Monday, July 18, 2011

July 18, 2011

     I was rooting for the Americans, of course, since I am one.  But now that it's over, I'm kind of glad Japan won the Women's World Cup.  If ever a country needed a reason for feeling pride and joy, it's they.
     I mean, what an awful year they've had--the earthquake, the tsunami, radiation leaking here and there from nuclear power plants around the country--surely after a run like that, any country deserves for some big thing to go right.  For Japan, it did.  Congratulations, ladies, I'm for you.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 12, 2011

     "The News of the World" has closed after 168 years.  It was the sleaziest, sexiest, most outrageous of all of London's tabloid newspapers, all of which are sleazier, sexier and more outrageous than ours.  I lived in London for a while, many years ago, and I loved it. 
     In the 1960s I remember perhaps the most wonderfully outrageous sex scandal ever:  Britain's Minister for War, Sir John Profumo, was sleeping with Christine Keeler who was sleeping with an official at the Soviet Embassy.  Sex, spies, Cold War secrets!  How could you beat it?  The News of the World loved it too.
     They've had lots of winners since.  The final headline was "Thank you and Goodbye," but the front page included smaller headlines noting past triumphs:  "Chief of Defense in Sex and Security Scandal," "Duke and the Hooker," "Runaway Bishop Confesses All" and the like.
     The paper closed because of a scandal that involved hacking into people's telephones.  The final edition included an editorial apology, but still included the words, "World's Greatest Newspaper, 1843-2011."  One critic called it "grandly sustained by an eternal cast of randy vicars, misbehaving politicians and adulterous celebrities," but added it was part of Britain's "sense of collective identity."
     Right.  I'm sorry it's gone.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 7, 2010

     So many Republicans running for president this year!  One recent story lists nine announced candidates.  I can't remember a bigger field.
     Alphabetically (how else?) they are:  Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain,  former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.  And a couple of others may join in--Sarah Palin, John McCain's running-mate in 2008 and Texas Governor Rick Perry.  Wow!  The early states may need to print bigger ballots.
     Who's ahead?  Hard to know. The Democrats will renominate Barack Obama, of course;  I don't think a party has ever dumped a sitting president.  The GOP?  Polls says Mitt Romney is the frontrunner, but that can change.  I remember 1972, when the early Democratic frontrunner was a senator from Maine named Ed Muskie.  The eventual nominee, of course, was a senator from South Dakota named George McGovern.
     And if you're thinking about running, jump in. The Iowa caucuses are still six months off. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July 6, 2011

      In 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men (Americans of course) to walk on the moon, I covered the flight for CBS News from NASA's Manned Spaceflight Center, just outside Houston, Texas.  We all, employees and reporters alike, thought it the start of something big.  We wondered:  How long before we reach Mars or maybe Jupiter?   We were, of course, all wrong.
     The American manned space flight program ends with the launch Friday of the last scheduled space shuttle flight.   I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad one.
     We Americans want our government to pay for many different things:  Social Security for us old folks, food stamps for the hungry, the best weapons for our military, and so on and on and on.  Can't do it all without taxing us to death?   Probably true.   Have to pick and choose?  Certainly.  Where should a space program come?  I'm not a bit sure.
     I'm probably enough of an old-fashioned liberal to think that helping the poor and hungry should be high on the list along with health care and education.  But you could certainly have a swell national argument about all that.
     Maybe we should.