MJM Picture Link

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Thanksgiving News
November 23, 2005; Page A16

Judging from the opinion polls, some Americans think they have it nearly as tough as those early Pilgrims (see The Desolate Wilderness1 or And the Fair Land2). Not us. In the spirit of tomorrow's holiday, we'd like to take a respite from major policy combat and consider instead a few of the many things we're grateful for. Such as:

Eliot Spitzer's campaign for Governor. Now that the New York Attorney General is running for higher office, especially one that would make him responsible for the state's economic progress, he seems to be rethinking his Lord High Executioner reputation. This week he dropped his case against another bit player in the mutual fund timing scandal, his second retreat in a month. If we had known his candidacy would do this much to stop overzealous prosecution, we might even have encouraged him.

Proliferating pandas. We learn something new every day, and this week that included the revelation that China's pandas aren't as endangered as we thought. Thanks in part to the cash and attention of Western conservationists, the Chinese panda population has now grown to something like 1,600 from the 1980s' estimate of 1,000 or so. At this rate, the world will have to make sure Beijing doesn't begin to enforce a strict one-panda birth control policy.

Catholic schools in New Orleans. That damaged city's public schools remain closed, but at least eight of its 35 private Catholic schools are already back teaching, less than three months after Katrina. Here's a modest proposal to help that city's poorest kids: Don't reopen any of the old public schools, 102 of 117 of which were performing below the state average in any case. Make the entire city a charter and voucher testing ground, and watch the creative spirit of teachers, entrepreneurs and students start to flow.

Our friends the Mongolians. The press corps had a high old time mocking President Bush for visiting Ulan Bator this week, but Americans are lucky Mongolians aren't as cynical as journalists. Despite its small population, the country is keeping 150 of its troops in Iraq. As recent converts to democracy, Mongolians have a better appreciation for freedom's struggles than do certain Europeans we know.

Michael Doran at the NSC. The Bush Administration has not always been populated by people who support the President's foreign policy. So it's encouraging that Mr. Doran, a Middle East scholar in the mold of Princeton's Bernard Lewis, has become the National Security Council's senior director for Near East and North African affairs. He has written sagely about the "civil war" within Islam, and with any luck he might even be able to educate the career Near East analysts at CIA and the State Department.

There's much more, but you get the idea. Notwithstanding the headlines, America remains a lucky country -- lucky, most of all, to have men and women willing to fight in places like Iraq and Afghanistan for their freedom, and ours.


Post a Comment

<< Home