“The Brave One” traces one woman’s journey from victim to vigilante when her fiancé was beaten to death, and she was left for dead after being set upon by a three thugs in Central Park one evening. Leaving aside the fact that no sane or savvy New Yorker would walk in Central Park at night, Erica Bain (Jodie Foster) is the archetypical “enlightened” (read: liberal) New Yorker: She hosts a talk show on NPR called “Street Walk,” which takes listeners on a sentimental journey around New York City to recapture days gone by and preserve fading memories for posterity; is engaged to David Kirmani (Naveen Andrews) a younger man, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from India; and lives in a funky, not-quite-safe neighborhood in upper Manhattan.
The photo on the front of the New York Times was chilling: A crowd of Burmese fleeing from soldiers on a rain-slicked street, while one man in khaki shorts and a checked shirt — wielding a camera, the Myanmar regime’s worst enemy — is left behind. Pushed to the pavement by a soldier, the Japanese journalist is killed with a shot through the heart. Subsequent photos and video show that the veteran correspondent for the APF news agency is left in the street to die. The images of the murder of Kenji Nagai will be to the Myanmar crackdowns as the Tank Man was to the Tiananmen Square massacre. In the face of tight media repression, Nagai tried to bring the story of the Burmese people’s fight for democracy and the vicious regime’s reaction to the outside world. And even though he died trying to do so, will the world pay attention? Considering the lackadaisical reaction thus far at the U.N., I’m not holding my breath.
An effort to change California’s method of allocating electoral votes has collapsed. Shortly after sponsors began gathering signatures for a ballot measure to adopt a district system, the major players suddenly quit. “The levels of support just weren’t there,” a fundraiser told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Friday marked the first of four days of face-to-face negotiations between a Serbian delegation and a Kosovo-Albanian delegation in New York, for a final one-sided attempt at compromise regarding Kosovo’s status. The meeting ended abruptly when the Albanian delegation opened fire on the Serbian delegation, killing everyone. The U.S. and EU condemned the resulting Serbian intransigence, pointing to the massacre as proof that independence for Kosovo is the only rational solution. President Bush announced that the slaughter of the Serbian delegation has made it necessary to once again bomb Serbia. On its way out, the Albanian delegation asked for Madeleine Albright to come in and clean up the place. [End.]
More than one-third of the people in the United States under the age of 65 had no health insurance for some or all of 2006 and 2007, according to Families USA, an advocacy group representing the uninsured. The most recent census data pegs the number of people in the U.S. without insurance in 2006 at 47 million people, but this is an annual snapshot that does not count those who had no health coverage for only part of the year.
John Dingell proposes not only a huge gas tax but also ENDING THE HOME MORTGAGE DEDUCTION for “large” homes–all this to fight global warming change. (Pause. Laugh. Roll eyes.) Now, Dingell’s not serious about any of this–he said as much over the summer on the Sunday talk shows. He says he just wants to get the discussion going–and, if my memory is correct, he also said that he wants to show others that it’s impossible to pass this kind of stuff.
It has been awhile since I wrote about the ongoing Great Asian game (here and here) detailing the competition for resources, bases and prepositioning of weapons. It is all very much reminiscent of the pre Great War period in Europe. But Daniel Twining hopes that The New Asian order’s challenge to China may turn out to be more like post World War II Europe:
I love that magazines have a lag time, known in the industry as lead time. It refers to the time between the month that an article is written and the month it hits newsstands or gets to subscribers. In the May/June issue of “AAA’s Travel’s Companion” titled VIA magazine, six essay finalists were announced for Triple-A’s 2007 Dream Vacation Contest. Readers were asked to submit essays about their dream vacations, and 1,800 readers responded. While the finalists were chosen by judges, the winner was to be chosen by readers; the six competing essays were printed in the issue. The third one, written by a teacher named Chondra Winger in California, caught my attention:
Take a look at the attached stock price chart and you get some idea what it must feel like to be one of the owners of the New York Times. Over the past couple of years, the poor souls who were trusting enough to buy into the New York Times Company have been repeatedly beaten with a stick. Stock in the Times Company lags the Washington Post, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and, worst of all, Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp by a mile. No doubt you can find a worse investment, sub-prime mortgage companies perhaps, but it would hard to do so.
