Saturday, December 25, 2004

Volume I, No. 4
edited by Victor Cuvo

Merry Christmas from the Weekly Journal of Opinion & Conversation

Reprinted from

Millions Mark Christmas Around the World
NewsMax Wires
Saturday, Dec. 25, 2004

A Palestinian Christian girl lights candles at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (AP/Wide World Photos)

LONDON -- Christians around the world celebrated Christmas Saturday with Pope John Paul II leading prayers for peace and a more tranquil future, as pilgrims flocked to Bethlehem, and Iraqis stayed away from church amid fears of bomb attacks.

In other corners of the globe, families gathered at home, revelers took their parties to the streets - and in Australia, to the beach. In his Christmas message, delivered in chilly, rainy Vatican City, John Paul shared his fears about the violence in Iraq, Sudan and other hot spots, and expressed hope that peace-building efforts would bring a brighter future.

Thousands, many cheering and waving flags, gathered in St. Peter's Square to hear his traditional "Urbi et Orbi" - Latin for "to the city and to the world" - message and holiday wishes, issued in dozens of languages.

"Babe of Bethlehem, Prophet of peace, encourage attempts to promote dialogue and reconciliation. Sustain the efforts to build peace, which hesitantly, yet not without hope, are being made to bring about a more tranquil present and future for so many of our brothers and sisters of the world," John Paul said.

In Bethlehem, a new thaw in Israeli-Palestinian relations drew several thousand more pilgrims to the traditional birthplace of Jesus, but numbers were well below those of the 1990s.

Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah, the senior Roman Catholic official in the Holy Land, called on Israelis and Palestinians to put violence behind them. Interim Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas attended the service _ in a change from previous years, when Israel prevented the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat from going to Christmas celebrations out of fears that he would advocate violence.

Christians in other areas of the world were cautious as they attended religious services.

In Iraq, only a few Christians showed up to celebrate Mass in Baghdad's churches because of fears Islamic militants could launch attacks.

In Indonesia, Christians celebrated Christmas amid warnings that terrorists linked to al-Qaida planned attacks in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

The Christian minorities in Muslim-majority Pakistan and predominantly Buddhist Sri Lanka, where churches have come under attack, also celebrated with police on alert. Authorities also guarded churches in Muslim-dominated Bangladesh. No trouble was reported.

In the United States, President Bush issued a Christmas message for his country's troops just days after an attack on a U.S. military hall in the Iraqi city of Mosul killed 14 U.S. service members as well as eight others.

"In Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, these skilled and courageous Americans are fighting the enemies of freedom and protecting our country from danger," Bush said. He called 10 members of the U.S. military around the world and in the United States on Friday to thank them for their service and to share holiday greetings.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II also spoke to her country's troops, who tuned into a special prerecorded message from the monarch, broadcast on the British Forces Broadcasting Service.

The queen praised the courage and commitment of troops and told them she was proud of their efforts in hotspots around the world.

"The varied tasks you take on in all parts of the world may be changing, but what remains the same is the spirit, good humor, courage and commitment you show everyday, often in the most arduous conditions," she said.

The queen's traditional Christmas message, to be broadcast on British television and radio later Saturday, would focus on themes of tolerance and respect in a changing world, Buckingham Palace said.

Spanish King Juan Carlos used his televised Christmas address to pay tribute to the victims of the March 11 train bombings.

The king said relatives of the 191 people who died in Spain's worst terrorist attack had his and his family's "deepest affection and understanding."

Many European cities were deserted Saturday as families gathered at home for traditional Christmas meals.

The mood was also relaxed in Australia, where backpackers headed to Sydney's Bondi Beach, celebrating in bikinis and Santa suits.

In Taiwan, a Frenchman who calls himself "Spiderman" marked the day with a daredevil skyscraper climb. Alain Robert, 42, made it to the top of the 101-story Taipei 101, the world's tallest building.

Reprinted from

No Room for Christ – General Education 101

Steve Farrell

Steve Farrell

Steve Farrell
Friday, Dec. 24, 2004
It seems hard to believe. But somewhere in the USA there are a few Americans who, after having passed through the halls of their local �higher’ education facilities, for supposedly a couple of decades, came to the conclusion that nothing anti-Christian, anti-capitalist, anti-American ever went on in their classrooms.

I know this because I received two nutty letters reflecting such sentiments this week. And so I assume there are more who feel the same way.

