FUBAR

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.

Striking a blow for free speech

Conventional wisdom is already gathering around the idea that the U.S. Supreme Court took a sharp conservative turn last week as it completed its latest term. But at least one of the cases cited in that analysis does not support the conclusion.

In Federal Elections Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, the court’s 5-4 ruling breathed new life into the First Amendment, finding that Congress had overstepped its authority to regulate political speech.

For GOP, payback will be a bitch

Long after President George W. Bush has retired to his Texas ranch, his fellow Republicans may have to deal with Hispanic voter backlash over his failed immigration reform.

In 2008, in presidential and congressional elections, Latino voters, an increasingly important demographic in US politics, will get their first chance to hand out blame for the collapse of the sweeping immigration bill last week.

Love & marriage? No kidding around

First comes love, then comes marriage — but these two things are no longer inextricably linked to nor necessarily followed by “the baby carriage.”

A new poll by the Pew Research Center finds that Americans are de-linking children as the sine qua non of successful marriages. In fact, they now tell pollsters they rate “having children” as the ninth most important out of 10 markers of successful marriages.