A WORLD reader urged us in an e-mail last week to "comment on the controversial interview on March 5 of Billy Graham." Cal Thomas responds on page 19, but the editors also found the comments of Carl Henry, former editor of Christianity Today and associate of Mr. Graham, enlightening: "Billy Graham's extension of forgiveness to President Clinton was premature: Mr. Graham lost a few important qualifiers on the way to public commentary. Forgiveness presupposes an admission of guilt and a request for pardon. Forgiveness is an actuality that God legitimates, and if Mr. Clinton is innocent he has no need of it. "Half the nation seems morally outraged by alleged misbehavior in the White House, while another half seems untroubled by what other citizens countenance in other houses: adultery, abortion, drug addiction, abuse, divorce, and violence. The sense of shame is vanishing. If Mr. Clinton needs to acknowledge that he is not above God's law, we do well to join in this confession and to reach as president and people for forgiveness and moral renewal."
Prosecutors in some recent, celebrated murder cases have had difficulty convincing jurors, but the men accused of murders in different parts of the country last week may have made the work easier. In Texas, Robert James Neville Jr., 23, and Michael Wayne Hall, 18, confessed to murdering a mildly retarded 19-year-old girl because, in the words of one, they sought an "adrenaline rush." Amy Robinson, the victim, was chosen because "she was the closest, the most trusting-didn't have to leave no bruises or anything like that," said Mr. Hall. "All the other people you try to take out there, they'd be fighting for their life." Both men admit they picked up Ms. Robinson as she rode her bicycle to work and drove her to a secluded field; there, they both admitted in interviews, Mr. Hall shot her with a pellet gun and Mr. Neville shot her in the chest and head with a .22-caliber rifle after she screamed in pain from the pellet shots. "She kept saying, 'Oh that hurt, oh that hurt' ... me and Robert just bust out laughing," Mr. Hall recounted. Both said they were white supremacists who had planned to kill members of racial minorities; Ms. Robinson was part Native American. But her father said he believed cowardice, not race, determined their selection of his daughter: "They were picking on Amy. They knew she would not fight. They are cowards ... spineless cowards." In Miami, a 12-year-old girl-sent to the United States by her Haitian parents, who wanted a better life for her-was gunned down as she waited to cross the street after buying lemonade and a Popsicle. None of the bullets struck the intended target, a man who owed the shooter $300, according to police. Three men were arrested; two of them-a 15-year-old and a 20-year-old-have confessed. The alleged triggerman, 51-year-old Raul Fonseca, has a 46-page rap sheet dating back to 1960. He is exercising his right to remain silent. Miami police detective Ervens Ford described the arrest: "These kids were laughing and carrying on. The driver was worried about when he was going to get home." One described the 12-year-old victim with a racial epithet. Said police chief Donald Warshaw, "These people are poison. They shrug their shoulders when you ask them: Do you realize you killed someone?"
The reporter who broke the 1993 "Troopergate" story that led to Paula Jones's sexual harassment suit against President Clinton-which, in turn, eventually led to the Monica Lewinsky investigation-last week apologized to Mr. Clinton for bringing up the whole mess. In a open letter to the president, published in the current issue of Esquire, former American Spectator reporter David Brock echoed the cultural cliché that what a public figure does in his or her private life doesn't really matter. "As the first reporter who leered into your sex life, I do know that I didn't learn a ... thing worth knowing about your character." Mr. Brock, a homosexual currently focused on fulfilling his six-figure contract for a book-length mea culpa, must not be paying attention to the news. The character questions raised in Mr. Brock's original 1993 story, in which four Arkansas state troopers claimed Mr. Clinton routinely had adulterous dalliances while governor, are front and center every day. White House officials welcomed Mr. Brock's apology; Jim Kennedy, a member of the administration's legal team, described it as "an interesting correction of the record." But, in fact, the record remains unchanged. At no point in his Esquire piece did Mr. Brock actually recant any part of his 1993 story. Although he now says he thinks the troopers may have exaggerated some details of Mr. Clinton's alleged sexcapades, Mr. Brock told CNN, "I can't point to anything specific ... [in the story that] might be wrong." In addition, Mr. Brock wasn't the only reporter who unearthed the Troopergate story. Two Los Angeles Times reporters actually began working on the story before Mr. Brock did. Their lengthy report, developed independently of Mr. Brock's work but containing many of the same details, appeared only one day after the Brock article hit newsstands. However, it was the Brock story in The American Spectator that led to the current chain of events. Mr. Brock included a tidbit about woman, identified only as "Paula," who in 1991 spent time alone with Mr. Clinton in a Little Rock hotel room. Seven weeks after the story broke, Paula Jones filed suit against Mr. Clinton, attempting to prove that she was not a willing partner in what she alleges occurred in that room. The now-turned Mr. Brock says he should have left "Paula" unidentified. "I should have removed the name." No doubt the president wishes he had.
