EXPORTING AMERICAN VALUES. Today in Baghdad, according to the Associated Press, gunmen stormed a Sunni television station and killed 11 people. "It was the second attack on a television station in the capital in as many weeks," reports AP writer David Rising.
YOUTUBE THROUGH THE AGES. There's an interesting piece by Sam Howe Verhovek in today's L.A. Times about trackers, those (typically young) campaign staffers tasked with carrying audio or audio-visual equipment to their opponents' public events and taping their every utterance. Their goal is simple: Trail after opponents in hopes of catching them saying something contradictory, stupid or malicious -- or trifecta: all three! S.R. Sidarth stands as America's most famous tracker, at least for the moment. But he's certainly not alone.
Everyone knows that the dynamic U.S. economy generates new jobs at a much faster pace than the sclerotic economies of "Old Europe." Well everyone is wrong. Since 2000, Old Europe (the EU-15) have generated jobs at a 0.9 percent annual rate compared to a 0.7 percent rate in the U.S.. This follows a decade in which job creation was considerably more rapid in the U.S. than Europe, but for at least the last half decade, Old Europe has been winning the job creation race.
AMERICAN POWER. Responding to a relatively unobjectionable Tom Friedmancolumn calling for "Russia and China [to] get over their ambivalence about U.S. power", Mattnotes that "ambivalence about U.S. power is a natural thing for Russia and China to feel."
LIBERTY SUNDAY. The crazy train is coming to town! I'd like to thank Governor Willard-Mitt Romney (R-Chameleon) for inviting these fine folks to gather right in the heart of that part of town where secular American democracy was birthed, especially now that his national party is attempting to put out a sexual bonfire at least partly by smothering it with the party's gay officials and constituents. I'd also like to thank him for demonstrating to every thinking American that he plans to run for president firmly on the Australopithicine end of the ticket.
LOST BEFORE TRANSLATION. This is the sort of statistic that I simply cannot understand:
Five years after Arab terrorists attacked the United States, only 33 FBI agents have even a limited proficiency in Arabic, and none of them work in the sections of the bureau that coordinate investigations of international terrorism, according to new FBI statistics.
Counting agents who know only a handful of Arabic words -- including those who scored zero on a standard proficiency test -- just 1 percent of the FBI's 12,000 agents have any familiarity with the language, the statistics show.
STOP! THIEF! I got your pre-emptive strike right here. With James Wolcott having declared war on this particular piece of soon-to-be-published-by-the-soulless offal, I feel it incumbent upon me to note that, if Dinesh D'Souza is passing off that cheap wisecrack about Tip O'Neill resembling the federal government ("big, fat, and out of control") as his own, he's not only a disreputable intellectual vandal, he's a dishonest one, as well.
AN ESTABLISHMENT OF RELIGION. If you've yet to take in the extraordinary New York Times series on the business of religion that Scottflagged yesterday, I urge you to take a look before it gets locked up behind the Times's pay-for-play archive walls. The multitude of exemptions enjoyed by religious organizations and their pastors that business reporter Diana B. Henriques has chronicled is truly amazing. Did you know that the Rev.
THE FORCED PREGNANCY JUSTIFICATION THAT DARES NOT SPEAK ITS NAME: Jill Filipovicfinds noted crank Bill Napoli arguing that "[i]f you vote to repeal [South Dakota's unconstitutional abortion ban], you'll be voting for the death of 800 babies that didn't have anything to do with rape or incest" and "[i]f you love babies, and see those cute little babies in the park, grocery store, mall, or cafe, think very carefully about your vote to repeal." Napoli (of "sodomized virgins" fame) is tryi
DEVELOPMENTS HOME AND ABROAD.The biggest news on the international front of the North Korean crisis appears to be China's apparent willingness to think about strong punitive measures. I'm not sure what to read into this, as "tough measures" undoubtedly means something radically different in Beijing than in Washington or Tokyo. Nevertheless, China is one of a very small fraternity of countries with serious influence over North Korea, so any indication of willingness on their part to use leverage is good news. I doubt, though, that any set of carrots and sticks will get Pyongyang to give up its remaining weapons. Indeed, the current level of tough talk is likely to push them into another test.