And I wonder, did they sleepwalk through their education? Or is it that they’ve been sleepwalking though life since the day they burst forth out of the womb, bottom first?

Or maybe they are just part of that naive �my country can do no wrong’ crowd, or that naive �there is no evil in the world’ crowd, or that naive �communism isn’t being taught’ crowd, unless the profs come out as open Marxists.

And the latter is so easy to do when one doesn’t read, when one doesn’t think, and when one trusts so many plaid-suited Honest Johns to take them to Heaven when they already have one foot in hell.

But as for everyone else – students, parents of students, and fellow educators who regularly write me about their concerns – they know how hostile things are out there. I’ve known it since I attended my first university class at UNLV in 1976, a 101 class on the Constitution.

It was supposed to be a lecture on the U.S. Constitution. It turned into a scathing attack against Senator Joseph McCarthy and anyone else who was anti-communist, pro-conservative and pro-American, given by a long-haired, slovenly dressed professor.

The only thing good he said about anyone was said about the North Vietnamese leadership, whom you would have thought were the George Washingtons of Southeast Asia instead of the mass murderers they truly were – and the former was precisely the position he took, and the latter, his description of our troops.

His closing remarks consisted of a sexual joke aimed at proving that Christians and conservatives were sex maniacs like everyone else, and thus hypocrites of the first order.

I still remember the line. I tend to believe that your kids have a few memorized also.

It drew the response he wanted from the auditorium-size audience. A loud roar, plenty of laughter, and the lecture ended.

I learned nothing about the Constitution, but a lot about public education.

My next class at UNLV was a Speech 101 class. You know, that dreaded class where you are assigned, perhaps for the first time in your life, to address your classmates with three speeches, one to inform, another to persuade, and another to convince.

By far the best presentation of the semester was given by a bright young man, the student body president, on what should have been a boring subject: food storage. It wasn’t. It was informative, persuasive and even funny. He received, of all things, a standing ovation from his classmates and a unanimous 4.0 vote for his grade.

The teacher, a young radical blonde, for the first and only time in the semester overruled the unanimous sentiment of her students and assigned the young man an “F.”

Her rationale? He had dared to mention the word “LDS” in his presentation. I had no idea what it meant, being new to the West. They were the initials for his Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

And so he had committed the unforgivable sin, he had said something akin to the “G” word, or the “C” word in a public setting.

Face it, the pro choice left has a sign hanging in every public classroom that says “Christians need not apply!”

My final �first class 101’ experience occurred in a more conservative setting, at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah.

Cedar City is a wonderful community, where old-time values still are believed and practiced.

But like so many other public universities, regardless of the moral outlook of the communities they are situated in, they succumbed to the direction of federal strings attached to federal grant monies.

With the aid of the ACLU, the university was �persuaded,’ once upon a time, at the threat of losing all federal monies, to fire nearly all of its social science professors, who looked like the community, and hire those who �looked more like America.’

My first class from one of those so-called Americans was a History 101 class on the Founding Era of our country.

The prof began his first lecture by quoting the Communist North Vietnamese constitution. He next informed these kids, who did look like the community, “You’ve heard it all your lives that the Founding Fathers came here seeking religious liberty.” And then, with fire in his eyes and fist pounding the podium, he roared, “IT’S A LIE!”

By the end of the semester, every single key Founding Father had his reputation scarred by this man, Washington being the only exception. “He was a good man,” he told us, “but he was an ignoramus. But that’s OK, that’s what we needed, we needed an ignoramus as our first president.”

The truth is everyone was shocked, at the beginning of the semester, by his approach. By semester’s end, he had them eating out of his hand.

Last I checked, this communist �look more like America’ ignoramus was still teaching at SUU. And no doubt, if the letters I received this week are indicative of the “all is well” attitude of some parents, there are plenty of PARENTS out there who are equally ignorant as to what’s REALLY going on.

NewsMax pundit Steve Farrell is associate professor of political economy at George Wythe College, press agent for Defend Marriage (a project of United Families International), and the author of the highly praised, inspirational novel “Dark Rose” (available at

For you West Coast night owls, every Monday you can catch Steve on Mark Edwards’ “Wake up America!” talk radio show on 50,000-Watt KDWN, 720 AM, 10 p.m. to midnight; or on the Internet at

Clinton's criticism
Robert Novak

December 25, 2004

WASHINGTON -- Bill Clinton, who has refrained from publicly second-guessing the 2004 presidential election, in private sharply criticizes John Kerry's aides and particularly campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill.

