Reene Zellweger, the squinty-eyed, chipmunk-cheeked actress who achieved fame in such films as “Jerry Maguire” and “Bridget Jones’ Diary,” emerged from a period of relative seclusion this week looking like someone else entirely. The consensus was that the 45-year-old had undergone radical cosmetic surgery—not the face destroying kind that actresses like Meg Ryan or Priscilla Presley inflicted on themselves, but the “I don’t care if my mother won’t recognize me, at least I don’t look old” kind. When an actor or an actress does this, since their faces are their trademarks, it is bound to make an impression, and it has.
It is a tragic spectacle illustrating the degree to which American culture elevates looks above accomplishments, individuality, integrity and character, especially for women. Zellweger, whom I foolishly assumed was immune to this sickness since she was so unconventional looking, is obviously a victim, but now she is part of a cultural contagion. A fish doesn’t know that it is in water, and culture is like that water, completely constraining our attitudes, culture and choices without our knowledge or control. When celebrities, who have influence far beyond what their wisdom, virtues and value should rightfully support, and who are seen as being experts in the matter of appearance, send the message to the young and contemporaries that even the forfeiture of one’s identity is a fair price to pay to avoid the signs of natural aging, that pollutes our water.
And poisons the other fish. Continue reading
Radley Balko, the libertarian investigative reporter, reports in his Washington Post column on a sentencing anomaly I was blissfully ignorant of before, and was a happier man for it. He writes…
Think the government must convict you of a crime before it can punish you for it? Think again.Most Americans probably believe that the government must first convict you of a crime before it can impose a sentence on you for that crime. This is incorrect: When federal prosecutors throw a bunch of charges at someone but the jury convicts on only some of those charges, a federal judge can still sentence the defendant on the charges for which he was acquitted. In fact, the judge can even consider crimes for which the defendant has never been charged.
Balko was writing about Jones v. United States, in which the jury found three Washington, D.C.not guilty of a conspiracy to run an “open air” market for large quantities of illegal drugs on the streets of the nation’s capital, convicting them only of selling small quantities of the drugs, a relatively minor offense. The judge, however—think about this, now—decreed that his sentence could also take into account the conduct that had led to the more serious conspiracy charge —that is, exactly the charges that the jury had acquitted them of—gave the three men sentences ranging from 180 to 225 months, while the crimes they were found guilty of committing would justify something in the range of 33 to 71 months. Continue reading
Yeah, but this is little Big Brother stuff, so why worry?”
President Obama was speaking at a Democratic fundraiser in Chicago on Monday, and you know how he is when he goes off his teleprompter.
He was talking about returning home to Chicago, and said
“One of the nice things about being home is actually that it’s a little bit like a time capsule. Because Michelle and I and the kids, we left so quickly that there’s still junk on my desk, including some unpaid bills (laughter) — I think eventually they got paid — but they’re sort of stacked up. And messages, newspapers and all kinds of stuff.”
The White House, however, removed the “unpaid bills” part from the official transcript which was sent out after the event, so it now reads “there’s still junk on my desk, including some — newspapers and all kinds of stuff.” Associated Press reporter Josh Lederman noticed the deception and alerted another reporter who was at the event, who sent out an email alerting her colleagues and everyone else who receives reports from the White House press corps. Continue reading
Forgiveness can only go so far, even in a church, and even for its pastor.
“So we’re good, right? No hard feelings? No judging?”
In Alabama, Rev. Juan McFarland revealed to his Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church congregation, in three consecutive sermons beginning with Sunday Sept. 14, that he had sex on the grounds of the church with several church members, used illegal drugs while serving as pastor, stealing some of the church’s money and being HIV positive, which he did not disclose to at least one of his sex partners.
With all of this, he expected to stay on as pastor; after all, he had confessed his sins. It took a court order to remove him.
It never ceases to amaze me what individuals used to power and influence think they can get away with as long as they eventually confess and say they are sorry. (Of course, they all have the shining example of Bill Clinton…) How much misconduct did McFarland think his flock could and should forgive? If he admitted that he was operating a terror cell from the church? That he was a serial killer? A cannibal? “Never mind, my son: we believe in redemption. God is merciful and forgiving”
When trust so abused can be reinstated with just a pro forma admission and an apology, it becomes nothing more than a tool for liars and manipulators to prey on the forgiving and gullible. Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church and its leadership are to be congratulated for refusing to fall for the con.
Pointer: Res Ipsa Loquitur
Facts: AL 1, 2