FUBAR

Journal could do worse than Murdoch

There really is nothing very new about the gnashing of teeth and the dire predictions in the world of “respectable” journalism over the prospect of Rupert Murdoch assuming control of the Wall Street Journal. Actually, Murdoch’s purchase of several other “main line” publications over the years, including the Times of London, have raised similar alarms from elitists who populate the editorial side of the declining U.S. newspaper industry.

Pentagon claims Hillary helps the enemy

The Pentagon told Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton that her questions about how the U.S. plans to eventually withdraw from Iraq boosts enemy propaganda.

In a stinging rebuke to a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman responded to questions Clinton raised in May in which she urged the Pentagon to start planning now for the withdrawal of American forces.

A copy of Edelman’s response, dated July 16, was obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

Judge throws out Plame’s lawsuit

A U.S. judge on Thursday threw out former CIA analyst Valerie Plame’s lawsuit against Vice President Dick Cheney and other Bush administration officials for disclosing her identity to the public.

Plame has said her career was destroyed when administration officials blew her cover in 2003 to retaliate against her husband, Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson.

The couple had sought money damages from the officials for violating their constitutional free speech, due process and privacy rights.

U.S. District Court Judge John Bates dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds.

DC takes handgun ban case to Supremes

The city of Washington is asking the US Supreme Court to uphold a three-decade ban on handguns in the nation’s capital in a case that could have ramifications on gun control laws in other states.

The US high court has not ruled since 1939 on any cases involving the right to bear arms, a hot-button issue which is protected by the second amendment to the constitution.

The capital bans all handguns unless they were registered before 1976.

So many enemies, so little time

It would be nice — or at least more convenient — if America could fight just one enemy at a time. But that’s seldom how it works.

World War II was called a world war for a reason: President Franklin Roosevelt might have preferred to take on only Imperial Japan, the nation that had attacked us. Instead, he had to lead the country into battle also against Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. He had to fight not only in the Pacific but in North Africa and Europe as well.

Is talk of terrorism off limits?

Listen to some pundits and you’d think no one should ever mention the possibility of terrorist attacks in this country and that a few terrorist strikes here and there would be no big thing, anyway. Hey, we have auto accidents, don’t we?

A skewed look at America

“Are We Rome?” asks a new book, authored by an editor at Vanity Fair magazine. The subtitle is “The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America.”

It seems, given the dour mood of the country, that this would be a good time to market such a book. And, indeed, as I check its sales clip on Amazon, it seems to be moving at a brisk pace that must please both author and publisher.

So, is America creaking and crumbling like a latter-day Rome?

Freedom of speech takes a hit

The verdict is still out on whether the First Amendment has a strong voice of support among conservatives on the Supreme Court. Although Justice Samuel Alito says he is a staunch defender of free expression in both speech and print and that presumably includes the Internet, his recent end-of-the-term votes on two cases made it unclear just how staunch.

A few inconvenient truths

The Scooter Libby/Valerie Plame Wilson controversy threatens to linger for months. Exhibit A is the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing Wednesday on President Bush’s commutation of the former vice-presidential aide’s jail sentence. He was convicted of lying about his role in identifying Plame as a CIA officer.

Stealth inflation

I usually try to be timely, but this week in this column I admit I’m way behind. I unearthed a report released more than two years ago, but which contains such informational dynamite, its contents are worth dissecting even two years hence. So here goes.

I’ve often wondered why inflation is so clearly rampaging well beyond levels reported by the federal government. Case in point: On a fairly regular basis I buy 10 pound bags of carrots at my local Harris Teeter grocery store. When I started buying them two summers ago, a 10-pound bag was retailing for $3.99. It is now selling for $5.99.