Morning News: Where to Begin?

The Times is probably the same paper every day; it’s I who change. Most mornings, I can’t get the turnip to bleed; the very newsprint seems to be reverting to its aboriginal sawdust in my hands. This morning, however, is different.

¶ Sharing page A18 are stories about Fundamentalist Mormons and Liberal Episcopalians. Warren F Jefffs, son of the redoubtable Rulon, has been convicted as an accomplice to rape. All he did was arrange the marriage of a fourteen year-old girl to a cousin whom she didn’t care for. He wasn’t even in the room! But he wasn’t allowed to hide behind the fig-leaf of religious expression, either.

The prosecutor, Brock Belnap, said religion was not only irrelevant, but also a deliberate distraction that he said the defense was trying to inject to cloud jurors’ judgment. He said after the verdict that he expected an appeal.

As for the Episopalians, they seem prepared to bury their hatchets (if not very deeply) to repel the obnoxious intrusions of primarily Third-World brethren within the Worldwide Anglican Community.

Contrary to recent news reports that the conservatives were close to forming a unified new structure, Bishop Minns said there were no plans to announce the formation of a new Anglican body that would consolidate all the conservative groups that have broken with the Episcopal Church under one umbrella.

¶ Then, there’s the “What Can We Do About Protecting Our Kiddies From These Sociopathic Rap Lyrics” perennial. This would not be a particularly interesting story if it were not for the craven self-interested testimony of “industry” executives.

Under questioning, Mr. Bronfman and Doug Morris, chairman of the Universal Music Group, stood by the industry’s existing method of handling explicit content, including the voluntary labeling of graphic CDs with parental-advisory stickers. Though they defended the industry’s practices, Mr. Bronfman and Mr. Morris lamented that efforts to restrict young listeners’ access to explicit music had become futile amid the proliferation of copyrighted songs and videos online.

In other words, it’s the government’s fault for not granting the “industry” even more rapacious intgellectual-property rights than it already rather feudally enjoys.

¶ The only story with no sex oomph – and this is odd, considering the source, is Marc Santora’s “Candidates Battle the Slow Season for Fund-Raising.”

Mr. Giuliani seems to have outdone other campaigns with his effort in Kazakhstan, a country made famous, or infamous, by the movie “Borat,” starring the British comedian Sasha Baron Cohen. Though only Americans can contribute to presidential campaigns, Kazakhstan has many American oil and gas workers in addition to an office of the law firm where Mr. Giuliani was a partner, Bracewell & Giuliani of Houston.

He will appear in a videoconference, the campaign said.

His fund-raising there is raising eyebrows among human rights activists, primarily because President Nursultan Nazarbayev has been accused of being antidemocratic and abusing individual rights.

I’ll bet you anything that Mr Nazarbayev has an excellently-stocked humidor.

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