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.
A new threat assessment from U.S. counterterrorism analysts says that al-Qaida has used its safe haven along the Afghan-Pakistan border to restore its operating capabilities to a level unseen since the months before Sept. 11, 2001.
A counterterrorism official familiar with a five-page summary of the document — titled “Al-Qaida better positioned to strike the West” — called it a stark appraisal. The analysis will be part of a broader meeting at the White House on Thursday about an upcoming National Intelligence Estimate.
It’s no secret that foreign travel to the United States has fallen off dramatically since 9/11. The number of visitors from countries outside of Canada and Mexico is down 17 percent while travel worldwide is up 20 percent. Visitors from Japan are down 27 percent.
The result is we’re losing out on billions of dollars in tourism and business travel. One study puts the loss since 2000 at $116 billion in visitor spending and taxes and 200,000 jobs.
At Freedom Motors, the place to go for pre-owned vehicles (or used cars, in the old-fashioned manner of speaking), the salesmen are busy dealing with customers who ask why the Iraq Touring Convertible sold in 2003 has turned out to be such a dangerous and unreliable vehicle.
The salesmen are exasperated by these pesky customers and their complaints. They can’t understand why they are making such a big deal just because most of the claims about this jalopy have turned out to be completely untrue.
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?”
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 …”
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.
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.
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.
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.”