FUBAR

Getting a grip on terrorism

For nearly six years now we’ve been hearing from politicians and pundits about how Sept. 11, 2001, “changed everything.” One especially unwelcome change wrought by that day has been that, ever since, large numbers of otherwise sane and sensible people continue to utter the most ridiculous things regarding the subject of terrorism.

Consider a column last week by The Washington Post’s David Ignatius. Ignatius wonders how the nation would react to a future terrorist attack. “Would the country come together to combat its adversaries,” he asks, “or would it pull farther apart?”

Try something different: Objectivity

Rupert Murdoch, the international media mogul, is trying to buy The Wall Street Journal, and Bill Moyers of PBS is scared to death, not to mention angry.

Murdoch, he said in a diatribe on his TV show, is “to propriety what the Marquis de Sade was to chastity. When it comes to money and power, he is carnivorous, all appetite, no taste. He’ll eat anything in his path …”

Real All-Americans

It is rare if not completely unheard of to find a book about sports that is really about something far more profound — the human condition and the impact of a game that helped change if not entirely improve it.

Days of glory lead to a painful future

Austin, Texas, is a busy high-tech metropolis these days, but in 1977 it was still a fairly small town with a big university. It was a good year to go to graduate school. I spent most of my time reading, studying, writing and enjoying a lovely, relaxed city.

Iraq government fails to meet any goals

A progress report on Iraq will conclude that the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad has not met any of its targets for political, economic and other reform, speeding up the Bush administration’s reckoning on what to do next, a U.S. official said Monday.

One likely result of the report will be a vastly accelerated debate among President Bush’s top aides on withdrawing troops and scaling back the U.S. presence in Iraq.

The “pivot point” for addressing the matter will no longer be Sept. 15, as initially envisioned, when a full report on Bush’s so-called “surge” plan is due, but instead will come this week when the interim mid-July assessment is released, the official said.

At times, Couric regrets move to CBS

Katie Couric says the move to CBS would have been less appealing if she had known she’d be doing the more traditional “CBS Evening News” broadcast that she anchors now.

“People are very unforgiving and very resistant to change,” Couric said in an interview with New York magazine. “The biggest mistake we made is we tried new things.”

Thompson spied for Nixon in Watergate

Fred Thompson gained an image as a tough-minded investigative counsel for the Senate Watergate committee. Yet President Nixon and his top aides viewed the fellow Republican as a willing, if not too bright, ally, according to White House tapes.

Thompson, now preparing a bid for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, won fame in 1973 for asking a committee witness the bombshell question that revealed Nixon had installed hidden listening devices and taping equipment in the Oval Office.

Right-wing blowhards don’t cut it in DC

Conservative Talk Radio may be popular among the unwashed masses but right-wing blowhards can’t cut it in the Nation’s Capitol.

In fact, any political talk show is doomed to ratings oblivion in Washington.

Politics may run the city but political talk radio falls on deaf ears.

One immigrant’s view of America

Lit up this week by the patriotic feelings that descend like sparks from an Independence Day skyrocket, I am moved to ask the traditional question: “Is this a great country — or what?”

Not to be an ingrate, but it’s the “or what?” tail of the question that I find interesting. The first part is obvious. Of course, it’s a great country. As the kids say, duh!

Don’t close Gitmo: Expand it!

President Bush and his appointees should yank their tails from between their legs, stand up, and fight for Guantanamo.

While suspected al Qaeda associates deployed their Mercedes-Benz bombs in London last week, Congressional Democrats announced plans to halve Gitmo’s funding. On June 29, as alleged Muslim terrorists prepared to ignite their Jeep Cherokee bomb the next day at Glasgow’s airport, the Supreme Court announced it would hear fresh Gitmo lawsuits.

While human-rights groups holler for Guantanamo’s closure, the administration whispers the same message.