Monthly Archives: May 2008

Joe Lieberman To Headline Upcoming Hagee Summit

Senator Joseph Lieberman is scheduled to headline Pastor John Hagee’s 2008 Christians United For Israel Washington-Israel Summit this July 22. In accepting Hagee’s invitation, Lieberman became the most senior elected representative confirmed to appear at the annual gala. Last year, when Lieberman spoke at Hagee’s summit, he compared the Texas televangelist to the biblical prophet Moses, dubbing him “an Ish Elochim,” or “a man of God.” Unless he rescinds his pledge to appear at this year’s summit, Lieberman can be expected to deliver another soul-stirring tribute.

Hagee’s vitriolic condemnation of Catholicism, his jeremiad declaring Hurricane Katrina divine punishment for New Orleans’ hosting of a “homosexual rally,” and his generally disturbing apocalyptic theology became national news last February when John McCain accepted his endorsement in a widely publicized ceremony.
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My Interview With Pastor Hagee (and What Will Lieberman Say Now?)

During a press conference at the 2007 Christians United for Israel Washington-Israel Summit, I asked CUFI Executive Director Pastor John Hagee about passages in his book “Jerusalem Countdown” in which he appeared to blame Jews for their own persecution. Hagee was visibly piqued by my question, insisting that his statements were directly inspired by the Book of Deuteronomy. When I attempted to ask Hagee a follow-up question, a former intern for AIPAC, Kara Silverman, the former assistant communications director for AIPAC, cut me off.

Moments later, a team of off-duty DC police officers hired by CUFI surrounded my co-producer and I and demanded that we immediately leave the conference, threatening us with arrest if refused to comply. You can view my exchange with Hagee and the ensuing fracas at 7:45 of my video report on CUFI’s summit, “Rapture Ready:”

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Witnessing Republican Disaster in Mississippi

Last weekend, I traveled to Mississippi’s first congressional district, a bastion of Republican power that has been home to William Faulkner, Elvis Presley, and the scene of massive riots on the night James Meredith attempted to integrate the University of Mississippi. With the district in the midst of a hotly contested special election campaign, I probed the impact of a million-dollar Republican strategy to attack the insurgent Democratic candidate, Travis Childers, by linking him to Barack Obama and Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

(Watch one of the GOP ads here).

See my Al Jazeera English report on Mississippi’s special election

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Mississippi Values

I just returned from Northern Mississippi, where I probed the impact of GOP attack ads linking insurgent Democratic candidate Travis Childers with Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright. My piece, which I produced for Al Jazeera English, aired the day after Childers’ stunning victory:

Frank Rich’s American Daydream

This Sunday, Frank Rich reported some of the most exciting news that has appeared on the pages of the New York Times in a very long time. According to Rich, Americans are on the verge of transcending the racial and cultural rifts that divided them for centuries. There simply aren’t “enough racists of any class in America, let alone in swing states, to determine the results come fall,” the former theater critic insisted. This statement is so true that Rich did not even need to bolster it with actual statistical evidence.

Rich went on to announce that the rancorous street fights of the 1960s over militarism and civil rights have been neatly transmuted into “quieter social activism and grand-scale social networking.” “The millennials’ bottom-up digital superstructure,” he wrote, has enabled economically marginalized ghetto dwellers and indignant campus radicals to air their grievances with the simple click of a button. So sit back in your Aeron chair, relax and blithely tend to your Facebook page.

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50 Shots: The Sean Bell Demonstrations

This blog is still temporarily on ice as I finish up my forthcoming book (due out next March), but I wanted to feature a new video report I have just completed. Check out the video and a quick run-down:

On April 25, the three NYPD detectives who killed bridegroom Sean Bell the night before his wedding and wounded his two friends were acquitted of all charges. The undercover officers, who had riddled Bell’s car with 50 shots, claimed in court that they were scared by Bell and his friends, even though the men were unarmed and on their way home from a club. Detective Michael Oliver must have been especially frightened. He alone fired 31 shots, even stopping to reload on his way to killing Bell. Arthur Cooperman, a 78-year-old judge scheduled to retire next year (the cops were spared a jury of their peers), essentially ruled that the officers’ supposed fear justified their indiscriminate firing of 50 shots at Bell and his unarmed friends.

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