- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 11, 2006

No reward

“Since the Columbine murders in 1999, several important steps have been taken to prevent or thwart school shootings. …

“Time and Newsweek put the Columbine killers on the front cover — giving them precisely the sort of posthumous infamy which motivates many mass murderers. …

“In the 21st century, the mainstream media have been somewhat more responsible about focusing coverage on the victims, rather than the perpetrator. While stories are still written about perpetrators, they are less likely to be rewarded (in effect) with a big picture on the front of a magazine or newspaper.”

— Dave Kopel, writing on “The Resistance,” Tuesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

‘Losing his edge’

“The abbreviation for North Korea used by American military officers says it all: KFR, the Kim Family Regime. It is a regime whose demonization by the American media and policy makers has obscured some vital facts. North Korea’s founder, Kim Il Sung, was not merely a dreary Stalinist tyrant. As defectors from his country will tell you, he was also a popular anti-Japanese guerrilla leader in the mold of Enver Hoxha, the Stalinist tyrant of Albania who led his countrymen in a successful insurgency against the Nazis. Nor is his son Kim Jong Il anything like the childish psychopath parodied in the film ‘Team America: World Police.’ It’s true that Kim Jong Il was once a playboy. But he has evolved into a canny operator. …

“Expertly tutored by his father, Kim consolidated power and manipulated the Chinese, the Americans, and the South Koreans into subsidizing him throughout the 1990s. …

“Yet for all Kim’s canniness, there is evidence that he may be losing his edge. And that may be reason to worry: totalitarian regimes close to demise are apt to get panicky and do rash things. The weaker North Korea gets, the more dangerous it becomes.”

— Robert D. Kaplan, writing on “When North Korea Falls,” in the October issue of the Atlantic Monthly

Veiled fury

“Jack Straw, the leader of the UK’s House of Commons and one of the most prominent members of the British Labour Party, has enraged British Muslims by saying on a BBC radio program that he would prefer that Muslim women not wear the nikab, or face veil. …

“Straw explained: ‘Communities are bound together partly by informal chance relations between strangers — people being able to acknowledge each other in the street or being able pass the time of day. That’s made more difficult if people are wearing a veil. That’s just a fact of life. … I come to this out of a profound commitment to equal rights for Muslim communities and an equal concern about adverse development about parallel communities. What I’ve been struck by when I’ve been talking to some of the ladies concerned is that they had not, I think, been fully aware of the potential in terms of community relations.’

“About Muslim worries over their religious freedom, he remarked: ‘I understand the concerns but I hope, however, there can be a mature debate about this.’

“No such luck. …

“[A]pparently the obligation of tolerance was entirely Straw’s responsibility, not that of the Muslim community.”

— Robert Spencer, writing on “The Straw that Broke the Burqa,” Tuesday in Front Page at www.frontpagemag.com

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