So, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the “Christmas bomber,” is being put on trial. According to this report, he “came into the courtroom Tuesday wearing an oversized prison T-shirt and U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds called a brief recess to allow him to change into clothes more appropriate for court, after acknowledging and denying his apparent request to wear a ‘Yemeni belt with a dagger.’”
Such is the Draconian nature of U.S. justice — no dagger.
By the way, back when Abdulmutallab was caught, and being referred to as “the Christmas bomber,” or “the Christmas Day bomber,” a reader wrote me to say, “Shouldn’t that be ‘holiday bomber’?”
Yes, we can be awfully insensitive at times.
The subhead over this Bret Stephens column was “To Barack Obama, America is lovable in proportion to the love it gives him in return.”
Yes, and I always thought the same was true of Jimmy Carter. I don’t think he ever quite forgave the American people for “firing” him in 1980. I think he has taken it out on us ever since. I think Rosalynn was even more unforgiving.
And if Obama loses in 2012, I think he’ll be much the same kind of ex-president as Carter — in attitude, I mean. I hope I’m wrong. (About Obama’s ’tude, that is. I hope that the electorate will replace him with the Republican nominee — natch.)
In this column, I griped about the rush-rush nature of the Republican primary season. Everyone was moving his primary up to, like, the day after New Year’s, amid the bowl games and all. I said, “Listen, why don’t we just settle the nomination the year before the presidential year, and be done with it? Should we have our nominee by Thanksgiving . . .?”
Now I read the following, in this article: “Nevada Republicans have decided to move up their presidential caucuses to stay ahead of Florida’s newly scheduled Jan. 31 primary . . .”
We see the domino effect (if that’s the right expression). Forget Thanksgiving. Maybe we should have our nominee by Halloween? Labor Day?
Come on . . .
I had a note, maybe two, about the first President Bush. A reader has written me,
I voted for GHWB, so let’s get past that. But to this day I have the image in mind of him glancing at his wristwatch during a debate. Regardless of his superiority to Clinton, that sent a message that he didn’t want to be there and felt he had better things to do.
From that day on, I have removed my wristwatch and placed it in my pocket when I go into business meetings. Regardless of how I feel, I don’t want to convey impatience with people I need to deal with.
I understand. But I had a completely different interpretation of that moment — the moment when Bush glanced at his watch, impatiently. I thought he was saying, “Clinton has been going on and on in this answer. Are we sure his time isn’t up?”
This article caught my attention. Its headline: “Anti-terrorism success may not help Obama in 2012.” Yes, he has had anti-terrorist successes, a string of them. He came into office trashing everything George W. Bush ever stood for. But he soon sobered up, where the War on Terror was concerned. The presidency will do that sort of thing to a man.
Just as GWB, and many others, said.
Good gravy, Guantánamo Bay is still open for bidness!
In Syria, our ambassador was subjected to something of a mob attack. He and others were “pelted with tomatoes and eggs,” as this article says. The State Department then gave the Syrian ambassador to the U.S. a big-time dressing-down, as the article also says. A Foggy Bottom spokesman put it this way: The Syrian was “read the riot act.”
I wonder how that phrase was translated back in Syria, back in the Arab world: “read the riot act.”
My impression is that the PLO never, ever pays a price for its transgressions. It does whatever it likes, and America and Europe keep pouring money into it. So this report came as real news (to me, at least):
Palestinian officials said Monday that the U.S. has suspended West Bank development projects worth tens of millions of dollars after Congress froze funding to dissuade the Palestinians from seeking U.N. recognition of an independent state.
It’s the first concrete sign of repercussions for the Palestinians’ decision to defy Washington on the issue.
I thought of Jan Palach the other day — he was the Czech student who burned himself to death, in protest of the Communist dictatorship that ruled his country. I also thought of the monks in Vietnam.
Another monk has set himself on fire to protest against China’s tight grip over Buddhist practices in Tibet, an activist group said.
Free Tibet said Monday that the monk, aged 17 or 18, is from the Kirti monastery in Aba in western Sichuan near the Tibetan border. A statement from the group, which calls for self-determination for Tibet, said it is the fifth such self-immolation incident this year.
It said the monk, Kalsang, was holding a picture of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled Buddhist leader, and calling for religious rights and freedoms in Tibet when he set himself on fire in a vegetable market in Aba.
Like you, perhaps, I have mixed emotions about suicide as a form of political protest. But it is certainly an act of desperation — maybe the supreme act of desperation. And the Chinese stranglehold on Tibet is horrific.