What's in a name?
After Stephen Brodsky set up a page on the World Wide Web under the name jewsforjesus.org, Jewish evangelism met with intellectual property law in a New Jersey courtroom. Why? Mr. Brodsky wasn't connected to Jews For Jesus. Instead, he was trying to lure Net surfers looking for the ministry over to Outreach Judaism, a group that seeks to get Jewish Christians away from their Messiah. "Anyone who saves a single Jewish soul is as if he saved an entire world," proclaimed the renegade page, whose name was exceedingly close to the real site at jews-for-jesus.org. Over on the Outreach Judiasm site, anti-missionary rabbi Tovia Singer targets Jews For Jesus specifically; he sells his "Let's Get Biblical" tape series containing a digest of his teachings. Naturally, Jews For Jesus leaders decided that having their name promote an anti-missionary rabbi wasn't kosher, but they couldn't get the domain name away from Mr. Brodsky. Since the Internic, a quasi-private body that registers Internet domains, is loose on protecting trademarks, getting a particular .com or .org is first-come-first-serve, like buying vanity license plates. Trademark owners are responsible for keeping control of their name. So Jews For Jesus called in the lawyers. They sued Mr. Brodsky for trademark infringement. "Mr. Brodsky and others who wish to criticize our beliefs have every right to do so," Jews for Jesus executive director David Brickner said in a statement. "But they do not have a license to use subterfuge." Judge Alfred J. Lechner issued an 82-page opinion granting Jews for Jesus a preliminary injunction against Mr. Brodsky. "An individual may be a sophisticated user of the Internet but may be an unsophisticated consumer of information about religious organizations," Mr. Lechner wrote. jewsforjesus.org now bears a message declaring, "No website found at this location at this time." Yet the site is still registered to Mr. Brodsky, who is expected to appeal.
The debate over women in the military heated up again last week after Pentagon officials leaked word that top brass would oppose a commission's recommendation that men and women be segregated during basic training. House National Security Committee Chairman Steven Buyer criticized the service chiefs and planned hearings on the recommendations, saying current military training "is losing rigor and not instilling the warrior spirit" in recruits. That also was the conclusion of an advisory panel headed by former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Baker. Her commission urged last December that men and women be separated in the first six weeks of basic training and housed separately throughout basic and advanced training programs.
Another member of the Clinton cabinet last week moved one step closer to becoming the target of an independent counsel probe. A court gave Attorney General Janet Reno two extra months to decide whether influence-peddling allegations against Labor Secretary Alexis Herman merit an independent investigation. Ms. Herman is accused of having arranged, while a White House aide, to win kickbacks on consulting fees earned by a friend in return for helping the friend's clients.
It's just routine
Jack Kevorkian for the first time last week disclosed the number of assisted suicides he's been involved with. After routine police questioning, he told reporters, "After 99 cases, I can't recall each specific case. I've stopped taking notes on them."
Indonesia's national assembly gave President Suharto an unprecedented seventh term in office. As the 76-year-old head of state began his fourth decade in office, a stand-off with the International Monetary Fund over the country's economic crisis appeared to be going his way as well. IMF officials said they could accept a Suharto-backed currency board, a plan that previously led IMF to put a hold on its $43 billion bailout package. Half a world away, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni accused IMF and World Bank officials of "bad manners" in the hand-outs to Third World banking and businesses. Mr. Museveni said three decades of Western aid had led to "slavery" rather than economic improvement in Africa. "That is proof that the aid policy is wrong for Africa," he told a group of investors. "You do not put dead people on live systems, you bury them."
"Get rid of it"
The two high-school sweethearts accused of covering up the birth of their newborn son by killing him and leaving the body in a motel trash bin are sweet no longer. When Brian Peterson strode into the courtroom in early March, he looked straight ahead, avoiding eye contact with Amy Grossberg. Then, last week, 19-year-old Mr. Peterson pleaded guilty to manslaughter and agreed to testify against Ms. Grossberg. According to Mr. Peterson's lawyer, his client believed the baby was stillborn and put him in a plastic bag in the trash bin after Ms. Grossberg ordered, "Get rid of it. Get rid of it." Ms. Grossberg's lawyers contend their client never saw the baby and believed she had a miscarriage, which they contend puts the criminal responsibility on Mr. Peterson. Her lawyers say they have polygraph tests that back up her story. Her trial is scheduled to begin May 4. According to the medical examiner's office, the baby died of multiple skull fractures and shaking.
