Programming note: Tonight, Saturday, I'll be joining Judge Jeanine, the cable weekend ratings powerhouse (and one of my favorite hosts), live coast to coast across America at 9pm Eastern/6pm Pacific - with a rerun at midnight Eastern. Hope you'll join us!
~There are subjects too unbearably sad to fit within the breezy disposability of daily commentary, and one such is the tragic life and death of Alfie Evans. All this last week, the fate of one English toddler has played out in the world's press, if not so much that of Britain. As I wrote on the tenth anniversary of the judicial liquidation of Terri Schiavo:
I found the idea of a probate judge sentencing persons to death deeply unsettling - and that was at a time before Mann vs Steyn and other matters made me personally aware of the appallingly low quality of jurists. The hospital ceased feeding Mrs Schiavo on March 18th and settled back to watch her spend two weeks starving to death.
In my 2005 column, published four days before Mrs Schiavo succumbed, I put it this way:
This is not a criminal, not a murderer, not a person whose life should be in the gift of the state.
There is no compelling reason to kill her.
Likewise there is no compelling reason for the British state to kill Alfie. So, when the Pope has championed his cause and the Italian government has conferred citizenship upon him and there is a plane standing by to fly him to the Continent, why not err on the side of generosity? Why not let his parents enjoy whatever extra time may remain with their helpless child? Why is it so necessary for the British bureaucracy to be seen to kill this two-year-old on their timetable?
One might almost get the impression that the state's determination to teach British parents who's really in charge overrides other considerations. One notes, for example, the weird obsession of the High Court judge who passed Alfie's death sentence with aspects of the Evans' public campaign and their supporters - a topic entirely irrelevant to any point of law but one which Mr Justice Hayden lacks the self-discipline to stay silent on. And, as with almost any other story out of the United Kingdom these days, this tragedy would not be complete without the thuggish boobs of Her Majesty's constabulary clamping down on any errant Tweeters opposing the diktat of the authorities.
Alfie Evans died in the early hours of Saturday morning. We were told that there was no miracle awaiting in England, Italy or elsewhere for poor little Alfie. Two-thirds of his brain had been eaten away. But, in the grander scheme of things, it is not the baby but Mother England that seems increasingly brain-dead, and for whom it might be kindest simply to unplug...
~If England has no future, its great prodigal son will soon have no past: I wrote last fall about how the Commisars of Statuary had decided America's first great songwriter could no longer be honored in his home town:
Stephen Foster's songs were uniquely popular on both sides of the Civil War, but he seems less likely to survive the cold Civil War of 21st century America. And so the cultural vandals, who cannot create but can only destroy, scent another victory.
The Foster statue showed the white songwriter with a black banjo-player in an apparently subordinate position. So on Thursday in Pittsburgh it was removed and placed in storage. But don't worry:
A statue honoring an African-American woman will be put up in its place. Residents can submit nominations.
I vote for Joy Reid with a terrified twink bottom at her feet.
~SteynOnline readers will know Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer from their appearance last year on The Mark Steyn Show, at the time of their bestselling book on Foster's fellow Pennsylvanian Kermit Gosnell - a record-breaking mass murderer who couldn't make the papers. Ann and Phelim are multi-threats: they do books, films, plays - all on stories ripped from the headlines, as they say, but which are ideologically problematic for more conventional artists. Their latest project is a stage production that opens next month in San Francisco, and sees them returning to the same subject as the film that brought them to global attention - Big Climate, and its muscle. Here's how Phelim explains The $18-Billion Prize:
It tells the story of a lawsuit, led by New York lawyer Steven Donziger, against the Chevron oil company. The lawsuit alleged Chevron destroyed the rainforest in Ecuador and poisoned the natives. It was successful, and an Ecuadorian court awarded the plaintiffs a staggering $18 billion. Yes, BILLION. This was the biggest ever award in a civil court, but it was ALSO the biggest fraud in history.
Haven't heard about it?? Funny. The same media that reported endlessly on the so-called "pollution" went pretty quiet when the case turned out to be a fraud. And a load of Hollywood celebrities who helped promote the fraud have also gone very quiet recently. Yes I'm talking about you Sting, Mia Farrow and Danny Glover.
Phelim wrote this latest piece with Jonathan Leaf, whose play The Caterers I greatly enjoyed in New York a decade or so back. It opens at the Phoenix Theatre in San Francisco in three weeks' time and, as with the Kermit Gosnell project, he's crowdfunding the costs of this world premiere via indiegogo. Phelim's last play, Ferguson, caused a lot of fireworks, not least among its cast. So, if you'd like to support work that challenges the soporific virtue-signaling of a complacent Broadway and Hollywood, you can chip in here from ten bucks and up. You won't regret it.
Meanwhile, in case you missed it, here's Phelim, Ann and me on the monstrous Kermit Gosnell:
~Thank you to everyone who came out to see me at the Ethan Allen Institute silver jubilee beano in Burlington, Vermont on Thursday. We had folks from southern Vermont and the North-East Kingdom, and Lake George, New York, and Quebec, New Hampshire and Maine. But I was also stunned to meet people who'd flown in from Toronto, North Carolina, and even Seattle - plus a couple on their way to the hotel swimming pool who stopped to get an autographed book. I signed over 400 after the event. One of those bleeding-stump nights for my poor old fingers, but I hope to be back at EAI for the fiftieth anniversary.
Next weekend I'll be in Lakeland, Florida with Mr Snerdley from Rush, and also in New York City for the annual gala fundraiser for CAMERA, an invaluable institution for the truth on what's happening in the Middle East. More details here - and please note the admission price is considered a tax-deductible donation, and you can get $50 off if you enter promo code MARK. The following month, as some Canadian readers have spotted, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms will be presenting me with a great and very touching honor, the inaugural George Jonas Freedom Award.
In between New York and Toronto, I'll be in Las Vegas - not to pick up the Wayne Newton Award, alas, but to intervene in sleazebag scofflaw Cary Katz and CRTV's brazen attempt to evade their obligation to pay me (per my tremendous court victory) by suing themselves into pseudo-bankruptcy. Oddly enough, the court reporter of The Las Vegas Review-Journal has written a story that pretends to take Katz's suit against CRTV seriously:
Las Vegas billionaire sues conservative media outlet over $20M loan
Just to underline the timeline here:
1) Nine days ago, on Thursday April 19th, Judge Bransten of the New York Supreme Court upheld my victory in Katz and CRTV's suit against me in full;
2) The following day, Friday April 20th, in Clark County District Court, Katz sued his own company for $20 million.
If you want to know what's really going on, you can read our intervention here.:
To be clear, this action is nothing more than a cover for the fraudulent conveyance of funds from CRTV to Katz.
Judge Kishner will hear our motion against deadbeat Katz's phoney-baloney bullsh*t self-suing suit on May 29th.
~As for this weekend, I'll be back later today with our Saturday movie date, followed by my appearance with Judge Jeanine. Tomorrow morning we'll have a Sunday video bonus for Mark Steyn Club members, and, for those who find me less stressful in non-visual formats, check in Tuesday for an audio-only Clubland Q&A live around the planet. If you've a friend who'd appreciate the gift of Steyn, we've introduced a special Mark Steyn Club Gift Membership that lets you sign up a chum for the Club. You'll find more details here - and don't forget, over at the Steyn store, our Steynamite Specials on books and much more.