Talking recently to a close associate, the former president compared Cahill with Karl Rove, President Bush's powerful political chief. "That's all you have to know," Clinton said.

Former Clinton operatives who joined the Kerry campaign three months before the election clashed repeatedly with Cahill on tactics and strategy. She has been publicly criticized by James Carville, Clinton's 1992 campaign strategist who informally advised Kerry in 2004.


Although Rudy Giuliani may suffer politically because of the Bernard Kerik fiasco, it was George W. Bush who insisted on naming the former New York City police commissioner as secretary of Homeland Security despite derogatory information about him.

The White House vetting process did not uncover all of Kerik's problems, but it did discover a few embarrassing difficulties that were called to President Bush's attention. According to sources close to Bush, he was so fascinated by Giuliani's right-hand man that he brushed off this information.

Nevertheless, Republican insiders feel Giuliani was damaged by the Kerik episode. The former New York mayor would face an uphill climb for the Republican presidential nomination, and his sponsorship of Kerik makes the ascent even steeper.


Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell, facing a potentially difficult 2006 second term election in the state of Washington, may have mixed reactions to Republican State Sen. Dino Rossi apparently being counted out in the 2004 election for governor.

Democratic State Atty. Gen. Christine Gregoire was an overwhelming favorite for governor, but Rossi was ahead in the recount until court rulings favored the Democrats. The only proven statewide candidate for the Republicans, Rossi would be the GOP's best Senate bet against Cantwell.

Cantwell goes into the 2006 campaign in poor financial shape. According to federal filings, Cantwell's campaign committee on Sept. 30 was $2.5 million in debt with $264,000 cash on hand. She was elected to the Senate in 2000 by 2,229 votes, personally giving or lending $10.3 million out of her $11.5 million total campaign expenditures. Cantwell's personal net worth of over $40 million was devastated by a falling stock market.


The selection of rising star Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as keynote speaker for the 2005 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington has raised speculation about him making a Senate bid in 2006.

Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl, the multi-millionaire owner of the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team who self-finances his campaigns, has been considered unbeatable. However, there is no certainty that Kohl will seek a fourth term. Now 69, he is 35 years older than Ryan.

The keynote address at CPAC is usually delivered by somebody older and at a higher position in politics than Ryan, who at age 34 has served six years in Congress. (Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey was the 2004 keynoter.) A former protege of Jack Kemp, Ryan is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the leading supply-sider in the House.


The elation by a partner in the powerful Washington lawyer-lobbyist firm of Covington and Burling that he soon would be associated with retiring Republican Sen. Don Nickles of Oklahoma almost killed the deal.

The lawyer e-mailed selected friends to tell them that Nickles would be associated with Covington and Burling beginning in 2005, describing it as a coup. When the e-mail leaked, Nickles's alliance with the firm was broadcast on CNN even though the arrangement had not been finalized.

A furious Nickles said the leak killed the deal, but he was talked into calming down. He actually is starting his own lobbying firm but would be associated with Covington and Burling for special projects. Nickles has just finished a hitch as chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and before that was Senate majority whip.

Notre Dame Football Memories: Knute Rockne

Notre Dame Football Memories: Knute Rockne

Knute Rockne received a rude introduction to football.

As a young Norwegian immigrant to the Logan Square district of Chicago, Rockne first played the game with his immigrant neighbors on the sandlots. A slender and swift ballcarrier, Rockne broke away from his pursuers for a long run, a sure touchdown. But a rowdy group of fans for the opponents stepped in, stripped the ball away from his cradled arms and mistook his body for a punching bag. When he finally arrived home, his parents took one look at his tattered body and announced that his football career was over.

But a few bumps and bruises would not keep Rockne away from the game he loved for long. With his parents' blessing, he returned to the gridiron in high school and later emerged as the country's most respected, innovative and successful college football coach of all time.

