The week (August 18th): Nobody asked me, but…

Nobody asked me, but*…

BILL CLINTON turns 60 years old on Saturday. It’s had to believe that the Baby Boomer’s President is now approaching, well, old age (even if 60 is supposedly the new 40). Clinton is benefiting from what could be called the Eisenhower effect: Americans remember the eight years of relative peace and prosperity during his two terms (and not the personal scandal or foreign policy missteps).

And, no surprise, Clinton (46 when he was elected to the White House) is open about his dismay at growing old.

“BRING IT ON HOME” by the country group Little Big Town sounds just like a song by the Eagles, proving that Nashville is the only place you’ll find anything close to the country rock of the 1970s.

9/11 CONSPIRACY THEORISTS have to be disappointed by the recently released report from the inspector general of the Defense Department which found “no evidence defense officials intentionally misled the Sept. 11 commission when they gave mistaken accounts about actions at the time of the terror attacks.”

The New York Times editorial board looked at the inspector general’s report, a Vanity Fair article on U.S. air defenses on 9/11 and a recent book by the chairman of the 9/11 Commission and concluded that they painted:”… a picture of confusion as civilian and military authorities struggled to grasp and respond to what was happening. There was absolutely no evidence that any air defenders deliberately stood aside to let the terrorists have their way or that the military itself fired a cruise missile into the Pentagon, as conspiracy theories have suggested.”

WHEN I INTERVIEWED CHAIM RAMON in Jerusalem in 1991, he was a rising star in the Labor party; he struck me then as an intelligent moderate—one of Israel’s potential leaders when it came time for compromise and reconciliation. An ally of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and a leading member of the Kadima party, Ramon had been serving as Justice Minister until his resignation Friday, “clearing the way for him to stand trial on accusations he forcibly kissed an 18-year-old female soldier.”

It’s the sort of strange twist that no journalist (or for that matter, a novelist) could anticipate: Ramon’s troubles couldn’t come at a worse time for Olmert’s beleagured government.

A DOUBLE-HEADER Friday (and early Saturday) between the Yankees and Red Sox provides stark evidence that effective pitching is hard to find this season in Major League baseball; 41 runs were scored in the two games combined (both New York wins, 12-4 and 14-11). And there is no joy in Beantown.

CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER ANDREW YOUNG, is the latest public figure to apologize for making racially and religiously offensive remarks. Young, a former Atlanta mayor and U.N. ambassador, who had been hired to help Wal-Mart with its image, was asked in a newspaper interview whether he was concerned that the giant retailer causes smaller, mom-and-pop stores to close. Young proceeded to lash out at Jewish, Korean and Arab store-owners in black neighborhoods who, he said have “ripped off our communities enough,” adding “very few black people own these stores.”

Young later apologized and resigned from his Wal-Mart role, proving once again that thick-headed prejudice is an equal opportunity employer.

A THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK, from Irish writer Brendan Behan (1923-1964):

“I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer.”


*with full credit to Jimmy Cannon

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Copyright © 2006 Jefferson Flanders
All rights reserved

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