Help Is On the Way -- Out -- Doctors Without Borders is leaving Afghanistan. That's mostly because in June, the Taliban murdered five DWB workers, but also because the military has attempted to co-opt DWB efforts, which puts relief workers into the fray, say DWB officials. Marine Buissonniere, DWB's international secretary, points to coalition leaflets depicting "an Afghan girl carrying a bag of wheat which said that for assistance to continue, Afghans need to report information on the Taliban and al Qaeda."
Bust 'em Up -- If you watched the Democratic National Convention and were left with kind of an empty feeling, you're probably not alone. The party put on a pageant, free of controversy and ready for prime time. There was some satisfying speechifying, but the whole thing had less drama than a reality TV show. Still, the media didn't help any, with its endless punditry. Do they even hire any reporters any more? It's all opinions -- often stupid ones -- all the time.
In a new essay in the Washington Monthly, CNN founder Ted Turner thinks the media and the political parties are all in it together because it's adding up to a massive gravy train for the huge media companies. Taken from a business perspective, the lack of competition, he thinks, is squelching innovation -- America's primary resource. His solution is quite radical. Here, let him tell you in this excerpt:
"Today the government has cast down its duty, and media competition is less like boxing and more like professional wrestling: The wrestler and the referee are both kicking the guy on the canvas. At this late stage, media companies have grown so large and powerful, and their dominance has become so detrimental to the survival of small, emerging companies, that there remains only one alternative: Bust up the big conglomerates. We've done this before: to the railroad trusts in the first part of the 20th century, to Ma Bell more recently."
Maybe then some of these pundits would get more familiar with some of the issues facing average Americans, like unemployment.
Cornered? -- Out on the campaign trail, President George W. Bush is telling his faithful that America is "turning the corner." (Even though the economy added an anemic 32,000 new jobs in July -- about 200,000 fewer than the White House had predicted would be created thanks to Bush's tax cuts.)
It seems like that slogan is kind of familiar... Oh yeah, Herbert Hoover's reelection mantra in 1932 was "Prosperity is just around the corner." Hoover was the last president before W. to preside over a net job loss.