more significant than the lack of media attention might suggest. Back in 2000, the Boy Scouts won a major victory when the High Court, in Boy Scouts of America v.
In announcing yesterday morning that he would back a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, President Bush resorted--as he has often done in the past--to a favorite tactic of social conservatives: attacking the straw man of judicial activism rather than focusing on the merits of the issue at hand. Opponents of gay marriage have sought to frame the debate over their proposed constitutional amendment as a matter of shielding voters and their elected representatives--that is, state politicians and local officials--from the whims of allegedly activist judges.
Well before he officially launched his candidacy in mid-September, Wesley Clark was hailed as the Democrats' savior. Party strategists, convinced that the front-running Howard Dean would flame out against George W. Bush, saw in Clark not only a sensible political alternative but, just as important, an electable one.
Some two million Israeli homes recently received in the mail the 47-page text of the Geneva Accord, which claims to be the comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Accord, a European-funded effort secretly negotiated by Palestinian officials and Israeli public figures for two years--and signed in a symbolic, lavish ceremony in Geneva this week--states that Israel will withdraw to the 1967 borders, a Palestinian state will emerge with its capital in Jerusalem, and the two peoples will recognize each other's right to statehood and resolve the refugee issue.
In the next two weeks, the Supreme Court will rule, in Lawrence v. Texas, on the constitutionality of Texas's law criminalizing consensual homosexual sodomy. The case involves the arrests and convictions of John Lawrence and Tyron Garner, who were discovered having sex in Lawrence's bedroom when police responded to a false report by a neighbor that a man was "going crazy" in the apartment. The two men were arrested, convicted, fined, and jailed.