On James McDougal
"I feel like some of those people are fall guys, but I still like Clinton. I think [James McDougal] could have been a fall guy." -Texan Bonnie Burch, on the death on March 8 of James McDougal in a federal prison medical center, where he was serving a Whitewater fraud sentence. Ms. Burch offered her thoughts to an Associated Press reporter as she sat down at Mr. McDougal's favorite booth at the Arkadelphia, Ark., Western Sizzlin' restaurant the day he died. "There's no room in politics for friendship. There's only room for mutually advantageous alliances. Anybody who thinks any president is his friend better rethink his position." -James McDougal, in an interview last year, on his association with President Clinton.
Show me the money
Which is the U.S. government's most urgent problem? The Asian currency crisis? Or the international abortion-funding crisis? White House officials made it clear last week that the need to maintain the flow of money to the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the UN Fund for Population Activities outweighed other concerns. Congressional Republicans say they are willing to approve an emergency bailout bill that would pay $1 billion in so-called back dues to the UN and $18 billion to the International Monetary Fund to help stabilize Asian economies. But in exchange, they want to include a provision in the bill that would bar U.S. taxpayer-provided family-planning funds from supporting international abortion-promoting organizations. No deal, says Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.). "We're just not going to be blackmailed into accepting language that is totally unacceptable," Mr. Daschle thundered. He said his side would allow the bill to pass, with the expectation that it would go to the president and be "vetoed immediately." Wall Street Republicans are just as angry. "If we fail to act, we'll be sending a message that we're not interested in those markets," U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Thomas J. Donohue told The New York Times. "That would come under the heading of stupid." Coming under that same heading would be for Republican leaders again to cross pro-lifers. Shortly after Focus on the Family president James Dobson threatened to abandon the GOP (WORLD, Feb. 28), he sent a hot letter to Republican leaders outlining his priority list of legislative issues. "Priority One," Mr. Dobson announced, "[is to] defund Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations.... Over $900 million was awarded to the International Planned Parenthood Federation and similar organizations.... This is unconscionable...."
So you thought the debate over the National Endowment for the Arts touched a nerve? It was nothing compared to the firestorm unleashed by publicity last week of a federal art official's dissing the Marine Corps' Iwo Jima memorial as "kitsch." J. Carter Brown, chairman of the federal Fine Arts Commission, had argued before the panel against commission of a sculpture for an Air Force memorial. He wanted a museum instead. "I think we are going to get kitsch if we do that. And face it-I mean, on the record I would say that the Iwo Jima memorial is kitsch." Mr. Brown, who has been chairman for 27 years, made the statement four years ago, and virtually nobody noticed. But an influential congressman (and ex-Marine) is in the middle of a war against the Fine Arts Commission decision to place an Air Force monument near the Iwo Jima memorial. In fighting that battle, Rep. Gerald Soloman (R-N.Y.) demanded that commission officials turn over reams of documents. Among them was the transcript of Mr. Brown's remarks. The arts chairman hit the dirt fast. When he used the term "kitsch," Mr. Brown said he was referring to "the popular appeal of the sculpture, which as I say I think is one of the greatest." Mr. Soloman was not amused: "I know I don't need to tell a Harvard-educated, Washington insider like yourself that you only use the word 'kitsch' in the most insulting fashion." The New York congressman demanded Mr. Brown's "prompt resignation."
Fighting in Kosovo, a predominantly Albanian enclave inside Serbia, has escalated. An estimated 85 civilians-including women and children-were killed in a crackdown following battles between police forces and the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army. Diplomats have feared a breakdown in Kosovo, which could draw nearby NATO allies Greece and Turkey into the fighting, on opposite sides. Senator for life
Gen. Augusto Pinochet, Chile's dictator from 1973 to 1990, retired as army commander-in-chief last week amid pomp and circumstance. But as he was sworn into a life-long, unelected seat in Chile's Senate, he faced rioters, including fellow lawmakers. Mr. Pinochet put the perk into the 1980 constitution himself. Elections held hostage
Scenes in Colombia surrounding elections for Congress looked more like bedlam than any exercise in democracy. Turnout hovered at 30 percent as rebel groups threatened violence and shut down transportation. Ballots were burned, local officials in several remote areas were kidnapped, and voting was cancelled in at least 11 municipalities. Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebels claimed to have killed at least 80 members of crack counter-insurgency troops in fighting linked to the elections. Double trouble
The pilot and crew of a Marine Corps jet will face court-martial proceedings for a cable-car accident last month at an Italian ski resort. A Marine Corps probe found the pilot of the EA-6B Prowler was flying too low and held the crew responsible for the incident,which severed the cable holding a ski lift and killed 20 people. The crew was reportedly flying 300 feet above the ground at a point where it should not have been below 1,000 feet. The crew may also face charges by Italian authorities.