“You know you’re in trouble when Dr Strangelove thinks you’re Dr Strangelove.” Donald Rumsfeld (my very own congressman in the ’60s) has thankfully been outmaneuvered at the Pentagon. And Maureen Dowd reckons the three top CEOs in the administration — Rumsfeld, Cheney and O’Neill — are all hopelessly out of touch with reality.
Repel all borders
I’ve always liked Hungary more than any other central and eastern European country. The Hungarians remind me of Italians: more than a fair share of brilliance and creativity, and more than a fair share of dodgy behaviour. In a very central European way, it’s supplemented by an unbelievably dark, pessimistic view of the world.
So I was disheartened by the latest moves by prime minister Viktor Orban to give the 3.5 million ethnic Hungarians living outside the country’s borders special status. It seem bound to increase tension and ethnic ill-will in a region that has the wholly negative example of the Balkans close to hand.
The French are lagging behind on Internet access.
Nailing the Times
Andrew Sullivan perfectly captures some of the spirit of The New York Times. “I particularly like the fearless judgment that Mount Holyoke’s decision was done ‘fairly and appropriately’. Those mind-numbing adjectives are Times staples, along with ‘fair-minded’ for anything they agree with and ‘mean-spirited’ for anything they don’t. They reflect an attitude of detachment that is rarely separated from condescension. The Times is the only institution I know of that can make me both infuriated and bored at the same time.”