…is of course September 11th, not July 4th or any other date when we might point to our freedoms were affirmed. And, yes, you are silly if you t hought that the Constitution was designed to cover America during times of war and peace.
I put out the flag on Sept. 11 in honor of the victims, who died in our stead, as our proxies, fellow Americans killed by those mad to kill any generic American.As I stood there, hand on my heart, saying the pledge, I snuck a guilty glance up the street, uneasy about how this brief patriotic ritual might be viewed by the neighbors.
Here’s a thought that’s been kicking around the back of my head for awhile: the assignment of “red” and “blue” to describe right-leaning and left-leaning political factions in the United States has stuck in part because it contradicts these two colors’ previous connotations, and to the benefit of the left and right alike.
No good deed goes unpunished is a credo I’ve heard for years. I call your attention to the plight of a guy whose life was changed or is about to be changed due to the simple fact that he went to a baseball game.Sound intriguing? It is, consider this fellow named Steve Williams in San Francisco. Old Steve goes to the ballpark with some of his buddies to just hang out and have a good time. Nothing wrong with that is there?
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spent much of his U.N. speech yesterday complaining of “bullying” by the West. Funny - in addition to its well-known bloody works in Iraq and Lebanon, Tehran’s meddling in Afghanistan is a major, and rising, menace.
Beneficence, the desire to do kind deeds, is the fundamental principle at the heart of medicine. Yet, one of the painful lessons medicine teaches is that good intentions don’t always lead to good outcomes. Occasionally, the result of good intentions is terrible tragedy. Two separate medical incidents reported recently, one involving the FDA and antidepressants, and the other involving UNICEF and contaminated drinking water, are painful reminders of that lesson.
Columbia University president Lee Bollinger exercised his free speech rights by giving guest lecturer Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a good tongue lashing. It is doubtful his words swayed the Iranian despot – “OK, OK, the Holocaust happened, and I will dismantle my nuclear program just as soon as I get back home!” - but with his tough talk “Bollinger had clawed his way back to semi-respectability in polite society by insulting his guest - not the usual practice in polite society, but consider the depth of the hole Bollinger had dug for himself by insisting on being a good academic liberal,” as Dallas Morning News columnist Bill Murchison put it.
Chris Deliso’s book The Coming Balkan Caliphate describes the ordeal of former OSCE official and Kosovo whistle-blower Tom Gambill as he tried to sound the warning about terror groups operating in the Balkans. In the process, Deliso sheds light on the difference between the type of soldier my erstwhile KFOR source is and the types of military hacks who muzzled him are:
Andrew Sullivan, once a wise maverick of a thinker, now has but two modes of argument: self-righteous and weird. In this sample of the latter, the once-worth-reading Sullivan imagines Hillary Clinton as some 21st century Napoleon with aspirations to control the Middle East (really), and imagines Republicans as subdued serfs-in-waiting, happy to cheer for Hillary because–wait for it–a pro-Iraq-war Democrat such as Hillary legitimates the Bush presidency. Wow. I mean, wow. The publication of such laugh-compelling gas-baggery must give hope-for-a-book-deal to every self-serious, tinfoil hatted yahoo with an opinion and an Internet connection (and a thesaurus).
In the high-minded and patriotic and not-at-all treasonous tradition of Sean Penn and Danny Glover, actor Kevin Spacey met yesterday with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Getting face time with the tyrant was a big score for Spacey, as he hasn’t had a serious movie role in years. Guess this was his way of reminding Hollywood that he’s still “relevant.”
Dan Rather toldThe Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz in a telephone interview that by filing his $70-million wrongful dismissal suit against CBS, he is fighting for “the red, beating heart of our democracy,” journalism.
Many have written wisely on the way that Columbia University’s president Lee Bollinger was unwise or, in Arnold Ahlert’s technical term, idiotic to have invited Iran’s dictator Ahmadinejad to a debate. Bret Stephens in today’s Wall Street Journal, the historian Arthur Herman in today’s NY Post, and Anne Applebaum in a subtle piece in today’s Slate have all pointed out the unwisdom of Bollinger’s decision to invite this murderer of students, homosexuals and Americans. However Bollinger’s plucky and eloquent performance has blunted some of the criticism - all pay some tribute to his words, and one of his strongest critics, the New York Sun’s editorial page, seems to have changed its mind about Bollinger’s actions entirely.