In today's Washington Post, the major op-ed reaction to yesterday's terrorist bombings in Bombay is offered by Xenia Dormandy of Harvard's Kennedy School who until last August was director for South Asia on the National Security Council -- presumably the Bush Administration's NSC. What's odd about the piece is already evident in the subtitle, "Pakistan Needs to Respond to Militants." The term "militants" or "militant groups" appears four additional times in Dormandy's column. What's missing? Any use at all of the word "terror" or its cognates. Thus the Bombay bombings had nothing to do with terrorism, terrorists, or the global war on terror. For future reference, don't confuse 7/11 with 3/11, 7/7, or 9/11.
The Spectacle Blog
"Sources" within major league baseball believe that Barry Bonds will be indicted for perjury and tax evasion by a San Francisco grand jury when it disbands in the next few weeks, according to a report in the New York Daily News. I hope they're correct. Where they're not correct is when they write:
"A Bonds indictment, coming just two months after he passed Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list, would be a public relations calamity for the game."
On the contrary. A Bonds indictment is like a disinfectant, albeit tardy and incomplete, for the game. And on the more cynical side, it may spare Bud Selig and his minions from their true public relations calamity: having to congratulate this loathsome figure on breaking the game's all-time homerun record, when most everyone watching would know the achievement was a fraud.
Didn't get to this yesterday, but the Washington Post had an editorial endorsing bilingual ballots. At the end, the Post's editorialists state that they "don't doubt that many more people will vote, and in an informed way, if they know what they're voting on." Yes, and everyone in this country has a way to make an informed vote. It's called learning English.
What's missing from the Post's editorial is the fact that few things divide a nation more than the lack of a common language. There's nothing wrong with citizen's knowing more than one tongue--I'm all for it. But all citizens should know one common language. Look at Canada (Quebec, specifically) for what can happen when a country has a large swath of citizens who cannot speak the same language as the majority.
And don't expect anything close to "tear down this wall." While Vladimir Putin resurrects a Russian dictatorship, what does President Bush have to say about it in advance of his St. Petersburg G-8 trip?
He still speaks about his "good friendship" with Putin. Is Russia blackmailing the region using energy? "That's not an issue we worry about here at home. That's an issue that the European leaders are going to have to work through." The Marshall Plan, it ain't.
Christopher Hitchens's recent quip on Russia hosting a gathering of "industrial democracies" comes to mind: the country "is neither advanced nor a democracy."
The allied plan for overthrowing Fascism in Europe involved striking at what Churchill called the Continent's "soft underbelly," which then was to be found, courtesy of Mussolini, in the central Mediterranean. Now that vulnerable flank is more squarely situated in the Black Sea. Since summer of last year I have suggested here at AmSpec that (a) the EU ought to expand to include Turkey, but at a finely regimented snail's pace, and (b) Georgia, land of the Rose Revolution, is critical to the success of the last united Western grand strategy -- the advance of the frontier of the rule of law and ordered liberty from its southeasterly flank in Europe.
Our own senior editor John Fund has a crucially important column today about how the Mexican voting system is probably safer than our own, and about the importance of improving our ballot security in this country. Well worth a read. Particularly important in the U.S. is that all states ought to require photo IDs for voting. Meanwhile, as for the Mexican elections, this paragraph from Fund's column, relating word from our friend (and acknowledged expert on just about all things political) Michael Barone, is particularly telling:
Michael Barone, the co-author of the authoritative Almanac of American Politics, spent a week in Mexico reporting on its election and the safeguards it has taken to ensure an accurate vote. "I have more confidence in Mexico's election procedures than I do in those in much of the United States," he concluded.
Well, Michael Moore says his new agit-propumentary about the health care industry, "Sicko", is about 3/4s finished. Money quote from the Variety article:
"We've spent the better part of the year shooting our next movie, 'Sicko.' As we've done with our other films, we don't discuss them while we are making them," Moore wrote. "If people ask, we tell them 'Sicko' is 'a comedy about the 45 million people with no health care in the richest country on Earth."
They have health care; they don't have health insurance. There's a big difference.
Looks like Moore is his usual "don't-let-the-facts-stand-in-the-way" self.
P.S. Take a look at the picture accompanying the article. Guess his dumpy, everyman look that he tried so hard to effect fell victim to his desire to fit in with the Hollywood crowd.