I've been travelling, so maybe I've missed something, but it seems like the news that the Iraqis broke their deadlock and formed a government this weekend has been wildly underplayed. Thank goodness for Iraq the Model: Omar reports on Saturday's session of parliament here. And Mohammed looks at the next steps in the political process here.
The Spectacle Blog
There's a whole lotta SGO today, and we'll be covering the top stories on the Hugh Hewitt Show while Hugh appears on Comedy Central's Colbert Report.
We'll be talking about the CIA martyrdom operation by Mary McCarthy, the president's speech today on immigration and the war, UBL's latest video love note and a whole lot more. Listen in and call in on 800-520-1234. See ya on the radio.
That's a puzzle, and I share your concern that more top players haven't signed up for English Turn. Of course, it's scheduling isn't as attractive as it used to be. That notable 1995 tourney that Love won to get into the Masters (Crenshaw's miracle) took place the week before the Masters. And New Orleans, if I'm not mistaken, has been moved around several times. That tends to dampen commitments.
On the positive side, the PGA TV promos for New Orleans are some of the best I've ever seen.
One of these days when I'm healthy, let's play.
Here's a note to add to Dave's excellent post earlier today. It's a paragraph from yesterday's Wash Post "Sunday Briefing" section: "The White House had hoped to win permission this year for oil and gas drilling off the coast and in the Alaskan wilderness. But $3 per gallon gasoline and record oil company profits have now generated such a backlash that any bill favoring the energy industry is unlikely to pass."
Okay, I know that I may over-write about two of my favorite cultural obsessions, golf and New Orleans, but I just have to get this off my chest: Too many stars of the PGA Tour are skipping this weekend's Zurich Classic, the New Orleans Tour stop being played at the Nicklaus-designed English Turn club (where I was a member for 12 years). As everybody knows, New Orleans really needs a boost, and the Tour was terrific in committing to return to the city soon after the hurricane. But too many of its stars haven't come through. Tiger Woods has NEVER played in New Orleans, and apparently couldn't even be bothered this time despite the good he could do for the suffering city. (Note: Tiger's father is quite ill, so he now may not play ANY tourneys between now and the US Open, and my wishes go out to him and his family. But even before his father's condition became a serious issue, Tiger wasn't planning to play New Orleans. Hence the rasberry for him.) Vijay Singh won there just two years ago, but he's skipping it. Ernie Els is skipping it. Ditto for Sergio Garcia.
We're so accustomed to watching commercials produced by a professional guild of arch pop craftsmen that the truly amateurish sticks out like a nail, even among the usual inanities and indignities.
Such is the case with the new mindboggling "Ride it like a Ford" campaign. Ford's great lowbrow hope is cheesed out and absurd -- even by its own standards. Full breakdown (no pun intended) here, plus priceless quotes from Americans who just aren't buying it (again, no pun, please).
For months, now, the most consistently insightful journalism about post-Katrina New Orleans (and its evacuees elsewhere) has come from New York, from the magazine City Journal and its ace reporter (actually, Contributing Editor) Nicole Gelinas, who deserves a Pulitzer and other big prizes far more than do certain NYTimes revealers of national secrets and Wash Post wardrobe critics. Here, here and here, are three of the many excellent pieces Ms. Gelinas has done on the subject. Her conclusions, boiled down, are that the solutions to the problems all involve creative, small-government approaches. In most cases, the best solutions are exactly the opposite, or at least the converse, of what FEMA and the Bush administration have done. (Donald Powell is a disaster as reconstruction coordinator, by the way.) Of course, LA and N.O. state and local governments have been disastrous as well; there is plenty of blame to go around.
Wish I could attribute this better, but I heard it in the middle of the night on BBC. They interviewed a fellow from something like Council for Free Islam, who said Hamas was seething over UBL's latest "interference." "Hamas doesn't want anything to do with Osama bin Laden," he said. "They want their relationship with the west." Because they need their money.
UBL's latest videotaped hate mail may be bad news for Hamas, the terrorists elected to government in the Palestinian territories. In it, bin Laden spews the usual threats and feeds the ideology that America's war on terrorists and the states that support them is a "Zionist-crusader war against Islam." But there's more.
Part of bin Laden's statement says, "the blockade which the West is imposing on the government of Hamas proves that there is a Zionist-crusader war on Islam." Two points fairly leap out from that one sentance:
ONE: bin Laden is equating Hamas -- a terrorist organization with the blood of thousands on its hands -- with Islam. Where are the moderate Islamic voices to condemn this? Or are they content to let his statement stand?
TWO: There have been many reliable reports that al-Qaeda is building operating bases in the Gaza Strip and possibly the West Bank as well. What will the Israelis do to root them out?
Last, and not least, how long will it be before the governments of Europe cave in and resume aid to the Palestinian government: the terrorists of Hamas?