I just saw the movie Angels and Demons. It was much better than The Da Vinci Code. Tom Hanks has lost 35 or 40 pounds and he looks good. The movie lacks those dull, slow parts that so dominated the first one. It’s very entertaining and, in my opinion, more respectful of religion. It is well worth the admission price.
North Korea proved that they are less respectful of the rest of the international community by setting off some sort of nuclear device earlier today. It will take several days to analyze the data, but it seems clear that North Korea set off some sort of large device. Now what? Should there be consequences for defying the international community? Who should enforce those consequences? The United States? Should the United States try to enforce something unilaterally? That sounds a lot like what the Bush administration did with Iraq. The international community will not go for the US going its own way, again. Should the United States, Russia, China and the European Union try to do something jointly? It is important to remember that no matter what we do, North Korea has the ability to retaliate, not against us, but against the South Korean civilians. It will be interesting to see if President Obama will be able to forge a coalition that will actually force North Korea into some sort of international compliance.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell went on the offensive yesterday to combat charges that several Republicans, including Dick Cheney, have thrown at him (remember, Powell left the Republican party). He argued that he is still Republican. To paraphrase his argument, the Republican Party needs to, dare I say it, change. Now there are a lot of Americans who still believe that Colin Powell can save the Republican Party. I don’t know. Maybe he can. I know it’s a long way to the 2012 elections, but I don’t see Colin Powell as a viable candidate. I believe that his reputation is too tainted with the stain of Iraq. I just don’t see how the Republican Party can move forward without dealing with some of their more radical elements. This would include Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Dick Cheney.
Many progressives are upset that Barack Obama has decided to push ahead with military commissions. Personally, I think that military commissions set a terrible precedent. Putting precedent aside, though, I understand that President Obama is in a terrible situation. People like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and the so-called “20th hijacker” Al-Qahtani are clearly terrorists. If given the opportunity, they would try to wreak havoc either on the United States or United States interests around the world. They need to be tried and jailed for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, both of them were subjected to harsh interrogations (torture). There’s no court in the United States that would try these guys. Most, if not all, of the evidence would be thrown out. So what do you do with them? Indefinite detention without charges seems repugnant to me. If we could find a way to try Terry McVeigh and the so-called Blind Sheik, then we should be able to find a way to try and convict these two terrorists. We have to have some evidence that was not obtained by illegal means. We must. (I hope.)
Finally, Ryan Leaf has been arrested. I’m not laughing at the misfortune of others, but… just a little over 10 years ago, Ryan Leaf was the number two draft choice for the San Diego Chargers. He went from the anointed one to a bum in less time than Sarah Palin has. The former NFL quarterback has been indicted on drug and burglary charges. This says something about our society and about Ryan Leaf. Maybe putting athletes up on a pedestal is not the best idea.
Oh, this is a great Memorial Day story.