FUBAR

Will China shoot itself in the foot?

The Web site’s headline was certainly arresting: “China threatens to trigger U.S. dollar crash.”

And so was the first paragraph of the story in Britain’s Daily Telegraph: “The Chinese government has begun a concerted campaign of economic threats against the United States, hinting that it may liquidate its vast holding of U.S. Treasury bonds if Washington imposes trade sanctions to force a yuan revaluation.”

A web of stereotypes

Yet another cultural pillar as supposedly take-it-to-the-bank reliable as the freedoms guaranteed us in the U.S. Constitution has come to a crashing, disappointing tumble. The blogosphere is not wide-ranging, open to all manner of opinions and diverse in its viewpoints. In fact, according to some media reports, it is singularly white, male, somewhat sexist and possibly even racist. What, say you? How did this happen?

Mass idiocy…

The Interstate I-35W bridge has collapsed in Minneapolis, and something else ought to collapse with it: the incessant, in-your-face, wholly indefensible ballyhoo that mass transit is America’s transportation salvation and therefore deserving of great, huge gobs of whatever public funding is available.

We have met the enemy and…

America’s ever-growing enemies list in the multiple wars of Iraq grew again this week when yet another culprit was officially identified.

The Iraq-Vietnam parallels

Some columnists, commentators and politicians, especially on the right, have been reluctant to acknowledge parallels between the Vietnam War and our current war in Iraq.

Nevertheless, the two have a lot in common: Undeclared by Congress, both wars emerged from murky motives, both were fought against a cultural backdrop that we didn’t fully understand but insisted on interpreting in terms of our own values, and both had uncertain goals and slippery definitions of victory. Why are we surprised that Iraq has turned into a Vietnamlike quagmire?

Baseball’s shame

My three sons very seldom agree on anything. In fact a get-together often resembles gorillas squabbling over who is the real Alpha Male with each using his own athletic prowess as proof and then asking their sister to referee.

Rules? We don’t obey rules

Americans rightly admire our troops for their bravery, dedication and integrity.

The Marines, for instance, are renowned for abiding by an honorable code — as warriors and as individuals in civilian life.

They epitomize the rectitude of America’s soldiers.

But a recently disclosed Pentagon study — little noted in the media — has seemingly cast a shadow over our troops. The study of U.S. combat troops in Iraq finds that less than half of the soldiers and Marines surveyed would report a team member for breaches of the military’s ethics rules.

Plame loses another round in court

The ex-spy whose unmasking led to the conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney’s top aide cannot disclose the dates she worked for the CIA because the details were never declassified, a federal judge has ruled.

The decision, made public on Friday by U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones, was a victory for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, which sought to block former agent Valerie Plame Wilson from including the dates in her upcoming memoir, “Fair Game.”

Soldiers convicted of rape, murder in Iraq

A military jury found a soldier guilty of rape and murder in the slayings of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and her family, despite testimony that cast doubt on his involvement.

Jurors deliberated much of Friday evening before convicting Army Pfc. Jesse Spielman, 22, of conspiracy to commit rape, rape, housebreaking with intent to commit rape and four counts of felony murder.

He faces a mandatory life sentence when a sentencing hearing begins Saturday. The jury will decide if he will be eligible for parole.

A bridge too far

And so our latest true-life, made-for-cable-TV disaster unfolds.

Remember the talk about the nation’s crumbling infrastructure after levees failed during Hurricane Katrina? Remember those SUV-eating sinkholes in Brooklyn? Remember the report that $120 billion a year is wasted on road repairs because our highways are decaying? Remember when the electric grid caused a power blackout that affected millions? Remember the Hawaii dam that collapsed, killing seven people? How about the analysis that 13,000 highway fatalities each year occur because of congestion or poor maintenance and design?