05 September 2007

Flying High

Daredevil Steve Fossett, an adventurer who set a world record by flying a hot air balloon around the world, may have undertaken his final journey now that his plane has turned up missing in Nevada. I've seen some dangerous elderly drivers on the roadways in my day. I can hardly fathom the insurance premium on a 63-year-old who flies acrobatic planes for recreation. Let's hope for the best.

The White House sidestepped criticism of progress in Iraq by changing the benchmarks for success from a simple yes or no system to a system that adds a status of "partially met." This changes the rate from 15 of 18 benchmarks unachieved to a more modest rating that turns some of the failures into semantic success. Hopefully one of the benchmarks for success doesn't involve families in Iraq being forced to trade homes because of their religion, then later being forced to give up their home because of civil unrest like it does in today's Washington Post. That would definitely not qualify as a benchmark for success.

Everybody's favorite wide-standing Senator Larry Craig will fight the ethics charges against him and is rethinking the idea of resigning his seat in Congress. Senator Skeezy is resisting giving up his seat in Congress far more actively than he was resisting giving up his sex in the Minneapolis airport bathroom according to his guilty plea.

Lean times in Iran have allowed the nation's leaders to gain tighter control over the lives of its citizens according to the NYTimes. Some sources are predicting a that Iran is the next front in the floundering war on terror, while Iranian President Mahmoud Amadinejad believes his mathematical skill and faith in Allah foretell that the U.S. will not attack him because of his nuclear ambitions. No matter who is correct, it seems that everybody involved loses.

Everybody who thinks that Hugo Chavez is the craziest person in Venezuela obviously didn't read the article about practitioners of Santeria unearthing the bones of the dead in order to perform evil rituals. Unconfirmed reports have Michigan boosters casting as many hexes as possible at reviled Coach Lloyd Carr, hoping for a change of course that is greater than being the first team to drop out of the top 25 after starting the season ranked 5th.

Bad press typically comes in waves rather than in a gradual fashion. Check Russia for instance. The country took a special advertising section out in the Washington Post that appeared to be propaganda written by primary school children. Even when they are using public relations, Russia gets called to the mat. Let's hope the article about Russia and the Doomsday Machine is more conjecture than reality after reading the strategic prose in the Post.

But Russia's bad press has to take a seat to the reputation of absolute disaster that is China. Whether it's toys, pet food, copyright violations or coal mining, China has an awful story in all departments. Now, a prominent politician has drawn public scorn for plagiarizing his apology to a court of law. Maybe he should try some melamine appetizers before he gets sentenced in order to save the country any additional scrutiny.

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