After Rockne finished high school, he worked as a mail dispatcher with the Chicago Post Office for four years and continued his athletic endeavors at the Irving Park Athletic Club, the Central YMCA and the Illinois Athletic Club. By then he had saved enough money to continue his education and boarded the train for South Bend and Notre Dame. After a difficult first year as a scrub with the varsity, Rockne turned his attention to track where he earned a monogram and later set a school record (12-4) in the indoor pole vault. Those accomplishments gave him incentive to give football another try. This time he succeeded and eventually was named to Walter Camp's All-America football squad as a third-string end. During his senior season (1913) when he served as captain, Rockne and his roommate, quarterback Gus Dorais, stunned Army with their deadly pass combination and handed the high-ranking Cadets a 35-13 setback.

But Rockne -- who also fought semi-professionally in South Bend, wrote for the student newspaper and yearbook, played flute in the school orchestra, took a major role in every student play and reached the finals of the Notre Dame marbles tournament -- considered himself primarily a student. He worked his way through school, first as a janitor and then as a chemistry research assistant to Professor Julius A. Nieuwland, whose discoveries led to synthetic rubber. Rockne graduated magna cum laude with a 90.52 (on a scale of 100) grade average.

Upon graduation Rockne was offered a post at Notre Dame as a graduate assistant in chemistry. He accepted that position on the condition that he be allowed to help Jesse Harper coach the football team. When Harper retired after the 1917 season, Rockne was named his successor.

Under Rockne's tutelage, Notre Dame skyrocketed to national prominence and became America's team. With their penchant for upsetting the stronger, more established football powers throughout the land, the Irish captured the hearts of millions of Americans who viewed Notre Dame's victories as hope for their own battles.

During Rockne's 13-year coaching tenure, Notre Dame beat Stanford in the '25 Rose Bowl and put together five unbeaten and untied seasons. Rockne produced 20 first-team All-Americans. His lifetime winning percentage of .881 (105-12-5) still ranks at the top of the list for both college and professional football. Rockne won the last 19 games he coached.

Rockne, who was inducted into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1951 --the first year of inductions --revolutionized the game of football with his wide-ranging ideas and innovations.

Rockne was the first football coach to take his team all over the country and initiate intersectional rivalries. The Irish competed in a national arena. He challenged the best football teams in the land and almost always won.

Using his medical and anatomical knowledge, Rockne designed his own equipment and uniforms. He reduced the amount of bulk and weight of the equipment, while increasing its protectiveness. He also introduced the gold satin and silk pants that cut down on wind resistance.

Rockne foresaw the day of the two-platoon system and often used his "shock troops," a full team of second stringers, at the start of most games.

Inspired by the precision and timing of a chorus line, Rockne added the Notre Dame shift to his playbook. In the shift, all four backs were still in motion at the snap. Opponents were so dumbfounded by the shift that they couldn't find a consistent way to handle it. The rules board finally enacted a law against the shift.

Rockne also attempted to outsmart his coaching peers by downplaying his squads' talent. He never boasted about his team or its strengths; rather, he lamented his squad's lack of skill every chance he got.

Rockne believed that half of football strategy was passing, while most of his counterparts kept the ball on the ground.

But football was never enough for Rockne. He also served as Notre Dame's athletic director, business manager, ticket distributor, track coach and equipment manager; he wrote a newspaper column once a week; he authored three books, including a volume of juvenile fiction; Rockne was principle designer of Notre Dame Stadium; he opened a stock brokerage firm in South Bend during his last season; he was a dedicated family man to his wife Bonnie and their four children and for years raised much of the family's food in his garden. Rockne also made several public speeches a year and served as a public spokesman for Studebaker.

After the championship season of 1930, Rockne tried to get away for a much-needed rest and vacation. But he was needed in Los Angeles to make a football demonstration movie.

An enthusiastic flier and never one to waste time, Rockne boarded Transcontinental-Western's Flight 599 from Kansas City to Los Angeles on March 31, 1931. Shortly after takeoff, the plane flew into a storm, became covered with ice and fell into a wheat field near Bazaar, Kan. There were no survivors.

Al Capone....

Al Capone and friends, 1931.

Al Capone and friends, 1931. (CHS DN-95037)

Capone in 1930.

Capone in 1930. (CHS DN-91505)

Capone leaving the court building with attorney, Mike Ahren in 1931.

Capone leaving the court building
with attorney, Mike Ahren in 1931. (CHS DN-97011)

The jury took nine hours to find Capone guilty on five counts of income tax evasion. Capone's jury took 9 hours to convict him of tax evasion.

Political cartoon depicting Chicago's growing reputation for violence.

Political cartoon depicting Chicago's growing reputation for violence. (CHS ICHi-01829)